Trying to Get Back to “Normal”

About 10:45 yesterday morning, I put on some music to wake Kate. Ten minutes later, I approached her bed. She looked up at me and smiled. I knew it would be a different day. I didn’t test her, but she appeared to recognize me. She was still very relaxed and not ready to get up. I chatted with her for another few minutes before telling her I would like to take her to lunch.

She still didn’t want to get up, but finally, with a little encouragement, she did. It was a shower day, and she wasn’t enthusiastic about that. Again, she delayed a little but agreed it was good to get one. Then it was back to bed for another twenty minutes before I got her dressed.

It was a morning when she wanted to exercise her independence and let me know it rather sternly when I tried to help. This is a tough situation for her because she always ends up recognizing that she needs help even though she wants to do everything for herself. I really felt for her. I am always struck by her self-awareness when she responds so harshly to me. She apologized several times before going to lunch. I may say more in another post, but I want to emphasize something I have said before. I don’t interpret her irritation with me to be a direct symptom of her Alzheimer’s. It appears to be result of what is a symptom – an inability to understand what I want her to do and/or my intentions. In her confusion, she strikes back in defense then intuitively recognizes that is not the way she has traditionally acted or wants to act.

Our walk through the family room was not as long as it often is, but she did react positively to the usual things that appeal to her. It was the drive to lunch with music she enjoyed that brought her back.

We didn’t get to the restaurant until 12:45. They were “slammed.” As a result, we didn’t get home until almost 3:00. She was ready to rest and did so for the next two hours. I was on a phone call with my brother fifty minutes of that time. She appeared to sleep a while, but she was awake most of the time. She often mentions the trees outback, especially the tops of the trees she sees through the skylights. She didn’t talk at all yesterday. A half hour before we left for dinner, I thought about looking at some of our old photos, but that didn’t seem to appeal to her.

Throughout the day, she was confused about a variety of things. Most of them were the usual ones I have mentioned before. I had a hard time getting her to understand about using soap when she showered. When I attempted to show her by putting the soap on her, she said, “Don’t touch me.” I think that was a moment when she didn’t recognize who I was. She is also beginning to get confused about the use of her toothbrush and toothpaste. At dinner, I brought her an extra napkin. She didn’t know what to do with it. I explained it was just an extra one she could use if she needed it. (She always does.) She said, “Where should I put it?” I showed her a place on the table to the left of her fork. She couldn’t understand what I meant. I finally placed it for her. She still looked confused.

The best part of the day, and it was really good, came after we got home. I turned on the TV to a YouTube video of a concert version of My Fair Lady with Kiri Te Kanawa and Jeremy Irons. I have played this several times before, but she was never as taken with it as she was last night. She sat in her chair and devoted her attention to it for almost an hour. That is unusual. It is more typical for her to lie down in bed and listen without watching. When the video was over, I got her ready for bed. I had intended to stay up a little longer as I usually do, but she wanted me to come to bed as well.

Ending the day on a high note is one of the most predictable times of the day. The morning continues to be the most unpredictable; overall, however, we still have more happy times than sad ones. I am grateful.

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