In my previous post, I commented on what I might call my “Care Team” (professionals, friends, family) and my “Arsenal” (my personal resources I can use as needed). I didn’t specifically mention our visits with out-of-town friends. We have a number of them in the Nashville area whom we have known since our undergraduate and graduate school days. It’s not a great distance from Knoxville, and we have gotten together periodically for years. We have continued to do so since Kate’s diagnosis.
Angie and Tom Robinson are among that group and were in town this past Saturday. We joined them for lunch and afterwards at our home. Prior to each visit, I always wonder how Kate will respond. In the past, everything has gone well. Over time they have been able to pick up on some of Kate’s changes, but not nearly to the degree they did this time. Of course, they were not with us long enough to get the full picture, but they saw far more than in the past. I think they would say that for the first time they could really see her as a person with Alzheimer’s.
The annual Christmas parade had just ended, and a weekly market on Main Street was still underway. That meant we couldn’t park as close to the restaurant as I had wanted. As we walked from the car to restaurant, Kate was bothered by the cold and wind. When something bothers her, she wants it eliminated immediately. The walk didn’t allow for that. She complained about the weather in a way that expressed more irritation than she would have done before Alzheimer’s.
They got to see some of her confusion with respect to ordering and remembering what I had ordered for her. The good news is that she was perfectly at ease with both Angie and Tom. In an email, Angie told me that Kate had asked her to “help me not to do anything stupid.” That is something she often says to me. Angie also said that Kate put her hand on hers several times. In addition, they got to see her confusion regarding her drinks. Kate asked her several times if she could drink her tea and water.
When we finished our meal, I went back to the car and found a parking place in front of the restaurant. While I was gone, Angie said they had a good conversation with Kate “and her responses were pretty good.” It was another good illustration of her ability to respond to people she has known in the past although their names and the things we have done together are long forgotten. As long as she is able to do that, I am optimistic our visits will continue for a good while.