I know I sound like a broken record, but I want to add another Happy Moment to this blog. We don’t experience such moments 24/7; however, Kate has gradually improved during the past year. She continues to surprise me with her cheerfulness, smiles, and overall good humor.
I wondered how it would go when I learned that our previous M-F caregiver was going to fill in for our new caregiver one day this past week. It turned out beautifully and began the moment she arrived. When Kate saw her and heard her voice, she burst into one of her biggest smiles. It was obvious that she remembered her.
I’ve written before about this caregiver. She was especially attentive to Kate, and they bonded. Almost a year ago, I nominated her for “Employee of the Month,” an honor she received in March. That put her in contention for “Employee of the Year” among the winners of the other eleven months. She won that award as well. I was very disappointed to lose her, but she was having back problems and also wanted a change in her schedule that didn’t match our needs.
The day went very well, but the “Grand Finale” occurred after we returned to our apartment following dinner. Kate and the caregiver began what was at least a 15-minute conversation. For someone with aphasia who rarely speaks that is remarkable. She was perfectly comfortable and talked as much or more than the caregiver. It warmed my heart to be an observer.
Nothing has happened that could match that since then, but the past few days have also been good ones. Three days in a row Kate woke up with a smile, and yesterday she was also talking. This is not typical. That’s another change that has occurred more often in recent months. My explanation for the changes she has made in the past year has occurred because she feels more at ease. She receives a good bit of reinforcement from everyone, which makes her even more at ease. It also makes me very happy.
At the time I uploaded this post yesterday morning, the first sentence in my closing paragraph was true; however, I couldn’t anticipate what would happen yesterday afternoon. When I returned from lunch, I found her especially cheerful and talkative. She and I talked steadily for almost an hour before we went out for her daily ice cream and dinner. She was less talkative during these times, but the situation was less conducive to conversation. When we came back to the apartment, we continued to talk. That lasted until she was in bed for the night. I took thirty-four short videos (mostly 20-45 seconds) during our conversations. It was an amazing experience.