Memory is fading away.

As you have probably detected from my recent posts, Kate’s world is changing. Its getting smaller and smaller. As it does, mine changes as well. I am taking charge of things that just a short time ago, she was doing for herself.
This morning I had an example. She walked into the kitchen where I was working on my computer. She was dressed for the day. I got up to greet her. She said, “Don’t get too close. I haven’t brushed my teeth.” I said, “Well, you could do that now while I get your pills ready for you.” She said, “Where can I find the toothpaste?” I told her there should be toothpaste and toothbrushes in each of the bathrooms. Then I said, “Let’s go to our bathroom, and I’ll show you.” This was a first. She has been brushing her teeth in all three of the bathrooms for years. This goes along with her forgetting how to get ice out of the dispenser of the refrigerator or locating the cabinet that keeps her cups that she takes with her when we go to places like Panera.

When we got to the bathroom, she asked me to look at her top to see if it was on backwards. It was, and she started to take it off. I left the room. A moment later, she called for me. When I got there, she was tangled up in her top. She said, “Can you help me?” I took the top and identified the label in the back and then held it up for her to put arms into the sleeves. She took over from there. This was another first. She does have one long night gown that I have had to help her with several times, but this was an ordinary top similar to all the others she wears. Getting into her night clothes is beginning to be a challenge as well. It is not uncommon for her to start to put on her gown and then put on the clothes she was just wearing.

She is also being more careful to ask for my hand when going up or down curbs and stairs. She has tried to retain her independence with respect to that for a long time. She used to be offended when I tried to help her.

Yesterday she asked me more questions than usual. They were almost all the same ones I hear regularly. The difference was that they were repeated so often during the day. They mostly related to the names of her parents, my parents, and our children. Last night she again picked up the photobook her brother Ken had given her in May. She enjoyed it as much as the first time she had looked at it.

Although she doesn’t express any concern or frustration with these changes, the fact that she continues to ask and to look at her photobooks seems like a serious effort to retain some control of her life. I told her the other day that I would be happy to write down the names of our parents, children, and grandchildren as well as a few things like how long we have been married, places we have lived, and a few of the special things we have done during our marriage. She seemed to like the idea, and I have started with a few of the basics.

When I see changes like these, I always wonder about the future. I always have potential plans for things that may or may not come to pass. One of those has been another possible trip to Chautauqua. Last year I was convinced that going this year would be out of the question. More recently, I have thought that we might be able to go for just a few days rather than staying a full week. I have just about decided to stick with my original plan and not go.

This is our year to have Thanksgiving with Kevin and his family in Lubbock and Christmas with Jesse and her family in Memphis. It is too early to make a decision on either one of these. Right now I intend to make both trips, but I will have to see how Kate is doing as we get closer to the holiday season.

I think we should be able to continue day trips to Nashville for the foreseeable future. I might even consider an overnight trip to either Asheville. At the moment, I believe it is best to continue doing what we have done in the past – take it one day at a time.