Telling The Children

It was January 21, 2011, exactly three years ago that we received the news of Kate’s diagnosis. In many respects, we have fared much better than I might have expected. At that time Dr. Reasoner mentioned a 12-year time frame as something that was normal from beginning to end (at least that is what I recall). I am even more confident that finding out that she has AD was the best thing to do. We have lived differently than we might have done otherwise. I believe we have made the most of our time together. Just as important we continue to do so. That means I am optimistic that we do the same in the years ahead. As it was at the time of her diagnosis, I am concerned that 3 years from now life will be considerably different for us. I hope that when I write on the 6th anniversary of her diagnosis, I can say that I was too pessimistic, but it seems like she is showing more signs of decline.

As I may have noted in earlier entries, I decided that it was best to tell the children. I took action on Monday (Jan. 20). I sent them an email message to arrange a time for a phone call.

After a couple of email and text messages, we set a time yesterday for me to call them. I used my iPhone to make a conference call. It worked like a charm. I did this while Kate was getting her nails done.

I told the children that I wanted to tell them something that they may have already suspected or known. “Mom has Alzheimer’s.” I proceeded to tell them how long since the diagnosis and a little bit of how that had influenced our time together and that I wanted them to have the benefit of that knowledge as well.

I asked them if they had known or suspected. Jesse indicated that she had wondered. Her best friend had asked Kate when they were together about the time of her husband’s death. After that, Jesse had noticed a few things. Kevin said he remembered her getting lost when they flew in with the family for a visit for Thanksgiving several years ago. It struck him that that was like some of the patients he dealt with. Then he put it aside. He did notice that when we visited at Christmas, we went back to the hotel early. Thus, he wasn’t surprised, but he had not actually been thinking that she has Alzheimer’s.

I have had no communication with either of them until this afternoon when I sent a text message and got a reply from Kevin. State Farm sent a representative this afternoon to deliver a check for her car. When she (the rep) asked if we had made a decision about another car, Kate said we had decided not to buy another one. My text was to tell the children this good news.

I had been worried about telling Kate that we shouldn’t buy another one. A couple of weeks ago, she said something about another car. I told her that we should talk about that later. I haven’t said anything since then, and she hasn’t brought it up. On the other hand, she has told me that her friend, Ellen, had volunteered to take her anywhere she needs to go. She has also said something about my being her chauffeur. She said this in a positive, accepting way. I didn’t take it that she liked it, but that she was accepting it. Today’s news that she doesn’t expect us to buy another one is confirmation of that.

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