More Confusion and Anxiety

Kate had another anxiety attack this morning. I had just come out of the bathroom and was walking to my closet to get dressed when she said, “Hello.” She sounded quite normal. I walked to the bed and asked if she wanted to go to the bathroom. She didn’t. Then I sat down on the bed and said, “Good morning. Could I help you with anything?” She looked puzzled and said, “I don’t know.” I recognized that she had waked up and had no idea where she was or who I was. I said, “You seem a little confused. I’d like to help you.” She said, “Where am I?” I told her she was in our bedroom in Knoxville. She said, “Who are you?” I gave her my name and told her I was her husband. She didn’t appear to recognize me. This started a circle of the same questions for the next few minutes.

I told her she was the daughter of Elizabeth and Carl Franklin. She didn’t react. I mentioned our children. She still didn’t respond with any sign of recognition. After a few minutes of these same questions, I told her I was getting cold and would like to come around to the other side of the bed and get in with her. She looked very suspicious. I said, “Would that be all right?” She said yes.

Once I was in bed, I began to talk softly to her about her family and our relationship. None of this sparked the kind of recognition that I was hoping for. I asked her if she would like to look at one of her family photo books. That didn’t appeal to her. It wasn’t long before I mentioned the three-ring-binder that is a “memory” book I made for her. I asked if she would like me to read it for her. She liked that. I brought it from the family room and read through the whole thing. It’s not all that long, but it seemed to do the trick. It has the names of her grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren. It also contains information about our first date, courtship, wedding, places we have lived, places we have traveled, etc.

It probably took about 10-15 minutes for me to read it to her. About half-way through, she began to smile as she recognized some of the people and places. By the end, she was completely relaxed. It looked like she was falling asleep. I told her that I was thinking about getting some breakfast and asked if that would be all right or if she would like me to stay. She said, “Stay.” I remained in bed with her another 10 minutes. She was sound asleep. I got up and dressed and ate breakfast.

After breakfast, I read a couple of Twitter messages. I looked up at the video cam and noticed that Kate was sitting up on the side of the bed. I went back to her and found that she had gone to my closet and picked out a pair of her pants and my underwear. She was wearing them when I walked in. She didn’t seem the least bit confused, but she wasn’t cheerful. As I tried to help her with the rest of her clothes, she was insistent on doing it herself. It wasn’t long before she needed help with her bra and socks and asked for help. I feel sorry for her when this happens. She wants so much to be independent, but she really can’t do everything for herself. I think it is good for her to try, but sometimes I jump in to help before she is ready.

By the time she was dressed, she was back to normal. It was about 8:45. I took her to Panera for a muffin. While there, we had a good experience with one of the employees who works behind the counter. After we had been there about twenty minutes, the employee stopped by our table to speak to Kate. She is a very cheerful person. I commented on that, and she told us that cancer changed her life. She is a survivor and thankful for every day. Kate was energized talking with her.

We’re back home now. Kate worked on her iPad a little while and is now napping. I’m not surprised. She was up at least two hours earlier than normal and that was after being awake for an hour or so around 6:15.

We always seem to recover from these moments/periods of confusion, but I fear they are becoming more common. That coupled with the number of other changes she is making remind me that we are in a different place now. These are more challenging times.