Yesterday Kate got up after 12:00. I wasn’t troubled by this since we were going to Flat Rock, North Carolina for a Christmas show that started at 8:00. That is the latest event we have attended in almost two years. I knew she would need as much rest as possible. She had no trouble getting up. She seemed to recognize me and was in a good humor but not ready to engage in conversation. After her shower, she thought I was trying to rush her as she was getting dressed. I was actually trying to avoid rushing her, but I moved too quickly explaining the order of the apparel I had put out for her. She snapped at me. Then she apologized. I said, “That sounds more like the gal I know.” She said, “I was taught to be polite.”
In the car on the way to lunch she worked harder than I ever recall to learn my name. She repeatedly ask me my name almost the entire time we were in the car. She never seemed frustrated, just intent on getting it right. She finally said, “That’s enough. I’m not going to remember it right now, but I will later.” We went through the same thing with her name without the same degree of repetition. Once inside the restaurant she said, “I think we are a perfect match.” I told her I agreed. She didn’t ask my name again.
On the way to Flat Rock, I had the radio on to the news. She was attentive to what was said but couldn’t understand it. She kept wanting me to explain what they were saying. A number of times she said, “You’ll have to explain this to me later.” She does this a lot when she is getting overwhelmed by information. In the early years after her diagnosis she used to say, “TMI.” Now she has forgotten that acronym.
Once we arrived in Flat Rock, we spent about an hour in our hotel room and then went to dinner with our friends. She handled herself well although it was hard for her to hear and/or understand the conversation. She had to ask us to repeat what we were saying several times. She gets confused about items on the table. For example, at two of the restaurants we frequent the butter is in black wrappers. She always thinks they are chocolates. I have to watch or she starts to eat them. She’s only been successful one time and didn’t waste time spitting it out. The other times I have caught her before she puts one in her mouth. I usually remember to unwrap a couple of them put any remaining ones near me to minimize the chance of her making a mistake.
We didn’t have that problem last night, but there was something else. Three of us had either soup or salad before the meal. At the same time, the server brought a basket of small rolls and placed them near the center of the table in front of Kate. Thinking they were hers, she put the basket at her place and ate all of them along with the butter.
Keeping up with things like coats, sweaters, and gloves can be a challenge. I try to watch for these things, but I am far from perfect. Last night she wore gloves to the restaurant. As we started to leave, she could only find one. A quick search produced the missing glove under the table.
When we walked into the lobby of the theater, our friends wanted to buy CDs while we went to our seats. When they met us, Kate greeted them cordially as though we had not been together just a few minutes before.
When we were ready to leave the show, she had lost another glove. We checked with the box office and found that it had been turned in. I should also mention that she has difficulty putting on her gloves. She gets them on the wrong hands so that they are upside down.
As we walked to the car, she asked me where we were going. I told her we were going to the hotel. She was very confused. She thought we were going home. I explained that we were staying at a hotel and would go home tomorrow. She said, “How was I to know?” This is a common experience and is my fault. I know that she can’t remember anything for longer than a few seconds, but she behaves so normally most of the time I tend to forget. In this case, we had spent an hour in our hotel room before dinner. I didn’t think about the fact that she would have forgotten that we were staying in a hotel. There are also times when I assume she won’t understand when she does. It is difficult to recognize those times when she will know something and those times she won’t. I suspect I am not the only caregiver who makes mistakes like this.