I let Kate sleep until almost 12:45 yesterday. She was sleeping soundly when I woke her. She smiled and waved. I sat down on the bed and told her I would like to take her to lunch. She said she would like that. When I gave her my hand to help her up, she said, “What’s your name?” I told her, and she asked me to repeat it. She said, “Where are my clothes?” I told her they were on the chair in front of her but suggested she might want to shower first. She asked where the shower is. I took her by the hand and walked her to the bathroom. On the way I said, “Today is Virginia Franklin’s birthday.” She looked puzzled and said, “Who’s that?” I said, “She is Ken’s wife.” She said, “Who is he?” I said, “He is your brother?” She said, “What’s his last name?” I told her. Then she asked, “Who am I?” I told her. When we walked into the bathroom, she asked again, “What is my name?” I turned the shower on for her. When she got in, she said it felt good. Then she said, “I’m awake now.” And she looked and sounded like it.
I left her in the shower and told her she could call me if she needed any help with her clothes. She said, “Why should I need help?” I told her I would put her clothes on the bed by my chair where she usually sits after her shower. In a little while, I went back to check on her. She was in bed running her fingers through her hair. I told her it was 1:30 and that she might like to get ready for lunch. She asked about her clothes. She had bundled them up and thrown them toward the end of the bed. Without asking, I proceeded to get each item of clothing for her. I gave her the opportunity to dress herself. She said she wanted to do it herself, but she kept asking for my help. When she was dressed, she wanted me to brush her hair.
When she was ready, she decided to make up the bed. She had completed one side and asked me to do the other side. I noticed that she had pulled the spread over the bed without pulling up and straightening the top sheet. She was about to put one of several pillows at the head of the bed when I told her I wanted to straighten the top sheet. After I had done that, she picked up a pillow and started to put it on the bed. Then she asked me if that was the way it should be placed. I told her there was a larger pillow that would go on first. She picked it up and placed it. Then she asked if that was the right way. This was one of those little things that happen so often. It struck me that she no longer knew how to arrange the pillows. She had been very particular about that. The large pillows have birds in flight on them. I used to place them the wrong way. She would always correct me. Now she was having to depend on me. She used to make up the bed every day. I remember when she would say, “My mother always said you should make up the bed first thing after you get up.” Three or four years after her diagnosis she rarely made up the bed. I’m not sure what happened, but she started again a couple of years ago. She hasn’t done it as well as she did before, but she does her best. It’s just a little thing, but there are so many of them now.
At dinner, I mentioned something about our having so many good experiences during our marriage. Kate immediately said, “Tell me three things.” Just as quickly, I said, “We had two great children.” She said, “Who are they?” I gave her their names and then went on to some of our travel experiences including our spending a summer in Cali, Colombia when the children were seven and five. That prompted her to talk about giving children experiences that broaden their lives without spoiling them. She felt we had been able to accomplish that.
As we left for home, she said she was very tired and might go to bed shortly after we got there. Then she said, “It may be a little early for bed. I agreed. Then she said, “I can depend on you to help me know what to do.” Then she went into a familiar topic about how comfortable she feels with me. She is beginning to seem more like a little child talking to her parent.
When we got home, she wanted to follow me to the back of the house. She wanted to use the bathroom but didn’t know where to find it. A few minutes later, she used her hand signals to ask if she should sit in her chair in our bedroom where I had put her iPad. I nodded “yes.” It wasn’t long before I said, “I’m glad your my wife.” She responded sternly saying, “I’m not a wife.” I said, “What would you say you are to me?” She said, “A close friend.”
None of these things is new, but it had been a day filled with confusion. It wasn’t like this one year ago.