Dreams, Delusions and Hallucinations

Here’s another post in which I will never be able to capture the details. Let me start and see where it goes but understand you will not be getting the whole story.

Kate has talked in her sleep off and on during her life with Alzheimer’s. In the early years, the focus was almost always her teaching and library career. Most, if not all these experiences, involved her speaking to students. She was very deliberate in what she was telling them. Her memories of those days faded away long ago, but she continued her talking just in different situations.

Yesterday morning at 3:00 she had another “dream” experience similar to one she had a week or two ago. She seemed wide awake and very clear-headed. She wanted to go to the bathroom. On the way and back to bed, she looked and sounded normal but she appeared to be “dreaming while awake.” That’s hard to describe, but she talked as though we were someplace away from home. She mentioned other people. Then she said, “What do we have planned for tonight?” I told her we were going to have dinner at Casa Bella. She asked if we were going with anybody. I told her we would go by ourselves and sit with the same people with whom we usually sit. She was pleased we were going by ourselves although I thought she missed the fact that we would sit with others.

I thought that was it, but after we were in bed we spent the next fifteen minutes or so repeating the same conversation. Then we both went back to sleep. This kind of thing has occurred several times in the past. I think she has a dream about some obligation and is concerned about it. In a couple of instances, it was clear that she thought she had an appointment and needed to get ready. Most often, she just asks the question and the repeats it a number of times without any expression of anxiety.

About 10:15, I noticed that she was sitting up in bed. I went back to see if she wanted to go to the bathroom. She smiled as I got near the bed. It looked like everything was fine. We chatted a few minutes. She said, “Where am I?” When I told her we were at home, she wasn’t satisfied with the answer. She wanted to go home. At first, I told her she was at home, but that didn’t sink in.

I tried to divert her attention by taking her to the family room. She enjoyed seeing all things she usually admires, but she still wanted to go home. She was also tired. I led her back to the bed. She didn’t want me to leave her although she didn’t remember who I was. I brought my laptop and sat with her for another thirty minutes before suggesting that we go to lunch. By that time, she had forgotten about going home, and she didn’t say anything more the rest of the day.

When we got home, she had a brief hallucination as we got out of the car. She pointed to something leaning against the side of the garage. She thought it was a girl. There wasn’t anything I could see that might cause her to think that, but I just went along.

She had another unusual experience after she was in bed. She pointed to the ceiling and mentioned something about the “people over there.” I was never able to make much sense out of what she was saying. Then she said she wanted me to help her understand what was going on. I told her I would be glad to and asked what she needed to know. She pointed around the room and said something I never understood. It was another sign of her aphasia. She used a word that had nothing to do with whatever she meant. I think she was talking about all the objects in the room, but I was never clear. Periodically, she would say, “See them over there.” A couple of times, she mentioned animals in the room.

We got through the night without any special “happenings.” She was up early to go to the bathroom and was in a cheerful mood. She has been back in bed for almost two hours. I noticed on the video cam that she is moving around in bed. I’ll check on her. It’s about time to get her up for lunch. I wonder what’s up for today. Clearly, her brain is making changes. I never know where it will lead.

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