Update on Kate’s Talkative Days

After several posts between September 30 and October 5, Kate’s talkative days settled back into what had been our previous normal routine. That changed again this week.

On Monday, she was awake about 6:45. That changed my morning routine, but it was well worth it. I can’t recall her having a better day. She was far from wide awake, but her smile conveyed a cheerfulness that was to last until she went to sleep that night. I took care of her morning meds, something to drink, and her morning snack before the caregiver arrived, and I left for Rotary. I spent most of the morning beside her in bed and enjoyed every minute. We talked and enjoyed music videos on YouTube.

When I returned from Rotary and the grocery store, she, Adrienne, and I went out for ice cream. Since it’s not as hot as it was during the summer, we sat on a deck outside overlooking a beautifully landscaped area and remained there until going to the dining room for an early dinner.

It was a day when Kate seemed almost “unflappable.” The only things that seemed to trouble (bother? frighten?) her were a few bumps while in her wheelchair as we went out that afternoon. The only problem I encountered that day (and it’s a minor one) was that she stepped up her talkativeness at dinner and afterwards. At 9:30, I could see that she wasn’t ready to stop, and I resorted to Seroquel. I’m not sure how quickly it worked because she was still talking when I went to sleep. I awoke at 10:30, and she was out after having been up a long time.

I admit to having mixed emotions regarding my giving her a sedative to get her to sleep. Although she was quite talkative, she was relatively calm and certainly happy. Since she is quiet so much of the time, I really enjoy hearing her talk even though most of what she says makes little sense to me and is rooted in delusions and hallucinations. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy it as much when it encroaches on our normal bedtime. I’ve spoken with her doctor who says that the dose I am giving her is very mild, but I plan to speak with him again, probably at her next appointment in early November.

It was no surprise that she slept until noon on Tuesday and was tired the rest of the day. Her eyes were closed most of the time while she ate dinner. She perked up a little after dinner but went to sleep shortly after Adrienne left and slept through the night.

Yesterday, she was awake early and fully rested. Once again, she was cheerful, talkative, and unflappable. It was a day that easily matched the great day we had on Monday. Two highlights stand out. Both occurred on the deck outside the ice cream shop during the afternoon.

The first was quite a surprise. Adrienne feeds the ice cream to Kate but stepped inside to get a drink. Kate then picked up her spoon and scooped a bite of ice cream for herself. On several occasions, she has picked up food in her hands and eaten it (something we encourage), but this was the first time she had picked up a spoon or fork and fed herself. Ultimately, Adrienne took over. It was difficult for Kate to get more than a small bit of ice cream, but it was good to see her try.

A woman came out of her apartment onto her deck and down the stairs for an afternoon walk. We had spoken to her on one of our previous visits. This time I got up and introduced Kate, Adrienne, and myself. When she returned from her walk, I invited her to join us at our table.

We had a very pleasant conversation for the next twenty minutes or so. We were interested to know that, by chance, she had been given an apartment that was her mother’s forty years before. We discovered that she knows quite a few people at our church, and I knew her sister-in-law.

During our conversation, I was struck by the fact that Kate seemed to be picking up on some of the things we were saying. At one point, she stopped me and said, “You’re talking too fast.” When our neighbor told us goodbye, Kate told her goodbye. Like feeding herself the ice cream, this was a little thing, but it is not typical. Often, Kate doesn’t speak when someone speaks to her, so I am really pleased when she does.

Like so many other things, I can’t explain why she has such good days. It is as if she is simply in a good mood on some days and feels more secure than on other days. I only know that these days bring me a special sense of joy, something I didn’t expect at the time of her diagnosis 10 ½ years ago. That’s one more reason for me to be grateful.