For a long time I have kept Kate’s diagnosis a secret from all but our pastor. Before we went to New Zealand, I told the children. In May I told two of my email buddies and and Kate’s best friend, Ellen. As mentioned in earlier posts, I had been debating on telling the staff. Last week I told someone we met at Chautauqua two years ago. We enjoyed our conversations and have talked about getting together again. In fact, we have now arranged to meet in NYC when we go there to catch our ship for New England and Canada the first of October.
Finally, I decided to tell the staff on last Wednesday. They were just finishing their morning conversation upon arriving for work. I went in and asked if we could chat a moment. They quickly sensed it wasn’t an ordinary conversation. As I started to tell them about Kate, I choked up. It took me some time to gain control of myself but surprised myself by being so emotional about this. I never expected to react this way. After all, we have dealt with this for 3 ½ years. There is a common pattern here. When our pastor asked me if Kate were all right, I immediately choked up and had to gather my composure before answering him. When Ken asked me the same question, I choked up. I guess it should be no surprise that I did the same with the staff. The reality is that Kate’s illness has not only introduced stress for her, but it has done the same for me. In particular, I think that not talking about it is a little like people say. Things get bottled up inside and finally express themselves at some point. All-in-all I am glad that I have now told a few people about Kate. It should come more easily in the future although I want to be careful that she is not aware that everyone knows. Right now I am wondering about telling Scott and Jan Greeley. We are planning a visit to their home this coming Wednesday.
Kate continues to adjust rather well from a psychological standpoint. She doesn’t typically convey any sense of frustration or depression. It is only in moments when she has trouble with clothes and getting ready to go out that we have a crisis. In that regard, our shopping trip for casual clothes this past week worked wonders. She was excited about what she got – about 5 pair of pants, at least that many tops, and a pair of shoes. I feel good that she has a variety of things to wear that fit and that she likes. That should make dressing much smoother in the months ahead.
She continues to express positively in many situations. For example, I have gotten used to her saying many things are “perfect.” She was enthusiastic about her lunch at today. The other night at Chalupas she couldn’t say enough good things about her cheese quesadilla and her cheese burrito. I spoke with Kevin the other night after she was in bed, but I turned on the speaker. After we hung up, she said, “Kevin is so smart.” She expressed great satisfaction in the way he was handling his work. She is so proud. I love this adjustment to things. It is not universal, but it is very common.
A week ago, today Kate had the bad experience with one of our former associate pastors. This morning she expressed an interest in going back to his church. We went, and she had a better experience. She exercised a little initiative when she told she wasn’t going to leave without a hug. He delivered. I don’t think she actually forgot about last week’s experience, but I do think it faded into the background so that it didn’t bother her in a way that it might have done if she did not have Alzheimer’s.