A Day of Uplifting Social Experiences

At 9:40 yesterday morning, I saw on the video cam that Kate was up and walking back to bed. I went to her and discovered that she had gone to the bathroom next to our bedroom. I said, “I see you’re up.” She said, “For the moment.” She pulled back the covers and got back into bed. She said, “Is that all right?” I said, “That’s fine.”

An hour later at 10:45, I brought her clothes to her, and we had the following conversation.

Richard:        “Today is a special day. It’s your daddy’s birthday.”

Kate:              (She smiled.) “What’s his name?”

Richard:        “Carl Franklin. He was a good man and he loved his little girl.”

Kate:              “Who are you?” (In a very natural, conversational tone)

Richard:        “Before I tell you, do you recognize me?”

Kate:             “Sure. You have a nice voice. I know other people tell you that.”

Richard:        “I’m Richard Creighton, and I’m your husband.”

Kate:              “How did we meet?”

Richard:        “We met at a friend’s house on a Sunday evening in September, 1960.”

Apart from her memory loss, she was very relaxed and seemed just fine. She expressed no uneasiness about not knowing my name or my being her husband.

When she was ready, we went to lunch. On the way, she asked me where we were four or five times and several times on the way home. We had a very pleasant lunch at Carla’s. We hadn’t seen the hostess in a couple of weeks. I asked where she had been. She told us that she and her siblings had moved their mother from Guam where the family had grown up. During our meal, an acquaintance took a table next to ours. She was meeting friends who had not yet arrived. She sat down at our table and we chatted until her friends arrived. We don’t know her that well. She is French but spent most of her youth in Egypt where her father was a dentist. It was nice getting to know her a little better.

Although we eat lunch there almost every Tuesday, Kate commented on the restaurant as though she had never been there before. They serve gelato that we both love, but she never remembers that. It seems like her sense of taste is not nearly as strong as her other senses. <g>

When we returned home, Kate asked me what she “could do now.” I told her we could go into the family room where she could work on her iPad. She said that would be fine. She wanted to know where she should sit. I pointed to a chair and told her she usually sat there so that she could look outside to the back yard. I put her iPad on the chair. She walked over, picked it up and said, “What’s this?” I told her that was her iPad. I took it from her and said, “Let me show you what you can do with it.” I opened the cover and touched the icon for her puzzle app. As it started to load, I said, “Now watch what happens.” I showed her a selection of puzzles of flowers and said, “When you touch one of them, it will break into pieces that you can put together.” She looked amazed and said, “That’s neat.” It was as if she had never seen it before. It is hard to believe this is possible when she spends as much as 6 hours a day working such puzzles.

While she was working on her iPad, I tuned into a station featuring the music of Frank Sinatra and other singers of his period. The first song was “New York, New York.” I can’t remember the last time we heard that song, but she recognized it before she heard the first words. A little later, we heard Rosemary Clooney singing “Mambo Italiano.” She chuckled in recognition as it played. I said, “This is ‘Old-fashioned’ music. She said, “I love it.” As much as I’ve observed the power of music for her, I was still taken aback by how quickly she recognized these old songs when shortly before she hadn’t even remembered what her iPad can do.

After a while, I suggested we go to Barnes & Noble. She liked the idea. I was happy about that. I felt it would be good for both of us to get out of the house. That worked out well. We had conversations with two different people. One is a member of our church who meets with a group of other men each Tuesday afternoon. The other is a young woman who tutors students there almost every weekday. We often chat with her in between or before her students arrive.

Kate began to have problems working her puzzles, and I suggested it was a good time to break for dinner. We went to Bonefish Grill where we know the hostess and several servers who speak to us even when they are not serving us. It is the only restaurant we frequent where we don’t have just one server that we request each time. That has made for an added bit of social activity when we dine there – even when we don’t see other people we know. Before taking our seats, Kate wanted to go to the restroom. I walked her to the door and walked back to my seat where I could see her when she came out. The servers look out for her as well. Last night our server was walking back to the kitchen when Kate came out of the restroom. She walked Kate back to our table. Eating out turned out to be another social experience for us.

As we were winding down the day at home, our son Kevin called. It was nice way to end our day.  It was a good day. That doesn’t mean there was any improvement in Kate’s condition, but I felt we had a day of more uplifting experiences than some recent days. That keeps us going.

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