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We got back in town and went directly to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Chalupas. It was quite a contrast to the meals we have eaten the past few days in Asheville, but it was just what we needed. I know I picked up a couple of pounds while we were away. I need to take some of them off
I brought our suitcases inside. I put mine in our bedroom and Kate’s in her office. I opened hers and took out a few things – her shoes and put them in her closet. I also took a pair of slacks and a couple of tops and put them in my closet so that I would know where they are. I’d like to take them to Texas with us.

In less 30 minutes, I noticed that Kate had moved her suitcase into the family room. Typically she puts it in the kitchen or laundry room when she has unpacked her things. I didn’t think much of it but picked up the suitcase to take it back to our storage room. When I lifted it, I couldn’t help noticing that it was heavier than I thought it should be. I opened it up to find that she hadn’t unpacked anything. She had simply moved the suitcase from the bedroom into the living room. This led me to take the suitcase back to her office where I unpacked everything and hung up her clothes. Then I took the suitcase to storage. She hasn’t said anything. Nor have I. I am sure that she wouldn’t remember anything about it, and it serves no purpose to inquire.

She continues to exhibit other misunderstandings or to have imagined things that didn’t happen. At dinner this evening, she commented on how spicy our dish was. I mentioned that to the server when he asked how we liked our food. Kate told him it was her own fault, that she had asked for it that way. Some time after he had gone, she told me she asked for it to be spicy, that he had not even asked. She just volunteered. Actually, she didn’t say word. I did all the ordering, and spiciness never came up.

On the way home, Kate said it was early. That led me to say we might take a look at what is on TV tonight. Then she said, “I think I will work on my new computer.” I said, “That would be nice.” For weeks now she has periodically mentioned something about a new computer. Each time I have told her she doesn’t have a new one but the same one she has had. This time I just accepted what she said.

Then when we got home, she said, “I think I will stay outside for a little while. I’ll change shoes though. I wouldn’t want to get these messed up.” It has been about 40 minutes, and she is still outside. I think she is still wearing the same shoes. I know she hasn’t been inside, but she might have changed to some yard shoes she keeps in the garage.

Observations on Our Trip So Far

We got back from lunch about 30 minutes ago. We were the first people to arrive, and they were not quite ready for us; so we walked around for a 10-15 minutes and then went back. I mention this because Kate is not big on walking. I would not even have suggested it if the rain had not stopped. The humidity was high however, and that bothered Kate.

The menu was only a brunch menu which for me was good. I had Eggs Benedict. Kate is getting more particular about what she eats. I think that is because she has forgotten many of the menu items and ingredients that she used to know and like. We went with the safest thing on the menu for her: shrimp and grits. She had had that last night, but it was very different. I thought it was good. She was not taken with it.

After lunch, we walked up to a square near the hotel where there were lots of kiosks with a variety of art. Some were not open because of the rain. We just did a quick walk through because Kate was getting quite hot. We headed back to the hotel, and she continued to get hotter. She was not enjoying herself.

Before we got back, she asked for a bathroom. We were not too far from a hotel where I took her. She didn’t say, but I was concerned that she might have been experiencing diarrhea. I try to prevent that by giving her 1 tablet of an anti-diarrheal with the nightly medicine. It is hard for me to determine what is just the right amount because it is hard for her to express herself about such things. Diarrhea is a side effect of one of her medications, Aricept.

We have enjoyed our meals as well as the silly comedy show “The Complete History of Asheville for Morons.” I would not recommend it to anyone, but Kate liked it. That is the most important thing.

The pacing of our trip has worked out well. We have had plenty of time for Kate to rest when she has needed to. She has definitely taken advantage of that. I don’t plan to book any other performances unless it is for Tuesday, the day we leave.

Off to Asheville

Yesterday, when  I returned from my morning walk at 7:45, Kate was about to go outside. It was obvious that she had forgotten about our leaving for Asheville. I told her that we were going to leave at 9:45. She gave me a dirty look but didn’t go outside. She went back to her room to get ready.

At 9:00, she came out and told me she was ready. That was earlier than I had expected and meant that I had to rush to finish up a few things myself. When I packed my things, I also put in some tops and one pair of slacks in my suitcase. As I was gathering things together, she walked into the kitchen with a pair of underwear in her hands. She showed me and told me she had her black underwear.

I went back to her room to get her suitcase. When I picked it up, I noticed that it was very light. I opened it up and found that it was completely empty. All she had was what she was wearing except the black underwear in her hands. She hadn’t packed anything. I quickly gathered up several pair of slacks and tops as well as 3 pair of shoes and 2 sweaters. She came back to the room and asked what I was doing. I told her I had noticed that she hadn’t packed her suitcase and had packed it for her. She said, “Thank you.” She did it very naturally and was genuinely happy that I had done this for her. When we got in the car, I also discovered she had a pair of white underwear in a magazine along with her iPad.

Before leaving for Asheville, we stopped by Panera to get Kate a muffin. Thirty minutes after leaving Panera, we discovered that she had left her iPad there. I called but they didn’t find it. This is the third iPad lost in less than 12 months.

Last night I noticed that she was wearing a robe and an identical robe was on the bed. I said, “It looks like you have two robes.” She said it was a mistake. She meant to bring one gown and one robe but they were packaged like that. She said that was all right. This shows continued confusion. She hadn’t brought any robes. Both robes were in our closet here at the hotel, and she simply got two robes out of the closet.

This morning as I was finishing up in the bathroom, she pushed the door open. She looked quite groggy and didn’t say anything. I asked if she would like to use the bathroom. She said, “I want to take a shower in that shower.” I didn’t understand her, and she repeated it. I understood the second time. The way she said it was very much the way a young child would have said it. I told her I would finish shaving and then turn on the shower for her.

We just finished breakfast. She hasn’t said anything except in response to my questions. The answers have been minimal. She is not typically alert first thing in the morning; so I am not about to draw conclusions. For instance, I am not ready to say that she is disoriented being in a new place although it is a place we have stayed 5-6 times before. I do realize though that she probably does not remember much from those visits.

Kate put the iPad down and looked sleepy. I asked if she would like to go back to the room. She did, and here we are. We have been back in the room for almost an hour. She immediately got into bed. For much of the past hour she has been sleeping soundly as she is at the moment. I will need to wake her up in 15-20 minutes in order for us to get to lunch on time. We have reservations for 11:00. It is now 10:15.

Coordination Problems

I have often mentioned some of the coordination problems that arise because Kate doesn’t remember what I have said. Right now we are experiencing one of those occasions. At 6:05, I went outside to tell her the time and that we should be getting ready for dinner, something we typically do between 5:45 and 6:30. She reacted negatively and said she wanted to plant a few other plants we had bought at Lowe’s yesterday. I said OK, but I really felt like it would be best to start getting ready now because she will need to take a shower and then dress. That sometimes takes an hour. I know, however, that she might need only 30-45 minutes. As I get to this sentence, I see that it is 7:11, and she is still outside.

This is one of those occasions that almost any married couple could face almost daily. In a normal situation, however, they could talk about it and negotiate something that would suit each one. I recognize, of course, that it can also end up in a standoff. My view is that such a standoff in our situation is simply unproductive. For example, if we had an appointment to be someplace at a particular time, I would need to push her a little. In tonight’s situation, we don’t have any such obligation. This is the more typical case for us; so I am simply letting her stay as long as it takes (that is, unless it gets close to 8:00). While I take this position, I have to be honest in saying that I am really ready to eat and would like her to see that and do it for me. On the other hand, I know that her brain doesn’t work normally. She would never have been like this before Alzheimer’s. I truly miss being able to have normal conversations about things like this, but those days are gone.

Something similar happens with the temperature in the house or in the car. Most of the time I am comfortable, and she is hot. That means that she wants me to make the house or car cooler. I always comply with her desire, but I do sometimes let her know that I am either comfortable or in some cases cold. She totally disregards this and actually thinks I am crazy. I, naturally, believe that her own body thermostat is not working the way it used to do. I do recognize that she feels hot and try to see that she gets relief, but I would love it if she gave just a little recognition to the fact that I am cold. Alas, there is no way to reason with someone who has Alzheimer’s.

Strangeness continues

For the most part today has been quite normal. I took my morning walk. Upon returning home, Kate was in the yard. Though I had planned on our going to Panera around 10:00, I decided to let her remain outside as long as she was enjoying herself. She came in around 10:00, and we got to Panera at 11:00. We just ate lunch and came back home.

Around 3:30 she was bored and asked the whereabouts of her iPad. I had left it charging when we returned from lunch. She had obviously unplugged it; so I went to the usual places where she might have been using it. No luck. When I told her, she said, “I hid it.” I hesitated and then said, “I’m not going to ask.” She said nothing. We both looked in drawers and closets without any success. Then I engaged the Find my iPhone app from my iPad. It quickly confirmed that my phone and iPad as well as Kate’s iPad were in the house. Then I chose the “Play Sound” option. We heard the ping and identified that it was near the kitchen. Then we realized it was coming from the laundry room. We found it in the back of the closet in the laundry room. It was behind a couple of jackets and a large container of laundry detergent. It was not immediately visible when you looked in the closet. It was then that I said, “I have to ask.” She gave me a look that said, “Forget it;” so I did.

These little things are not problems in themselves, but I can’t help wondering what lies ahead. I don’t think of this as a problem for me, but it can be quite troublesome for her. I would like to avoid that.

What Happened Next

I just came back from Kate’s room/office. She had been cleaning up. There were no clothes on the bed, and most of the clothes on the floor were gone. I said something about her cleaning up. She acknowledged it and continued her work. I decided to let her continue because she seemed content. I believed she was not going to be as interested in watching one of our recorded programs. I am now going to put the chairs back and plan to listen to some music after taking a shower.

Strange Behavior

We got back home from dinner about 25 minutes ago. After we got inside I asked Kate if she would like to watch one of the BBC programs I had recorded. She said she would. I turned the TV on and moved the chairs in front of the TV in the family room. A few minutes later she walked through the family room with her pill box, toothpaste, and night guard. I thought she said, “I’m going to take my medicine.” As I was sitting here in front of the TV, she came into the family room and said, “I’m taking my underwear.” I looked up and saw that she had underwear in her hand. She also had a pair of men’s trousers in her arms. I had bought them for her to wear outside when she works in the yard. I told her we weren’t going anywhere. She said, “Oh, that’s good.” Then she turned around and went back to her room. I haven’t heard from her since. That has been about 10 minutes. This is not the first time she has imagined my telling her we were either going somewhere, that someone was coming here, or something similar. I am beginning to wonder if this might not be something I see more of in the months ahead.

Feeling Sleepy

Several times recently Kate has mentioned being sleepy. This happened again today. As she has done the past few times this has come up, she had been trying not to get in bed and rest. The unusual thing about this is not that she feels sleepy; it is that she has been napping for several years when she feels this way. Now it seems as though she shouldn’t being do it. Today and yesterday, I suggested she take a nap when she complained of being so sleepy. Then she very willingly got into bed to rest.

Today she got up about 30 minutes after getting into bed. She walked into the kitchen looking a little tired and forlorn. When she got sleepy at Panera this morning, she walked around the outside of the restaurant. At that time I said walking around was a good thing and that sometime we should do that on our block. I was careful to let her know that I didn’t mean “taking a walk.” That is something she strongly resists.

So when she came into the kitchen, I suggested we walk down the block. She accepted, and we ended up walking around the block. That is further than I expected she would go. I achieved this in stages. When we got to the end of our street, I told her she could choose whether to walk directly back to our house or walk around the block. She chose the latter. This is something I would like to make a habit.

Feeling Good

In the past few days a number of people have asked me, “How is Kate?” In each instance, I have said that she is getting along well right now. I have been clear to say that it isn’t that there is any improvement in her condition but that she and I are enjoying life. I make a point of this because I was discouraged when we returned from our cruise in January. Although I sensed that the complete change in scenery and routine were factors in her failure to enjoy the trip as much as I had hoped, it is only now that we have been back a while that I know how much impact that had on her. She suffers boredom and is periodically irritable at home, but at least she is on a fairly routine schedule. Of course, I have read and heard caregivers talk about the importance of a routine, but going through the experience of the cruise has made a greater impression on me. I suppose that it is quite normal. I don’t think any of us fully appreciates what is involved in dealing with any illness until we experience it. This morning I had a conversation with someone who is undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer. He was telling me all the things that he has learned and never knew anything about before he became a cancer patient. I am sure that is equally true for someone who has a kidney problem and has to undergo dialysis. I definitely believe it is true for a couple facing Alzheimer’s.

In The Yard Again

Kate has spent a lot less time in the yard this spring than she did last spring, summer, and fall. Today seems like the old days. We both woke up early this morning (a Saturday) when we would normally sleep a little later. I was up at 5:00 and walking at 6:10. When I returned home at 7:20, Kate was working in the flower bed in the front of the house. She remained out there until 9:00 when she came in. After lunch today, she expressed an interest in going to Lowe’s to buy more plants. I took her. When we got home from Lowe’s, she went outside and remained there until almost 6:00. We went to dinner and got home about 40 minutes ago. She went back to the yard where she is pruning. While I don’t believe the pruning is necessary or that we need more plants, I am very happy that she seems to be back into yard work. She enjoys it, and it prevents boredom that occurs when she sits inside and works jigsaw puzzles on her iPad.