Confusion Yesterday Morning

Kate woke up around 7:30 yesterday morning to go to the bathroom. She seemed rather alert. I didn’t ask, but she acted as though she knew exactly who I am. I realize, however, that appearances don’t necessarily jibe with reality. She went back to bed and slept until 10:30. This time she was confused.

I asked if she was ready to get up. She said, “I don’t know.” She didn’t look disturbed or frightened. It wasn’t the way she has been when she has had anxiety attacks. I asked if I could help her. She said, “I don’t know.” No matter what I said she said “I don’t know.” Then I suggested that she take a shower and that might help to wake her up. She didn’t want to shower.

I took another tack. I told her she should get dressed, and we could go to the family room where I might be able to show her something that would help. As she was dressing, she asked my name and her own several times. When she was finished, we went to the family room where I picked up the “Big Sister” album. We spent about about twenty minutes looking through it before going to lunch. She didn’t recognize the cover photo of herself with her brother. When we opened to the first page of pictures, she didn’t recognize herself, or her parents. As she has done in the past, she didn’t recognize her father after I identified her mother who was sitting with him. Although she didn’t show any improvement in recognizing her family, she did seem more comfortable than before. Her intuitive abilities were working.

As we drove to lunch, she seemed normal, and I was beginning to think she knew who I was. When we walked from the car to the restaurant, she asked my name. Similar moments like this over the past week suggest that she is close to losing the ability to remember my name and relationship to her. I am not expecting this to happen suddenly, but it is becoming more and more difficult for her to remember my name. I know it will only get worse. I still take satisfaction that she recognizes me as someone she trusts.

Yesterday on Twitter I exchanged several message related to the important of feeling safe among those living with Alzheimer’s. I am also encouraged that she continues to say that she feels safe with me. When this first started occurring, I didn’t know what to make of it. The more I have watched her decline and the more I have read, I have come to realize how frightening it must be not to where one is, who one is with, and “who I am?” I don’t think I would feel safe either.

When we got home, we had about twenty minutes before our sitter, Mary, arrived. Kate wanted to know what she could do. I showed her the three-ring binder with a lot of personal and family information. She was interested. When I left for the Y, she and Mary were seated side by side on the sofa going through the information. I was encouraged.

When I got home Kate was resting on the sofa while Mary sat in a chair across from her. Mary said that she and Kate had spent most of the time looking through the binder and then a couple of the photo books. She said Kate had been resting about an hour.

The rest of the day was uneventful. Kate indicated she was glad I was home and wanted to know “What next?” I told her it was time for dinner. When we returned home, she worked on her iPad until time for bed. She needed my help periodically but never showed any sense of frustration.

She got to bed a little earlier than usual but was still awake when I joined her an hour later. This morning she was up at 8:30 and took a shower. She didn’t show any signs of confusion or grogginess and acted normally toward me. I had her clothes out for her, but she went back to bed where she is resting/sleeping now. We don’t have any special obligations today. I will let her sleep until 11:00 if she doesn’t get up earlier.

The big event of the day actually comes tonight. Kate’s brother, Kevin and his wife, Virginia, are flying in for a short visit. Their flight doesn’t arrive until 7:00 this evening. They are renting a car and will meet us at the restaurant where I have made dinner reservations. Kate has changed a good bit since their visit in the fall, but I am optimistic that it will go well. I will be eager for the two of them to have some time together as they did on their previous visit. We have plenty of photo books to inspire good conversation. I am looking forward to having them with us.

A Good Day

After resting so much the day before, I hoped that Kate would be up a little earlier yesterday. I got my wish. I didn’t have to wake her. She wasn’t up early enough for Panera, but we did get to lunch shortly after 11:30. She was happy, and we enjoyed our lunch time together.

It didn’t surprise me that she wanted to rest as soon as we got home. She is doing that quite regularly these days. We had hair appointments at 3:00. About 2:25, I reminded her of that, and she got up right away. She took a little time to brush her teeth and use the bathroom, but we arrived for our appointments almost ten minutes early.

When we returned home, she worked on her iPad until time for dinner. That was a little over an hour. She continues to have trouble with the puzzles but did pretty well.

The best part of the day occurred at home after dinner. I have mentioned before that Kate often says, “That goes in the book.” She does that whenever we are talking about things that happened in the past. Almost a year ago, I jotted down a number of things that I thought were of importance to her. That includes the names of her family (grandparents, parents, brother and his wife, our children and grandchildren) our courtship and marriage, places we have lived and traveled, as well as a couple of letters I had sent to my parents when we were dating, one from Kate’s mother to my parents during that same period of time, and another from our son that he sent to us after our 50th anniversary. I put the information in a three-ring binder and included some family photos in the back.

After dinner, I asked Kate if she would like to look at it while I watched the news. She did and enjoyed it. It was difficult for her to read, and she asked me to read parts to her. I was pleased that she was interested. She hasn’t expressed much interest until the past few days. She prefers her photo books. I suspect her memory loss may play a part in the recent appeal of reading about things that have been so much a part of her life.

Going through the book gave a little more understanding of the challenges she has with reading and her photo books. For example, I read the letter from our son. I, of course, told her it was from Kevin. In addition, he talks about us and our marriage from his perspective throughout the letter. When I finished with “Love, Kevin,” she was almost in tears. She said it was beautiful and thanked me for writing it. It’s another illustration of the weakness of her rational abilities and the strength of her intuitive ones. She couldn’t remember that it was from Kevin nor pick up that it was from him by what he said. She was, however, able to pick up on the feelings expressed. She may have assumed it was from me since I read it to her.

Another example involved four photographs I had just added to the binder. One of those is of her grandmother that was taken in Lucerne, Switzerland in the mid-1930s. The other is one of us taken in the same spot in 2015. I had them enlarged to 8 x 10s so that she could see them more easily. I told her who the people were and asked if she noticed anything about where the pictures were taken. She didn’t understand what I was asking. I said, “Do you see anything similar about the two pictures?” It took a lot of help on my part for her to see they were taken at the same place. She would never have noticed without my help.

The other two pictures were of her mother taken on the boardwalk in Quebec City with the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in the background and one of Kate taken in the same place. Her parents had stayed at the hotel on their honeymoon in 1936. We stayed there our on our 41st anniversary in 2004. I went through the same routine with these pictures. I’m not sure she ever understood what they had in common. If she did, it didn’t generate any interest. She was, however, interested in the binder’s overall contents. I am glad about that because it gives her something else to enjoy besides her puzzles and photo books. I also intend to add more information. There is plenty of material I can add. The challenge is how to package it in such a way that it is not overwhelming.

By the way, I originally printed it in a 14-pt. font. I have gradually increased it to 36. I think that may be where I stop. She seemed to be able to read that.

Our Easter

Since our friend Ellen had her stroke almost four years ago, Easter has been a bit different for us. For years she hosted her church choir for lunch at her house. That is now a thing of the past, and we have replaced that custom by eating at a restaurant. That makes it pretty much the same as other days.

The day started slowly when Kate didn’t want to get up. That is the second time in the past three days. She insisted that I go without her, but I told her I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her. This comes at the same time she is beginning to rest a little more in the afternoon.

We went to lunch at a place that has an Easter buffet. That has become more difficult for her, but I seated her before going to the buffet to get her food. This required two trips as it is a bit cumbersome for me to maneuver two plates around the four or five different serving tables and then back to our own. In addition, it required me to leave Kate while I went to a separate room where the buffet was located. The meal was good, but I don’t think I will do this again. It is much easier to go where there is wait service.

Kate was in a good mood despite her not wanting to get up. That’s one of the good things about memory loss. She quickly forgets moments like this. As we were eating, she said, “What’s your name?” I said, “Richard Creighton.” She repeated it. Then I said “And I’m your husband.” She gave me a dirty look and said, “I know that.” A few minutes later, she asked, “Are  we married?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “I thought so.”

We went home after lunch. Kate said she wanted to rest and remained in bed for almost three hours. By then, it was close to dinner time. As we drove out of the driveway to the restaurant, she said, “I like this place, but I’m ready to go home.” I said, “It’s always nice to be at home.”

As we approached the restaurant, Kate said, “Are you married?” I said, “Are you?” She said, “No.” She said, “Are you?” I said, “Yes. I married a sweet gal named Kate Franklin.” Kate said, “So we are married?” I asked how she felt about that. She said she was fine. I said, “That’s good because we’ve been married a long time.” Since we were close to the restaurant, we didn’t pursue it further.

On the way back, she said, “What can I do when we get home?” For the first time, it struck me that she said “home.” I hadn’t thought about it before, but I usually feel that she doesn’t know where we are or where we are going. I think I am right most of the time, but we do go directly home after eating meals. That must be stored deep within her memory.  I suggested that we look at one of her photo books. She thought that was a good idea, and we spent well over an hour looking at one of her father’s family. She enjoyed every minute but was getting tired. We adjourned to the bedroom where she worked on her iPad until it was time to go to bed. I have had to encourage her to get to bed many nights lately, but that wasn’t necessary this time.

Even though she was in bed a good portion of the entire day, we enjoyed ourselves. After we were in bed, we talked briefly about the day and agreed it had been a good one.

Growing Confusion

I can’t say that I am observing any new symptoms of Kate’s Alzheimer’s; however, I sense that she is sinking deeper into confusion. The things I report below may sound familiar to you. Just try to imagine that the way she looks and the way she says things suggest something more serious than before.

One of those things is a more consistent failure to realize she is at home. She is routinely ready to take her toothbrush and toothpaste whenever we leave the house. I think she believes we are leaving a hotel. It is becoming commonplace for her to ask where we are when she wakes up.

It also involves an increase in the frequency with which she doesn’t know I am her husband as well as the length of time it takes for her to accept that I am. As we walked from the car to the restaurant for lunch day before yesterday, she said, “Who are you?” I said, “Richard Creighton.” She said, “I know that. Who are you?” I said, “I’m your husband.” She said, “Oh.” There was no other indication of surprise, uneasiness, or enthusiasm. She got the information she wanted and accepted it. While we were eating, she said, “Are you the owner of this place?” I don’t think I have mentioned this before, but she often attributes things to me with which I have no connection. The most common one occurs when we are listening to music in the car. She often says, “Is that you singing?”

At lunch yesterday, she asked my name and then hers. Then she asked, “Who are you?” When I told her, she didn’t believe me. I decided to tell her about our first date and our courtship while I was working at the funeral home. As I recited these experiences she began recognize them. Then I told her we would celebrate our fifty-sixth anniversary next month. I don’t mean to suggest that all her memories came back. It was just enough for her to accept that we are married. Then she asked if we have children.

She is much needier now. She is comfortable with Mary, our sitter; however, when I arrived home that same afternoon, Kate was especially glad to see me. She asked where we were and wanted to get away. She was was relieved when I told her we were at home. I don’t think she feels as comfortable asking Mary where she is.

On the way to dinner that night, she told me she really needs me. She has said this many times before, but it seems different now. Her facial and vocal expressions convey a greater need than the way she used to say it.

The other night after dinner, she wanted to know what to do. This, too, is becoming more common. I told her she could work on puzzles while I watched the news. She did that for almost an hour. Then she got frustrated. I suggested she look at her “Big Sister” photo album. She did for a while but stopped when I put on a DVD of Les Miserables.

Last night as we walked along the sidewalk to Casa Bella, she said something nice that prompted me to remind her that we have been together a long time. She asked how long. I told her almost 56 years since our wedding. She gave me a funny look and said, “Whose wedding?” I repeated that it was ours. She said, “No. You shouldn’t even joke about that.” This time I didn’t try to convince her as I did earlier at lunch.

There are lots of little things that suggest her increasing dependence. One of those is wanting to hold my hand more often than in the past. She frequently says, “I don’t need to, but I feel better.” She also wants my hand to help her in and out of the car and accepts my help buckling her seat belt. During dinner last night, she repeatedly asked me if her iced tea and water was hers. This is not new, but it is more frequent now. She is unsure of what is hers and what is someone else’s. She recognizes that she makes mistakes and doesn’t want to drink one that belongs to another person.

I have been eager to celebrate the many good times we’ve had since Kate’s diagnosis. I’ve also tried to be honest about the problems we have faced. We still have many good moments, but there is no escaping what lies ahead. It saddens me deeply to watch her slowly drift away like this, but I am heartened by hearing from others about precious moments with their loved ones who are farther along on this journey than Kate. In addition, I feel a greater resolve to make the rest of her life as fulfilling as I can.

An Unusual Start This Morning

I was taking my walk around the house this morning when I noticed Kate start to get out of bed. That was about 7:15. I went to the bedroom. She sat up straight and said, “Good Morning!” She had a big smile on her face and seemed unusually alert. She sounded as though she had been awake and up for quite a while. Of course, I knew she hadn’t. I walked to her side of the bed. She reached her hand out for mine to lift her into a sitting position with her feet hanging over the side of the bed. She said, “You know it’s funny.” Then she paused as she tried to think of what she wanted to say. I wish I could remember exactly what she said, but here is the gist of it.

She began to talk about school children. She said they are really smart, and they know they are smart. She said they wanted to learn. At first, she appeared to be talking about learning in general, but she moved into her specialty as an English teacher and use of the English language. All of her teaching was primarily with high school students, but it sounded like she was probably talking about elementary school students. It was never clear. She emphasized that their parents were eager for them to learn as well. She talked a lot about her relationship with the students and her efforts to build that relationship as a means to being a more effective teacher.

After a few minutes, I decided this wasn’t going to be a short conversation. I sat down on the bed beside her and listened. The only comments I made were facilitative ones. “It sounds like they really want to learn.” “The teachers really seem to care.” “It sounds like you’re doing the right thing.” There was a clock on the bedside table. When I first looked at it, the time was 7:20. We closed the conversation when it was 8:08. My intention was to see how long she would talk, but when she slowed up a bit, I asked what she would like to do “now.” She wanted to get dressed. I suggested a shower, and she accepted that. The conversation was over.

I found three things of interest about this conversation. The first was how alert she seemed to be from the moment I entered the bedroom. That is very unusual. She displayed no sign of grogginess at all. She was cheerful and alert. The second thing is that the way she spoke didn’t sound like the way she would talk to me. I never asked, but I’m not sure she recognized me. In fact, when I led her to the bathroom, she wanted me to leave before she took off her night gown. She apparently forgot that when I offered to start the shower for her because she took off her gown and got into the shower before I walked out.

The third thing is that the nature of her conversation was very much like what I have heard her say on other occasions. One of those times she was talking with the woman who gives her a massage. That time, however, she was talking as though she were a teacher in a school in another country. I’ve always thought it might be Africa or South America because those are both places where we have visited schools. It also reminds me of several dreams she had as far back as four or five years. She occasionally would talk in her sleep. She talked like she was speaking to a class and giving instructions.

It’s now 9:10. She is out of the shower and back in bed. I think I’ll let her rest until sometime after 10:00. I expect she will be back to normal although it is hard for me to know or say what “normal” is these days.

Confusion Over the Weekend

Saturday night, we watched the last half of a PROMS concert in London. It was an entire program of music by Rodgers and Hammerstein. We have watched it before, but this time Kate was more engaged. That was evident by the fact that she put her iPad down to watch. She enjoyed it and everything seemed quite normal.

When the program was over, Kate went to the bathroom to brush her teeth before coming to bed. When she came out, she saw me and looked puzzled. She said, “Where is he?” I said, “Who?” She said, “You know who.” I walked closer to her. She pointed in the direction of the family room and said, “Is he in there?” I said, “Who are you looking for?” She said, “Richard.” I said, “I’m Richard. I’m your husband.” She said, “No, you’re not.” I decided not to pursue it any further and gave her night gown to her. She didn’t ask any more questions.

Just before midnight, Kate woke up. She moved over right next to me. She apparently had had a dream and was frightened. I said, “It’s all right. I am right here with you. Nothing’s going to happen.” She said, “What about my mother?” I told her she was safe, that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her either. She gradually relaxed. That began a conversation that lasted over an hour.

She said, “I’m glad I have you.” I told her I felt the same way and that we had been together a long time. She wanted to know how long. I told her we had been married almost fifty-six years, and we had had a good marriage. She agreed. As we moved from  our marriage to other questions about family, she asked, “What is your name?” She was loaded with other questions. She asked about our children, their names, where they lived, what they did. She also asked what kind of work she did. I told her about her teaching school, becoming a school librarian, and working as a volunteer church librarian for nineteen years.

She said, “What’s my mother’s name?” I said, “Elizabeth Franklin. She was a special lady.” She picked up on “was” and said, “Is she gone?” Most of the time I answer honestly, but this time she really seemed worried. I said, “No, she is fine.” Then she said, “What’s my father’s name?” I said, “Carl Franklin. He’s a good man.”  She said, “What’s his name again?” I told her. Then she said, “What’s my mother’s name?” I told her. She asked where they lived. After I told her, she wanted to know where we live.

The last time I looked at the clock it was a couple of minutes after 1:00. Not long after that, we were both asleep.

Just before 8:00 yesterday morning, she started to get up. I got to the bedroom as she was getting out of bed. She looked at me and gave me a big smile. Then she said, “I’m so glad to see you.” The way she said it, I could tell she thought I was someone else. I gave her a hug, and she hugged back. I asked if I could help her. She looked puzzled. I said, “I thought maybe you wanted to go to the bathroom.” She said, “I’d like some clothes first.” I said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll get some clothes while you go to the bathroom.” I started to walk her to the bathroom when she said, “I look forward to being with you guys.” I walked her to the bathroom and left to get her clothes. When I came back, she appeared to know me.

The rest of the day went well although there were other moments of confusion. For a while at lunch, she didn’t recognize me as her husband. I made reference to our children. She couldn’t believe we were married. I showed her a few pictures of Jesse and Kevin, and she changed her mind. I don’t know if she simply accepted that or if she really remembered. It was impossible to know for sure. I only know that she seemed more accepting.

After lunch, I watched the Master’s with the sound off. I played music that I knew Kate enjoys. She lay down to rest but never went to sleep. She enjoyed the music.

The biggest problem of the day occurred when we attended a drop-in at the home of a couple we have met at Casa Bella on jazz nights. They usually sit at our table, and I have enjoyed talking with them. Kate has not had the same connection. I accepted the invitation with the intention of putting in an appearance and then coming home. I hadn’t anticipated exactly how Kate would respond, but she has gotten along so well in other situations I decided to try. Big mistake. We were in a completely different part of town in a home in which we had never visited before. Along with that, there were a large number of people. It turned out that the primary connection was jazz. I saw several people I knew from other places in the community, but Kate didn’t know anyone. That included the people we really did know. The arrangement of the house was confusing to her. She didn’t know where she should go or what to do. A couple of times when I was engaged in a conversation, she walked away. She was quite uneasy and ready to leave almost from the time we arrived. There was nothing redeeming for her. I got something for us to eat, paid our respect to our hosts, and left. I have avoided social gatherings like this for quite some time. This experience confirmed what I suspected. It’s just too much for her.

We relaxed when we got home. She sat down with her “Big Sister” album. I asked if she would like me to look through it with her. I was hoping (and expecting) she would say yes. She didn’t. After a while, I noticed she was as excited about the album as she usually is. That’s when I discovered that she was confused about what to do with it. She had been treating it like her iPad with the puzzles app. She kept touching the photos, but nothing happened. Even after I explained the problem, she couldn’t catch on. I suggested she take a break and work with her iPad. She was glad to do that and worked on it for the remainder of the evening.

During the past couple of weeks, I have referred to how cheerful Kate has been. That hasn’t been true the past couple of days, especially yesterday. Like everything else, I can’t be sure exactly what accounts for the change; however, I always wonder if she isn’t feeling a bit discouraged about how she is doing. She is still sharp enough to recognize that she is not all right. Whatever the explanation, I know it is harder for me to be upbeat when she is not.

Another Anxiety Attack

In the past I’ve suggested that it is hard to predict exactly what lies ahead in our future. That is true for everyone, but it seems to be especially noticeable in the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s. It certainly is for us. I was reminded of that around 6:30 this morning. I had just gotten up and entered our bathroom when I heard Kate say, “Hey.” I opened the bathroom door and saw that she was sitting up in bed looking at me. She looked as if something were wrong. I asked if she were all right. She said, “I don’t know. I want to go to the bathroom.” She was shaking and uneasy on her feet. She held my hand most of the way to the bathroom before she felt secure enough to let go. On the way, she asked, “Where are we?” I told her we were at our own home in Knoxville.

When she got up from the toilet, she wanted to brush her teeth. As she walked to the sink, she said, “I’m not myself.” She repeated that several times over the next few minutes. She finished brushing and said, “I’ll be glad when this is all over.” I’ve heard her say this several times in the past and don’t know what she means. I’ve asked before though not this time. She always says, “You know.” Over the next few minutes she said, “I’m not myself. I don’t know what’s going on with me.” I can’t remember what it was, but she said something else that was a clear recognition that something is wrong with her.

I took the approach of comforting her without any attempted explanations. When she said, “I’m not myself,” I said, “I can tell that, but I want you to know that I am here to help you. I will always be with you.” We walked back to the bed. I helped her in. I told her I would stay in bed with her. She said, “Oh, good.”

For the next forty-five minutes, we lay in bed facing each other. She wanted to hold my hand. We spoke very little. She asked my name one time. I said, “Richard. Richard Creighton, and I am your husband. You are Kate Creighton, my wife of almost fifty-six years.” She looked puzzled but didn’t say anything. In a while, she said she was feeling better. When I could tell that she was asleep, I got up. She is still sleeping as I finish this post.

These attacks and milder experiences of knowing something is wrong remind me of my mother who had dementia. I remember so well her saying, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can’t remember anything.” I also recall times when I’ve heard people say, “At least, she doesn’t know.” I’ve realized all along that people with dementia often know that something is wrong even if they don’t know what it is. And it bothers them. What I didn’t expect was that Kate would have these experiences so late in her journey. At this point, I doubt that she has a concept of Alzheimer’s or dementia, but she is able to tell that “I’m not myself.” Those are the moments that are hardest for her. They are for me as well.

A Taste of This Morning’s Conversation

At almost 9:00 this morning, I saw that Kate was getting out of bed. I went to her and asked what I could do for her. She asked me to get her clothes. I asked if she wanted to take a shower first. She did, and we walked to the bathroom. As I started to get the shower ready for her, she took off her night gown, and we had the following conversation.

Kate:              “What is your name?”

Richard:        “Richard.”

Kate:              “What’s your full name?”

Richard:        “Richard Lee Creighton.”

Kate:              “What’s my name?”

Richard:        “Katherine Franklin Creighton.”

Kate:              “That sounds right. And who are you?”

Richard:        “I’m your husband.”

Kate:              “Noooo.”

Richard:        “Let’s talk about that later. Why don’t you take your shower now.”

Kate:              (Getting into the shower) “Who are you?”

Richard:        “Do you think I’m a friendly guy?”

Kate:              “Yes.”

Richard:        “I’m your husband.”

Kate:              (Puzzled look) “Okay. <pause> What’s your name?”

Richard:        “Richard Lee Creighton.”

Kate:              “What should I call you?”

Richard:        “Richard.”

After her shower, she went back to bed for about forty-five minutes. Then she got up to dress. She didn’t ask my name or who I am. She acted as though she knew. I wanted to ask but didn’t. I think she knew.

Some Things Work. Some Don’t

I’ve often thought that a large part of caregiving is either preventing or solving problems. I haven’t tried to keep a tally of my victories and losses, but we seem to have gotten along reasonably well. Of course, one of the reasons is that I keep discovering things that Kate can’t do. That’s when I grasp that I am the one who has to change and adapt to what she is able to do.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I had taken photos of the primary screens that she faces when working her jigsaw puzzles. I thought that was a pretty clever idea. When I shot each photo, I put my index finger on or up against the button or place she needs to touch in order to pull up the next screen. How could I go wrong?

It’s not really hard at all, to go wrong that is. All you have to do is think like someone who doesn’t have Alzheimer’s (that would be me) instead of one who does. Kate couldn’t connect my photos with what she was seeing on her iPad even though they were almost identical except for my finger in the photos. I worked slowly with her for about fifteen minutes before I could see that what I was doing was causing her more frustration than the problem I was trying to solve. It is actually much simpler for her to ask me what she should do next than to translate my pictures and do it herself. When I stopped to think about it, her system was working for her all along. I was really addressing my problem of having to get up from my chair to help her.

Her most critical problem seems to be her eyesight. That’s true whether she is looking at the screen on the iPad or my photo of the screen. That relates to her Alzheimer’s and not to the physical properties of her eyes. As well as I can understand it, her problem is knowing where to focus her attention. She is faced with an array of stimuli and is confused about which one(s) to attend to. She does, however, choose the correct ones most of the time. I’m guessing that because there are times when she goes for a good while without asking for help. Other times I see that she has chosen the correct one. I don’t know how to explain that. It’s as though she knows one minute and forgets in another.

One of the most frequent problems she encounters occurs when she touches a button for the store located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. When she does that, she is presented with a large collection of puzzle packs for purchase. When she touches a puzzle pack, she gets a screen asking for the password. Then she is stuck because she doesn’t know it. That is a time for help. The button for the store is small enough that I am surprised that she sees it. She often can’t see the button that says “Play” that scatters the pieces so that she can reassemble the puzzle. It is about three times the size of the button for the store. I think there are so many pictures of other colorful puzzles behind the “Play” button it is too difficult for her to see the green button she should touch. I think I will continue showing her what to do each time she runs into a problem. In time, that may help her learn to touch the correc button more often than she is currently doing, but, perhaps, it won’t. She depends so heavily on her puzzles for entertainment I will do everything I can to help her continue with this pastime.

A Confusing Start

About 8:15 this morning, I saw on the video cam that Kate was still in bed but awake and looking around the room. I went to the bedroom and sat down on the bed. She looked puzzled. I said, “It looks like you’re confused.” She nodded in agreement. Then she said, “Who are you?” I said, “Do I look like someone who is friendly?” She said. “Yes.” Then I told her my name. She asked her name. I said, “Kate Creighton and you’re very special to me.” She looked surprised and said, “Who are you?” I told her that I was her husband. This was one of those times when she couldn’t quite fathom that. I recited some of the things that have helped her in the past – our meeting at TCU, our courtship, our marriage, information about her parents. None of this meant anything to her. I finally got out the “Big Sister” photo album. As always, she liked the photo of her and her brother on the cover, but she didn’t recognize who they were. She asked who the boy was. When I told her that was Ken, her brother, I pointed to her picture and asked who that was. She said, “Me.” She looked at a few other pictures and didn’t recognize anyone. She said she was tired and wanted to rest.

I asked if she would like me to sit in the room with her. She said, “Oh, yes.” I took that as a good sign. Even if she didn’t know my name or that I was her husband, she seemed to feel more secure if I stayed with her.

About forty-five minutes later, I got up to get something from the kitchen. I saw that her eyes were open and said hello. She smiled and gave me a little chuckle. I told her I was glad to see her. She smiled again. I can’t be sure, but I think she recognized me. Then she dozed off again. I’m going to be optimistic that she’ll be fine when she wakes up.