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 January 1, 2019, I had published 1318 journal entries 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

What Can the Horse Whisperer and Mr. Rogers Tell Us About Caregiving?

In 2011, Robert Redford produced and directed the film The Horse Whisperer. It was based on a real story about Burt Brannaman whose unconventional approach to breaking horses captured the attention of many people like me who know little or nothing about them. My crude interpretation of his method is that he establishes a relationship of trust with horses. He does this gradually in small steps by connecting with them in a non-threatening way. The result is that he achieves success without forcing them into submission but gaining their trust. He thinks this is a gentler and better way to achieve the same end.

In the past year, Mr. Rogers has also been the subject of two films. Each in different ways captures Rogers’ approach to relating to children (as well as adults if we take It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood literally). It strikes me that his approach with children was very similar to that of Brannaman’s with horses. In both cases, the men are keenly sensitive to the little things that can frighten or comfort horses or children. That includes what one says, how it is said, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.

As I think about it, both Brannaman and Mr. Rogers have something to tell us about caregiving. As people with dementia decline, the world around them must seem strange. I know that Kate is quite insecure and looks to me for security. Even situations that have been routine for years can be a bit frightening. Yesterday, I took Kate to a hair appointment. Recently she has had trouble getting into the chair for her shampoo and expressed her feelings in a loud audible way. I helped her into the chair the last two appointments. That has worked well. This time she wanted me to stay with her and to hold my hand. During the past year, I dropped her bi-weekly massages and her pedicures because she was frightened by them.

I say this to suggest that Kate’s failure to understand the situations she faces is similar to the way horses and children react when they are confronted by something new. I have learned the hard way that I need to interact with Kate the way Brannaman relates to horses and Roger interacted with children. That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes. I did yesterday and was fortunate to make a comeback when I returned to a more sensitive approach.

Yesterday she wanted to be more independent, and I have grown accustomed to doing more things for her. That didn’t mix well. She seemed especially slow in getting ready for the day. She spent almost twenty-five minutes brushing her teeth and washing her arms and face. The washing of her arms and face is normal, but she took longer to do it this time. Several times when she was brushing her teeth and showering, she told me to stop helping her and said, “I am not stupid.” I apologized and backed off. It wasn’t just that I changed what I said. I also changed the tone of my voice and facial expressions. She is very good at reading those. I remained with her but didn’t offer any suggestions. I did help dry her. She appreciated that.

As she often does, she wanted to rest a little. I left her in bed for about thirty minutes before returning to see if she wanted to get up. I was careful not to suggest that she should get up or that I was pushing her. Fortunately, she said she was ready for her clothes. I only helped her when she wanted help.

After she was dressed, she wanted to lie down again. I told her that would be fine. I put on the album from the musical Annie and went to the kitchen. I returned fifteen minutes later to see if she was ready for lunch. She was in a good humor and ready to get up. From that point on everything went smoothly. One would never have guessed that she had been upset with me at all. It took almost two hours from the time I went in to get her up until we left, but it paid off. Rushing her only makes things worse. I know that well but didn’t approach her that way from the beginning.

It was clear from the time she got up that she was moving slowly. I believe if I had begun with a gentler approach, we wouldn’t have had a problem at all. I was impatient at her slowness and the fact that she spent so much time washing her face and arms when she was about to get in the shower. That didn’t make sense to me, but that was not what mattered. It probably made sense to her because she couldn’t remember that she was going to take a shower. At any rate, I have learned that it pays to be in sync with her mood and desires and move from there. I think Brannaman and Mr. Rogers would agree.

A Visit with Friends

In my previous post, I commented on what I might call my “Care Team” (professionals, friends, family) and my “Arsenal” (my personal resources I can use as needed). I didn’t specifically mention our visits with out-of-town friends. We have a number of them in the Nashville area whom we have known since our undergraduate and graduate school days. It’s not a great distance from Knoxville, and we have gotten together periodically for years. We have continued to do so since Kate’s diagnosis.

Angie and Tom Robinson are among that group and were in town this past Saturday. We joined them for lunch and afterwards at our home. Prior to each visit, I always wonder how Kate will respond. In the past, everything has gone well. Over time they have been able to pick up on some of Kate’s changes, but not nearly to the degree they did this time. Of course, they were not with us long enough to get the full picture, but they saw far more than in the past. I think they would say that for the first time they could really see her as a person with Alzheimer’s.

The annual Christmas parade had just ended, and a weekly market on Main Street was still underway. That meant we couldn’t park as close to the restaurant as I had wanted. As we walked from the car to restaurant, Kate was bothered by the cold and wind. When something bothers her, she wants it eliminated immediately. The walk didn’t allow for that. She complained about the weather in a way that expressed more irritation than she would have done before Alzheimer’s.

They got to see some of her confusion with respect to ordering and remembering what I had ordered for her. The good news is that she was perfectly at ease with both Angie and Tom. In an email, Angie told me that Kate had asked her to “help me not to do anything stupid.” That is something she often says to me. Angie also said that Kate put her hand on hers several times. In addition, they got to see her confusion regarding her drinks. Kate asked her several times if she could drink her tea and water.

When we finished our meal, I went back to the car and found a parking place in front of the restaurant. While I was gone, Angie said they had a good conversation with Kate “and her responses were pretty good.” It was another good illustration of her ability to respond to people she has known in the past although their names and the things we have done together are long forgotten. As long as she is able to do that, I am optimistic our visits will continue for a good while.

It Takes an Arsenal

We have all heard that it takes a village to raise a child. I’ve also heard a variation of that for caregivers of people with dementia: “It takes a Team.” This idea grows out of the recognition that caregivers need to rely on others for help. One part of the team would be those who are professionals like one’s primary care doctor, other specialists, as well as paid caregivers like care managers and personnel at the variety of care facilities that are cropping up in many communities. Another part would include family and close friends.

I agree that we caregivers need a team. I have that in our medical and dental professionals as well as a host of others who would never imagine they are on the team. I am thinking especially of those who work at the restaurants that serve us. I have made sure that they know of Kate’s diagnosis, and they have been very supportive. In addition, we often run into friends wherever we go. They never realize the importance of these brief encounters in lifting our spirits. I should also mention the people who are strangers like those who have helped when Kate goes to the restrooms in public places. I had one of such experience this past Sunday at a movie theater. I don’t know anything about the young woman, but she made me feel more comfortable. When Kate walked out of the restroom, she was holding the woman’s hand just as I might have done.

Beyond these things, I have also found that it pays to have an arsenal (a bag of tricks) that I can depend on when I face the various challenges that arise in caring for Kate. I have relied heavily on music and social engagement. That has worked well. We have binged on music and eating out. Over the past year and a half, I have increasingly used Kate’s family photo books, especially her “Big Sister” album that her brother Ken made for her. Life changes, however, and it’s good to have other alternatives. At the moment, my reading to Kate is becoming another significant way to provide her with pleasure.

Kate’s self-initiated activities have declined drastically. For a long time she spent most of her time on her computer and working in the yard. When the computer dropped out of the picture, it was replaced with an iPad on which she worked jigsaw puzzles. Then the yard work disappeared. That left her with only one such activity. We are almost at the end of using the iPad, but two weeks ago I started reading to her. Despite the fact that it takes more of my time, it has been rewarding for both of us. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading to her and seeing her response. It is a welcome addition to my arsenal and could become more important in the future.

Thus far we have read The Giving Tree, The Velveteen Rabbit, Charlotte’s Web, a quarter of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Woman, and two chapter’s of Erma Bombeck’s Family: The Ties That Bind . . . and Gag. The nice thing is that we can re-read books though I plan to keep my eyes open for new ones.

Reading is relaxing for Kate. It also has an impact on her mood. Though she doesn’t understand everything, she picks up enough to make it a pleasant experience. Last night she started to work on her iPad but soon became frustrated and wanted to go to bed. I believe she was discouraged and looked at going to bed as an escape. Once she got in bed, I asked if she would like for me to read something. She did, and I picked up The Velveteen Rabbit. We had read it several other times during the week, but he enjoys it just as much each time. I enjoy seeing her response as I read. She makes frequent comments that let me know she is listening and, at least, understands what I read in the preceding sentence if not more than that.

Last night’s experience was particularly meaningful to me. It was very much like reading a bedtime story to a child. When I finished, I told Kate I had enjoyed it and thought I would look for some other books like it. She liked the idea. Her frustration was gone. My arsenal is growing.

Success With A Movie

Until the past three years, movies played an important part in our lives. That increased after Kate’s diagnosis. Movies weren’t just an amusement. I looked at them as a significant part of our therapy. For at least the past five or six years, she hasn’t been able to follow a plot. As a result, she didn’t understand what she was watching. She could, however, enjoy movies that connected with her intuitive abilities. She responded well to characters she liked or to situations she could appreciate.

As her disease progressed, she experienced greater difficulty getting any pleasure from movies. Despite this change, she enjoyed a number of movies during the past year and a half, RBG, Darkest Hour, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, and Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice. The Ronstadt documentary was the last of our successes. I hadn’t tried any new movies since Ronstadt’s until yesterday.

The new Tom Hanks film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, has received a good bit of publicity. When I first heard about it, I thought it might be worth trying. The fact that she had enjoyed the documentary made me think this one might work. On the other hand, I had also learned that this was quite different from the documentary. That made me wonder if she would like it. Ultimately, I thought it was worth the risk.

As it turned out, I had nothing to fear. Although it has an underlying plot, I believe the success of the film rests largely on communicating its message in a way that Kate could appreciate. In fact, I suspect that most people who like the movie like it for the same reasons that Kate and I did.

The characters’ spoken words played a part in communicating the film’s message, but the tone of their voices, facial expressions, and body language are at least equally important. Hanks mastered the slow way that Rogers expressed his thoughts to children. In this movie, he speaks the same way to adults. In addition, the film was at a pace that Kate could grasp. I believe all of these things were important in making this movie a success for Kate and to me as well.

In other words, this was a successful film experience for Kate because it communicated to her through her intuitive abilities. I’ll continue to keep my eyes open for others that may do the same. That can be difficult. All movies attempt to capitalize on people’s emotions. I also need to keep in mind the kind of emotions a film elicits. There are many that Kate would not like, but It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was a clear success.

Early Morning Confusion

I woke up at 5:20. Kate was also awake. I asked if she were all right. She said, “I don’t know.” She was having one of her mild anxiety attacks. I say “mild,” because she wasn’t very emotional. She was concerned about where she was. She didn’t recognize anything and wanted to go home. We talked for about ten minutes. When she didn’t respond to my telling she was at home, I told her it was still early in the morning, and I would take her home later. She couldn’t remember that. I repeated it several times.

Then I thought I might divert her attention by taking her to the bathroom. She didn’t recognize me as her husband but was very willing to let me help her. When we got back to bed, it was 6:00. She didn’t want me to leave her. I got in bed with her. I decided to play a little soft music that I know she likes. The music did what I had hoped. She started to relax and held my hand. We didn’t talk at all. At some point, she went to sleep. An hour later, I got up and went back to the kitchen.

At 8:45, I saw that she was getting up and went to her. She still didn’t know where she was, but she was smiling when I entered the bedroom. She was ready to get up. I took her to the bathroom where she used the toilet and brushed her teeth. When she had finished, I told her it was time for her shower. She got in without complaining. I turned on the shower wand and handed it to her. Then I put soap in the other hand and guided her in using it and then rinsing off. It went well.

When she finished, I helped her dry herself and used the hair blower to dry her hair. She was quite relaxed. Then she wanted to get back in bed. That’s where she is now. Unless she wants to get up earlier, I’m going to let her stay there until time for us to get ready for lunch. It’s another morning when I don’t expect to walk. I think that is four or five times in the last seven.

Another Unusual Incident

Kate and I went to opera night at Casa Bella this  past Thursday night. I approach each of these evenings with both anticipation and a small measure of concern. These nights (6:00 to 8:30) have played a significant role in our therapy for almost six years. There have only been a couple of nights when Kate didn’t enjoy herself as much as usual. Those have been within the past few months and have related to changes in our seating arrangement and sometimes being part of a larger group. Now I sit beside her. That allows me to help her more easily, especially in whispering to her when she has questions.

If I had thought much about it, I would not have been concerned at all. After all, it is the Christmas season. That meant we had a generous supply of music for the season including a “sing-a-long” with “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The crowd was caught up in the spirit of the season, and so we were.

We engaged in a little more conversation after the program ended. The result was our getting home a little later than usual. I was eager to help Kate prepare for bed and to take my shower. That shouldn’t have been a problem, but I didn’t anticipate what was about to occur.

I got Kate to the bathroom to brush her teeth, and she got caught up in the process. She always works hard to clean between her teeth even though I haven’t been unable to find anything. (I sympathize with her since I have a space between two of my teeth that seem to have nothing between but bothers me nonetheless. My dental hygienist believes it is where a crown meets the real tooth.) She took more time than usual, at least twenty minutes. She wanted me to watch what she was doing in case she wasn’t doing it the right way. This involved my watching her go from tooth to tooth using her fingernail like dental floss.

When she finished, she washed her face and arms. That wasn’t unusual except that wanted me to watch carefully. She wanted me to know exactly what she was doing. She put great emphasis on the upper portion of her forehead where her hair begins. During this process, she continually pointed her fingers toward me so that I could see what she was getting out. She sometimes refers to “them” as “thingies.” I’ve never been able to see anything but acknowledge that I have seen them.

When she got to the bed, it was time to work on the toes. She runs her fingers up and down between each toe and can repeat this process several times. That night was one of those times. Then she wanted me to do it. I complied. When she got in bed, she began to pull her hair. Several times I started to step away from the bed. Each time, she called me back saying, “I want you to see this.” This incident was not unique except for the duration. I finally got to shower almost an hour and a half after getting home. She seems to be getting more obsessed about pulling her hair, picking her teeth with her fingernail, and cleaning between her toes. I wonder how far this can go.

Late Night and Early Morning Activity

Kate continues to exhibit a variety of unusual behaviors. One involves her sleep. Yesterday, for the third or fourth time in a row, she was awake rather early. That has altered my routine of taking a morning walk and listening to audiobooks. In fact, it started Wednesday night when she awoke at 11:40 and wanted to go to the bathroom. That is a rare event at this time of the night. After using the toilet, she wanted to brush her teeth. Then she decided to wash her face. Those two frequently go together. In the process, she used one hand towel and four washcloths that I took to the laundry room for washing yesterday. It was 12:30 before I got her back to bed.

She was awake again at 5:10 and wanted to know what she should do. I told her it was early and she should go try to sleep a little longer. She asked about “the others.” I told her there was no one else here but the two of us. She asked where we were. I told her we were in our house in Knoxville. We circled through this same conversation three or four times. Then I gave her a 5 mg melatonin. Not long after that, she was asleep.

I got up at 5:50. Just as I was finishing breakfast, she started to get up. I went to her. She was ready to get up for the day. After using to the toilet and brushing her teeth, she started giving herself a sponge bath. I suggested she take a shower. She really didn’t know what to do and made no attempt to resist.

I have been getting her to use the shower wand recently, but getting started is always confusing for her. I ended up getting in the shower with her, fully clothed. (When we redid the bathroom two years ago, we enlarged the shower to easily accommodate a wheel chair. That gives me enough room to help her without getting too wet.) After I thought she had things under control, I started to step out. She wanted me to stay in order to make sure she was doing things the right way. Then she agreed to let me stand outside the shower in case she needed my help.

After the shower, we went through our drying ritual. We worked together to get much of the water off before she steped out of the shower. Then we adjourned to bedroom where I placed another towel over the chair on my side of the bed. She sits on it while I dry her feet and the lower part of her legs. I finish with the hair dryer. She likes this process, and I often joke by saying something like, “We’re glad to have you at Richard’s Spa today.” She is usually very relaxed after I finish and wants to lie down a little while. This was one of those times.

I let her rest for at least an hour and a half. Then I got her up to go with me to a doctor’s appointment. She was sleeping soundly, but I was able to get her up without too much difficulty. She was in a good mood though not excited about going with me to see my doctor.

Knowing that we would eat lunch later than usual, I was concerned that she would get hungry. I put a breakfast bar in the pocket of my sweater before leaving the house, but she never said a word about being hungry. It was 1:45 before we arrived at the restaurant. The place was almost empty when we arrived. As a result, we had more time for socializing with the manager on duty as well as a couple of our regular servers. Kate and I both enjoyed the meal and our conversation.

Kate wanted to rest as soon as we got home and did so for about an hour. Then we spent another forty-five minutes with Charlotte’s Web. She was still a little tired. Several times I asked if she would like me to stop reading, but she wanted me to go on. Finally, I stopped when it was time to get ready for opera night at Casa Bella. Everything was going well.

Change and Adaptation

Like most people, I tend to look for explanations for why “things happen.” I think that is part of our natural curiosity. In addition, I have spent a career looking for reasons that people do what they do, why they change, and what they might do in the future. Since Kate’s diagnosis, I have tried to understand everything that is happening as well how to prevent and solve problems. The most important thing I have learned is how difficult it is to know what is coming next and why.

I’m thinking about this while at Panera. It’s 8:37, and we’ve been here about thirty minutes. This is about the third time we have been here in the last few days. In some ways, this doesn’t seem unusual to those who have read my earlier blog posts or those with whom I have talked about our almost daily visits here. Those regular visits declined over a year ago. I related that to changes in her sleeping. In turn, I attributed her sleeping later to the progression of her Alzheimer’s. For months our visits have been infrequent. What has made her get up earlier recently? Is this something that will continue for a while, or are these a few isolated events?

The answer to these questions is “I don’t know,” and that is the answer I have given for most of the changes that have occurred during the past nine years. What I do know is that Kate’s changes mean that I have to change as well. My natural tendency, however, is to continue doing what I have done before. I admit to being a creature of habit. The only thing that saves me is my desire to provide Kate with the best care possible. If that means I need to make a change, I do it. I don’t mean that making a change is necessarily easy. Each one comes with a measure of psychological discomfort. I like routine and predictability.

Early on, I thought that a writer like Neil Simon could have a field day writing about a couple like us, one with Alzheimer’s, the other with OCD. It really could be comical. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that even if a caregiver were not driven by a desire for order and routine, he or she would ultimately find it challenging to deal with the unpredictable changes that take place with this disease. I feel for those who can’t. I have read many posts on Facebook and Twitter and online forums in which caregivers rant and rave over the behavior of their loved ones. I know it can be very hard. My own situation is much easier because the relationship that Kate and I have now is a pretty good extension of what it was before. The major change would be her dependence on me, but she is generally cooperative and loving.

This morning was a good example. I keep a close eye on the video cam so that I can get to her quickly if she calls me or is getting up. I don’t, however, keep my eyes on it every moment. Today, I went outside to check the water level on our pool that has a leak. When I got back inside, Kate walked into the family room. She was looking for me.

It turned out that she had waked up and was ready to get dressed for the day. Of course, she didn’t know where to go or what to do. She was glad to see me, but she hadn’t panicked and was in a good humor. I apologized for not being there as she got up. It hadn’t bothered her. She just wanted her clothes. I told her I could help her. Then I took her to the bathroom to get the process started. When she started to brush her teeth, she asked, “I sure am glad you are here. <pause> Who are you?” When I gave her my name, she wanted to know “Who are you to me?” I told her I was her husband. She was surprised. I said, “Would you rather think of me as a friend?” She said no. During the next twenty minutes, we repeated this exchange several times. She was always surprised, but comfortable, with my answer. When I helped her dress, she said, “You know, you’re a pretty nice guy. I think I could like you.” I think that captures well what her attitude is like.

Now what does this have to do with change and adaptation? I’m about to tell you. This is the third day in a row that Kate has gotten up early. Each time it has been before or during my morning walk. I like that walk. It is not simply a time for a little exercise. I also listen to books. For me it’s a nice way to start the day before my responsibilities with Kate begin. After my walk, I work on my blog. When Kate is up early, it leaves me to find another time to write.

My point is that I like routine, and changes like her getting up much earlier change that routine. I’d rather not change. On the other hand, she was so nice this morning that I want to take advantage of the time we have to enjoy ourselves. That is a higher priority for me, especially at this stage. I may be having a harder time getting other things done, but it is a pleasure to have time like this.

An hour has passed since I started this post. We are still at Panera, and Kate is still working her puzzles. That’s an unusually long period of time without her getting frustrated. I have been helping her throughout, but she is doing better than she has done in a while.

BREAK

Whoops, it is now 10:45. As I was in the middle of the previous sentence, Kate hit a roadblock with her puzzles. We came home where I will now close and upload this post.

Despite her having trouble and wanting to stop, she was still in a good humor and wanted to help me gather our things together to go home. Once here, she hit her recliner where she is resting. That’s a good thing because I have a noon lunch meeting at United Way. That’s an hour earlier than the sitter comes. I arranged for a church friend from to take Kate to lunch and get her back home for the sitter at 1:00. I have done that once before, and it worked well. This is a person who used to be on the staff at church when Kate was the church librarian. They ate lunch together frequently and have always had a good relationship though we don’t see her often these days.

While Kate has rested, I took care of a number of household chores. Those never end, and I am always behind. It’s been a nice morning. I am glad she got up early even if it meant no walk that I didn’t finish this post until now. Until next time, have a nice day.

A Strange Experience Last Night

As I reported in a previous post, Kate and I had a great time yesterday morning. Reading and taking a tour around the house was fun for both of us. When the sitter arrived, Kate acted glad to see her. Although she did want me to go with them to lunch, she didn’t show any uneasiness at my leaving for Rotary.

When I arrived home, I expected to see her resting on the sofa. Instead she was seated on the sofa across from the sitter who told me that Kate had been very talkative while I was gone. I don’t know how long they talked, but I got the impression it was a long time. I didn’t ask what they talked about. Last night I got a taste of this myself.

I got Kate ready for bed before I took my shower. Just after I got out, Kate opened the door to the bathroom. I was surprised that she was up and asked if she needed to use the bathroom. She said she was looking for the girls. I had no idea what she was talking about. I do know that once in a while she believes we either have company in the house or that someone is coming to visit us. I told her we were the only people in the house.

Then she began a conversation that last more than forty-five minutes, fifteen in the bathroom and another thirty in the bedroom where she asked me to sit in a chair while she took a seat on the bed a couple of feet away. She stumbled over her words so much that I couldn’t everything she said. I was able to make some sense of what she was communicating but not what motivated her to do so.

She thought she was in Texas and a member of a group that apparently had been all women but now included men. She talked about being on a committee that was charged with identifying women who might become new members of this “group” (club?). I gathered that the group might be a “leadership” organization of some type because she talked a lot about the quality of the women who had recently joined and the prospects who were being considered.

As she talked, she asked me if I knew “Richard.” I told her I did. She said, “He’s a nice guy. You would like him.” She went on further to talk about him. She said, “You might say ‘He’s my . . . She paused as she looked for the right words. I was eager to see if she would say “husband.” She said, “guy.” Then she added, “He might even be the one I marry.” She continued talking about her club and mentioned “Richard” several other times but couldn’t recall the name and didn’t for the remainder of the conversation.

She only stopped her conversation because I mentioned that I was going to get ready for bed. I got her in bed and told her I would be in bed beside her. As I said this, I wondered how she would react to that since she obviously didn’t recognize me as Richard. Would she think it strange that we would now go to bed together? Not at all. We got into bed as we always do except that we didn’t snuggle. I was afraid that would seem too abrupt for her. We slept well without any further conversation except that we had had another good day. Now I wonder what she talked about with Sandy. Was it the same kind of conversation? If so, that must have seemed especially strange to her. It seemed that way to me.

Morning Crisis

Yesterday, like a number of days recently, Kate was up at 7:30. That meant I didn’t get my normal walk, nor did I have time to upload a new post. This morning I was up at 5:20. I thought this would be a good opportunity to write a post about an experience we had last night. My plans changed quickly. I was about to walk out of the bedroom when I noticed that Kate was awake. I walked over to the bed to let her know I was going to the kitchen to fix my breakfast. When I reached the bed beside her, I recognized the look on her face. I said, “Are you afraid?” She nodded. I told her I could help her and that she was going to be all right? Then I said, “Would you like me to stay with you?” She said, “Oh, yes.”

She wanted to go to the bathroom. As I helped her up, she said, “You’re very nice to me. You’re the only one I can talk to.” I wasn’t sure if she knew who I was and said, “My name is Richard.” She said, “I know that. <pause> What’s your name?”

After using the toilet, she wanted to brush her teeth. I asked if she were still afraid. She said she was. I asked what she was afraid of. She said, “I don’t know. I don’t know what to do?” She talked a couple of minutes about that and said things like “I don’t know what’s going to happen to all of us.” “I just want to get out of here. I don’t really mean that, but . . .” (She didn’t finish.) “Thank you for helping me. You’re the only one I can talk to.”

I assured her that I could help her, that she could depend on me. I said, “Right now, I think you need to get back in bed and rest. We’re going to have a very nice day.” I started to leave for the kitchen for my computer, and she said, “Please stay with me.” I told her I was just getting my things from the kitchen and would be right back.

As you might expect, I turned on some soft soothing music and sat in the chair beside the bed. It wasn’t long before she was asleep.” I began to think about leaving to fix my breakfast, when she awoke and saw me. She had a smile on her face and said, “You’re here. How nice.” She seemed like herself, but now I feel I should stay a while longer. At least for now, the crisis is over.