It has been almost 2 months since my last post. That is because of our recent trip to Peru (Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu) and Ecuador (Quito, the Amazon, and the Galapagos). Before the trip we were busy getting ready. We were gone 3 weeks and a day. Since our return, we have spent a lot of time getting back to normal living. Our pictures are mostly organized.
On the whole, the trip went very well – better than I might have predicted. I am, of course, talking about Kate’s AD. I did, however, find it challenging. We were on a fast-paced schedule that required getting up early, meeting the group on time, and hiking on unlevel surfaces. I had to keep my eye on her and hold her hand a lot. In addition, I not only had to get myself ready, I also had to make sure she got ready and had the things she needed. I didn’t always succeed in this endeavor. In particular, I should have taken greater control over the packing of her bag. She left without some of the basics like sufficient underwear and slacks. She ended up wearing some of my underwear, jeans, and a pair of nylon pants I had gotten for our trip to Jackson Hole in June.
I found it especially difficult traveling with Kate in a group. She has never had a good sense of time, but now she is almost completely devoid of any sense of time. The reason this was especially frustrating on the trip was the many appointed times the group was to meet. This meant that I had to make sure she was ready. Beyond that there were lots of other challenges like getting her wet suit on and off, getting her flippers on, helping her with snorkeling. Ultimately, she gave up on snorkeling, and I went by myself or stayed behind with her. I must admit that this was not our best snorkeling experience. The waves stirred up the sand, and we were never in truly clear water.
Since being back at home, she has had her own frustrations. She has been working a collage of pictures to share with our group of travelers. It is something she should have finished in a week, but she still hasn’t got it done even though several times she has indicated that she is practically finished.
A few moments ago, she told me, “I am losing it.” We hugged each other quietly for a few moments. Then she said, “Well, let’s move on.” She doesn’t want to dwell on her decline, but I know she worries more and more. As I have said in the past, I don’t believe there are many people who would ever suspect she has AD. That is because most encounters with people are periodic and involve a set of programmed comments. We ask, “How are you?” We answer, “Fine.” “What have you been doing?” “We just got back from a fantastic trip to South America.” And so on.
Yesterday Kate had lunch with Ellen. As Kate’s closest friend in town, Ellen should suspect, but I doubt that she does. The ones who most likely to have suspected something are her hair dresser who has been aware of the confusion Kate has had about appointments and has missed a number. She has another church friend who mentioned something to our pastor almost a year ago. Beyond these people I doubt that anyone else would know.
Last week I noticed that she seemed to be a little depressed. One evening as we were talking on the patio, I told her I knew that she had had a frustrating week. She acknowledged that it had been a bad week. We didn’t go any further.
On the whole, Kate is still doing well. Her decline is very gradual, but she is definitely declining. What I notice is that she is much more likely to turn things over to me. She is even turning over selection of restaurants to me. In the past, I have usually asked her where she would like to eat and given her several choices. She would pick one, and we would go there. Now when I do that, she says, “You pick.” It is as though she just doesn’t want to be bothered with making a decision.
She also has many computer problems and needs to ask for my help. She is especially bothered when I am with my dad. She likes me to be around. Most of all she recognizes that she is less able to do everyday things. She is to fix sweets for next Monday night’s music club, and I am concerned about her getting this done and done right. This used to be her strong suit, but now she is not used to cooking. When she tries, the process is too confusing. She gets mixed up, and things don’t turn out.
We continue to be blessed. We continue to enjoy being together. We are even talking about making a trip to New Zealand or Russia or both next year. At the same time, everything I plan for the future involves some guestimate of what her condition will be like at that time.