Confusion Over the Weekend

Saturday night, we watched the last half of a PROMS concert in London. It was an entire program of music by Rodgers and Hammerstein. We have watched it before, but this time Kate was more engaged. That was evident by the fact that she put her iPad down to watch. She enjoyed it and everything seemed quite normal.

When the program was over, Kate went to the bathroom to brush her teeth before coming to bed. When she came out, she saw me and looked puzzled. She said, “Where is he?” I said, “Who?” She said, “You know who.” I walked closer to her. She pointed in the direction of the family room and said, “Is he in there?” I said, “Who are you looking for?” She said, “Richard.” I said, “I’m Richard. I’m your husband.” She said, “No, you’re not.” I decided not to pursue it any further and gave her night gown to her. She didn’t ask any more questions.

Just before midnight, Kate woke up. She moved over right next to me. She apparently had had a dream and was frightened. I said, “It’s all right. I am right here with you. Nothing’s going to happen.” She said, “What about my mother?” I told her she was safe, that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her either. She gradually relaxed. That began a conversation that lasted over an hour.

She said, “I’m glad I have you.” I told her I felt the same way and that we had been together a long time. She wanted to know how long. I told her we had been married almost fifty-six years, and we had had a good marriage. She agreed. As we moved from  our marriage to other questions about family, she asked, “What is your name?” She was loaded with other questions. She asked about our children, their names, where they lived, what they did. She also asked what kind of work she did. I told her about her teaching school, becoming a school librarian, and working as a volunteer church librarian for nineteen years.

She said, “What’s my mother’s name?” I said, “Elizabeth Franklin. She was a special lady.” She picked up on “was” and said, “Is she gone?” Most of the time I answer honestly, but this time she really seemed worried. I said, “No, she is fine.” Then she said, “What’s my father’s name?” I said, “Carl Franklin. He’s a good man.”  She said, “What’s his name again?” I told her. Then she said, “What’s my mother’s name?” I told her. She asked where they lived. After I told her, she wanted to know where we live.

The last time I looked at the clock it was a couple of minutes after 1:00. Not long after that, we were both asleep.

Just before 8:00 yesterday morning, she started to get up. I got to the bedroom as she was getting out of bed. She looked at me and gave me a big smile. Then she said, “I’m so glad to see you.” The way she said it, I could tell she thought I was someone else. I gave her a hug, and she hugged back. I asked if I could help her. She looked puzzled. I said, “I thought maybe you wanted to go to the bathroom.” She said, “I’d like some clothes first.” I said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll get some clothes while you go to the bathroom.” I started to walk her to the bathroom when she said, “I look forward to being with you guys.” I walked her to the bathroom and left to get her clothes. When I came back, she appeared to know me.

The rest of the day went well although there were other moments of confusion. For a while at lunch, she didn’t recognize me as her husband. I made reference to our children. She couldn’t believe we were married. I showed her a few pictures of Jesse and Kevin, and she changed her mind. I don’t know if she simply accepted that or if she really remembered. It was impossible to know for sure. I only know that she seemed more accepting.

After lunch, I watched the Master’s with the sound off. I played music that I knew Kate enjoys. She lay down to rest but never went to sleep. She enjoyed the music.

The biggest problem of the day occurred when we attended a drop-in at the home of a couple we have met at Casa Bella on jazz nights. They usually sit at our table, and I have enjoyed talking with them. Kate has not had the same connection. I accepted the invitation with the intention of putting in an appearance and then coming home. I hadn’t anticipated exactly how Kate would respond, but she has gotten along so well in other situations I decided to try. Big mistake. We were in a completely different part of town in a home in which we had never visited before. Along with that, there were a large number of people. It turned out that the primary connection was jazz. I saw several people I knew from other places in the community, but Kate didn’t know anyone. That included the people we really did know. The arrangement of the house was confusing to her. She didn’t know where she should go or what to do. A couple of times when I was engaged in a conversation, she walked away. She was quite uneasy and ready to leave almost from the time we arrived. There was nothing redeeming for her. I got something for us to eat, paid our respect to our hosts, and left. I have avoided social gatherings like this for quite some time. This experience confirmed what I suspected. It’s just too much for her.

We relaxed when we got home. She sat down with her “Big Sister” album. I asked if she would like me to look through it with her. I was hoping (and expecting) she would say yes. She didn’t. After a while, I noticed she was as excited about the album as she usually is. That’s when I discovered that she was confused about what to do with it. She had been treating it like her iPad with the puzzles app. She kept touching the photos, but nothing happened. Even after I explained the problem, she couldn’t catch on. I suggested she take a break and work with her iPad. She was glad to do that and worked on it for the remainder of the evening.

During the past couple of weeks, I have referred to how cheerful Kate has been. That hasn’t been true the past couple of days, especially yesterday. Like everything else, I can’t be sure exactly what accounts for the change; however, I always wonder if she isn’t feeling a bit discouraged about how she is doing. She is still sharp enough to recognize that she is not all right. Whatever the explanation, I know it is harder for me to be upbeat when she is not.

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