Getting Lost and Frustration

Life has been a little hectic lately; so I sometimes find it hard to jot a few notes at the time I want to. Here are a couple of things from the past few days.

Last Wednesday Kate had a routine appointment with Dr. Reasoner. I had asked her if she wanted me to go with her. She said she was fine. What she didn’t consider was getting lost. I told her how to get there, and also told her to use her GPS. We had eaten lunch across the street from my office, and I walked back to the office while she went to the doctor. A short time later she called saying she was lost. I asked where she was, and she was able to tell me she was “by” the University of Tennessee Medical Center; so I knew she was close. However, as I pressed, she couldn’t tell me more precisely where she was. I got out my iPhone and opened the GPS. Between her telling me about street signs and my looking at the map, I saw where she was and guided her step by step to the building.

The next day she was going to Dad’s condo to dry clothes since our clothes dryer is not working. Although she has been there many times, she got lost and had to use the GPS to get there. She was headed there going north and went past the turn and found herself a few blocks away where she turned right. It was a few blocks later that she realized she was lost and needed to use the GPS.

On Saturday when she had forgotten or lost something, she said, “”At least now that I know that I have Alzheimer’s, I have an excuse.” She is having many experiences where she can’t recall where she has put things, where she is supposed to go, what time she is going someplace, or that she is going someplace at all. I am trying to remind her of some things. I do best at reminding about social engagements. I am not doing well in making sure she remembers to take her purse with her from a restaurant, etc.

Yesterday I met with the communications committee of the United Way. I sat next to a former client and learned that his wife has dementia. I asked how long they had known. He said a couple of years. Then he said it had been less than that. I asked if she was aware. He said that the doctor had told her when he gave her the the MRI diagnosis but that she does not seem to know or pay much attention now. He indicated she is happy and that they are getting along all right. The conversation, however, was sobering for me in that it added fuel to my existing fears that in 1-2 years we’ll be further along on this journey than we had hoped.

One final thought. A few minutes ago Kate and I were making plans for the day when she said, “Just tell me what to do.” This is something she says frequently, and I am trying to learn not to throw too much at her. My interpretation is that she is facing so much frustration over losing things and not remembering things that it is too frustrating for her to attempt to rationally work out a plan for almost anything.

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