Saturday morning Kate did something she has never done before. It was a few minutes after 7:00. I was about to fix my breakfast when I heard her say, “Hey.” I went to her and asked what I could do for her. She asked if we had anything to eat. I told her I could get her a breakfast bar. She didn’t know what that was. I took her to the bathroom. Then she wanted something to wear. Knowing it was early and that she would probably want to return to bed, I got a robe and helped her put it on.
Then I made a decision to do something very different for us – even before Alzheimer’s. I set a place for both of us at our kitchen table. I gave up the idea of cooking eggs. I opened a package of granola and poured a little into a bowl for each of us. I gave her a breakfast bar, a banana, and a glass of water. I know that we have eaten breakfast together when traveling, but I can’t recall our ever doing so at home. We didn’t have any milk, so we ate dry granola. She was quite relaxed and ate everything I gave her. As far as the food was concerned, nothing was special. It was, nevertheless, a pleasant and very special moment for us.
Apart from our eating together, I had one other surprise. I had already poured a glass of V8 juice before she called me to the bedroom. She hasn’t cared for V8. For a long time, she drank apple juice in the morning with a cup of yogurt. I looked in our somewhat bare pantry and found a bottle of apple juice that had expired in November of 2018. Then I told her I had only given her water because I new she wasn’t a fan of V8. She didn’t remember what that was and said she would try it. I gave her a small glass, and she drank the whole thing.
There are other things like that. For example, she has always wanted butter and not oil with her bread. At two of the restaurants we frequent, the servers Know to bring us both. She recently asked me what “that” was. I told her it was olive oil and herbs, and I used it for my bread. She tried it and liked it. Similarly, she has never liked onions except in French onion soup. Now she eats onions if they are cooked with her food. She doesn’t recognize that she is eating onions although she still rejects raw onions. A similar surprise is that she sometimes eats her sweet potato fries without ketchup.
Except for a few moments of confusion, the past few days have been very pleasant ones for us. For several mornings, she has been in a cheerful mood. That has made it easier to get her up and help her with bathing and brushing teeth. I don’t mean to suggest that there has been any overall improvement in her memory, but she has not been concerned or depressed about it. She depends more heavily on me, and, for the most part, has been following my lead. It’s a bit like having a mini-vacation within the context of caregiving.