Right after we sat down for lunch yesterday, Kate said, “Who are you?” I told her, and she asked, “What’s my name?” Then she asked, “Are we related?” I said, “Yes, we’re married.” She looked at me in disbelief and said, “Married?” This led into questions about children. When I mentioned our having a daughter, she was equally shocked. She looked so puzzled that I was afraid to say too much. I thought that might be more disturbing than helpful. Most of the time we have this kind of conversation she simply accepts what I say. This was one of several times she seemed disturbed about not remembering.
We returned to the house after lunch. We had about an hour before her appointment for a massage. I thought she might work on her iPad during that time, but she was tired. She sat down in a chair with her iPad but immediately closed her eyes and went to sleep. That is something else that is not typical. She often rests but rarely goes to sleep, especially sitting in a chair. She usually moves to our sofa or to our bed.
We came back to the house after her massage. As we turned on to the road leading to our neighborhood, she said, “I used to live around here.” When we approached our house, she pointed to it. I said, “Does that look familiar?” She said, “Our house.” She said this in a way that made me think she knew it is where we live now. I pulled into the garage, and she saw her collection of Dr. Pepper signs and knick knacks. She said, “Oh, I remember these. I think I used to live here.” Once we were inside, she commented on the family room and said something about having lived here in the past. I told her it was where we live right now. She expressed some surprise but not the kind of disbelief she had shown in our lunch conversation.
I gave the iPad to her, and she took a seat in the family room. Instead of working on her iPad, she picked up her Big Sister photo book. She spent about ten minutes looking at it when she received a phone call from Meg Wright, a longtime friend from Dallas. She was a bridesmaid in our wedding. I had shown Kate the picture just before she called. That turned out to be a good opening for their conversation. She handled herself beautifully. She was very natural. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought she was perfectly normal.
When she ended her phone call, she picked up the photo book again and spent another twenty minutes going through it. I have heard other people talk about the value of a memory book, but I am getting a better appreciation now. Going through multiple photographs of various family members jars her memory in a way that is much more powerful than my telling her about her father, mother and other members of her family. Once again, it reinforces the impact that her intuitive qualities have. I saw no sign of puzzlement as she leafed through the pages. She continues to identify specific pictures that she especially likes. They aren’t random choices. She keeps noting the same ones. She really connects with them.
We topped off the day with dinner at Casa Bella. This is the second week they are featuring music from Les Miserables. Since we had attended a performance last week, we ate in a separate dining room than where the music performed. We had a good meal, but I did find it sad that she is completely forgetting all of our memories of the years we have eaten there. She asked me the name of the restaurant, but the look on her face told me there was no recognition. During the meal, however, she did say, “I remember being here before.” When she asked about dessert, I told her we were going to have the Amaretto cheesecake. We’ve eaten this dessert 90% of the times we eaten there. She didn’t recall it, but she did love it.
When we got home, she picked up her iPad and took a seat in the family room. She continued working on it for over an hour before I told her it was time to get ready for bed. Earlier she had said she was very tired and wanted to get to bed early; however, she was so engaged with her puzzles that there is no telling how long she would have continued.
I got her a night gown and told her it was time to put it on. She took it and went to the bathroom next to our bedroom. I was working on this blog post when I realized it had been a while since she had left the room. I called to her. She responded but I didn’t see her. The lights were on in the bathroom and the room where she keeps her clothes. It was dark in the guest room. That’s where I found her. She was in bed under the covers wearing her clothes including her shoes and socks . Her gown was beside her on the bed. I told her I would like to have her join me in our bedroom. She got up, and we walked through the guest bath to the hallway to our room. She said, “I’ll follow you.” At that point, we were about 10-12 feet from the doorway to our bedroom. Even that close, she was unable to recognize where she was.
Once in the bedroom, I told her step by step what to do. She did, however, put on her gown without my help. She is sometimes unable to do that. That reminds me that this morning was the first time she has asked me to fasten her bra. I have been amazed that she has been able to do that until now. After putting on her gown, she went right to bed. She was worn out. I joined her in another fifteen minutes. She was asleep then. I hope that will make it easier for her to get up this morning.
As I say so often, it was a nice day; however, her confusion seems to get worse almost every day. She is fading away faster and faster, something I wish I could stop. I’m quite familiar with the last stage of this journey, but I don’t think there is a way to adequately prepare for it.