Welcome to Living With Alzheimer’s

This site consists of a journal I started on January 21, 2011. That was the date on which my wife, Kate, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It is an account of our lives since that time. It includes the symptoms Kate has displayed as well as things we have done to cope with them. You will also learn about our frustrations and problems of which there have been many.

As of September 18, 2018, I had made 1492 journal entries, 1,159 of which have been uploaded to this site. In the days ahead, I will continue make new entries. I don’t have a regular schedule. I write them as new things occur. Sometimes I may not write anything for a day or so. Other days I may make two or three entries. In addition, I will continue to upload older posts that I have not yet read to see if they are suitable to be included on the site.

What may surprise you is how much we have been able to enjoy life and each other even as this disease takes a greater hold on us. We have been more fortunate than most couples who travel this road. On the other hand, if you are someone with dementia or if you are caring for someone with dementia, you will recognize many of the things we have in common.

Thanks for your visit.

Richard Creighton                                                                                                 @LivingWthAlz

Sleep and Our Daily Lives

Kate’s sleeping later has certainly had an impact on our morning routine. Now it seems to be encroaching on our lunch. Yesterday and the day before, it was much harder to get her up than it has been in the past. We didn’t leave for lunch until 1:50 on Saturday. We were so late that I sent a text to our server at Bluefish letting her know that we wouldn’t be there. We went to Panera instead. Then we came back to the house for the balance of the afternoon. She worked on her iPad for a while. Then she took a nap, something I might have thought she didn’t need.

After dinner, I found a YouTube video of the 10th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables and played it. While this video was not nearly as good as the 25th the music was the same, and Kate enjoyed it just as much as the one we had watched before. At my suggestion, she went to bed a little earlier than she has been doing. I thought she needed the sleep.

The big surprise yesterday was that it was just as difficult to get her up as the day before. Both days I played music and kept going back to the room to wake her. She didn’t want to get up either day. She finally consented but didn’t want to get up. We saved time yesterday since she didn’t take a shower. Still, it was almost 1:00 before leaving for lunch and almost 2:30 when we headed back home. That shortens our day quite a bit.

Despite her sleeping late, she was in a cheerful mood both days. That doesn’t mean there was any improvement in memory or lessening in her confusion. When I went to check on her yesterday, I immediately noticed that she was still in her night gown. Then I saw that she was wearing her pants as well as her shoes and socks. I quickly realized this was a replay of something she did last week. She thought her gown was the top she was to wear for the day. When I gave her the top I had shown her earlier, she said, “Can’t I just wear this one (her gown)?” I told her that was her gown. She looked a little sheepish and said, “Oops, sorry.”

We went directly to lunch at Andriana’s. Our server was unusually eager to see us. I must have neglected to let her know that we were not going to be there last week. She was worried. Then when we were late yesterday, she became even more concerned. It was nice to know that we were missed. We had a good lunch topped off with an enormous slice of a 5-layer cinnamon spice cake with a heavy butter cream icing on top and between the layers. So much for weight control.

From there we went back home where we relaxed about an hour and a half before leaving for a neighborhood association meeting and get together. This is an annual celebration in connection with Halloween and includes a short parade around the neighborhood. She was somewhat reluctant to go, but she enjoyed herself. We were talking with one of our neighbors who mentioned a new puppy that someone had brought. She and Kate walked over to two or three others who were looking at it. At the same time, I became engaged in a conversation with two other neighbors. I looked over to see that Kate was also talking with the group around the puppy. That was good to see.

A few minutes later as we started to walk back to the house, she said, “That’s a nice church.” I said, “What church is that?” She said, “The one we were just visiting.” She was obviously confused. I agreed. Then she asked me the name of our church. As we walked along the street, she commented about the neighborhood and houses along our street. She liked both. It wasn’t surprising that she also commented on the trees. She loves them almost as much as she loves music. As we approached our house, I said, “I like this white house.” She didn’t give any indication that she knew it was our house. She said she liked it as well, especially the contrast of the white with the green of the shrubbery and trees. When we entered the house, she turned very naturally to her right to enter the bathroom off of our laundry room. She wasn’t confused about that.

A few minutes later, we went to dinner. When we returned, I watched the end of the Cowboys/Redskins game while she worked on her iPad. After a while, I pulled up a series of YouTube videos of The Three Tenors for Kate while I took a shower. She was taken with the music and put her iPad down. We watched together for another hour after I got out of the shower. Then we were off to bed. Except for the slow start, it was a good day.

Adapting to Changes in Our Morning Routine

For most of my life I have been an early riser. I simply like being up early. As an adult, that has meant getting up, exercising, and going to work. After I retired, I continued getting up between 5:00 and 6:00. Over the past few years, I have made a number of adjustments to my morning routine. For a while after retirement, I dropped by the office for a couple of hours. Gradually, I stopped that to spend more time with Kate in the morning. I continued going to the Y three days a week and started walking the other four days. Over a year ago, I began to feel less comfortable leaving Kate by herself. That ultimately led to my engaging a sitter three afternoons a week. I started going to the Y during that time rather than in the morning. Until recently, I felt all right about leaving her early in the morning to take a morning walk.

Two things occurred that caused me to change again. The first, and to me more serious one, was Kate’s experience of an early morning anxiety attack. This was one of those times when she was upset at not knowing where she was or who she is. I was worried about her having another attack and my not being here to comfort and calm her. Simultaneously, I had a pinched nerve in my hip. This occurred when I stepped up my walking from 2.5-3.0 miles each morning to 3.0-4.5 miles. I decided I should take a break from both the Y and my morning walk.

One of the consequences of this change has been a reduction in my “reading” (actually listening) time. I have missed that as much as the exercise itself. I have always found it much easier to listen while walking or on the stationary bike or treadmill at the Y than simply sitting in a chair at home. I seem to be more distracted at home. I decided to try it anyway. I started listening 30 minutes each day. It didn’t feel right, but I discovered that it worked much better if I closed my eyes.

The hip is better now, but I still don’t want to leave Kate. Over the past few days, I’ve walked in a circle that takes me from our kitchen, family room, living room, dining room and back to the kitchen. I walk for 30-40 minutes while listening to a book. This is not the best arrangement. It is clearly a compromise, but it seems to be a good way to gradually get back into walking and listening. It is definitely not a long-term plan.

An additional issue is that the reduced exercise and reading have been an important part of my effort to minimize stress. That has been unfortunate in that it has occurred at the same time Kate is declining more rapidly. On top of that, Kate’s sleeping later in the morning means we are not as regular in making our morning trips to Panera. We are beginning to lose touch with that community of friends whom I have always recognized as helpful stress relievers. That, in turn, means I feel more stress than I have before. I am looking at other possibilities to right the ship. I’ll address that in another post.

Miscellaneous Notes from Yesterday

For the second day in a row, Kate got up on her own, this time about 10:25. She didn’t shower, so we made it to Panera shortly after 11:00. She was in a very cheerful mood. On the way to Panera, she whispered, “Tell me your full name.” That is the first time I recall her whispering in the car. She does it periodically at home. I’m not sure why. I suspect it is because she either thinks we have guests in the house or that we are staying in someone else’s home.

At lunch, she said, “What’s the name of this restaurant?” I told her, “Applebee’s.” In the next few minutes she asked two other times. The last time she said, “I know I’ve asked you before. I should remember that.” I said, “That’s all right. You can ask as many times as you want.” Then she asked my name. I told her and reminded her we have been married 55 years. She said, “Do we have children?” I told her we do, and she asked their names. I am no longer surprised at these conversations. They happen every day. I am just happy that she is able to ask so naturally without being too self-conscious about it. That is so much better than those moments when she is completely disoriented and has an attack of anxiety.

Following the experience we had last night, we spent some time in the family room. When I was ready to take my shower, Kate told me she was getting tired and having a little trouble with her puzzles. I told her I would put on some music in our bedroom, and she could get ready for bed. I brought her a night gown and put it on the bed. She was unsure of what she should do and asked, “What do I do now?” I told her to take off her clothes and put on her gown. She was still confused. I walked her through each step. When we were finished, she said, “I am glad I have you. I know that if something goes wrong, I know you will take care of it.” I definitely feel appreciated. I know that some caregivers work faithfully and don’t hear words like that. That’s another reason to be grateful.

Another Surreal Experience, A Moment to Treasure

If I didn’t already know that it’s possible to find joy in living with Alzheimer’s, I would be a believer now. Last night, Kate and I had the most incredible experience. It’s one I never would have imagined. Before going further, I should tell you that it can also be viewed through the lens of sadness, but it was pure joy for Kate. Because of that, it was a moment of joy for me as well, and it lasted more than an hour.

As we returned from dinner, Kate commented on a neighbor’s house. She said, “I remember that.” Our house is two doors down. I turned into our drive and parked in the garage. When Kate got out of the car, she looked at the trees at the back of the house and walked out of the garage to look more closely. She loves looking at the trees, ours and everyone else’s. Instead of turning around and heading toward the door from our garage to the laundry room, she turned toward the driveway back to the street. She suddenly realized she was going the wrong direction and said, “Where am I going?” I walked over to her. She pointed to our patio and said she just wanted to look around for a few minutes. She loved everything she saw. She commented on the patio itself, the arrangement of the furniture, the swimming pool, and the landscaping. It was as though this were the first time she had seen any of these things. In a minute, I suggested we go inside. She said, “Is it all right?” I told her it would be fine.

We spent the next hour going through every room in the house. As she had done outside, she commented on everything – the rooms themselves, the furniture (some of which I explained was from her parents home), the photos and artwork. She loved everything, even the laundry room that is pretty much like any ordinary room between the garage and kitchen. She was particularly struck by the family room. We walked around it for a while. Then she wanted to go into the living room. She was taken with a wedding picture of our daughter, Jesse, and her own wedding picture that was taken in her parents’ home. From there we entered the dining room. She loved seeing a portrait of her mother as a young girl and another of her grandfather on her mother’s side. We went through a door into the kitchen where she continued to be taken with everything she saw. In several rooms she commented about their not looking pretentious but representing a particular period. After leaving the kitchen, she wanted to go back to the living room, so we did. She apparently hadn’t remembered that we had just come from there. She expressed an equal measure of enthusiasm the second time around.

When we got to our bedroom and bath she said, “I would love to stay here tonight, but I know we can’t.” When I told her we could, she was thrilled. We continued to the other rooms. She loved each one. This was very similar to a surreal experience I mentioned a week or two ago. She mixed things that made sense with those that didn’t. There were times when it was clear that she remembered its being our house but not the one we are living in now, one that we had lived in sometime in the past. At other times, it appeared that she thought this was her family home. She specifically mentioned its meaning so much because it was a place that meant so much to her family.

Toward the end of our tour, she was very emotional. Tears welled up in her eyes as I’ve seen a number of times lately, in fact, just the previous night at Casa Bella. She said, “I am so glad we could experience this together.” I told her I felt the same way. She was so very confused, but she was also very happy.

When we finished, she wanted to relax in the family room. I put on some music, and she began to work on a puzzle on her iPad. It took her a little while to become fully focused on her puzzles. She kept looking around the room and commenting on things she liked.

As I said earlier, one could think of this experience as a sad one, and I understand that. How I wish she didn’t have this disease, but no one has figured a way to get around that. I am just grateful that we can share joyful moments like this one. We have many more good times than bad ones, but last night was very special for both of us. Living in her world really pays dividends.

No Wake Up Call Necessary Yesterday

After having to wake her for five consecutive days, Kate got up on her own shortly after 10:00 yesterday. About 10:45, I checked on her and found that she had taken her shower and gotten back in bed. At 11:20, I checked again. She was still in bed and said she needed clothes. When she went to take her shower, she had her clothes in her arms. I went to the bathroom and brought them to her. She asked for her underwear. I couldn’t find them but knew that she had them earlier. I pulled back the sheet where she had been resting. There they were.

I went back to the bathroom to straighten up. She had used the two bath towels I had  out for her, but she had gotten into the drawer where I keep the wash cloths and hand towels. She had pulled out several of each that were thrown on the floor.

She put on her top. I reached up and straightened it for her. She shrugged and said, “You have to remember that I am capable of some things.”  As she started to put on her shoes, I was about to leave. She said, “Wait a minute. Don’t leave until I tell you.” These words sound harsher in written form than they were to me. She was trying to say, “I might need your help.” I stayed for a few minutes. When she appeared to be getting along fine, I said I was going to the kitchen. She didn’t stop me. A few minutes later, I heard her say, “Hey.” When I got to the bedroom, she wasn’t wearing her pants. She didn’t say a word, she knew I would understand. She couldn’t find them. I walked over to the chair in which she had been sitting and picked up the pants and gave them to her. She gave me a sheepish look and said, “Thank you.” For the rest of the day she was fine.

Since it was past noon, we skipped her muffin at Panera and went directly to lunch. Afterward, we came home for about forty minutes. She took that opportunity for a nap. She seems to have been tired all week, but not necessarily at bedtime. It makes me think about her sleep patterns as a sign of significant change. This started at the end of March when she started sleeping later in the morning. Since then her sleep as been erratic. She definitely gets up later than she used to, but once every week or so she surprises me and gets up early. That hasn’t happened over the past week.

Her sleep pattern has been accompanied by greater memory problems, confusion, greater dependence on me, and minor discomfort at my leaving her with a sitter. I know greater change is ahead. I just don’t know how quickly it will occur. If the current decline continues at the same pace, I am afraid it will be sooner rather than later. We are now less than four weeks away from our trip to Texas for Thanksgiving. Despite the changes that are occurring, it seems to me that we will be able to make it.

I have detected another minor change this week. Until the last day or two, she has called me by name when I was in another room and she needed something. Several times this week, she has just said, “Hey.” I take that as a sign that it is getting harder for her to think of my name. That would not be a big surprise. I have been well aware that she can’t remember my name most of the time. It’s just that she has been able to remember when she needs something. That may be going away.

Although she still asks me my name, her name, and the names of our children, she is more frequently asking, “Where are we?” This is something she done for a long time. It’s just happening more frequently. Coming home from Casa Bella last night, she asked me several times where we were.

Speaking of Casa Bella, we were there for Broadway night last night. This was a more spectacular program than others we have attended there. That’s an overstatement since the only accompaniment was a keyboard, no sets, and singers used music. There were, however, six singers instead of the customary two. All the music was from Les Miserables. Regular readers will remember that this is our favorite musical, and Kate was as taken by this production as she has been by the 25th anniversary concert in London. While there is no comparison between last night’s program and that one, the music is always good, and the singers were outstanding. Kate responded with tears and soft, but audible, Continue reading “No Wake Up Call Necessary Yesterday”

My Dad

Today, the 105th anniversary of my dad’s birth, I am thinking a lot about him. He was a character. Everyone who knew him recognized that. He enjoyed life and invited others to join him. People, especially Kate, tell me I talk a lot, but I had a hard time keeping up with him. He was also a man with a sense of humor that sometimes fell outside the customary boundaries of propriety. Until his stroke in 2010, he was quite active on email. He was one of those who regularly sent jokes to his distribution list. I wasn’t on his list, but several of my female colleagues at the office were. I also learned that his Kiwanis club asked him to be more sensitive concerning jokes about sex and politics.

It isn’t his talkative nature or his sense of humor that I am thinking about most on this day. He was also a devoted husband to my mother. My mother loved to tell about seeing him for the first time in the ninth grade. She said, “Right then, I knew I was going to marry him.” She was right. They married right after high school when she was 17 and he was 18. After Dad’s death, my brother found a batch of old letters. Among them was an Easter card from my mother that she must have given him in the mid-1990s when she was around 80 and before dementia changed her life. She wrote a note that said, “From the first time I ever laid eyes on you, I have loved you – and I will love you forever.”

Mom and Dad were married 70 years and devoted to each other. That is what I’m thinking about today. Mom cared for him a lot until dementia entered the picture. At that point, Dad rose to the occasion and became her loving caregiver. They moved to Knoxville on Memorial Day weekend 1994. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I am sure now that she was in the early stages of dementia when they arrived. Although I was with them a good bit, it was three or four years later when I realized that. She died in November 2002.

Dad was her sole caregiver right up until her death. She slept in the same bed with him until three days before she died when hospice brought in a hospital bed and put it right beside their bed. My brother, Larry, and I tried to bring in help without success. The only regular help he had was an adult day care center. Every Wednesday morning he dropped her off. Then he went to Kiwanis and did a little grocery shopping. I helped by visiting with them regularly and bringing in meals.

Although Dad was a big talker, I don’t recall his saying much about what was going on. I do remember his telling me that she would get upset with him and then quickly forget. I also remember that he tied one end of a string around her arm and another around his so that he would wake up if she started to get up during the night. I never heard the first word of frustration or complaint. On days when I took them places, I rolled her to the car in her wheel chair. To get there we had to roll across the grass. That adds a measure of difficulty. When I would fold the chair and put it in the trunk, I wondered how Dad, in his upper 80s at the time, could do this on a regular basis.

So, on this 105th anniversary of his birth, I have a new admiration for Dad. At the time, I had no idea what he and my mom were experiencing, nor did I know that I would be walking the same pathway a few years later. Now, I understand his desire not to relinquish her care to someone else. He felt he was the one who knew her best and could provide the best care for her. That took a toll on him the last year or two of her life. Fortunately, he bounced back after her death and lived another 11 years to celebrate his 100th birthday. He was quite a guy.

Another Slow Start, Confusion in the Evening

Once again, Kate slept late, and, once again, I had difficulty getting her up. Since I knew the sitter was coming at 1:00 and that I was trying to get to the Red Cross for my platelet donation, I pushed a little harder to get her up. That may account for the fact that she was grumpier than yesterday. As we prepared to walk out of the house, she apologized twice. We left for lunch at 12:30. I called Mary and asked that she meet us as Panera so that I could eat and go directly to my donation.

Before Mary arrived, I reminded Kate that this was the day for my platelet donation and that Mary would meet us and take her home. That didn’t seem to bother her at all. I was glad about that. When I got home, Kate and Mary were in the family room. Kate was working on her iPad. After Mary left, I walked over to Kate, and she rolled her eyes. It was clear that she didn’t like being left with a sitter, but she didn’t make an issue of it.

It wasn’t long before we went to dinner. Near the end of the meal, she said, “We were really lucky to have those women who took care of him.” I didn’t know who she was talking about. She continued. It sounded like she was talking about her sitters. Then she mentioned how much I helped her. She said, “I could have done it without you, but you made it so much easier.” I asked who she was talking about and discovered she was talking about the helpers who took care of her mother.

She continued to talk about the good care her mother had gotten and how glad she was that we had been able to keep her in our home. She kept repeating the same things over and over for about 10-15 minutes. Then we got up to leave. As we walked by the hostess station, we said goodbye to the owner of the restaurant. Kate said, “I’m so glad we were able take care of my mother.” She said this as though the owner had been a part of our conversation at the table.

Once in the car, she kept repeating how much I had helped her, that she could have done it herself but it was easier because of me. As in all conversations, she did not mention any specifics because she can’t remember, but she retains a strong feeling for her mother, the care she got in the last years of her life, and how good she feels about that. Even after getting home, she continued the conversation. What struck me most is that her feelings are so strong that she couldn’t let go of the topic. I don’t know anything else that can stick with her for such a long period of time.

I went into the kitchen to get something. When I came back, she was working on her iPad. I sat down to write this post. Twenty minutes later, she closed her iPad and said she was tired and that she can really “do this” (work on her puzzles) better during the day. I suggested we go to the bedroom, and I would find something on YouTube that she might enjoy. She liked that. On the way to the bedroom, she seemed confused. She said she didn’t know how she would get along without me. At first, I thought she was talking again about my support in caring for her mother. As she talked a little more, it was clear that she was talking about my caring for her.  She was depending on me to tell her exactly what she needed to do. I told her I would get her a night gown, and she could get ready for bed. She needed help getting her gown on and wanted me to tell her every step to take to get ready. Several times she repeated how much she needed me. This was one of those times when I experienced both a desire to help her as much as I could while at the same time feeling sad that she was recognizing her dependence. This was not as bad as watching her painful anxiety attacks. This was simply a recognition of her dependence, and I assured her that I would always be here for her. She seemed to be accepting her dependence without any fear but with gratitude. Once again, she said how much she needed me. Then,  just as naturally said, “What’s your name?”

Slow Start Followed by a Recovery

Until the past five or six months, Kate’s sleep pattern had been fairly predictable. She used to go to bed reasonably early (between 8:00 and 8:45) and got up about twelve hours later. Sometimes she rested during the day but rarely went to sleep. The result was a predictable daily schedule for us. We almost always went to Panera and got there between 9:00 and 9:45. Even then, I avoided making any commitments before noon. Now, I find it difficult to predict when she will get up. That and the fact that it takes her much longer to get ready has a significant impact on our daily routine. We often pass up Panera and go directly to lunch.

I had to wake her again yesterday. That made four days in a row. Although she was sleeping soundly the previous three days, she got up with little difficulty. That wasn’t the case yesterday. I started playing music for her at 10:00. At 10:15, I checked on her and found that she was still asleep. I tried to wake her gently several times over the next hour and forty-five minutes. I was able to get her out of bed shortly after noon. She wasn’t ready to leave the house until 1:50 and arrived at the restaurant for lunch after 2:00.

After her shower and before we left the house, she was grumpy. She felt I was pushing her. I obviously communicated that I thought it was time to go. At one point she sternly said, “I’m getting ready.” I said, “I don’t mean to rush you. Well, I guess I really do want to rush you; I just don’t want you to feel rushed.” She laughed. I took that as a good sign. Then as we reached to door to leave, she stopped and said, “I love you.” I think that was an apology.

She was just fine and talkative all the way to the restaurant. She asked how long we had been married. When I told her 55 years, she was surprised and said, “That can’t be. I’m not that old.” I reminded her that we have a daughter who will soon be 50. She asked her name. When I gave it to her, she said, “Oh, she’s married to Greg. He’s a nice guy.” Kate has great difficulty remembering names, but she always recalls his name when I tell her Jesse’s first and last names. Then she started talking about her mother and father and how important they had been in her values. At lunch, she was not as talkative, but she did talk about our meeting at TCU and how lucky we were to find each other. Sometimes, she just says, “Thank you, TCU.”

It was after 3:00 when we got home. A little later, we went out to get our flu shots before going to dinner where we had two separate conversations with people we know. When we got home, we relaxed a while before getting to bed. Kate was in bed by 8:30, but she wasn’t asleep when I got in bed at 9:45. I’m curious to see if I have to wake her this morning and also eager to see how the visit with the sitter goes this afternoon.

Everyday Life

At Rotary yesterday, several people asked me how Kate and I are getting along. My answer is very much the same as it has been as long as I can remember. I say “remarkably well.” I believe that is just as true as it was when I adopted that as my standard answer. Recently, I have modified it slightly to say that over the past few months she has declined more significantly than in the past. Depending on the situation and the person I am talking to, I may say something like “She is now having trouble remembering my name as well as her own.” Then I add that we continue to be active and are enjoying ourselves. I think that is a reasonable summary of where we are right now. It just doesn’t fill in the details of what is going on. I try to do that in this blog.

I think yesterday presents a good picture of our daily lives. It was our day for the sitter, and Kate slept later than I would like in order for me to take her to lunch before the sitter arrived. I tried to get her up at 9:30. She seemed very tired, but she was ready for lunch around 10:45. That made it easy for her to have her lunch and get back home. She was neither very cheerful nor grumpy and not very talkative. Shortly after sitting down at our table, she asked my name. I told her. Then she said, “Wait, a minute. Say it again.” I did. She repeated it. Not five minutes later, she asked again. I told her. Over the course of the next few minutes, she asked another two times.

I told her that I would be going to Rotary and that Marilyn would be with her while I was gone. She asked me several times in a row to repeat Marilyn’s name. She wanted to know her first and last name. She was never able to remember it, but she did not express any concern about not being able to remember or the fact that I would be leaving her. Marilyn was already there when we drove up. Kate greeted her cheerfully. We chatted a few minutes. Then I told Kate I was going and would be back later. She asked what she could do. I told her she could stay at home and work on her iPad, talk with Marilyn, or look at some of her photo albums. I also mentioned Panera. That seemed to interest her. When I said goodbye, Kate gave me a dirty look.

When I got home, they were in the family room where Kate was working on her iPad. Marilyn said they did not go to Panera. She mentioned that they looked at the photo book Kate’s brother had made for her and that Kate had also taken a nap. After Marilyn left, I walked over to where Kate was seated. She said, “I’m glad you’re back.” I said, “I’m glad to be back. I like being with you.” She said, “I like being with you.” She placed emphasis on “you” as if to say “and not the sitter.” I said something about Marilyn’s being nice. She said, “She’s all right.” I didn’t pursue the discussion. I think we’ll just have to live with this a while.

The highlight of our day occurred later that evening. I should point out that our time together late in the day until we go to bed seems to be the most consistently good time we have. That may relate to the fact that I am more relaxed. By that time our routine is consistent, and I don’t have to think too much about entertaining her. We have a pleasant dinner. We come back to the house where I usually watch the news while she works on her iPad. Then I put on a DVD of a musical or something similar. Last night, I decided to go to YouTube for some of their musical performances. That turned out to be a real winner. Kate loved it. When I decided it was time for us to call it a night, she said, “It’s been a great day” several times. I also thought we had been well-entertained, but I especially liked seeing Kate’s response. We sampled an assortment of music and performers starting with the video of Kevin Spacey and Billy Joel and “The Piano Man” that I had played for Ellen on Sunday. Then I played about thirty minutes of Andrea Bocelli followed by The Three Tenors (Pavarotti, Domingo, and Carrera).

Kate’s confusion seems to be getting worse. That was expressed in a number of ways yesterday. As we prepared for bed, Kate said, “Where are we exactly right now?” At first, I said Knoxville, but she wanted a more specific answer. I told her we were in our house. She reacted with surprise. She seems to be putting more emphasis on knowing where we are now. She has asked that a long time, but it seems to be more frequent now. I can tell by other things she says that she often thinks we are out of town. At dinner last night, she said, “Are we in Fort Worth?” I mention this as another illustration that she is frequently confused, but it doesn’t keep us from experiencing enjoying life. We’re getting along “remarkably well.”

Sunday in Nashville

After leaving Ellen Saturday afternoon, we had dinner and then went to our hotel for the night. Normally, we drive back to Knoxville on the same day, but my longtime friend from, West Palm Beach, Gary Dinkins, and his wife, Jeanette, were in Nashville for Gary’s brother’s 80th birthday. We stayed over a night so that we could have lunch with them.

Kate was tired after the day’s activity and was in bed early. She also slept late. I’m not sure how long she might have slept had I not awakened her around 10:00. Like the previous day, she was a little sluggish getting up. I let her rest another thirty minutes before getting her up.

As with everyone we get together with, she had to ask me Gary and Jeanette’s names several times on the way to meet them. She had done the same thing with Ellen. In fact, after spending 90 minutes with her, she said with surprise, “That was Ellen.” as we walked away from her. I don’t know at what point she forgot who we were with. I know that she was aware at some points during our visit because of the things we talked about. There were references to Ellen’s father and children and several friends. Kate gave no sign of wonder as to who we were visiting.

The visit with Gary and Jeanette went very well. I always wonder how she will do in different social situations. I’m not sure why I wonder. She handled herself quite well. She connects very well with both of them. She was at ease from the beginning and was an active participant in our conversation. Gary and I go back a long way. We knew each other as far back as junior high school and were roommates at TCU our freshman year. We don’t lack for things to say. Kate picked up on that. Several times she had side conversations with Jeanette. I could tell she was talking about our “gift of gab.” That’s a kind way of saying we talk too much. Despite that, she truly enjoyed herself. It was obvious to me while we were together, and she specifically mentioned having had a good time as we walked to our car. That meant as much to me as my own personal pleasure.

We topped off the day with a nice phone call from our daughter Jesse. We always enjoy catching up with her and her boys. Our conversation was a particularly nice one. It’s great to say that we had another good day.