This past Saturday night Kate and I went to a wedding. This was the first time that two of my staff members had been with Kate since I told them about her Alzheimer’s in July or August. This morning as the three of us talked about the wedding, I asked them if they would have known about Kate’s illness if I had not told them. They said absolutely not. They recounted conversations they had had with her and how comfortably she had handled herself.
That led me to tell them something that I had been thinking about lately and have mentioned in my journal on previous occasions (I think). One of the really good things about Alzheimer’s is that there is such a long period between the time the patient and her husband recognize the problems and the point at which others notice. Clearly this isn’t true for everyone. I still remember that over two years ago this summer our pastor invited me to lunch and asked if Kate were all right. He made it clear that someone had noticed something different about Kate. It is equally obvious that in more extended conversations like those of Saturday night that even people who know can’t detect any signs.
It is also worth noting that in a conversation with Kevin this past Friday morning, he told me that he still would not know if I hadn’t told Jesse and him earlier this year. He hasn’t seen her, but he has had phone conversations some of which have been lengthy. I consider this aspect of Alzheimer’s to be a blessing for the patient and her husband.
The realization of this positive aspect of the disease has made me think a little more about the need or desire to tell others about her condition. I have been telling a few people this year and have thought of telling others. In particular, I have thought about telling Bruce Morton, my old college roommate. I have hesitated because we both know Nancy Hardwick whose husband, Charlie, has dementia. They were both classmates of ours at TCU. About 10 days ago, Bruce asked me if I knew anything about how Charlie was doing. When we last saw him at our 50th class reunion, I knew from Nancy but could not tell that he had dementia. This made me think that Bruce might be in touch with Nancy. Since is originally from Fort Worth and has both Fort Worth and TCU ties in common with us, I would not want her to know before Kate’s family. That has made me wonder if the time has come to tell them. We will be in Fort Worth the weekend before Thanksgiving. I had already decided I didn’t want them to know before the visit but thought that after the visit might be the right time. Now I am thinking there is no reason to tell them until later. We will see in time how I handle this.
Several times lately Kate has said she loves her iPad. That is quite a shift since I got it for her a couple of years ago. She hardly used it for a year, but more recently she has gotten into it. I believe the major attraction has been the ability to work jigsaw puzzles on it. It appears to be one of the first things she does in the morning, and one of the last things she does before going to bed. It is not an obsession, but I believe it is a result of its being something, like pruning, that she is able to do and to do at her own pace. No one is pushing her.
At the moment she is working a puzzle at a time when I believe she should be getting ready to get her hair cut. We have arranged for her to see a new hairdresser since her former one is no longer able to do her hair. It has been over 4 weeks since she has had her hair done. At any rate, I know she is eager to get her hair done, but she is still working on the iPad. Whoops, I just went back to the bedroom to check on her. She is up. The bed is made. She must be getting her clothes on.