Panic Attack

Kate is in the midst of a panic attack as we get ready for our formal dinner tonight. I had left her resting to take a walk and then stop by the Lido for some water and to write the previous post. When I returned, she was taking a bath. When she got out, she was hot. It was getting time to get ready for the evening. I picked out her clothes and put them on the bed. I showed them to her. Then she went to the closet and got another outfit. I said, “Here is what you can wear tonight.” Surprisingly, she accepted that. She was at the beginning of her panic attack at that point, and I believe she was willing to accept a suggestion that would make things easier for her. Somewhere before this she had asked me what we were doing and where we were going. I told her that this was formal night and that we were going to get our picture taken, go to dinner, and then to a show.

Once she had put on what I had picked out, she came from the bathroom with her toothbrush, iPad, and puzzle books in her hand. I suggested that she wouldn’t need to take those with her. She asked where we were going. It turns out that she had forgotten what I had told her. She thought we were going to the house. Then she started panicking. She started breathing harder and shed tears. It turned out that she didn’t bring any shoes except the ones she has been wearing since we left on Sunday. They are casual shoes that look a little bit like tennis shoes. I think this caused more concern. I don’t think it was because she didn’t have the right shoes. I think it was because she had forgotten to bring any other shoes. That was yet another reminder that she makes one mistake after another.

After this, we were ready to go. We got our picture taken, had dinner, and saw the show. Things turned out fine. Still, I have to believe this kind of issue will only get worse until she lets me take charge of packing everything for her. This will also affect our travel in the future. I am wavering on the cruise from Rome to Amsterdam in May.

Coordination Difficulties

We have nothing on our agenda today until we go to Casa Bella this evening for their Christmas dinner. After going on my walk, I asked Kate if she would like me to take her somewhere like Panera, Starbucks, or Barnes & Noble. She said she wanted to go to Lowe’s sometime. About 15 minutes ago she came into the kitchen and said she wanted to go to Lowe’s. When we got in the car, she said, “”On the way back, I want you to take me somewhere to get a muffin or something to eat.” I told her we could go to Panera now but thought she hadn’t wanted to go. I told her I would like to do that. She liked the idea only she was dressed in her sweats for yard work. I suggested a change. I came in the kitchen to write this post. In a few minutes she came in with a pair of shoes in her hands and said those were the only shoes she could find. I told her she hadn’t changed clothes. She said, “Oh.” Then she turned around to go to her room to change. This coupled with my sense that she has been unusually lethargic over the past few days seems another warning sign of impending changes.

More On Coordination

This afternoon we had planned to go to a movie at 4:30. After lunch, we came back home. I came inside, and Kate started to do some things in the yard. Very shortly, she came inside. It was too hot. We called Jesse who had called us last night while we were attending an event honoring one of my major clients. We talked about an hour. At 3:00, I told her we had an hour before we would leave for the movie. At 3:45 she walked into the kitchen dressed for yard work. I told her we would leave in about 20 minutes. She asked me to give her 5 minutes in the yard. I did just that, and she came in. At 3:05 I checked to see how she was coming along because it was time to leave. She was in her bathroom getting reading but not dressed. I told her it was time to leave. She asked me to leave her alone. I followed her instructions as I have learned to do. When she hadn’t come out at 4:25, I went back to check again. She was in bed working jigsaw puzzles on her iPad. It was obvious to me that she had forgotten we were going to the movie. I said, “Why don’t we go to dinner in a while and forget the movie.” Then she started to get up to get dressed. I told her the movie was getting ready to start. She felt badly. I made the mistake and said, “I hate for you to suffer.” She immediately and sternly asked me “never to use that word with her again.” I will remember that. She doesn’t want to be treated as a patient.

Challenges to Coordinating

We got home from Switzerland a week ago this evening. It has been a week for catching up. I have had only one meeting, and I have not pushed myself. Part of me says this is a good thing to do. The other part says it would be better to be focusing on other things than Kate and myself. I feel a slight sense of anxiety over her changing condition. I sense that it makes it hard for me to focus.

Our 52nd anniversary is tomorrow. Last night we went to a dinner that I considered our anniversary celebration. I had told Kate the day before that I had made dinner reservations. When I tell things I have planned, I know she won’t remember them, but I find it is a natural thing to do. An hour before we were scheduled to leave for the restaurant, I told her how much time we had. I believe I also reminded her where we were going to dinner. I know I had told her earlier in the day. In fact, I had mentioned our celebrating our anniversary, and she thought it was yesterday. I told her it was not until Sunday but that given other things we would celebrate tonight. When it was about 35 minutes before we were to leave, she was still in bed. I told her I thought it was time to get ready. She asked how much time she had. I told her 35 minutes. She said that was a lot of time and started to relax in the bed again. I asked if she knew what she was going to wear. She looked puzzled. Then she asked where we were going. I told her. I mentioned it was our anniversary dinner. She said, “Oh, is it today?” I told her that it was Sunday etc. This is just another example of the deterioration of her memory. Life is changing for both of us.

Short-term memory problem

About 45-55 minutes ago I told Kate that we should dress for the funeral of a church friend before going to lunch. She had been outside working and was a mess. She thought my idea was a good one. When she had dressed, I told her that I thought we should go to Panera to save time before the funeral. She had completely forgotten that we were going to the funeral. She said, “Well, I can’t wear this to a funeral.” Then she went back to her room to change. Now we have even less time to dress before the funeral. It is now 1:07, and the service is at 2:00. This is the kind of thing that is becoming a daily occurrence. Even though I know that her short-term memory is going fast, it never crossed my mind to remind her.

Moments of Frustration

I just left Kate in her office where she is working on the invitation to Dad’s 100th birthday party. She started on this about 6-8 weeks ago and had it virtually done. I had given her some edits, especially a couple of pictures I wanted instead of the ones she had put in. I have been diplomatically (I think) trying to get her to finish as soon as possible so that we would not be in a rush near the end. I plan to mail them out next Thursday or Friday. Several times over the past 2 weeks, I have mentioned that I wanted us to finish the job. She forgets and doesn’t get to it. Then when I nail her down and say let’s do it now, she starts to edit more and more the way she did on the album for her mother’s family she had done with her brother Ken. At lunch today I said we would come right back and print the invitation before final edits. She first had to take care of watering plants. Then she came in. I just found her editing some more, and all I want is to printed them. When we tried last week, it was printing too small. We have to solve that before we can go any further. At this point, it would be easier for me to take it to Staples for printing, but I don’t want her to feel bad. In the meantime, I feel frustrated because we should not have found ourselves into any last-minute rush. This kind of thing has become the norm though.

Another Example

An hour ago I went outside to tell remind Kate that she needs to meet a grant recipient and Shirley Hazel at 11:45 and that we could get make a trip to Lowe’s before that. I suggested we leave at 11:00. I came inside and I thought she had as well. Ten minutes ago I was going to check on her and saw her coming in from outside. She was in her pajamas and had continued to work on pruning her plants. She had simply let time slip by which is very common.

The surprising thing is that I know she wanted to go to Lowe’s at 10:00. Now we won’t have time to go at all before her meeting.