It has been seven and a half years since Kate was diagnosed. Over the past four years or so, a lot of things have disappeared. Some things have re-appeared. Others have never turned up. Occasionally, things that have been intentionally stored away have suddenly appeared. That happened just yesterday.
Late in the afternoon or after we returned from dinner, I noticed that there was a display of old catalogs on the table next to my side of the bed. I should have recycled all of them originally, but I had put them in a drawer of the table and quickly forgot they were there. Previously, I had a clock radio on the table. It had broken, and I disposed of it. The table looked pretty bare. It was obvious to me that Kate had gotten into the drawer and found the catalogs. She didn’t look at them as something to be thrown away. Instead she thought of them like magazines one might display on a coffee table in a family room.
As I was leaving the room, I noticed something else. She had found a basket of Christmas ornaments and put them beside a bench in our bedroom. She must have found them in a closet and was attracted by them. She wanted them where she could see them. That made me think of a couple of other things that have shown up recently. One of those is a change purse decorated in needle point. It has nothing in it, but she found it somewhere in the house and has been keeping it on the table by her bedside. Sometimes she takes it with her in the car. She found another one and does the same with it. I may have mentioned that she found a book that she must have liked. I know that I have seen her looking at the book cover, and she has taken the book in the car before.
This caused me to think about The Dementia Handbook once again. You may remember that the author distinguishes between our rational and intuitive (via our senses) abilities. Her main point is that we should deal with people with dementia by de-emphasizing the loss of their rational abilities and focus on their intuitive ones. The latter last much longer and provide the person with much pleasure.
This makes me look differently at her collection of things that have been in closets and on shelves. She still has much of her intuitive abilities. She appreciates beauty, and I think she sees beauty in lots of little things around her. Some of these are things that she purchased in the past. She is reconnecting with them. There is often little practical benefit to her now. She doesn’t carry money or ID to put in a change purse. She just thinks it’s pretty. That’s enough. She derives her pleasure from holding it, looking at it, and having it around. Although there are still mysteries as to why she was digging around the house for different things in the first place, I think I understand why she picks out some things. They are things for which she has a special feeling. That comes from her intuitive side.