This past week Kate’s doctor had asked if she needed any help with dressing. Kate was offended by the suggestion, and I confirmed that she dresses herself. That was only a half-truth. She does need help in putting on the right clothes for a specific occasion as well as selecting clothes that are not too soiled. This morning we may have crossed another marker. She needed my help getting dressed.
We ate lunch at a nicer restaurant than those at which we usually eat. It is also Easter Sunday, so I knew people’s attire will be a little dressier than usual. With that in mind, I carefully chose everything for her and put the clothes on her bed. I even included the specific shoes along with appropriate hosiery.
When I was aware that she had gotten up, I went to her room where she was just getting out of the shower. I told her good morning, reminded her about our lunch plans, and said that I had put her clothes on the bed. I came back in about ten minutes and found that she had selected different clothes and was just about to put them on. I explained once again that she would need something a little dressier and that I had put out the clothes for her. At that time she was sitting in a chair that was only two or three feet from the end of the bed where I had put her clothes. She seemed a little irritated that I was helping. I told her I would get out of her way and let her dress.
In a few minutes, she came out ready to go, but she wasn’t wearing a single item I had picked out. She was also wearing black shoes that didn’t match. I said, “You didn’t put on the clothes I picked out.” Having said that, I quickly realized that wasn’t the best response I could have made. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to bother her. She just said, “Where are they?” I took her back to the bedroom. Her clothes were still there, but I noticed that the shoes were not. I showed her the clothes and started to look for the shoes. She asked me not to leave and said, “I don’t know what to do.” It was painful to see. She was so confused that she didn’t realize that the top I had given her and was in her hand was what she should put on. I couldn’t find her shoes or the hose I had gotten out for her.
After she was dressed, we went back to our bedroom where I had seen a pair of shoes she had worn yesterday. I knew they would be a good substitute for the ones I had originally picked out. She put on the shoes, and we were on our way.
The next issue we faced, and one that continues, is the pain in her knee. I have been unable to tell if the Tylenol has helped. One thing for sure is that she is indicating more pain today than I have observed in the past. Again, it makes me wonder if this isn’t something more than a case of arthritis.
Getting ready did not lead to a panic attack, but Kate was definitely experiencing more emotion as a result of learning she had put on the wrong clothes and having to change. I think that is what caused her to be so confused as she was getting dressed. It was about 20 minutes before we needed to leave for the restaurant, and I didn’t think it was worth it to drop by Panera. I suggested we go to the family room and relax a few minutes before leaving. I gave Kate her iPad and put on an album of soft cello adagios. That seemed to work. She was calm by the time we needed to leave.
When we got in the car, I played the second movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto in D. That is another piece of music I have found to be very relaxing. I have played this often when she has had an actual panic attack. We didn’t speak on the drive to the restaurant. When she got out of the car, I could tell the pain in her knee was bothering her. I parked in the closest place I could, and we walked very slowly to the restaurant.