I have often said that I am able to lead Kate to a recovery whenever she has challenging moments. Most of those involve her confusion in the morning. More recently, she seems more frightened by sudden noises like those we hear at restaurants. She is also more irritable. I attribute that to her not understanding or anticipating my intentions when I help her. Yesterday morning all of these came together.
It began when her overnight underwear (pull-ups) failed. I was in the kitchen and heard her say something. She was upset. When I asked if I could help she said, “Get me out of here.” I got her to the bathroom. As I helped her get cleaned up and brush teeth, she alternated between wanting me to tell her what to do and resisting my help. As she usually does, she got tears in her eyes and apologized to me several times. While we were standing at the sink, I put my hand on her arm. She shrieked as though I were going to harm her. I asked why she was so upset. She cried and said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.” I believe that was a very honest answer. She really doesn’t know why, but she still feels she shouldn’t respond to me this way. I tried especially hard to respond in a gentle, caring way to comfort her.
Several times she said, “Why did you bring me here? I just want to go home.” I told her I would take her home. Then I got her dressed and took her to Panera for a muffin. Once we were in the car, she seemed fine. She even spent more time on her iPad than usual. In fact, we would have stayed longer except that it was almost time for the sitter who comes at noon on Monday. She didn’t mention going home again. The sitter came a few minutes after we got home, and Kate was just as natural with her as she is with me. I felt good as I left.
Looking back, I see the only difference yesterday morning from other challenging mornings was how upset Kate was. I don’t believe it lasted any longer than other mornings when she is confused. It does reinforce my belief that remaining calm with her and easing her into her daily routine brings about her recovery.
I hope this will continue, but I know I can’t be sure. I am reading a memoir written by a doctor who cared for his wife who had Alzheimer’s. I have identified with him in a variety of ways, especially his desire to care for his wife in such a loving way. Last night I read a section in which he relates the severe anger that his wife experienced in the late stage of the disease. Is that ahead for Kate? As they say, “only time will tell.’