Late yesterday afternoon Kate was working on her laptop trying to send online Christmas cards to a couple of friends. Like everyone who uses a computer she encountered some problems that were not a function of her own action but others that clearly were. The first was discovering that her subscription to Jacquie Lawson had expired. She didn’t know what to do; so I signed her up for another two years. I assumed that she is unlikely to be doing such things after that. If she is, we can sign up for another year or two.
The big problems she encountered were of her own making. First, she was trying to enter the recipient’s email address in a space where she should sign into her account. There was also a place to enter a password. She never realized she had made this mistake, and I did not tell her. I feel that would only depress her. The second problem involved where and how to enter the recipient’s email address and to send it. She must have worked 15 minutes trying to get Ellen Seacrest’s information entered correctly. During this time she was very frustrated. After she had sent the message, she wanted to send another card. It was like starting over. She hadn’t remembered anything about how she had done the first one. I had helped a good bit on the first one; so that partially accounts for this. She was really trying to do this by herself. After a long period of time, she gave up. She said she wasn’]t going to work on it until tomorrow and that she had reached a point at which she wanted me to help her.
This was the highest level of frustration I have seen in quite a while. It comes at a time when she is trying so hard to be independent. Earlier in the day we had been talking about my diving in too quickly to do things for her. She told me she knows I mean well, but that she feels like a child when I try to do so much for her. This topic is becoming a frequent one for us.
Today I received an email from someone with a link to a New York Times article on Alzheimer’‘s. In that article I learned of a documentary on Glen Campbell. It apparently follows him during his last musical tour (150 performances, I believe). He was diagnosed in 2011, the same year as Kate. I noticed in the article that he is now in institutional care and that during his tour he displayed behavior that I have not witnessed in Kate at all. This makes me feel that we are truly fortunate that Kate and I have had so much time to enjoy ourselves and that we still have time ahead. At the same time, stories like those of Glen Campbell make me wonder if I am blind to how little time we may have left. Right now, I believe that Kate’s decline will continue to be gradual and, perhaps, punctuated by periodic drops downward. Based on the past four years, I have a hard time believing that next summer she will be dramatically different than she is today. I hope I am correct.