Yesterday morning before Kate was up, I posted a tweet that said, “Feeling grateful today. At Stage 7 #Alzheimers, Kate often fails to remember my name or hers, doesn’t know her way around the house, needs help with everything, and is losing her ability to speak, HOWEVER, we still enjoy life and each other.”
I thought a while before posting it for two reasons. First, I don’t want people to think we have escaped all the negative aspects of Alzheimer’s. We haven’t. Second, I don’t want other caregivers whose situations are much different than ours to think they must be doing something wrong or they would also be enjoying life the way we have. From the start, I have wanted to provide an accurate description of our lives. It seems like being able to enjoy life while living with such a devastating disease needs to be told.
After posting the tweet, I realized that my grateful feeling could be easily followed by something that would bring me down from my perch. That could have happened. It is not unusual for us to experience such swings from high to low and back again. I am happy to say that our morning turned out to be a confirmation of our good times.
Kate was up at 7:30, in a cheerful mood, and ready for the day. We were at Panera before 8:30 and back home before 9:30. I wasn’t surprised that she wanted to rest. While she did that, I did a few household chores.
At 10:00, she had rested enough. I asked if she would like me to read a little of Charlotte’s Web. We spent the next hour reading. We both had fun, but I found my voice was getting a bit hoarse. For the better part of the day yesterday and the day before she didn’t recognize our house as ours. I’m not sure whose she thought it was. I suggested that I show her around the house. She was ready.
We spent the next hour walking first through the kitchen, then the dining room, through the living room, and back to the family room. Along the way we made numerous stops as I told her the stories behind many of the pictures, furniture, and other items some of which had come from her parents’ house. She was enthralled. As I expected, she was particularly excited about the variety of things that had been her parents. You might think that because we had so many things of her parents and that I talked about our having them in our home she would have come to realize that she was in our home; however, I never got a sense that she recognized it as ours. In fact, three or four times she asked, “Who owns this house?” Each time I told her that we did, but it never seemed to stick.
Once again, we had had an experience that can be looked on with sadness – sadness that she doesn’t recognize her own home or the many things that should be treasured memories for her. I am just glad that with my help she can experience them in the moment. Yesterday morning was a very Happy Moment for her and for me. I am grateful.