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

A Good Day But a Lot of Confusion

It’s hard to summarize in a heading what yesterday was like. Bare with me as I try to explain.

The day began differently than others over the past few weeks. She has been getting up rather easily when I woke her sometime between 10:30 and 11:00. There have been three or four days when I didn’t have to wake her at all. She waked up on her own at earlier times. In fact, it was earlier enough that we made it to Panera three or four times over the past week or ten days.

Yesterday was different. I was about to get up at 5:50 when she wanted to go to the bathroom. She didn’t display any of the confusion she has on some occasions, but she sounded relieved when she said, “I am glad you are here.” She repeated that a couple of times on the way back to bed. I quickly decided it was best if I got back in bed with her. It was the right thing to do. She was feeling insecure over not knowing who she was, who I was, or where she was. I stayed with her until 6:50. Then I got up to prepare for the day. She was still awake when I left the bedroom. I told her I would be in the kitchen. She was completely comfortable with that.

Before I ate breakfast, she started to get out of bed. I went to the bedroom and found that she wanted to get dressed. It was still early, and I asked if she would like to take a shower. She did. When she was finished, she went back to bed. The fact that she had gotten up and taken a shower so early led me to believe I would have no trouble getting her up for lunch. I was wrong.

We have not been to church in almost a year and had planned to take Kevin with us. To insure that we would be on time for the 11:15 service, I went in to wake her at 10:00. She didn’t want to get up. I decided not to push her. I went back around 10:20. She was firm in her intention to remain in bed. Kevin and I changed our plans for church. I made a noon reservation at Bonefish Grill. Finally, I went back to wake her at 11:00. She still didn’t want to get up, but she gave in with a little encouragement. She wasn’t happy about it, but her mood quickly changed when she saw Kevin as well as the flowers and pictures in the family room.

She surprised me at lunch when she expressed displeasure that I didn’t order a salad for her. I never order a salad for her because she doesn’t enjoy salads. She has never complained before. I offered to get her one or to share mine, but she didn’t want anything but two of my olives.

I wasn’t surprised that she wanted to rest when we got home, but, as usual, she got up rather easily when it was time for us to leave for a live performance of Hello Dolly at one of our local theaters. She did surprise me, however, during the intermission when she struck up a conversation with a man in the lobby. He was standing by the three of us and told us he had first been to this theater when he was a child. Kate asked him what he did. He told her he was a retired radiologist. Kate said, “What’s that?” He began to explain by giving her a tidbit of history including the early experiments of William Roentgen. Kate expressed interest and complimented him about the contributions that he (the man she was talking with, not Roentgen) had made. He tried to play down his own work, but she insisted she accept her compliment. I found it a most interesting conversation. Except for not knowing anything about radiology and x-rays, she seemed quite normal. She was a very active participant in a conversation with a total stranger.

After leaving the theater, we stopped by a pizza place that had been a favorite of our children’s when Kevin would have been as young as two or three. We finished the meal by sharing a piece of cheesecake. Kevin and I didn’t waste any time sampling it. Kate apparently didn’t notice it was sitting in front of us. I put some cheesecake on her fork and placed it on her plate. She still didn’t eat it or acknowledge that it was there. I pointed it out, but she couldn’t understand what I was trying to tell her. She put her plate aside and pulled the plate with the cheesecake toward her. I explained that I had already cut a piece for her. Again, I showed her the fork with the cheesecake on it. She was still confused. After several tries, she finally understood.

When we got home, she asked what she could do. I handed her the iPad and suggested she work on it. She said, “What’s this?” That was not an unusual response. She almost always takes interest in her iPad, but she often doesn’t know what it is. When I mention that she can work puzzles on it, she understands. That is what happened last night. On occasion, she is confused as to what she should do after the puzzle pieces are scattered. Last night was one of those times. I explained, and she went to work. She had a very difficult time. I don’t recall her every having more trouble before. In my effort to help, I may have exacerbated the situation. I was trying to be patient, but I realized the tone of my voice was stronger than usual as I pointed to specific pieces and then to places where they should go. That probably frustrated her even more. I decided it was best if she dropped the puzzles for the night.

Then she picked up a word puzzle book on the table beside her. I noticed that she was holding it upside down. She seemed confused. I turned it right side up. Then she put it aside and picked up the coloring book I had bought her months ago. She has never shown any interest, but I have kept it on the table beside her chair in the family room since then. Once in a while, she picks it up and looks at it. I picked out a crayon and gave it to her. She wasn’t sure what to do with it. I gave her what was an insufficient explanation. Then I decided it was better to demonstrate. I colored a small teardrop object on the page and gave her the crayon. From there she took over and colored for the next twenty minutes or so before it was time to get ready for bed. I was pleased that she was interested and hopeful that she may try it again. That could be a good replacement for the iPad as she loses her ability to work her puzzles. I was also discouraged when I watched her color. She didn’t appear to know what to do. What she colored looked like something that a young child might have done. The most important thing, however, was that she found something she liked.

There are two things I can say about yesterday. First, it was not a good day in terms of Kate’s Alzheimer’s. I don’t remember a day when she has been as confused for as long a period of time. Second, all-in-all it was an enjoyable day. She especially enjoyed the musical. The day was another good example of how mixed our days can be and that the Happy Moments still outweigh the sad ones.

Miscellaneous Interactions

Yesterday morning I helped Kate to the bathroom and back to bed. She was most appreciative. As I pulled the covers over her she thanked me and said, “I think I could marry you.” I said, “I love you.” She was excited and said, “You do?” I kissed her on her forehead and told her I would be in the kitchen if she needed me. She smiled and closed her eyes.

A number of times I have mentioned that she likes to pull strands of her hair when she rests or when she retires for the night. This can go on quite a long while. Recently, she has tried to make me a partner in efforts. At first, she just wanted me to watch what she was doing. She would explain it as I watched. Then she started asking me to pull her hair. I have tried to get out of it but given in on a couple of occasions. Last night she asked me to pull from the side and back of her head. Instead of doing it with my fingers, I used one of her hairbrushes. That worked fine.

When I finished, she went back to doing it herself. In a few minutes, she wanted me to look more closely at what she was doing. I got up from my chair and walked over to her. She said, “They were getting used to her and that they weren’t afraid anymore.” As she continued to talk, I couldn’t tell whether she was talking about bugs in her hair or the hair itself. I did learn that she has been trying to pull the strands of hair very slowly so as not to frighten them. I played along with her and didn’t act like I thought what she said was strange at all. This is not the first time I have observed her seeing or believing “things” were around or on her. She often sees confuses spots on a restaurant table or on pavement and talks about them as though they are alive.

A Very Good Day with our Son

Our son, Kevin, arrived Thursday morning from Texas. Weather wise, it was the best day we have had since last May. We took advantage of it by eating lunch outside on the patio of a sports bar a short distance from our house. It was a good start to his visit. Although Kate often has difficulty remembering that we have children, she responded to Kevin as though she knew exactly who he is. We had a relaxing conversation. The fact that it was just the three of us and that it wasn’t noisy added to the pleasure of the moment. There were times then and later in the day when she asked him his name as naturally as she asks mine.

She had a routine dental appointment at 2:00. Kevin went along with us. I thought it was good for him to be a part of the experience though he remained in the waiting room while she saw the hygienist and dentist. For the first time, I went in with her. I did so because of her experience on the previous visit six months ago. At that appointment, she was frightened when the hygienist cleaned her teeth, and they had to cut her visit short. This time I gave her a Xanax before going and went in the room with her. Everything went smoothly. I didn’t think that had anything to do with my being in the room with her, but the hygienist felt it was helpful and suggested we make this a habit in the future. Both the dentist and the hygienist commented that her teeth and gums were in excellent condition.

Once we were home, I picked up Kate’s “Big Sister” album and suggested that she show it to Kevin. They sat down on the sofa and started going through it while I went to the grocery to pick up a few things for Kevin’s breakfast. In just the few minutes before I left, I could see that they were having a good time.

When I returned, they were still enjoying going through the album. Kate continued to relate to Kevin very comfortably. He had a beautiful opportunity to see first hand the kinds of things I have noted in the blog. Since most of the pictures are of family, Kevin was able to tell her all or most of the names. I joined them in the room with the intention of just listening to their conversation. Kate asked me to sit with them, and I did. There were a few things I commented on, but I let the conversation between the two of them continue. At one point, Kevin pointed to a photo of Kate and me and himself. She asked his name. He told her, and she asked his last name. Then she said, “Who are your parents?” After two hours or longer, Kate said she was getting tired. It was also time for us to prepare to leave for dinner, but this conversation, like others she has had with her brother Ken, was a beautiful thing to watch. I love seeing her enjoy herself. That is especially true when she is engaged in conversation with someone with whom she is so comfortable.

We finished the day with a good evening at Casa Bella for Broadway Night. Kate enjoyed herself as usual although she was a little lost in the conversation. The other two couples were there ahead of us which left us with minimal choices about our seating arrangement. Kate and I sat across from each other. We could have sat side by side, but she would have been seated with her back to the singers. Everything worked out well until late in the program when I saw her looking around the room for me. She had forgotten where I was seated. I was able to catch her attention and reached across the table to take her hand. She was relieved and teary but recovered nicely. I doubt that anyone else noticed except the woman seated next to her.

Insecure, Confused, but Happy and Appreciative

It would be quite an understatement to say that Kate is changing more now than at any other time since her diagnosis. Day before yesterday was a good example. Just as I have been adapting to her getting up late, she has surprised me several times over the past week. That morning she was up at 7:30. That’s at least three hours earlier than when I usually begin to wake her. It was also a day when she seemed comfortable with her surroundings. She acted like she knew I was her husband but didn’t. She was very dependent. She wanted my directions on almost every step from getting out of bed to where to go when I got her dressed. She was eager to have a shower, something I was happy about. She often resists.

We made it to Panera before 9:00 where she worked happily on her iPad an hour. Then I noticed that she was not working her puzzles, just sitting and looking a little discouraged. It was obvious she was frustrated. When I looked at what she had done, she had completed all but two pieces and couldn’t figure out where they went. I showed her, but she couldn’t understand. I put them in place for her. I felt sure that she was tired from having gotten up so early. It was early for lunch, but I decided it would be better than going home where she might nap and then have a hard time getting up.

She was quiet on the way to the restaurant. As I was helping her out of the car, she said, “I want to thank you. I feel better.” I told her I didn’t think I had done anything special but that I want to do anything I can to help her. She looked at me very seriously and said, “You do. You have no idea how much.” I am still not entirely sure what she was thinking about. It might have been the way I responded to her when she was frustrated over her puzzle. It could also have been that she imagined something as we were driving to the restaurant. As we walked to the entrance, she stopped as she always does to look and comment on the flowers just outside the door. When our server greeted her and asked her how she was doing, Kate said, “I’m doing much better now.” That’s exactly how it seemed. She was fine the rest of the day.

Eating early allowed us to get back with plenty of time before the sitter. I felt sure she would immediately head to the sofa for a nap. Instead she started working a puzzle on her iPad and continued until just before the sitter arrived. Then she decided to rest on the sofa. That’s where she was when Mary came. She greeted Mary with enthusiasm. When I told her I was leaving for my platelet donation, she smiled and said goodbye. She didn’t look at all unhappy to see me go.

When I returned, she was seated on the sofa looking at a photo book. She said, “We need you.” I took note of the fact that she said “we” and not “I.” Then Mary told me that she had not napped and explained that Kate had wanted to go outside. She stooped down to look at something in the yard or near a shrub, lost her balance, and couldn’t get up. Mary helped her but said it was difficult. I know what she means. I find that it is getting a bit challenging to get her into a sitting position when she is lying on the bed.

From what Mary told me, Kate had been a little upset and confused, but she was calm when I got home. The only problem then was that she was hot from being outside. I got out a small floor fan and used it to cool her off. Fifteen minutes later, she was fine again and ready for dinner.

At dinner we encountered something that is becoming a regular part of our dining experience now. She has difficulty knowing where she should sit. I always walk to her chair and pull it out from the table. I use my hand to direct her to the seat and say something like, “Sit right here.” Almost without exception, she interprets that as my chair and goes to the chair across the table from me. Sometimes I accept the chair she has chosen. When I have a specific reason for choosing a different chair, I may simply take her hand and guide her to the chair I selected. This, and the fact that she is very careful as she takes her seat, means that it takes longer for us to be seated than most hostesses are prepared for. Most of them seemed to be trained to remain at the table until you are seated. Of course, since we are regulars at all the places we visit, the hostesses are well aware of Kate’s diagnosis and are very understanding.

During dinner, Kate talked a good bit about what I do for her and how much she appreciated that. I told her our son was coming for a visit the next day. During our conversation, we spoke very naturally about our marriage. She commented on how happy we had been and then said, “What’s your name?” I told her, and she asked her own name. I am still amazed at how casually she does this. It’s the kind of experience that is both happy and sad. I am happy that she doesn’t seem frustrated, but it is also sad that she can’t remember. It makes me think about all the things she must not know if she is forgetting her own name and mine. What is it like to look around and not know who or what anything is? The good thing is that she still responds intuitively to people and things around her and still likes so many things. She continues to get pleasure out of life. That is something that may be hard for people without dementia to understand.

Later that night when we were in bed, she mentioned how good she feels when she is in Texas. I could tell by the way she said it that she thought she was in Texas at that moment. I didn’t say anything to dissuade her. She was happy. That’s a good way to end the day.

Update on In-Home Care

It has been two years since I began in-home care for Kate. I spent about eight or nine months considering the move. Then I agonized over how to tell her. Because of her memory problem, I decided there was no reason to bring up the subject too far ahead of time. I told her a few minutes before the sitter arrived for her first visit. She asked why I was having someone stay with her. I told her I was feeling uneasy about leaving her alone and that I would feel better if someone were with her. She said, “Okay.” That was it. I was surprised at how well it went.

We started with sitters three afternoons a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) four hours each visit. We continue that same schedule two years later. Fortunately, we have kept the same sitter on Wednesday and Friday. We have had three different sitters on Monday. Each one has worked pretty well although I have a preference for the one who comes twice a week and have felt that way from the beginning.

Kate and I have both adjusted well to the sitters themselves as well as the schedule, but we have responded differently. At first, Kate seemed to do pretty well. She may have even enjoyed having the companionship. As she became increasingly dependent on me, she also became more insecure about my leaving her. She would act surprised (I’m sure she really was) when I told her I was leaving and would say something like “You’re leaving? Why don’t you stay with us.” That left me to explain why I needed to go. She always gave in, but she also looked disappointed. More recently, even though she is more dependent on me now, she has been very accepting of the sitter. She often expresses enthusiasm when they walk in. In the past 2-3 weeks, she has shown no sign of disappointment that I am leaving. Of course, that makes me happy. I just hope it continues.

I have adapted differently than Kate. From the outset, I hated to leave her. Over time, however, I have been more comfortable. That is especially true recently as Kate has responded more positively, but I still feel a little uneasy when I leave her. My own experience has made me think about my dad who never wanted to have someone stay with my mom. My brother and I tried to get him to accept help and succeeded in getting him to try it. He let her go after one or two visits.

Despite my feelings, I have continued because I felt it was the right thing to do. I believe it is important for me to keep up with some of my outside activities. My plan for Kate’s care has always included bringing in help as needed. I am actually surprised that I have not felt the need to increase the number of days we have a sitter. In many cases, caregivers don’t have paid help because of the expense. In our case, we have long-term care insurance that will pay up to eight hours a day seven days a week. The only reason I don’t take advantage of that is my desire to spend as much time with Kate as I can. I know that we are approaching a time when I may not be able to take her out with me as we have done before. I have a stronger desire to enjoy all the quality time we have left than to use the insurance just because we have it.

I think I am in a good position. My intent is to continue monitoring our needs and increase her in-home care as needed.

Early Morning Conversations

Day before yesterday, Kate was awake around 3:30. The same thing happened this morning shortly after 4:00. Both days we had the kind of conversation that I have reported on before. She went through the usual questions. “Where am I?” “What’s my name?” “Who are you?” She did not seem anxious at all. In fact, this morning our conversation began when I heard her laugh. I asked what was funny. She said, “The two of us are just lying here.” I’m not certain why that was funny. She didn’t say, and I didn’t ask. I find that asking “why” questions is always unproductive. She can never come up with an explanation though she sometimes says, “I don’t know.”

Both conversations were very repetitive. By that, I mean that she asked the same questions very closely together over and over though not in rapid-fire succession. They were very relaxed the way you expect for a conversation in the middle of the night. Here’s an example.

Kate:              “Where am I?”

Richard:        “You’re right here in our home. This is where we live.”

Kate:              “Oh, good. <pause> Where am I?”

Richard:        “This is our home. We live here. We’ve lived here for twenty-two years.”

Kate:              “Oh. <pause> Where am I?”

During the conversation, I also mentioned that we live in Knoxville and that we have lived here forty-eight years. Several times she also asked her name as well as mine, but her focus seemed to be on her immediate surroundings.

We talked about forty-five minutes night before last, not as long last night. Each conversation ended when she gradually stopped talking and went back to sleep.

The repetitiveness of her questions is an indication of just how short her short-term memory is at this stage. I have also noticed it in other situations. Sometimes her memory works as though it is controlled by a switch that turns off right after you tell her something. Other times it is like the switch is turned on and off again quickly. For example, yesterday we looked at a few family photos on our entertainment center. She pointed to one of her mother and said, “That’s my mother.” She looked at the next photo of her grandfather and asked who he was. I told her. Then she looked back at the picture of her mother and asked, “Who is she?” We had just seen the picture of her and her brother on the cover of her “Big Sister.” She recognized herself immediately. A few minutes later. we looked at the same picture on the entertainment center, and she didn’t recognize herself. Similarly, she will know my name one minute and not the next. It’s just another mystery of the way the brain works – or doesn’t.

An Update on Eating Out

As I have expressed in other posts, a variety of things have played a role in how well Kate and I have gotten along through six of the seven stages of Alzheimer’s. I believe that nothing has been more important than our eating out for lunch and dinner. That has kept us socially active without having to depend on our friends. Of course, some of our eating occasions are with friends, but we almost always dine alone. There are notable exceptions like our three music nights a month at Casa Bella when we sit with two to six others. In addition, we met a couple at these music nights with whom we eat on other occasions at least once a month.

Now that she is in the last stage of Alzheimer’s I see more signs that her symptoms could ultimately be a bit of a problem with other people. For quite a long time, she has been a “messy” eater. She is even messier now. She regularly drops food on the table, the floor around her, and, of course, her clothes. When her meal includes items that she doesn’t like, she often takes them out of her mouth and puts them on the table. If we are sitting close enough, I reach over and put them on my plate, in a paper napkin, or another appropriate place.

I have gotten rather accustomed to her frequent use of her hands rather than a fork which is especially common when she eats a sandwich. She almost always takes it apart and picks up the various pieces (cheese, tomato, or meat) with her hand. Depending on the amount of sauce or other condiments, that can be messy.

At lunch on Saturday, she did something she hasn’t done before. Our server brought us a piece of cheesecake. After she placed it on the table, I asked her a question. She started to answer when I noticed that she was looking at Kate. I looked at her and saw that she had picked up the whole piece, taken a bite out of it, and placed it back on the plate. This was not a problem for either the server or me although the server was surprised. She is aware of Kate’s diagnosis and is very understanding; however, it is only recently that she has had the opportunity to witness some of her symptoms. Things like this do make me think about what might lie ahead.

There are also times when I say or do something that bothers Kate, and she snaps back at me. The other day at a restaurant she placed her sweater over the back of her chair. It apparently didn’t feel right when she leaned against it. I asked if she would like me to put it on the back of an empty chair beside us. She looked like she didn’t quite understand me, and I reached over and took the sweater from her chair. I don’t remember what she said, but she quickly gave me a sharp response as the server approached our table. I apologized to Kate and put the sweater back. It turned out that she was then embarrassed to have spoken to me like that. She had tears in her eyes and said to the server, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I want you to know that I am not usually like that.” That is very true, and I suspect the server recognized that as well. She has served us many times in the past few years and never observed anything like that before.

I believe that all our servers and the people with whom we eat are also understanding, but I wonder if there is a limit to which I should go in putting Kate in situations where some might not feel the same way. For the moment, I am optimistic that we will be able to continue eating with others for quite a while; however, I am going to be watching very carefully to sense what is best in the future.

Last night at Casa Bella we encountered an entirely different kind of situation that was a lesson learned for me. Two months ago, we learned they were sponsoring a special Italian dinner that occurred last night. It sounded like the kind of event we would enjoy, but I was concerned about two things. First, all seating was to be outside in the street in front of the restaurant. Kate is very sensitive to heat, and September can still bring hot weather. Second, I wasn’t sure about the seating. Big crowds are confusing for Kate, and I didn’t want to be seated with a group of strangers that might add to her confusion. On the other hand, I wanted to support the owners whom we have come to know the past few years. I talked with them and learned that we would be seated with the same people with whom we normally sit. I decided to take a chance and attend.

As it turned out, I wish I hadn’t. It was 90 degrees when we arrived and didn’t drop a lot during the meal though it felt better after the sun went down. The gnats were there in abundance as well. The benefit of being seated with our regular couples was offset by the noise level. The tables were under a large tent to protect from the weather, but I think that contributed to the noise. It was very difficult to converse. Everyone was asking everyone else to repeat what the other person said. Kate remained quiet except to make noises associated with gnats that periodically flew in her eyes.

Given all of this, Kate took it quite well, but I could see I had made a mistake in deciding to come. I was glad we hadn’t shown up for the cocktail hour that preceded the dinner. We were the first ones to leave shortly after finishing our meal. I have been very careful to avoid situations like this in the past. I should have done that this time.

An Update on our Morning Conversation

About 8:45, I heard Kate say, “Hey” and noticed that she was about to get out of bed. As I walked to her bedside, she had the happiest smile that I have seen in quite a while. She moved over so that I could sit on the edge of the bed, and we engaged in another conversation that lasted almost thirty minutes before she wanted to get up. She was unusually alert and very cheerful. She must have been lying awake for quite some time before calling me.

I told her it was a beautiful morning and mentioned the pink flowers of the Mexican Heather in a flower bed near the pool. She seemed to like hearing about them but was too comfortable lying in bed to get up to look. Then she started a conversation about everything that “they” (I’m not sure who) had done with “all this.” I thought she was talking about the people who built our house, but she started talking about our ancestors (my word, not hers) and the difference in our world today because of the sacrifices they made. She picked up on a theme that has been rather frequent in the last year or two, the equality of women. Her emphasis was less on the role that men have played in keeping women “in their place” than simply recognizing the contributions of women in history and the present. Some of that involved farming and the lives of both men and women when most families were farmers. We talked about education and the fact that women outnumber men in college and are a majority in a number of professions previously dominated by men. We both agreed that we are happy to be living in this particular time period, a view that seems to be typical of many people in every generation.

After a while, I asked if she wanted to get up or stay in bed a little longer. She was ready to get up. We went to Panera arriving about 9:30. She had a muffin and worked on her puzzles. I checked email and started on this post. A few minutes ago, she looked up at me. She looked surprised to see me and said, “Who are you?” I said, “I am Richard. I am your husband. She didn’t say anything but went back to her puzzle. I said, “You don’t look too excited that I am your husband. Should I have said, ‘I am your very good friend, Richard?’” She gave me a smile and said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, that’s who I am.” She said, “Good” and then went back to her puzzle.

Our Conversation This Morning

At 6:30 this morning as I was finishing up in the bathroom, I heard Kate say, “Hey.” I went to her bedside and asked if there were something I could do for her.

Kate:              “I want to go to the bathroom.”

Richard:        “I can help you with that.”

Kate:              “Where is it?”

Richard:        “Let me help you up, and I’ll show you.”

When she stood up, I took her hand.

Kate:              “Boy, am I glad you’re here.”

Richard:        “I’m glad to be here with you.”

As we reached the bathroom, she wanted to shed her overnight underwear.

Kate:              “This is no fun. I know it’s not for you either.”

When she finished, she went to the sink to wash her hands and brush her teeth. Then the conversation continued.

Kate:              “Richard, I’m so glad you are here. You take such good care of me.” (We embraced) “I wouldn’t know what to do without you.”

Richard:        “And I don’t know what I would do without you.”

Kate:              “What’s your name?”

Richard:        “Richard, and I’m your husband.”

Kate:              “Oh. What do I do now?”

Richard:        “It’s still early. You can go back to sleep if you want.”

She did, and we walked hand in hand back to bed.

Kate:              “Thank you. You know I can’t live without you.”

Richard:        “I love you and will always take care of you.”

Kate:              “You already are.”

During our entire conversation, she never displayed any sign of anxiety or panic. She was, however, feeling insecure and grateful for my help. The way she acted it sounded like a rather clear understanding that she has a serious problem and views me as someone she can trust to care for her. We talk about our love for each other all the time, but in this moment it seemed that each of us fully recognized our situation for what it is.