Although Ellen was surprised about Kate’s diagnosis, she did say that looking back she could see signs. She is now seeing more signs. Yesterday, she came by to pick up Kate for a visitation of a friend who died last week. Kate was not ready when she arrived. I invited her in. Kate was in something of a mild panic over not being able to find any slacks that fit her. A couple of times she called to me for help. She was also making noises that have become commonplace. It is hard to describe. They are something of a groan. Before Ellen had arrived, I had mentioned that I thought she was dressed too casually. She changed. She got a jacket that didn’t quite match what she was wearing. I suggested she might try something else. Then she found something that was better but not just right. I let her go out with it.

We agreed that they would call me when they were finished, and I would meet them for dinner. When they got back to the house, we chatted outside on the patio for a few minutes. When Kate went inside to change clothes, Ellen told me that the day before, Ellen reminded her that they needed to call me even though they had just done so only minutes before. She said that Kate said, “”My short-term memory is really going.”

The biggest crisis we have had occurred last night. Kate is hosting her PEO meeting this morning. This was a last-minute change because the person who was to host was unable to do it. Kate’s immediate thought when she was asked to do it was the yard. She always wants to put the emphasis on the yard. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but that she then forgets to do things on the inside of the house that need doing. I tried to encourage her to address some of the things to no avail. The bottom line is that she still did not have everything ready late yesterday afternoon. We went over to Panera’ for a quick dinner. I didn’t notice anything special until we were nearly finished. She had a depressed expression on her face. She would look down and put her hand to her head. My interpretation is that she was thinking about all the things she had to do, how difficult it is for her to do them, and how little time she had. This is something I have observed before. I know that she doesn’t like for me to talk. She just wants to be left on her own to get hold of herself. When I asked if she were ready to leave, she said she needed a little more time to calm down. We took another 5-10 minutes, and she said she was ready.

We had planned to go to Lowe’s for a few more plants, something I thought was crazy since it was about 7:00 pm. I asked her if she wanted to go home first. She said yes. We sat on the love seat in the family room and cuddled without talking. From the time we got up to leave Panera’s she was shaking like she was cold. This seemed to ease after we sat for a while at home. She said she was ready to go to Lowe’s.

When we got there, she was shivering and wandered down the aisles looking for plants. When she picked up a plant that was quite different from what she had said she wanted, I told her this was not like what she had said she wanted. She broke into tears and said, “”There’s not going to be anything left that I can do.” I held her a few moments. Then she continued to look for plants even though she was still continuing to cry.

At this point it was clear to me that she is frightened about what is happening to her and what still lies ahead. In the past few months, it had seemed to me that she had entered a phase that was a little more like people are referring to when they say, “At least she doesn’t know.” I have been adamant about saying that Alzheimer’s patients do in fact know for a long time before they don’t know. I was beginning to think that Kate was getting to that point.

It is also clear that Kate believes she is not as far along as she is, but she is aware of her increasing deterioration in memory and function.

So how do feel this morning. Not good. I feel a little tense. I feel as though my heart is beating faster than it usually does. It tears me up to see her go through this. If only there were some way to avoid going through this. I know there are harder days ahead. I am now wondering if the hardest ones are in this phase where the decline is becoming more noticeable, and she has to think about this like someone going to the gas chamber or electric chair. Because I see it as frightening to her, it is frightening to me.