It was a year ago that I first noticed a change in Kate’s sleep pattern. Until that time she went to bed early, generally about 8:00. In the morning, she got up between 7:30 and 8:30. Last spring, she started sleeping later. In conversations with her doctor, I took her off Trazadone. That enabled her to stay up a little longer, and she was more awake at lunch than before. In general, she still sleeps later. Recently, however, she has been more erratic in the time she gets up. Most days I wake her. I usually start that process around 10:00 or 10:30. Other times she surprises me by getting up early.
In the past week or so, she has gotten up earlier than usual. She was up before 8:00 Saturday. We arrived at Panera shortly after 8:30. That was two days in a row, and the third time we had been there in the past week. Prior to that it had been months since we had been there that many times in a week. A year ago, we went there almost every day.
What should I expect next? I don’t know. She was up early enough yesterday to get to Panera again, and she was upbeat. She appears quite normal until she asks a question that gives her away or until she encounters a problem on her iPad. For example, she was up before 8:00 this morning and wanted to take a shower. She seemed fine, but she asked where the bathroom was. I showed her. She was cheerful and related to me very naturally. I could have assumed that she knew me. As I helped her into the shower, she said, “What is your name?” I told her and left her in the shower.
When she was finished, she got back in bed. I sat down on the bed beside her. We chatted a minute or two. Then she said, “Who are you?” I said, “Do I look like someone you know?” She said, “I don’t know.” I said, “Well, do you think of me as friendly?” Again she said, “I don’t know.” I said, “The way you are talking to me sounds like you must think I’m friendly.” She hesitated and said, “Yes, I do.” I went on to explain that we are married and that we met at the home of one of her high school friends when we were students at TCU. That was the first moment that she seemed to fully accept that I am her husband. Despite these questions, she spoke with me as naturally as though she knew my name and understood that I am her husband. She did express surprise when I told her we were married, but she never looked confused. Only her words conveyed that. She was never afraid or concerned about not remembering who I am. She has only experienced an anxiety or panic attack a few times in connection with not knowing where she is or who she is. I am grateful for that.
I don’t know how long this will last, but it may not be long until she changes again. Right now, it almost seems like we are living as though she does not have Alzheimer’s. Of course, that is not literally so, but it is a happy time. We’ll enjoy these moments as long as it is possible.