As we drove up to our house from Panera, Kate asked if she could use her clippers. I said, “Absolutely.” She gave me the surprised look she always gives when I say this even though I have never said no. Then she asked if I thought she would need a jacket. I told her not the one she had on but another one I would get for her. (The one she was wearing was a new one I had gotten for her last week. I didn’t want it to get messed up outside.) Then she asked me where she should start, in the front of the house or in the back. I usually say, “You can start wherever you like.” Then she will make a suggestion, and I say, “That would be fine.” I get a kick out of this question because she almost always asks it, but she never remembers what she has decided and simply starts wherever she feels like it when she goes out.
She came inside for a few minutes and then walked in the kitchen to go outside. I helped her with her coat. She asked where the clippers were. I told her they were on the top shelf of a shelving unit in the garage. She said, “I’m going to change my shoes” as if asking my permission. I told her that would be a good idea. (She has two pair of gardening shoes that, surprisingly, she has had for years without losing them.) As she was putting them on, she asked once again, “Where are my clippers?” She was standing in front of the shelving unit with a variety of gardening tools. I told her “on the top shelf.” She looked and finally saw them. Then she said, “You mean right there in front of me?” I smiled and said, “I didn’t say that.” She gave me a big grin and said, “But you were thinking it.”
During any given day, we have a number of such interactions. I work very hard to reinforce this kind of behavior, but I also believe that, by chance, our personalities just work together well to minimize conflict. I should add that this is more indicative of our relationship now than at earlier stages of her AD. I also believe this is something than could change as the disease progresses. There is much that we can’t control. Once again, I say we have been fortunate. I know that many others have a much more difficult time. I feel for them as I give thanks for our own experience.