I have always been very careful about spending money. Since Kate’s diagnosis, I have found myself changing somewhat. I now attach a higher priority on making the most of my time with her. Sometimes I wonder what I will wish I had done when I had the chance. For that reason, I have found myself spending more money on experiences this year than in the past. For example, I just arranged for a trip to NYC in Dec at a B&B that sounds appealing. New York has always been a special place for us. We especially enjoy it around Christmas. We have traveled there more than any other single place. I will look forward to this trip knowing that the number of trips we make there will be fewer in the years ahead.
The other day I did something I wish I had not done. We were in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and I had not arranged for international calling. That means that calling back to the US is more expensive than it would be otherwise. Kate made a phone call to her friend, Janice. Afterward I reminded her about the expense of international calling. She felt horrible. I tried to tell her it wasn’t that important but I shouldn’t have said anything. Being careful with spending is still a part of me. That is especially silly since the call could not have been more than a few dollars. I’m still learning to adapt.
Last night after we got back from taking Heather to the Nashville airport to catch her plane to Lubbock, we sat around and caught up on things we hadn’t been able to do during her visit. Kate asked me if I wanted an “Alzheimer’s Update.” I said that I did. She then told me that her brain had been doing funny things. She couldn’t recall much of the specifics but was able to tell me that it involved seeing places she had been in the distant past. One example she was able to recall was seeing herself going down the stairs into the family room at our first house in Knoxville. She said she was well aware that she wasn’t actually there or actually seeing it but that she would just have a flash of some past memory. We don’t know but tend to think this is in some way connected to Alzheimer’s. I suspect we may learn quite a few other things that we haven’t known before.
She also said she was adapting and thought she was getting along pretty well. She seemed to speak comfortably about it last night although we did not take much time, and I didn’t ask a lot of questions that usually annoy her because it is hard for her to answer. My dad has similar experiences.
I tend to think she is doing well except when she is under pressure to handle some task. The mother’s family album was one of those things. She is trying to finish up two PEO scholarship applications that are due this Friday. She has indicated any number of times that she is just about finished, but she continues working. I have worked with her a little and can see that she doesn’t follow instructions well. That seems to be particular important when you are completing an application online. She has been quite frustrated which bothers me. I want to help and have done a little, but she really wants to do it herself. I hope that she does not do this next year. This is simply too much.
This past week our granddaughter from Tom has been with us from. It has been a great week with her. She has been an especially good companion for Kate. Throughout the week Kate has been impressed (as she has in the past) with Heather’s keen observance of things around her. She notices many things that we miss. I can’t help thinking, however, that this has been especially noticeable for Kate as her own memory declines. Two quick examples. Kate and I were looking for a picture I had taken of a Crowned Crane in Africa. It wasn’t long before Heather showed her the framed picture hanging on her wall in her office. Similarly, Kate had received a photo taken of Ken and her when they were young children. Kate commented that she already a copy of that picture but couldn’t recall what she had done with it. Not too much later, Heather showed her the picture that was displayed in our family room.
On a similar note, I was struck by a couple of things that Kate could not remember as she and Heather were preparing a special Father’s Day and birthday dinner for Dad and me. First, Kate asked me where we keep our placemats. Although we don’t eat at home much, we do get the placemats out often enough that I was surprised that she didn’t remember where they are kept. She also asked me where the spatulas are kept. A little less surprising is that she also asked where the blender was kept. This is less surprising in that I am the one most likely to use it. I use it regularly to blend soups for Dad.
We both thanked Heather for being with us and how helpful she had been. Heather commented on Kate’s forgetting things. I believe, however, that she doesn’t suspect the actual situation. She simply thinks of Kate as having a bad memory. This may be the story we see played out with the rest of the family.
Yesterday we went to Nashville to visit our friends, Ann and Jeff Davis. We had a nice lunch with them and then went back to their home for a visit. We had a good time, but as we left, Kate said she felt a little insecure with them. The Davises are both very smart. She felt it was difficult for her to join in on the conversation and felt a little left out. I was disappointed because Ann is someone Kate has always admired. At one time, the Davises had lived in Knoxville. I hope that our next visit with them is more successful.
Before meeting the Davises, we went to a mall in Franklin. As is our custom, we wanted to go our separate ways and set a time to meet at Belk’s. I waited for her about 15 minutes before calling her on her cell phone. It turned out that she was waiting at Sears. Today we went back to the mall and arranged to meet at same place. While I was waiting for her, she called to ask where to meet me. It can be difficult to coordinate with her.