Sweet memories but constant reminders

Wednesday night we got back from NYC. It was everything I had hoped it would be. We saw more shows than ever (5), 1 opera, a performance of Handel’s Messiah, and the new movie, Lincoln. We are treasuring the memories of such a special trip.

Back home, I see Kate dealing with the frustration of accomplishing things – mostly on the computer. Yesterday I could sense she was depressed which I took to be related to this frustration. When I got home from visiting Dad, I asked her what she would like to do for dinner. When I suggested one possibility would be to bring something in, she didn’t look excited. Then I said, “”How about going to Casa Bella?” This is one of our favorite restaurants in Knoxville? We almost always get the same thing, and it has come to be a comforting place when we are low as well as times when we are celebrating. She responded quickly saying, “”Could we?”

I told her I would like to go ahead and get my shower. She said she was ready but would continue working on the computer while I got ready. Her power cord is damaged again; so she was using mine. She has repeatedly has power cord problems because she uses the computer with the power cord plugged while lying in bed or sitting in a location where the cord is pulled. Within two months of getting the latest computer, we had to replace the piece in the computer into which you insert the plug as well as the power cord itself. We had done this on her previous computer as well. We have discussed why this is happening, and I have encouraged her not to use it that way. In addition, I bought her an iPad because I thought she could use in it instead of the computer, but she has not gravitated to the iPad. I think that is mostly because the bulk of what she does is making photo collages using Microsoft Publisher and Creative Memories, neither of which she has on the iPad.

This is all a preface to one of my failures in handling a situation last night. Just before we left and while she was working on the computer, I told her again that it was better not to use the power cord while seated on the sofa. (That is because it requires the cord’s being pulled to the side which can cause the same damage to my cord as to hers.) She said, “”I am trying to be super careful.” I answered softly but inappropriately, “If you were trying to be super careful, you wouldn’t be using the computer this way.” She then broke into tears and went to get her coat.” When she came back with her coat, we embraced and I told her I loved her. She said, “I just hate this; I can’t do anything right.”

We had a perfect evening at Casa Bella. We caught them on a very busy night, but we had good service, the veal piccata was better than usual, and we topped it off with white chocolate cheese cake. When we got home, she was tired and got into bed before I did. While I was brushing my teeth, I heard her, and asked if she were laughing or crying. She said, “”Crying.” I asked, “”Why?” She said, “”I don’t know.”

These are continuing signs that she is getting progressively worse, and she realizes what’s happening. One of the things that hurts me is that she keeps most of this to herself. I wish she were able to talk about it more, but I think it is not just to spare me but to protect herself. I suspect that she feels the more she dwells on her condition, the worse things are. She is really frightened.

Once again, events of yesterday reinforce the superficiality of social relationships. At noon yesterday, we had our Sunday school class Christmas lunch. She sat at the same table as our pastor. He has told me before that except for knowing from me that she has AD, he is unable to tell when he speaks with her. I suspect that even though they sat at the same table for more than an hour, he wouldn’t have been able to tell. On the other hand, I can see so many things that make it difficult for her to function effectively.

This makes me wonder how long we can keep this from our children. I really want them to know so that they can make the best of their relationship with her the way I have been able to do. At the same time, Kate does not want people to look at her as a patient. I will honor this desire until or unless the children begin to suspect. That could happen this summer when we spend a week together in Jackson Hole. If it doesn’t, this will be further evidence of how long someone with AD can keep it hidden from others.

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