One year ago today, we met with Dr. Reasoner to receive the news that Kate’s results showed she has AD. During that year I have noted apparent declines in her memory, sometimes not quite sure whether the changes were real or not because they can be so subtle and similar to what we all do. At this point, there is no doubt that she has declined in a perceptible way.
A week ago last night we got back from our trip to Africa (Tanzania) with OAT. It was a great trip that we both enjoyed far more than anticipated. On the other hand, I felt as though I had to be watching and helping her every step of the way. I am having to assume more and more responsibility for everything.
She continues to get along well in normal interactions with people. I don’t think anyone on the trip would suspect her condition. Neither do I think our children or close friends suspect. I do sometimes wonder about her best friend, because she and Kate have had so many opportunities to talk and socialize together.
The most distressing thing to me is that Kate is so frustrated over her inability to do many things that she would have been able to do before. In the last 2 days she has commented that it’s the little things that bother her the most. From my perspective that would include things like remembering how to charge her cell phone or how to deal with a technician on the help line. She has great difficulty following a set of instructions. They simply overwhelm her. In our personal conversations when she indicates a problem and I automatically try to explain, she stops me because she can’tunderstand.
The whole situation makes me recall times when I hear people say something like, “Well, at least she doesn’t know.” I heard this when my mother was in the early stages. Kate is keenly aware that her memory is declining. She sees how much of her time is spent looking for simple things like car keys, her purse, etc.
It has gotten so bad that I feel I can’t depend on her to do anything. I either have to do it myself, or follow her to see that it is done. While on the trip, she picked out a bag to bring back to Doris. We bought it along with a couple of other things. Then after eating lunch (this was in our lodge) she went back into the gift shop. I saw her looking at the bags again and asked what she was looking for. She told me she was looking for a bag for Doris. She had not remembered buying the first one only 45 minutes to an hour earlier.
She is clearly discouraged. She is not sleeping well. I am not sure, however, how much is a result of jet lag and how much is anxiety over her condition. I think it is some combination of both.
Over the past year, I have cited specific instances of her memory failure. I suspect I may do less of that as so much occurs that I can’t recall the instances without writing things down at the time, and I find that impossible.
We enjoyed the Africa trip so much and are looking at possible trips to New Zealand, the Galapagos, Russia, and China. I fear, however, that our travels may be heavily influenced by her condition. Right now, for example, I am thinking of taking an OAT trip to New Zealand next January (2013), but I wonder whether or not that will be a good idea. I do believe we could do a cruise, but half of the time is spent on the water. I will wait until later in the year to see how things are going.
I need to be honest about my own anxieties. This is a very trying time for me. My business is so bad that I had to let Regina go before Christmas. She had been with me for 28 years. Now I am wondering how long I can keep the doors open. Dad requires attention. This week he spent 2 days in the hospital. I am spending less time in the office. I need to spend more time with Kate. It is a difficult time. I am not sleeping as well as I used to.