A Day of Ups and Downs

As I said in my previous post, Kate was resting peacefully yesterday morning though not asleep. When I felt it was time to get her up for lunch, I encountered what appeared to be a combination of anxiety and depression. She didn’t want to get up. I quickly sensed that this wasn’t something I had faced before. She seemed more frightened. It was also one of those times when she wasn’t sure who I was and wasn’t as trusting as usual.

I decided not to worry about getting her up immediately but to see if I could comfort her as I have done in the past. I brought in the photo of her mother from the hallway. She looked at it but didn’t say anything nor did she express any interest in seeing it. I put it back and brought in the “Big Sister” album with the photo of her and her brother on the cover. She was mildly interested. She did recognize herself, but it didn’t do a thing to change her mood or readiness to get up.

I said, “You look frightened. Are you?” She nodded her agreement. I said, “I would like to help you if I can.” She said, “I know you want to help, but there isn’t anything you can do.” I asked if she could tell me about it. She couldn’t. I continued to talk with her very gently focusing on making her comfortable with me. That paid off.

After what was probably fifteen minutes, I asked if I could take her to lunch. She said, “I don’t know.” Then I suggested that she might feel better if she got dressed and we went to lunch. She didn’t buy into that immediately, but I assured her that she would feel better if she got up. She finally agreed.

When she got to the family room, she started to recover. She took an even longer time looking at the plants on the patio and the trees behind our house. She also perked up when she saw her ceramic cat just before entering the kitchen. All of this stimulation took her mind off of her fright. It looked like she was fine. Then as we stepped out of the house into the garage, she became frightened again. She didn’t know why.

We got into the car, and I put on some music that I hoped would help to calm her. That worked. By the time we reached the restaurant, she was all right. We encountered only one issue during lunch. She asked my name. I told her, and then she became very sad about not remembering it. Then she asked her name. When I told her, she tried several times to repeat it, but was only able to do it with great difficulty. The rest of our lunch went well, and we got back to the house without any problems.

As she often does, she asked what she could do. I gave her the usual options. She decided to look at a photo book. I decided to let her look through it by herself. I read the introductory information. Before I finished, she was tired and wanted to rest.

She rested about two hours before I asked if she would like to look at some of our old 35 mm slides that I had converted to digital a few years ago. She usually declines. This time she surprised me. I got my laptop and sat down beside her. I started with photos from the Fall of 1968 when our daughter was born. She enjoyed seeing them. It had been years since we had looked at them. We spent almost an hour doing that before going to dinner. It was a highlight of the day.

As we drove home from dinner, she became concerned about “the other people” who would be “there.” I explained that we were going to our house and that no one else would be there. I told her it would be a time for us to relax without any obligations. That seemed to relieve her. At least she didn’t say anything more about it.

At home, she surprised me again by working on her jigsaw puzzles for over an hour without much help. After that she was tired and wanted to quit. We adjourned to the bedroom, and she was in bed around 8:00. It is almost 10:00 this morning, and she hasn’t gotten up. I’ll let her sleep until 10:45 if she doesn’t wake sooner. I am hoping for a better day.

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