Yesterday Kate and I had a nice day although it began with her not knowing that I am her husband. She got up on her own after I had played about fifteen minutes of soft music. My video cam alerted me to the fact that she was getting up. I went back to the room where she greeted me very normally. She asked about her clothes, and I told her they were on the chair beside the bed. As I helped her up from the bed, she said, “Are you my daddy?” I told I was her husband. She was surprised but did not seemed especially disturbed, just confused that she didn’t know/remember that. I decided not to make an issue of it and walked her to the bathroom where she took a shower. On the way she asked again if I were her daddy. When I said I wasn’t, she asked, “Where is he?” I said, “Texas.” She said, “Where are we?” I told her we were in Knoxville, Tennessee where we live. She looked puzzled but did not say anythng more. After her shower, I helped her get dressed. This was one of those times she wanted to do things herself but kept asking for my help.
I don’t recall our talking again about my being her husband until we were at lunch. She was in a playful mood and teased me a bit. In response to that, I said, “I would marry you again if I could.” She reacted as though that would be terrible. I said, “You wouldn’t like that?” She gave me a look that I interpreted as “Are you kidding?” Then I said, “We could just keep on living together.” She reacted quickly with a disapproving look and said, “I’m surprised you would even say that. What would your mother say?” Isn’t it interesting how powerful such feelings are? This is coming from deep within the recesses of her mind.
In the course of our conversation I mentioned our children. She asked their names and wanted me to tell her something about them. We never got back to talking directly about my being her husband, but it became clear that she recognized that and was happy about it.
I think I have mentioned that she is sometimes confused about the words she wants to use. Sometimes she uses a word that is obviously the wrong one. Often she recognizes it is wrong and will say, “You know what I mean.” Sometimes I do know. Sometimes I don’t and say so. Other times I say I know when I don’t and hope that when she says more, I will understand.
Yesterday I was surprised when something new happened. She didn’t understand the meaning of two words I used in our conversation. The first occurred when I said that someone we saw at another table looked like a student. She said, “What’s that?” I helped her understand by reminding her (she doesn’t remember) of the time she was teacher. It wasn’t long before she asked me what the men at the next table were talking about. I told her I didn’t know, but it looked like they were businessmen. She said, “What’s that?” Then I explained what a business is.
The night before she asked the wife of the couple we had dinner with what the child at a nearby table was holding. She told Kate that it was a phone. Kate asked what she was doing with it. She explained that the child was probably playing a game. I suspect part of Kate’s not understanding what the child was doing relates to her eyesight. I can’t tell how much relates to her Alzheimer’s and how much is a result of the cataract in her left eye.
Twice yesterday afternoon, she saw her iPad and asked me what it was. I told her it was her iPad, and she said, “What do you do with it?” I told her she could work jigsaw puzzles on it and opened the program for her. She continues to be able to work her puzzles, but it is getting more difficult for her. It is like many other abilities. Sometimes she gets along fine. Other times she runs into problems.
All of these things signal how much her world and mine are changing. I can’t help wondering what life will be like six months from now but not really wanting to know.