Reflecting on Christmas in Memphis

We got home from Memphis late yesterday afternoon. We had a great time with Jesse and her family. Kate had an especially good time. She enjoys being with Jesse and her family as well as their neighbors, Jeff and Sally, across the street. As she usually does, Kate handled herself well at the reception. She introduced herself to people and had conversations with them. On Christmas afternoon, Jeff and Sally came over before we had Christmas dinner. They were there about 30-40 minutes. Kate and Sally were in their own conversation the entire time.

Kate continues to speak a lot about her family. She also is very expressive about how much she enjoys things (food and people). Yesterday morning I asked Jesse if she had noticed anything different about her mother since they were last together. She said she didn’t though she said she noticed Kate seems more expressive about things. I told her that confirmed what I had heard from Kevin at Thanksgiving. I reiterated to her what I have said here and to others. The good thing about this illness is that she is able to get along so well in social interaction with other people. There are only little things that someone who is close to her might notice. For example, Jesse and I both noticed that when she was speaking to Kevin’s children on Christmas evening, she was thinking that Christmas would be the next day. She asked at least one of them if he was excited about tomorrow and getting presents though that had already occurred that morning.

When we were in Fort Worth for Thanksgiving, she received a directory for her high’ school class. She has misplaced it and has wanted to send email Christmas messages to a number of her friends. She asked me about it several times during the week preceding our trip. At least one of those times she thought I had it. Once she asked me was immediately before the trip. She asked me a couple of times during the trip. She may have asked me about it last night. I know she asked me about it a few minutes ago. Again, she thought I had it. I told her that it was misplaced a couple of weeks ago and that she had said she was going to contact a Waco friend about getting another one. Even though I am quite aware of her forgetfulness, it is surprising to me that she would so easily forget something as important as this directory and after so many times that she has mentioned it to me, and I have told her it is misplaced. I am confident it is here in the house because I can’t imagine her taking it out with her.

One of the days we were in Memphis I got on the Alzheimer’s website and reviewed some of the entries on the caregiver/spouse forum. I found this quite depressing and don’t intend to go back until Kate’s condition has progressed much further than it has so far. I was reading all the horror stories involving bathroom habits, changing bed clothes, etc. It was too depressing.

It did give me two impressions, however. First, Kate is not nearly as far down the path of Alzheimer’s as others. Second, it reminds me what I may face with time. That sensitized my observations about her increasing memory failure. That made me wonder just how much time remains that we can enjoy ourselves. We are truly enjoying ourselves even with the memory issues. When she is no longer able to enjoy social activities or people and can’t remember friends, I will have more of a problem.

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