This afternoon after we returned home from church and lunch, Kate encountered a frustrating situation that I suspect will either become more common or she will adapt to avoid such things. Either way life will change. Here’s the story.
She is working with a PEO sister in connection with a scholarship program. She has done this for a couple of years. This past year she found herself in an awkward situation when she failed to send in a candidate’s recommendation to the international PEO office. I don’t recall the exact details, but she ultimately sent the recommendation by FedEx but apparently gave the wrong address. She suffered no ill consequences except for some embarrassment for not having gotten the letter in at the time it should have been in.
A week ago the two of them met with about 10 new candidates for the upcoming year. Nominations must be in by June 15. They decided on two candidates their chapter would nominate and were looking for other chapters to nominate the others. They were scheduled to meet this afternoon at Bojangles to go over the details. Kate’s assignment was to simply type the basic information about each of six candidates. She had all the information on handwritten notes she had taken down at the time of the interviews.
I was in the kitchen while she was working in the family room. I could hear that she was frustrated. She finally asked if I could come and help her. As it turns out, I did very little but stay with her until she was finished. It took her a total of 3 hours to complete 3 pages of material. For the most part it was a straight copy from notes to the computer file. She is finding it very difficult to work with the new version of Microsoft Word and Windows 7. I can understand this as I am trying to do the same thing; however, she makes many mistakes that are in my opinion a direct result of her AD. She would delete information she shouldn’t delete. Her use of the program was so inefficient that she kept having to correct herself. That took more time than it should have.
She commented specifically on her inability to do the task. The real problem was that she doesn’t want to tell Shirley that she has a hard time doing this. That would be embarrassing and also might tip her off that she has AD. At one point, I tried to sympathize with her and said she would have to decline these types of things in the future. She said she knows that and was slightly annoyed at my suggestion. This is really hard. This is one of the things that others can’t quite imagine unless they have gone through it. Most people only think of the latter stages of the illness and believe that, as I have noted before, that the person with AD doesn’t know enough to experience frustration or sadness or any of the multitude of other emotions that go along with AD.
During the time I stayed with her as she was completing the task, she repeatedly said, ”Don’t leave me. You don’t know how much you are helping me.” For the most part, I was simply a source of security for her. I don’t mean to minimize the importance of this, but want to make clear that I did little in the way to actually organize the task or do it for her.
Since this occurred at the time of day when I would normally visit Dad, I did not get out to see him until she left to meet Shirley. I was a little anxious since Dad is sick right now, and I felt the need to check on him. It turned out not to be a problem. When I arrived, he was still asleep as he usually is. He had not eaten dinner. The nurse had checked his blood sugar. It had been 49 and 79 a little earlier. She had given him something to raise it. I told her to call me with any problems and that I was concerned about the low blood sugar.
It is now 6:35 pm, and Kate is not yet home. I expect her to be here any minute. We’ll take some time to be together and attempt to lower the stress level until the next time rolls around. This was the most serious situation since the problem with the letter of recommendation, but was similar to what was going on when she and her brother were working on a photo album on their mother’s family. I know Ken was probably wondering what was going on. One day he will know.