Shortly after writing my last entry (4:33 pm), Kate seemed to be getting a little panicked. I decided it wasn’t worth it to attempt to go either to a special dinner or to the choral concert tonight. I went back to her to her room and suggested that we just get something simple and skip making an evening of it. I don’t remember exactly how I said it, but I said something that I thought would suggest the only thing she had to do was pack for our trip. She was greatly relieved. I went back to our bedroom and started gathering together my things and packing them. About 20 minutes ago, I went back to her office and saw that she was working on her laptop and had not started packing at all. I told her I thought she was packing and that is why we weren’t going to out for dinner or the concert. She looked surprised. I asked if she wanted me to put her suitcase on the bed for her. She did, and I left to finish up some of my things. Realizing that she was getting panicked, I told her it might make it easier if she just laid out the things she would like to take with her and packed them in the morning.
In a while, she called me to her office. When I got to the back, I discovered that she had picked out 7 or 8 outfits. I told her that was perfect. I left again to tend to my stuff. In a little while she called me again. I went back to her office. She showed me the very same things she had shown me before. I did not say that she had already done this. I simply said they were perfect. Then she asked me when we were leaving (meaning for Texas). I told her tomorrow as I have done each time she has asked.
She has been getting along so well lately that I have been surprised about her present behavior and condition. It makes me feel once again that the upcoming cruise will have to be one that minimizes tight deadlines and keeps things as simple as possible. I am still optimistic that we can do this on the cruise. A bigger consideration at the moment is whether I have arranged too rigid a schedule while we are in Texas.
Kate has been outside for a while. When she came in she asked me what we were doing tonight. I told her that we were either going to dinner at Elizabeth’s Chris if they are not already booked or to a Christmas concert by a local choral group. I reminded her that we leave tomorrow on our flight to Texas. Since then (less than an hour ago), she has asked me at least twice if not three times what we have on tonight. A moment ago after telling her once again, I reminded her of our flight to Texas. She asked me what time we were leaving. I told her again. Then she said as though it were a surprise, “I really need to know that.” She is beginning to show a little panic as tonight and departure tomorrow are coming together.
Fifty-fours years ago today (1961), Kate and I had our first date. I was planning to post this on my Facebook page. I went so far as to write up something that I could copy and paste onto my Facebook page. Before doing so, I went back to Kate’s office where she was working on her computer. I told her it was the anniversary of our first date. She said she wanted to put that on Facebook. I suspected that she would never get around to doing it. Then I came back to my computer and edited my copy so that it was from her rather than from me. I posted it on her FB page and told her about it. She loved it. She didn’t say a word about my doing it instead of letting her do it. Here is what I wrote.
I see in the morning paper that on this day in 1777, Gen. Washington led his army to Valley Forge, in 1813, the British captured Fort Niagara, and in 1843, “A Christmas Carol” was first published.
While these are certainly important events, the one I’‘m remembering today is that on this date in 1961, Richard and I had our first date. We went to a performance of Handel’s Messiah on the TCU campus. Besides an interest in the performing arts, we discovered other things we have in common. One was especially surprising to me. When my father learned that Richard was from West Palm beach, he asked me to see if Richard knew physician who had been a close friend of my father’s and a groomsman in my parents’ wedding. Knowing that West Palm was a world away from Fort Worth, I hesitated. Finally, I asked. I was surprised when he said, “”Yes. I was friends with two of his children in high school, and he was my father’s orthopedist.” We were off to a good start. And, I must say that our relationship has aged well with time.
Today as Kate and I were on the way to lunch, she said, “”Are you going to notice that woman (or was it a couple?) and her (their?) child?”I said, “”Is this somebody you have noticed before?” She gave me a disgusted look. I said, “I’m not good at remembering these things.” She answered, “”Well, you don’t pay any attention to the things I say.” I started to say something in response, but she didn’t want to “talk about it.”
Shortly after we ordered, she commented that the mother and her child were not there. She pointed to the place where they usually sit and asked me if I remembered that she had gone over to the table and told the mother how cute her child was. I told her I didn’t remember. She went on to tell me that when she told the mother that her child was cute, the mother told her she remembered her saying that. Kate said she asked, “Have I told you that before?” The woman answered, “”Two times” and seemed a bit annoyed. She said that when she told me about it, I said, “”If it happens again, I am going to go over to the woman and tell her that you have Alzheimer’s and can’t help it.” Then I said (that is, today when she told me this story), “”I wouldn’t have said that.” She said, “”You just don’t remember. You remember everything, but when it involves me, you don’t remember anything. If it’s somebody else you remember, but not when it’s me.”
While I have mentioned other occasions when she has imagined I had told her something, this is the first time I recall her having such an elaborate description of something that had happened and my reaction to it. I don’t know that this signals anything of significance, but it is something different.
Over the past few weeks I have become more open about Kate. I was influenced by a couple of people at church who know and have asked me how she is doing. I didn’t hesitate; I told them. Last night I attended a Rotary social while Kate stayed at home. I saw two people who spoke with me about her. We also talked about another couple we know that are going through the same experience. In addition, I spoke with someone whom we have known through church and Rotary. He and his wife have had cancer. He asked about Kate, and I told him. I think I will increasingly find that people know.
Before going to bed, I noticed that Kate was decorating the house for Christmas. I had doubted this was going to happen. Earlier in the week, perhaps the week before, she had gotten out a few things and put them on the sofa in the family room. They hadn’t moved since being placed there. When I went to the kitchen this morning, I noticed that the table was set with Christmas placemats and plates. This is a bright spot for me in that she hasn’t completely let go of things like this.
This morning I washed my clothes and took them out of the dryer about 10 minutes before I had to leave for Sunday school. I folded and put away my underwear and socks but left the rest (not very much) on our bed. I almost always wash my things separate from Kate’s because so often she has gotten my clothes and worn them. This is an easy way to retrieve them. That has been a special problem with my socks and t-shirts. She wears the t-shirts when she is working in the yard, and they get so dirty that they don’t come clean during washing. Being something of a “Neatnik,” I don’t like to wear them to the Y. Before I started doing my own washing, I had to buy extra t-shirts, but that didn’t help. Invariably she would get them. I now have only a few shirts that I can wear to the Y.
When I got back from church, I noticed that she had folded several pair of socks and underwear that I had missed before leaving. This afternoon as I was watching football, she worked in the yard. Kevin called, and I went out to the yard to get Kate. I noticed that she was wearing one of the two of the t-shirts that had been in the wash. When I got off the phone with Kevin, I looked in my closet where I keep them and found that she had not put the other nicer t-shirt in there. About 15 minutes ago, I went out to check on her. I mentioned that I had noticed that she was wearing my shirt. She immediately reacted with sorrow. I told her it was all right. I just wanted to make sure that I got the other shirt. She was so hurt that I didn’t follow up on it. This is the kind of thing I try to prevent from happening. I don’t want to hurt her. On the other hand, I do want my shirt. I think I will try buying new shirts and just work hard to wash them and put them up before she can see them.
About an hour later, I was getting my clothes ready for tomorrow and noticed that I needed to get that t-shirt back from Kate. Then I went to get out my socks and noticed that the three pair of socks that had been in the wash were nowhere to be found. I went to Kate to ask. Once again she had a mild emotional reaction as though she were going into a panic attack. She had no idea where they were and didn’t recall having seen them. I looked on her bed in her office and found them. I found the t-shirt on the bed in the large guest room. I will continue to try not to put her in this position, but I fear these things will only increase.
Kate just walked into the kitchen and thanked me. I asked what she was thanking me for. She said that I had suggested that she edit black and white photos by converting them into color photos which gave her the ability to control saturation much better than if they were simply black and white. After she edits, she converts them back to black and white, and they look much better. The only thing is that I never made a suggestion that she do this. I told her she should give herself credit. She acknowledged that but said she would never have done it without my suggestion (which I never gave).
We have nothing on our agenda today until we go to Casa Bella this evening for their Christmas dinner. After going on my walk, I asked Kate if she would like me to take her somewhere like Panera, Starbucks, or Barnes & Noble. She said she wanted to go to Lowe’s sometime. About 15 minutes ago she came into the kitchen and said she wanted to go to Lowe’s. When we got in the car, she said, “”On the way back, I want you to take me somewhere to get a muffin or something to eat.” I told her we could go to Panera now but thought she hadn’t wanted to go. I told her I would like to do that. She liked the idea only she was dressed in her sweats for yard work. I suggested a change. I came in the kitchen to write this post. In a few minutes she came in with a pair of shoes in her hands and said those were the only shoes she could find. I told her she hadn’t changed clothes. She said, “Oh.” Then she turned around to go to her room to change. This coupled with my sense that she has been unusually lethargic over the past few days seems another warning sign of impending changes.
Two days ago my post suggested a change for the worse in Kate’s condition. I hesitated to say that because the difference had been so minor, but in the last 24 hours I have noticed a difference in her that may confirm my original suspicions. Yesterday morning I came from the office to take her to lunch before going to Rotary. When I returned around 2:00, she was in bed. That is not something unusual except that she remained there until about 4:30. When she got up, I suggested that we go to Chalupas for dinner and reminded her that we were supposed to go to the December meeting of the music club. She looked disappointed. I told her she didn’t need to go. She accepted. She went into the family room and sat with her computer. It was not open. She just sat there. She looked very sad. I went in and sat with her on the love seat. I asked if I could do anything to help. She said, “You’re doing it.” We sat there in silence except for a few comments that I made. During this time all I could imagine was that she was discouraged about her Alzheimer’s and being bored. At one point, I reiterated that I wanted to help her but that she didn’t seem to want to talk about it. She said, “About what?” I told her that she seemed depressed. She said, “I don’t feel depressed at all. I am just tired.” I told her I felt better knowing that. We then left for Chalupas. She seemed to get along as she usually does. She was not talkative, and she seemed tired. She is often this way when she is hungry. All this seems like something that is different. She is more tired than usual.
When we got home, I showered and dressed for the music club. She got into bed. When I left, she was in bed and said that she was going to sleep. When I got home at 10:30, she was sound asleep.
This morning she was up at 6:00 and went back to bed. That much is normal. She just got up again and seems tired. Libby is coming today, and I have a lunch meeting at 11:30. I asked if she would like to go to Panera. She said she would. That was 30 minutes ago, and she just got up. I had told her there was no hurry. We’ll see how it goes today. We have a symphony concert tonight. She didn’t go last time. I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t go tonight.