We disembark in Fort Lauderdale this morning. The schedule calls for us to leave the ship between 9:00 and 9:15. I have arranged for a rental car at the airport at 10:00; so that should give us sufficient time to drive to Miami for lunch with Gary and Jeanette, and Larry and Margaret. Following lunch we will scatter Dad’s ashes in an area near the beach where he and Mom used to go around the time I was a year old. The plan is to have a break after that. I know that Kate will want to rest for a while. At 6:30 or so Gary will pick us up for dinner.
It is a little ironic that our last full day on the ship turned out to be one of the easiest. It almost made me want to commit to the cruise in May. It is possible, however, that it was easy because we did not get off the ship, and we had no special obligations. We were pretty active but not rushed.
The only definite obligation was to get our luggage packed and outside our door before going to bed. During the night the cabin stewards picked up the luggage and have stored it for delivery to the terminal for us. This was not a big chore. I did most of mine before dinner. Kate chose to do hers after dinner when she is usually ready to hop into bed. Before I left for the evening entertainment (once again she preferred to remain in the stateroom), I got out her suitcase and set aside the clothes for her to wear today. She picked them out but was confused about what she was going to wear after doing so. That led me to put them with my clothes in my closet. When I got back from the show, she was in bed and almost asleep. She hadn’t finished packing. I said something to her about her not finishing, and she got up to finish. I don’t know why I didn’t just finish for her. It would have been easy for me to do. This is just another example of my vacillation between doing everything for her (something she resents) and not doing things that I should.
I woke up just before 5:00 and have finished breakfast where I am writing this post. She awoke before I walked out the door. She mentioned coming with me. I asked if she would like me to bring her something. She opted for that. That is probably better for both of us. I won’t have to rush her, and she won’t suffer any stress. I’m not sure when we have to be out of our cabins, but I do know that they indicated we could wait in any of the public areas on the ship.
We are now in the Lido where Kate had a little more smoked salmon and orange juice. I couldn’t find her sweater this morning. I am hoping she packed it with her luggage. She also borrowed a pair of my socks last night. This morning she could only find one sock.
She is in a good mood and is not exhibiting any of the signs of exhaustion that are common at this time of morning. When I said something in the stateroom about when we might be vacating our room, she asked why. I told her this was the end of the cruise and that passengers would be getting off and new passengers getting on.
While sitting here in the Lido, I said something about all the anticipation of the cruise, and now it was all over. She said, “It seems like just two days.” I agreed. Then she said, “No, I really mean it. It seems like just two days.” I am sure that for her this is quite true. It is another sign that the trip has not been stressful for her. I am glad of that. I am still not sure that given how she seemed to be reacting to everything that it is worth taking the one in May. I will work hard to make that decision soon.
As we were getting ready for our last dinner on the cruise, Kate got upset with me. She said, “I guess I’ll have to wear my tennis shoes.” She gave me a dirty look. She had given me a clue about this yesterday. She told me that she wanted me to ask her before helping her with anything. She specifically mentioned packing her suitcase and indicated that it was something she was capable of doing. I didn’t know what she was talking about and told her I would try to do better. This afternoon she followed her mention about wearing her tennis shoes to dinner by saying she didn’t know why I took her other shoes out of her suitcase. She told me it was just stupid. Then I understood that this is one of those occasions when she believes I’ve said or done something that I have not said or done. I made no effort to contradict her. It would have been foolish and might even have made her feel bad about herself. The truth is that she only packed her tennis shoes for the trip and no other shoes. That meant that even on the formal nights when she was more formally dressed, she wore her casual (not really tennis) shoes.
Today has been a very pleasant day. It is interesting that it comes at a time when I am seriously considering cancelling our May cruise. As I think about it, I don’t see that Kate is enjoying the cruise sufficiently for me to go through what it takes to have a successful trip. I find that I have to constantly keep her in mind all the time. This, of course, is not different than at home. The difference is that I have to coordinate going up and down stairs, ordering meals, handling conversations, seeing that she is properly dressed, and that her hair is combed, clothes cleaned etc. All of these things are simpler at home. I would hesitate to do all that is necessary if I were convinced she is getting sufficient pleasure out of the trip. It is clear that she says she is enjoying the trip, but she seems to get the most pleasure out of resting in our room.
She has had a pretty full day today. We got her something to eat around 9:15. We went to a movie at 10:00. We went to lunch after the movie. After lunch she wanted to rest. About 15 minutes after she got in bed, I discovered that she had a Swedish massage scheduled for 1:30. I got her up for that. She finished around 3:00. She was thirsty; so we went to the Lido for something to drink. Then it was back to our room where she got into bed. She just woke up and is on the iPad now. In another hour, we will go to dinner.
I woke up at 5:25 this morning. Kate also woke up and asked the time. I told her. We both remained in bed. Just before 6:00, I got up to get ready for breakfast. I left the room just before 6:30. Kate asked that I bring her something.
When I got back to the room, she had opened the drapes and was on her iPad in the bed. I turned on the TV and put her breakfast open the table. She got out of bed and ate everything I brought (yogurt, a muffin, smoked salmon, apple juice). The she got right back in the bed. She pulled the covers over her and appears to be going back to sleep.
When I told her earlier that this is the last day of our cruise, she expressed surprise and said it had been a nice trip. She then said she would like to get back to her yard. As she ate her breakfast, she also mentioned getting back to her bed and bathrooms, etc. This follows a comment yesterday that she was going to spend time in the yard when she got home.
We are at sea today, the next to the last day of our cruise. I got up before Kate this morning as I usually do. I went upstairs to the Lido for breakfast. When I got back, she was awake. She had taken her shower and was working a puzzle on her iPad. I asked if she would like some breakfast. She did and wanted me to bring something to the room. I did so. In a little while she was back in bed. I took a walk around the ship. I returned after 30 minutes to check on her. She was still resting; so I went back out. I came back in another 20 minutes. She was still in bed but working a puzzle on her iPad. I asked if she would like to get out of the room. At first she didn’t seem interested, but then decided she did. I took her up to the observation lounge. As we were about to enter, she said, “I’m hungry.” That led to my taking her to lunch instead. When we finished lunch, we went back to the observation lounge. We weren’t there 10 minutes before she said, “Would you mind if we went back to the room.” I told her I wouldn’t. I told her I might go to the gym while she was resting.
When we got to our floor, we saw our cabin attendants who told us they were just finishing one room and were going to our room next. That led us back to the Lido where we are on our iPads while they clean up our room. We’ll give them another 10 minutes or so and return so that Kate can take a rest, and I can go to the gym.
As I mentioned in an email to Tom and Bruce this morning, I have noticed an unusual decline in Kate over the past 4-6 weeks. She is quite tired, somewhat more irritable, and also more confused. All these things are giving me pause to think seriously about our planned cruise in May. I really hate to cancel, but I would not want to do anything that could result in a problem. I am particularly concerned about the possibility of Kate’s getting lost and the fact that it is difficult for her to get ready for excursions. The fact that she is no longer drawn to the evening shows means that is one less thing that she can enjoy. I still have 3 weeks before I have to commit.
About 35-40 minutes ago, Kate said she was hungry. I told here her we would be going to dinner around 5:30 but we could go get a slice of pizza or something else if she would like. She indicated that she would. A few minutes later she got out of bed to get ready. Instead of putting on her clothes, she got into the shower. When she came out, she said, “OK, now it’s all yours.” It was as though she thought we were getting ready for dinner not just to get something to address the immediate sense of hunger. She got her clothes and sat on the bed. Then she said she was feeling hungry. She seemed as though I had been rushing her. I hadn’t said or done anything that should have given her that impression. I told her that I didn’t mean to rush her. She held up her hand and stopped me. This is a common pattern when she doesn’t want me to say anything. Before getting dressed, she said, “I just need to rest a minute. OK?” I told her that would be fine. I am going to let her rest as long as she wants. If she takes too long, I will have her dress for dinner rather than just putting on what she had been wearing earlier. Tonight is formal dining; so it will require a little more preparation for both of us.
We caught a taxi into Charlotte Amalie around 11:00 this morning. We went to a small local restaurant recommended to us by a woman working a tourist information kiosk. Shortly after we were seated, Kate asked, “What do I usually get here?” I told her that we hadn’t been to this restaurant before. Moments later she saw a waitress passing by and said, “I remember her from yesterday.” When the waitress walked by again, Kate waved to her and said, “Nice to see you again.”
We sat next to a couple from Sacramento whose son is on the faculty at the UT. It turns out their stateroom is on the same deck as ours.
After lunch we walked around for a short time but decided we would be happier back at the ship. We caught a taxi back to the port where we went into a gift shop where I bought a ceramic coffee cup that I want to use for Dad’s ashes when we scatter them on this Friday afternoon. I told Kate I was going to the register to pay for the cup. She was still in the shop at that time. When I left the register, I didn’t see her. I then looked around the shop and still didn’t see her. That led to my going outside. A man from another cruise ship noticed that I was looking around. He jokingly said, “Lose something?” I told him, “My wife.” He went on to say that wasn’t so bad. I could always get another one. I didn’t try to explain but as I moved around the gift shop and looked outside, he kept talking. I told him that in this case, I was really worried, that my wife had Alzheimer’s. He and his wife then helped me look for her but they had to meet a group for a shore excursion of their own. After 15 minutes or so I decided to walk toward the ship thinking that because of its size, she was bound to see it and might go there. When I reached the check-in gate, she was there waiting for me. She did not seem disturbed. We haven’t discussed it at all, but it was quite a scare because she violated a rule that we have had a long time: “Stay in one spot so that I can find you.” That would have been the gift shop.
Kate and I both got up about the same time this morning. It was the first time we had eaten breakfast in the main dining room as well as the first time we had eaten breakfast together on this trip. She seemed more rested than yesterday – an encouraging sign.
We went to breakfast as the dining room opened (7:30). We sat with a couple from British Columbia. We finished before 8:30. Kate was ready to get back to the room. The moment we walked into the room she got into bed. Close to 9:00, I went for a walk and returned just before starting this post. She is still resting in bed. My plan is to stay here until 10 or 10:30 or until she gets up. I thought we would get a taxi to the center of town, look around, have some lunch, and come back to the ship for the afternoon.
Kate is still in bed and hasn’t said a word since I returned from my walk. I will probably let her rest another 20-30 minutes before seeing if she would like to go into St. Thomas.
I just came back from another short walk around the ship. Before leaving, I told Kate I was going for a walk and that, if she wanted, we might get off the ship and have lunch in St. Thomas. She indicated that might be nice.
On my return I found her still in bed. Her eyes were open. I asked if she were comfortable. She indicated she was. I asked if she wanted to rest a little bit more. She said she would. She is very relaxed.
Just after 11:30 this morning we went to the Observation Lounge where we spent a little more than an hour. Kate moved even more slowly than she usually does. She looked very tired as though she might fall with every step. She worked jigsaw puzzles on her iPad. I read the New York Times, checked email, and read a portion of a Jon Meachan book on religion in American history.
We went to the Lido for lunch. I pointed out the options. She decided, without much interest, for me to get her some roast chicken. I got that accompanied by mixed vegetables and tomatoes. We had a generous helping of bread pudding for dessert.
From there we went back to the room where she got into bed. I checked email and the day’s printed schedule. Then I thought this might be a good time for me to go to the exercise room. I was up there an hour. When I returned she was still in bed. Now she was working on her iPad. She seemed forlorn. I asked if she were bored. She said she was. I asked if she might like to get out and get some ice cream. She accepted.
We walked up the stairs to the Lido. It took her forever. She seemed even more tired than this morning. I found a seat for her and told her I would get her some ice cream. When she was almost finished, she saw a man walk by with cookies. I asked if she would like some as well. She did. I got them.
I asked if she thought the trip was wearing her out. She was offended and indicated that it did not. I dropped the subject. I had hesitated asking her because I thought that might be her reaction, but periodically I decide I should try that approach. The reality is that she just can’t discuss her condition and doesn’t want to.
She is now back on her iPad while I am writing this post. We have dinner at Canaletto at 6:30. I will probably take her back to the room and then go to the evening’s entertainment, two illusionists.
I took Kate upstairs to the Lido for breakfast. She was very groggy this morning. She rested at the landing at each floor though we only had to climb 2 flights. Once upstairs, I felt the need to guide her through the breakfast process, showing her where the items are that she usually gets. She spoke very little. We took a seat by the window on the shady side. She didn’t speak throughout the breakfast except once in response to a question I asked. Late in the breakfast a steward asked if she would like something to drink. She said she would. As he left, she gave me a look as though I had disapproved of her getting the orange juice. I asked, “You seem to feel that I am disapproving.” She answered, “Why do you say that?” I went on to explain that my comment was based on her expression. She said, “I thought you thought I shouldn’t be getting orange juice so late in my breakfast.”
I asked her what she would like to do when she was finished. She looked puzzled. Then I explained that sometimes she liked to go back to the room to rest a bit before doing anything else. She indicated that was what she wanted to do today; so that is what we did. She got right into the bed and pulled the covers over her. I took a walk and have just returned to the room where she appeared to be sleeping. A few minutes ago she woke up. I just asked her if she would like to take her iPad up to the Observation Lounge and relax or if she would like to get off the ship and walk around the area. She hasn’t answered yet. She simply looks comfortable and not ready to move. I plan to let her do so as long as she wants. Then see what happens.
It’s been about 10 minutes. She finally spoke. She said, “What about my iPad?” I told her it was right beside me. She said, “Good.” She didn’t say anything for a moment. Then I asked if she would like it. She said, “yes,” and I gave it to her. She opened it and started working on a jigsaw puzzle. She is still in bed with the covers pulled up over most of her body. She is slightly propped up but not in a sitting position.