Everyday Surprises

Today Kate is hosting her PEO chapter and is also doing the program. At last month’s meeting something came up about the September meeting. It wasn’t until then that Kate remembered that she was hosting it and that she had the program. A couple of weeks ago she was working on her program and felt good about her progress. Since then she has not worked on it. I think that is because she felt it was in pretty good order and wouldn’t have much to do to complete it. On Monday or Tuesday of this week I mentioned that it would be nice if we cut the grass and cleaned up the yard. Kate didn’t respond. Then yesterday while we were at lunch I mentioned her PEO meeting for today. She said, “It’s tomorrow?” She had completely forgotten. This is another example of my need to remind her of her commitments, appointments, etc. The trick is that she seems to be getting more sensitive about my playing a larger role and is quick to show me that she can remember, that she can be on time, etc.

I got the coffee ready for her and wrote a note in front of the coffee maker telling her to press the on/off button 10 minutes before she wanted to serve the coffee. I wrote another note telling her that the half ‘n half was on the top shelf of the refrigerator in the kitchen. I went to Panera and bought bagels and cream cheese. I put the bagels on the island where she couldn’t miss them and attached another note saying that the cream cheese was in the refrigerator in the laundry room. Before leaving I showed her the notes and reviewed what she was to do and where to find things. Not too long after I got to the office I received a call. She asked in a semi-panicked tone, “What about the coffee?” I told her there was a note in front of the coffee maker telling her to press the on/off button 10 minutes before she wanted to serve the coffee. She then asked me where the coffee maker was. The surprising thing is that the coffee maker is always in the same place on the kitchen counter right under the cabinet that holds our everyday pottery. In other words, she opens that cabinet every day for something. These things don’t bother me at all except that I feel sad for 2 reasons: 1) It is another reminder of the progression of her illness and that things are getting worse and 2) I feel sad for her because I know she must experience an immense amount of frustration over such things.

Something that bothers me in a different way is what I consider her misplaced emphasis on priorities especially when time is short. First, on occasions when we are going somewhere together, I get frustrated when she spends time doing things that don’t need to be done at that time. Second, because getting ready for anything is difficult for her, I have to play a greater role in seeing that she is ready. I find myself getting irritated even though I know that she can’t help it.

This morning is a case in point. When it was 45 minutes before she was having company, she was outside piddling in the yard. When I went out to get her, she said, “I know. I am coming in.” This is an everyday occurrence. As I have mentioned several times, I think she gravitates to the yard because it is the one thing that she can do that doesn’t involve her feeling that she is doing something that is wrong or having me tell her she has done something wrong. I am sure that if a master gardener were watching her, he/she would point out many things that she is doing wrong or inefficiently, but this is one thing she can do without that kind of experience.

Because she can spend hours in the yard even when it is hot, I need to come home early if we are going someplace at a particular time. She isn’t able to answer the phone when she is outside; so I need to be home early enough for her to start getting ready. I cannot count on her remembering.