A Day of Confusion, Not “Knowing,” and Insecurity

About 4:15 yesterday morning, Kate moved over very close to me. Then she took my hand and held it gently. I often wonder if she knows who I am when she wakes in the middle of the night. Neither of us said anything, but this was a time when I felt sure that she did.

I was wide awake and decided to get up at 4:45. After finishing in the bathroom, I walked toward my closet when I heard her say, “Hey.” I walked over to the bed and could see that she was having one of her moments of confusion. I asked if I could help her. She said, “I don’t know.” I said, “I bet I can. Were you wondering where you are?” She told me she was. I explained that we were at home. She had trouble believing that. I didn’t push it. She asked my name and then hers. She said, “Who are you?” I told her I was her husband. This was one of those times when she didn’t express any doubt or say, “How did that happen?” I told her we had been happily married for fifty-six years and that I loved her. She said she loved me too.

We talked a little longer, and I asked again if there were anything specific I could help her with. She wanted to go to the bathroom. As she got out of bed, she was shaking a little. She held my hand and said, “I’m sure glad I have you.” I said, “And I’m glad I have you.” When she finished in the bathroom, she said, “What now?” I told her it was early and I thought she should go back to bed. After walking her to bed, I was about to ask if she would like me to stay with her when she asked me to stay. We talked about fifteen minutes. During that time, she was very insecure and expressed her feelings about feeling better with me. Then she said, “I’m all right now. You can go.” I told her to call me if she needed me. She said, “What should I say?” I told her she could just say, “Hey.” She wanted to know my name. When I told her, she said, “Okay, Mr. Richard.”

We had a nice relaxing day. It was Labor Day. My Rotary club did not meet, and I gave the sitter the day off. Most of our usual restaurants were closed, so we went to one we like but rarely visit. Then we came back home for the afternoon. Kate was very tired and rested for at least two hours but did not go to sleep. When she sat up, I asked if she would like to go someplace like Barnes & Noble. She said she would rather stay at home. That is now becoming a more established pattern. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we went out almost every afternoon. That is another change that has cut down on our social contact. That means our eating out is becoming more important for us.

Since she didn’t want to leave the house, I suggested we look at an old photo album I had retrieved from a closet the day before. It has pictures of our children at the time of our son’s birth. It had been a very long time (years) since we had looked at them. We spent another hour with it. Kate loved every minute. As she has done with the other family photo books, Kate can never make the associations that would help her guess who the people are. For example, after I identified Jesse and Kevin in one photograph and pointed out Jesse in the following picture, she didn’t know who the boy was even when they were dressed in the same clothes as the previous photo. I don’t mean that this happens every time, but it is very common.

Before leaving for dinner, she said something that reinforces my belief that she recognizes that she has a significant “problem” and depends on me. She struggled with how to say it and ended up saying something like, “I know my problem is not that serious, but I appreciate your taking such good care of me.”

Throughout the entire day she seemed very insecure. She expressed that by her thanking me for taking care of her and asking what she should do somewhat more than during a typical day. As I have said before, her neediness and expressions of appreciation make me more determined to keep her happy and see that the rest of her life goes as smoothly as it can.

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