Where Are My Keys?

I suspect it may be clear from what I said last time that I am going through a sad time as I think about Kate’s decline and as I imagine where we will end up.

Today I made two presentations to a client group just outside Knoxville. As I was leaving, I got a phone call from Kate saying she was at Bojangles and couldn’t find the key to the car. I told her to sit tight and went to meet her with another key. When I got there I looked for the key and found it in the console. She didn’t remember putting it there, and I don’t think she had actually gotten out of the car. Thus, it would not have been hard to find for someone else, but with AD, a lot of things are difficult.

I hated to leave her, but when I got home, she said she had gotten along all right. She was having trouble with email, and I helped her. We went to dinner at Altruda’s, and she has gone to bed. I went to the bedroom and she said she had forgotten to take her evening medicine. I got it for her. After she had taken it, she said, “I’m glad you are back.” This is the kind of thing she could have said to me in An earlier time, but I think we both read more into it now.

More Discouragement

Last night we had a nice evening – a fire, wine and cheese and olives, and good conversation. Kate indicated that she was discouraged over her decline. We both talked about making the most of the time we have together. We never talk in terms of specific amount of time, but I think she believes we have more time than I do.

This conversation was brought up by my showing her a video on Michael J. Fox and Family Ties and a song, “At this Moment.” I first heard this on the show and loved it but didn’t know the name. Periodically over the years I have thought about getting it. Yesterday I went to YouTube and found a part of the episode that included the song and then downloaded it from iTunes.

I put it and 24 other songs on a playlist on my iPhone and played them while we talked. The last song was a repeat of the first one I played, “At this Moment.” She had no recollection of the song when it was played again. Even though I had played it a couple of times and she indicated she liked it as well. That is when she said something about being discouraged.

Stressful Times

We’ve had a couple of stressful weeks following our trip. We still have to finish up an irrigation leak in the front yard that we identified before leaving, Kate got a cold that has lasted until the last day or two, her computer went out, and we bought another, Dad’s heart rate dropped to 30 and he went to the Heart Hospital for a couple of days, business is off and I have been deciding whether or not to close entirely, we’ve had a buyer for our building and settled on a contract, etc.

Kate seems to have felt better this week although she was a little upset with herself this morning as she prepared to get ready for a PEO Founder’s Day luncheon. She couldn’t remember the exact time of the lunch and waited too late to find someone at home who could tell her. Then she lost a magnet for the back of her PEO pin. She found it but said, “”I’m a disaster.” At 12:06 she asked me what time it was. I told her. and she thought it was earlier; so it meant that she was late for what turned out to be a noon lunch. I drove her which reduced her stress and told her I would try to take her places whenever possible.

The good news is that selling the building will take a little financial pressure off of us. In addition, Megan figured up the committed projects and our part of the income. It turns out that we almost have everything covered for the year. All we need is another 4-5 average projects to get that; so it looks like we will make it another year. That’s good because we agreed to sign a one-year lease with the new owners of the building..

One Year Since Diagnosis

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.