As I mentioned before, my moods change with Kate’s moods and behavior. At the moment, I am in a somewhat sad mood. This relates directly to what I perceive as a shift that Kate is making to the kind of behavior that we commonly associate with someone who has Alzheimer’s. She seems more distant than usual. This is difficult to tell because she has exhibited signs of distance from things going on around her for a long time. It just seems like they are even “deeper” or more distant than in the past. I find this understandable since she has so little short-term memory, her long-term memory is also poor, and she is unable to comprehend so much of what goes on around her (TV, movies, plays, conversation).
My feelings right now are at least partially associated with a couple of things that happened during the week. The first involved my brother Larry. He came to Knoxville last Sunday afternoon. We had dinner together. The next morning we met him at Panera. The three of us talked for a while. Then we came back to the house where Kate remained outside to pull leaves while Larry and I talked. I left to attend Rotary. Larry was preparing to leave for his farm but went outside to chat with Kate before leaving. When I got home after Rotary, I asked her when Larry left. She didn’t know. I probed a bit, but she was unable to tell me anything. She did not appear to remember that he had been here.
The next day we visited our friends the Davises in Nashville before visiting with Ellen. I had told Kate several times over the previous two or three days that we would be going to see the Davises. I reminded her the morning we left. We talked about it in the car as we left. When we arrived at their house, she didn’t know where we were and asked, “What now?” I told her we would go inside and visit with the Davises. She said, “Tell me their names again.” I did. We went inside and talked for about an hour. Then we went to lunch for another hour. When we got in the car to leave, she told me how much she enjoyed the visit. Then she asked me to tell her their names again. A little later she asked, “What is your brother’s name again?”
Today we went to a Live in HD at The Met production of Der Rosenkavalier. This was Rene Fleming’s last Met performance. It was outstanding, but Kate wanted to leave at the end of the first act which we did. I had noticed she seemed bored. She yawned audibly two or three times during the first act. Although she was not very loud, the people in front and in back of us could certainly hear her.
We have now seen quite a few operas. It was the Live in HD productions that really generated her interest in opera. Today it made no difference. I knew that she was tired going in, but I suspect it was more than being tired. It was a complex comic opera. I know she must have been confused and tuned out. I fear this is just the beginning of things to come.
We are sitting at our usual table at Panera. We arrived early today. Kate was up before I returned home from my walk at 8:00. She was not dressed for church. I reminded her this was church day. She gave me a dirty look and groaned. I hesitated a moment and started to encourage her. Then I decided not to push her. I know she often feels pushed. We decided to come over to Panera for her morning muffin.
She has been trying to work jigsaw puzzles on her iPad, something that has been one of only two things that occupy her time. She has occasionally been frustrated while working the puzzles. I don’t believe it is associated with any difficulty finding and placing the puzzle pieces themselves. Rather, it is that she occasionally hits a “button” that take her to a new screen, and she doesn’t know how to get back to her puzzle. In addition, there are times that the app itself offers an opportunity to do something else. She doesn’t know how to “cancel” and get back to her puzzle.
This morning has been especially frustrating for her. Over a 5-10 minute period, she repeatedly lost her puzzle. Each time I helped her get another one. She did not ask for my help. She simply put the iPad down on the table and, a couple of times, she closed the iPad as though she were ready to go home.
A number of things have happened this week that make me think that Kate is moving closer to another stage of this illness. She hasn’t been staying outside as long, and she hasn’t been working on her iPad as long before wanting to switch to something else. I dread the day that she loses interest in these two activities. They are her life right now and have been for several years.
I should say that last night she turned on her computer for a few minutes. I don’t know what she did, but it wasn’t long.
This is not my “finest hour.” After causing two panic attacks this week, I frightened Kate tonight. After dinner, we came into our bedroom where I turned on the news, and she got on her computer for the first time in 8-12 months. About 7:15, she wanted to go outside. She apparently knew that I had closed up for the night and asked which door she could go out. I told her any one she wanted. She pointed to the front door, and I said that would be fine
Just before 8:00 I started to call her inside. She had been a bit bored today; so I decided to let her remain outside longer than usual. Just before 8:30, I went out to call her in. She was standing on the walkway in front of our house. At first she seemed a little irritated with me. I said, “Did you want me to call you in earlier?” She said yes and came inside. Then she broke into tears. She said she had tried to get inside but everything was closed and locked. Then I realized that she had not remembered that she had come out the front door which had remained opened the whole time she was outside. She said she didn’t know where I was. She said she thought I was trying to teach her a lesson. She just got out of the shower and seemed to be all right. I told her I felt bad for not calling her in sooner. Then she started crying again. She has her nightgown on and is sitting on the bed in tears.
I should add that I have tried to console her, but she keeps saying, “That’s all right. I’ll be fine.” She has also said, “It’s not your fault.” She is still crying.
The Next Morning
Shortly after my previous post last night, I got into bed with Kate and held her. She was still whimpering, but shortly she settled down. This morning I wanted to ask if she remembered the events of last night but felt it was wiser not to remind her. All is well now. I, too, am feeling better.