Kate Is Discouraged

Last Thursday was a painful day. I could tell Kate was discouraged. That evening we looked at a photo album of her parents. We both enjoyed reminiscing. When we got in bed, she said, “This is the best I have felt all day.”

Friday night at the theater, she asked for cough drops. I gave her 2 and asked where she was going to put them. At intermission she couldn’t find them. She finally found them in her purse. She said, “Welcome to my day.”

We arrived in Houston last night  to spend Thanksgiving with our son and his family. She had forgotten her toothbrush. I got one from front desk this morning. The next morning she found the one she had. She said, “Honestly, Richard.”

I hear people say when talking about someone with dementia, “At least she doesn’t know.” I am sure that is true in the latter stages of the illness, but I know that many people with dementia do know that something is wrong.

Everyday Issues

This past weekend Kate expressed more than usual frustration, some of which was directed at me. Our TV service had been out since the previous weekend, and she had wanted me to call AT&T to get it fixed. When it first went out, she said she was going to call AT&T. Later she indicated that she thought it would be better for me to do since she would not know what to say to them. As I am sometimes prone to do, I forgot about it during the day. It wasn’t that I was too busy to work it into my schedule although I did have a busy week. We spoke on the phone late Friday as I was leaving Dad’s for home. She told me she really wanted to get the TV working again. I could tell she was put out with me and asked if she were peeved. She said, “Well, yes.”

When I got home, I proceeded to contact them and after about an hour and a half, we got to the point at which they said they would have to send a technician to our house. Kate was pleased, and we ended up going to Casa Bella for dinner. During our dinner she said she was feeling better and indicated that she guessed she was feeling a little neglected. We didn’t go into a discussion, but I know we have periodic talks about how much time I spend with Dad.

The next morning she was on the phone with one of her PEO sisters. They were discussing the financial statement of a scholarship candidate. Before making the call, Kate went over the statement with me and made notes so that she would be sure of what she was going to say when she was on the phone. She is increasingly unsure of herself, especially when it involves things that are not in her skills area. Numbers are clearly one of those.

When she was on the phone, I was right next to her but working on the computer. She got very nervous and told me not to leave her. Everything worked out, but these kinds of things are added stress to her life.

Yesterday I got out my backup drive to back up my computer. I keep it in a box that has 2 corrugated pieces that hold it firmly in place within its box. When I went to put up the drive, I couldn’t find the 2 pieces of corrugated paper and asked her about them. At first she didn’t know what I was talking about. When I explained a little more, she thought she recalled that she had done something with them but couldn’t remember what. She looked in a number of places and finally found them for me. It was not a big deal, but this represented another instance in which her memory failed her. When she gave them to me, she said, “I’m just getting worse.” I tried to comfort her, but I can tell this doesn’t help. I think it is because she knows I also see it.

Little Things

Just got a call from Kate. We had talked about 20 minutes ago about meeting at noon at Applebee’s for lunch. She was calling to ask if I had said 12:30. Again, this is an example of a mistake that anyone could make.

The Party’s Over and All is Well

We had Dad’s 98th birthday party this past Saturday and everything went well.  We had  over 50 people at our house. It was a beautiful day, so we were able to seat most everyone on the patio and the back yard. I decided it would be better to have the party catered, and Kate agreed. We had BBQ with baked beans, macaroni and cheese, and banana pudding. I had tried hard to minimize the things that Kate had to do, but events of this nature necessitate everyone’s being involved. She came through quite well. It was only before the party itself that she got a little flustered. I think that did not involve the stress of events but rather one of our guests. Most of the family was there early to help with the final preparations.  I had gone to pick up our dinner for Saturday night. When I returned, she said, “Don’t you ever leave me like that again.” After probing a little bit, it appears that it was simply the stress of dealing with other people.  I am sure that others were trying to offer help when she didn’t want it. She works more slowly these days. I suspect that is because she has to concentrate so much on what she is doing. She is sensitive about receiving help when she thinks she is doing fine.

One example of her AD is that I had gotten a small birthday cake for Dad that I told her I would use at the birthday party on Saturday. She got confused and planned to do it on Friday night when we had a small gathering of the family. It’s a simple mistake that anyone can make, but in this case, it is another of many examples I now attribute to her AD.

One other general example is that she frequently doesn’t see things that are right in front of her nose. She frequently asks me to help her find things. I usually find them where she has already looked. Once again, this is the kind of thing that can and does happen to everyone. In Kate’s case, they happen so often that it has got to be a symptom of AD.