Before coming to Panera, I noticed that Kate had put on her pants inside-out. I mentioned it to he rand then went to get her iPad to take with us. When I returned to the kitchen, she had already gone to the car. After we had been at Panera almost an hour, she got up, and smiled, and said, “I think I should put my pants on the right way.” That was the first time that I had noticed she hadn’t changed at the house. When she hadn’t returned to the table in the time I expected, I got up to look for her. It is not unusual for her to forget where we are and take a seat at another table until I find her. I didn’t see her and turned around to return to our table. When I did, I saw her walking toward me. I said, “I guess you got your pants taken care of.” She chuckled and said, “Why do you think I went to the restroom?” This is one of those light-hearted moments we have frequently even though it could be frustrating to Kate and sad for me. It is one of the ways we both cope.
That reminds me of a phone call I received from a friend yesterday. I have known him in connection with our volunteer service for many years. We first met at Junior Achievement when we served on its board. Later, we worked together at United Way and then the foundation of the UT Medical Center. His wife was an Alzheimer’s patient who died a year ago. He calls once in a while to check on me. This time he let me know that he is going to get married in May.
As we talked, I filled him in on our lives. I said something about Kate’s asking me things (for example, names of family members or close friends) that she would not be as likely to ask other people. It was interesting to hear his response. He knew exactly what I was talking about and the feeling you get when that happens. We both feel that it comes from the trust she feels because of the closeness of our relationship. In that respect, he and I both acknowledged a sense of gratitude and closeness that we feel when these things happen.
For me, it is especially interesting in that Kate still does not talk about her Alzheimer’s in any direct way. She never mentions it anymore, but she is not at all guarded or hesitant to say many things that are obviously symptoms of the disease. I often wonder if she makes any connection between her symptoms and her diagnosis. I really think she doesn’t. I would like to know, but I feel it doesn’t serve any good purpose for me to inquire. She is happy. I want her to stay that way.