Ups and Downs This Week, Mostly Ups

It’s been a busy week. My daily schedule has been interrupted more frequently than in the past. That means I’ve been less regular with my posts. Several times I have started one and not been able to finish because of something else I needed to do. Kate has required more attention than usual, but that doesn’t explain everything. The other things have involved household chores.

Tuesday was one of those days about which I didn’t say anything. I was especially interested in writing about the events of the day as a follow up to Monday when she had a rough beginning. Fortunately, I jotted down a few notes so that I can cover the highlights.

The day started like the day before. Her brain seemed to be “blank.” She was very dependent on me; however, she didn’t appear to be disturbed the way she was on Monday.

I don’t know that my own behavior played a role in the way she responded. I do know that I tried to be more careful in waking her than I had done the previous day. I played a full 20 minutes of relaxing music before going to the bedroom to wake her. When I entered the bedroom, she was awake. I said hello and sat down on the bed beside her. This wasn’t planned or intentional, but I think it may have played a role in conveying a relaxed morning, not a moment when I was eager to get her up.

She didn’t know her name or mine nor our relationship. When I said I was her husband, she couldn’t accept it. As I have done on other occasions, I suggested she think of me as a friend. She liked that. I mentioned a shower, but she didn’t want it. I didn’t push.

I told her I loved her. Though a bit unclear, she responded with what she meant to be “A Bushel and a Peck.” I pulled it up on the audio system, and we sang it together several times. Then I suggested she get up so I could take her to lunch. She got up easily. I had started to wake her with plenty of time for her to take a shower. When she didn’t shower, we were left us with additional time to get ready.

As a result, we got to lunch earlier than usual. She was very talkative and initiated a conversation as though we had never met before. She asked me what I did for a living. I explained that I had started out as a college professor. She wanted to know what I taught. When I told her sociology and social psychology, she asked me to explain. I did, and she said that sounded interesting. I went on to say I ended up with my own market research company. She didn’t know what market research is. I explained that, and she also thought that was interesting.

When I finished, I said, “Why don’t you tell me about yourself.” I knew this might put her on the spot but thought my question wasn’t especially threatening. She handled it well and said, “There really isn’t much to tell.” I told her I knew a lot about her. Then I recounted her academic background and teaching career. I pointed out that she had been a good student and had earned two masters degrees. Then I told her about her volunteer career as our church librarian. She was quite interested and added her own comments.

It had been almost a year and a half since she had had a cortisone shot for the arthritis in her knee. Over the past couple of months, she has complained about it periodically, so we went directly from the restaurant to the orthopedic clinic. She was very childlike throughout the visit but handled herself well. We waited in the lobby for about fifteen minutes. Assuming we might have to wait a while, I took along her “Big Sister Album.” I thought that would occupy her for a longer period of time than her iPad. She enjoyed looking at it and made a lot of comments. There were only a couple of others in the room. I am sure they wondered a bit as they heard me identify all the people including Kate herself as she responded much like a child listening to a parent read a book.

We didn’t wait any longer after going back to one of the examining rooms. We met with two different people. Kate didn’t understand a lot of what was said and asked for clarification. I helped interpret what they said. She never understood, but she was satisfied. As we left, she thanked everyone including those in the waiting room.

The most important thing I should say about the day was that it was one of the nicest days we have had in a long time. I think that relates directly to her mood. She was very happy and quite at ease. Her memory wasn’t any better nor was she any less confused about things like whether we were in Texas or Tennessee, but she enjoyed herself. I couldn’t understand everything she said in our conversations, but she was surprisingly sharp in terms of her understanding about the importance of values and the role of parents in teaching them to their children. She has lost so much of her rational ability that I really enjoy hearing her express her opinions, beliefs, feelings, and values that remain intact. It keeps me in touch with the Kate I have always known.

Recently, especially this week, our lives have vacillated between highs and lows. The highs have been very special, and we experienced them every day. They far outweigh the lows. I know greater challenges are on the way. I am counting on the Happy Moments to sustain us.

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