As we prepare for the music club at our house this coming Monday, I am coming even closer to adjusting to Kate’s inability or unwillingness to take care of some of the things necessary to get ready for entertaining. She has cleaned up the large guest room and the small guest room. I am not sure where she has put everything, but her office is still a mess. Although she had told me on Monday night that she would let Libby help her clean up, she refused to do so yesterday when Libby was here. As I reported yesterday, she was almost in tears when she told me we would just keep her door closed for the music club. I have let it go; I know everything will be fine. I was never concerned about the music club. I just thought it would be a good excuse to get cleaned up.
I am more interested in the outside of the house now. I have arranged for hardwood mulch to be delivered today. I also contacted a young man to come over tomorrow and spread it in the flower beds. I have also asked Libby to come on Saturday help with some last-minute things like the patio and garage.
A few days ago I had asked Kate not to do anything to mess up the yard after the woman who cuts our grass had come. She was here yesterday. I know that Kate will have forgotten and plan to drop it. I’ll just let her do what she is able and wants to do. That is working in the yard as long as she cares to do so. We bought more plants yesterday. She wants to go back for more today. She has planted a lot of what we have purchased but not all.
I am slowly learning the lesson that I must learn and that is not to have any expectations that she will be able to do anything to prepare for events like this one. The disease simply won’t allow her. Of course, I have been doing this all along, but it is not something you just start doing. That is especially true since she is always trying to assert her independence and not accept any suggestions or help that I want to give. Increasingly, I am learning to let her do what she wants and can do. I can tend to the other things.
One of the ways in which she is declining is not to notice things that are in front of her. For example, at dinner last night we split a shrimp and flounder platter. She said she was getting full. I noticed there were still two shrimp on her plate and asked if she were going to eat them. She said, “”Where are they?” I showed her. They were in plain sight. She wanted and ate them.
When we returned home, I picked up the mail. There was a card from Ellen thanking us for taking her and her daughter to lunch for Easter. I left it on the island where I thought she would see and read it. Later I asked her if she had read Ellen’s note. She hadn’t; so I got the card and put it on her side of the bed while she was brushing her teeth. When I came back into the room, I asked if she had read the note. She said she hadn’t and asked where it was. I saw that it was on her bedside table; so she had picked it off the bed and put it there. She hadn’t noticed or felt any desire to read it. She had simply put it aside. This is a common thing that she does with email and regular mail. It is as if she doesn’t see these things which I do believe is part of it. Frequently I notice that she can’t see or read things that I point out wherever we are. It reminds me of the exercise I took one time at an Alzheimer’s workshop. We were asked to put on sunglasses in a dimly lit room and go from table to table trying to sort different items. I just couldn’t quite make things out. This was to give us an idea of what it is like to be an Alzheimer’s patient.
Two days ago I finished a book. I still have a day or two before getting my new Audible credits; so I started listening to Jan’s Story. It is written by Barry Petersen who was a CBS journalist. His wife, Jan, had Alzheimer’s. I have listened to it twice before. At that time and now, I feel that it is really his story and not hers. Most of what he says tells more about his adjustment than hers. This time, however, I found myself more able to relate to what he says because I am experiencing some of the same things. I also notice differences in their situation from ours in the same way that I have done when I have spoken with friends who care for a spouse with Alzheimer’s. All of this reminds me that as similar as we are, we are different as well. We are not identical.