The Cold on Day 8

I am gaining a better perspective on the lives of other caregivers who deal simultaneously with dementia and other health issues at the same time. To be sure, I am getting only a small taste of what others live with, but it does reinforce what I have said before. Kate and I have been fortunate in many ways since her diagnosis. The fact that both of us have been healthy is one of those. Both of us have had colds before, but it is more challenging at this stage of her Alzheimer’s. In the past it was easier for her to manage her own care with limited help from me. The only thing she can do now is blow her nose and spit out the phlegm that accumulates in her throat.

Despite this, her cold has not been especially serious. Her cough is still infrequent. She coughed just after going to bed and didn’t cough again until 1:45. She coughed on and off for about fifteen minutes and stopped. I haven’t heard any coughing until a few minutes ago, and it is now 9:30. What I do hear is her nasal congestion, but it is not constant. I’ve mentioned the sensitivity of the audio from the video cam monitor. Depending on the volume of the music I am playing in the kitchen, I can hear her breathing. When she coughs, I can hear it over any of the music I might be playing.

Apart from the cough and nasal drippage, the only sign of how she feels is that she seems more tired than usual. As I mentioned in a previous post, she slept until 2:00 on Tuesday. Yesterday, I woke her up at noon because she had a massage at 2:00 and a haircut at 3:15. She got along fine. When we returned home, she rested an hour and a half before I got her up for dinner.

She had more trouble working her jigsaw puzzles last night. Part of her problem is visual. Even when there is only one piece left, she has a difficult time locating where to put it. Each puzzle is on a solid-colored background. When the pieces are scattered, the background color is displayed where the pieces go. Thus, when there is only one piece missing, there is a picture with a rather glaring space colored like the background. To any of us, it would be immediately obvious where the last remaining piece should go. It isn’t obvious to her at all. Even when I put my finger on the piece and then on the spot where it goes, she often doesn’t know where to put it. One additional problem that is easier to understand is that she sometimes puts a piece in place but not precisely in place. Kate can’t tell that, and the app does not indicate that the puzzle is complete. Then she calls me. I locate the piece that is causing the problem and push it into place. Then she goes on to the next puzzle.

When she started working her puzzles a few years ago, she chose those with 42 pieces. Over time, I have selected the number of pieces for her. I dropped the number to 25, then 16. I think it is time to go 9 pieces. That’s the fewest available with this particular app. I hope that it will be easier for her after her cataract surgery on February 12.