Visiting with Keven’s Family

On their way into town yesterday, Kevin and his family met us at a restaurant near our home. Kate behaved differently than she usually does. If we had been with strangers, I would have quickly slipped one of “My Wife Has Alzheimer’s” cards to someone who could pass it around the table. There was no need for that since everyone was aware of her diagnosis. Part of the problem may have been the noise level in the restaurant. That made it difficult to hear and understand what people said. Frequently, she had to ask us to repeat things. It was more than that, however. It was one of just a handful of occasions when Kate appeared a bit like a child who might be vying for attention in a group in which she felt overlooked. I think this might be a sign of insecurity, and she responds by trying to be more outspoken than usual. If she experienced any insecurity, it was not reflected in her disguising her memory problems and confusion. I believe that everyone heard her ask my name and hers at least once while we were waiting for our food. They may or may not have noticed that she asked my advice about what to order. Together we decided on the blueberry pancakes, but she forgot and several other times asked about what she could get.

After lunch, we went back to the house for the balance of the afternoon. The grandchildren quickly noticed that an 8 ½ x 10 photo of our eldest grandson, Brian, stood out among an assortment of smaller family photos on the entertainment center. That turned out to be a good thing because it eased us into discussion of who all the people were. Kate actually took the lead in that when she suggested a game in which each of us would pick out a photo and tell the rest of the group who the person or people were. I thought that was especially interesting in light of the fact that she normally has difficulty identifying the people herself.

As we started to pick up on the idea, it was clear that Kate was confused. Since I knew each of the people, I jumped in and showed each picture to Kate and the group and explained who was in the picture. Her Alzheimer’s was obvious in her failure to recognize family in the photos.

The Big 12 playoff game between Kansas and Baylor came on at 3:00. We went to our bedroom to watch the game on a bigger screen. Kate remained behind working on her iPad. I felt her staying behind was a sign of her not feeling a part of the group. Thinking back, I suspect that she didn’t understand where we were going and why. There are many things she doesn’t pick up in group conversations. I went back to the family room and invited her to join us. She did, but she also chose to lie down on the bed and nap while we watched the game.

After the game, Kevin’s family left to check in with a friend with whom they are staying. Kate didn’t make any effort to say goodbye. When they were gone, I asked if she would like to get up. She didn’t and remained in bed until I told her it was time for us to meet everyone for dinner. We ate at a pizza place where we used to take Kevin and our daughter Jesse when they were young. At the restaurant, Kate again seemed a little more childlike. I believe she still felt a little insecure, but she got along all right.

When we got home, I turned on YouTube, and we watched video segments of Andre Rieu concerts. She worked on her iPad for a while and then stopped to watch the videos. She seemed to enjoy herself and talked about what a nice day it had been as she got to bed.

We won’t be getting together until this afternoon when we go to the zoo. Kate usually enjoys seeing the animals. I am optimistic the afternoon will go well.

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