Diversion Seems to Work (At Least Yesterday)

Yesterday, Kate woke up and wanted to go home. We went to lunch. She forgot about home and didn’t mention it again. On a number of other occasions, I have found that going out for a meal is an effective diversion technique.

We had a sitter during the afternoon. When I got home, Kate was resting. I spoke to her, and she talked with me as though I were entering a dream with her. She thought someone had had a baby and asked me about him. At some points, I thought she was talking about having had a baby herself. Other times, it seemed like it might have been a son or daughter though she never said specifically. She was excited, and said, “We have a baby.” She asked “his” name, and I gave her the name of her father. She was thrilled. Not long after that, she asked “her” name. I gave her the name of her mother. She was equally excited. She continued talking about the baby after we were seated at the restaurant. She wanted to know when she would be able to hold it. She also wanted to know where the baby was. I found this to be a challenging conversation. Once I had started to go along with her, I found myself having to get more creative in answering her questions. I decided it might be good to redirect her attention and suggested that we go to dinner. She wanted to rest a little longer and asked if the doctor said it was all right. I told her he said it was fine, and we left for our Friday night pizza.

Her enthusiasm continued in the car and at the restaurant. It lasted so long that I thought the conversation might continue even after we got home. At one point, she asked if the children had called. I told her they hadn’t and explained they had been busy. She couldn’t believe they hadn’t even called and said, “But it’s our baby.” Fortunately, when the pizza arrived, her attention drifted to eating. I didn’t hear a word about the baby after that.

Beginning Our 10th Year Post-Diagnosis

 

Tuesday, the first day of our 10th year Living with Alzheimer’s” started early and with some confusion; however, the day was punctuated with “Happy Moments” as well. About 5:30, I heard Kate chuckle. I chuckled back, and she responded with more chuckles. Then she started pointing to the ceiling moving her arm from one side of the room to the other. As she did this, she commented on “things” (that were not really there) that she liked. It wasn’t clear to me whether she was asleep or awake. When I said something to her, she responded. After a few minutes, I decided she was awake. She then immediately closed her eyes and went to sleep. This was strikingly sudden. It makes me think she really had been dreaming all along.

At 5:50, I told her I was going to get up. She told me not to leave her. She didn’t seem afraid, but she did say, “I don’t know how to say it, but I feel (paused while thinking of the right word) safe with you.” I stayed with her another thirty minutes before telling her I was going to get up and asked if she would be all right. She said she was fine. After I was dressed, she was still awake. I mentioned I was going to the kitchen and to call me if she needed anything. She said that would be all right, but she wanted me to come back and sit in a chair beside the bed.

As I was preparing to put my breakfast dishes in the washer, I heard her call. She wanted to go home. I told her I would take her. I got her to the bathroom and dressed quite easily. During that time, she said she wanted to “get out of here.” She also mentioned girls that were either here or would be coming. This also came up in the afternoon.

We went to Panera arriving about 8:15. That is very early for us. She worked a little on iPad puzzles but stopped to eat her muffin. She was tired and wanted to go home before 9:00. She rested for a couple of hours before we went to lunch. She was very talkative. Most of her conversation dealt with our marriage and also her feelings about our being a good match. At one point, she said, “You know we are so different.” She wanted to continue, but she didn’t know how to express her thoughts. I said, “But we’re so much alike on the things that matter.” She said, “Exactly.” It was a cold day, and we took a few minutes to get our coats on before leaving. Kate also had gloves. She asked if I could take a picture and wanted to make sure I got the gloves in the photo. It’s unusual for her to request a photo of herself. She also asked me to take one at another restaurant a few weeks ago. She wanted a picture of the two of us, and I took a selfie before we got in the car.

When we got home, she rested for an hour. I asked if she would like me to read something to her. She did, and I picked up the photo book of her mother’s family and read several things about her grandfather. She loved hearing about him and was most impressed. I’ve read this to her before, but this was the strongest reaction she has had yet.

Then I read a section that dealt with Battle Creek where her mother lived until marrying Kate’s father and moving to Texas. It focused on the work of the Kelloggs in the development of cereal at the Battle Creek Sanitarium (“The San”) where her grandfather was a doctor. She kept talking about “him.” I didn’t know whether she was talking about her grandfather, John Harvey Kellogg (CEO of The San), or W. K. Kellogg (who left the San and established the cereal company). She thought I had known “him.” I told her that her grandfather had died before I was born and that I was a child when the Kellogg brothers died. That didn’t penetrate at all. She kept saying, “And you knew him.” She seemed impressed. I am sure she felt I knew him because I was reading about all three of these men. To her, it probably sounded like I was telling her a story from my first-hand experience.

She finally tired and wanted to rest again. It was only a short time before she started talking and continued for an hour. I made some facilitating comments, but she didn’t appear to need them. She talked about something that is a variation of a topic she has talked about a number of times before. It always involves her, or our, helping people. A large portion of the previous conversations have involved educating women in impoverished parts of the world. This time she talked about a program in which we were already involved. It was designed to provide a broad range of education and job training for immigrants to the United States. She mentioned a selection process to determine those who would benefit most. The training itself was rather comprehensive and dealt with information about US culture, training for job interviews, and assistance in locating job opportunities that would match the skills and interests of the students. I was amazed at the details she brought up and the reasons each of these things was necessary.

The next surprise of the day came as we were about to leave for dinner. Without any prior signs or indications, Kate became very worried about not having delivered something to a man whose name she didn’t know. From what she said, she thought she was to deliver refreshments for a reception of some kind. She couldn’t tell me any specifics, but she became distraught over her failure to do what she had promised. As we drove to the restaurant, she wondered if I might be able to call him and work out a way to get it to him. After parking the car, I pretended to call him and that he had told me that the reception was actually the next day and that she had no reason to worry or apologize. This effort was unsuccessful.

As we walked up to the restaurant, the hostess opened the door and greeted us. Kate tried to act as though nothing was wrong, but it didn’t work. It did begin a process of diversion that got her mind off of what she believed was a failure to deliver on a promise. This process involved our conversation with our server, chatting briefly with a couple we know who sat at the table next to ours, and eating. Long before we finished our meal, she seemed to have forgotten the entire thing.

I had one more surprise at 12:30 yesterday morning when I heard her call me by name. I looked up from the bed to see her standing in the doorway to our bedroom. I quickly got up and went to her. She was very upset. She had gotten up to go to the bathroom, something that is exceedingly rare. To the best of my knowledge, she has never gotten out of bed without my noticing. I got her back to bed and then went to turn off the lights in the hallway. That’s when I discovered she had been walking around the house. Lights were on in two other bedrooms, family room, living room, dining room, and kitchen. She apparently came out of the bathroom and couldn’t remember how to get back to our bedroom and spent an unknown amount of time going through the house trying to find me. The good news is that she was able to calm down once she had located me. Another crisis was over. Our tenth year “Living with Alzheimer’s” is off to quite a start.

Delusions, Hallucinations, Dreams, and Paranoia

It is common for people with dementia to experience delusions, hallucinations, dreams, and paranoia. From time to time I have mentioned some of Kate’s experiences with them. They appear to becoming a regular part of our lives.

One of the most common is believing there are other people in the house. I usually discover this when she puts her finger to her lips and very softly says, “Shhhh.” Other times she makes references to “them.” I have never figured out who they are, but sometimes, like yesterday, she explains that they will hear us and “spread the word.” She went on to say how they like to gossip. I told her I didn’t think there was anything bad that anyone might say about her. She thought I was naïve. We were in the car on the way to dinner, and it wasn’t until we got to the restaurant that she was diverted to other things.

When we arrived home, she stopped to look at something on top of the dryer. She put her finger on several places. Then she told me she couldn’t catch them. I didn’t go back to look, but I didn’t see anything as we walked through the laundry room.

Something else is becoming more common. It is the little “thingies” in her hair, around her eyes, and between her toes. Running her fingers between her toes has become as much a focus of attention as pulling her hair. After she was in bed last night, she called my attention to something new. She thought “they” were on various parts of her body. She was trying to rub them off. I asked if they were painful. She said they weren’t. She rubbed her finger across her chest. Then she held her finger up and said, “See.” I told her they were quite small. Fortunately, her concern didn’t last long. I think that coincided with my starting a YouTube video of a Julie Andrews concert. She focused her attention on that. I’ve read about other caregivers using diversion techniques to solve problems like this. I am now grasping the value of that with Kate. Since memory doesn’t last long, redirecting attention often works.

Talking in her dreams is also more frequent. Prior to Alzheimer’s, I don’t recall her having these experiences. They don’t occur with any regularity. They are periodic and there have been a couple of themes. In the early years after her diagnosis, they focused on her classroom and/or library experience. She explained or gave instructions to her students. That disappeared long ago. I take that as a consequence of her loss of those memories.

More recently, her dreams have dealt with young girls or women who live in impoverished circumstances. They include her work with a program to provide education for them or to establish such a program. One of those occurred two nights ago when I got into bed. I thought she was asleep, but she started talking to me about our working together to create a program that would help people in need. I could never figure out exactly what she wanted to do but told her I would help in any way that I could. This conversation lasted fifteen minutes or so. I am pretty sure that she was awake. That makes me think about the difference between hallucinations and dreams. I suppose I would use the term hallucination if it is an experience she has when awake. The same experience while she is awake would be a dream. Whatever the definition, Kate has more of these experiences than she has before.

Most of these experiences do not bother me. The ones that do are those that disturb Kate. The most common type involves other people who might be out to do some harm to her. So far, these experiences have only involved her belief that people are saying or would say bad things about her. As we were about to leave the house last night for dinner, she was frightened by something and held herself close to me. She didn’t want to talk about. Then later while she was brushing her teeth, she insisted I remain right beside her while she brushed her teeth. It wasn’t said in anger, but fear. I wonder what lies ahead.

Our Roughest Day, But, Again, a Nice Finish

Yesterday, as I walked out of the bathroom to get dressed, Kate said, “Hello.” I went over to the bed. She was uneasy. It turned out that she had awakened while I was in the bathroom and didn’t know where I was. Several times over the next ten minutes or so, she said, “I didn’t know where you were. I thought I had done something wrong.” (She is very sensitive about doing the right thing.) I took her to the bathroom. She was very unsure of herself and needed my help even more than usual. She was still emotional when I took her back to bed.

It was no surprise that she wanted me to stay with her. I got in bed with her and stayed for another thirty minutes. She seemed calm though not asleep. I told her I was thinking about getting dressed and having breakfast and then returning to the bedroom and working in the chair beside her side of the bed. She said that was fine. I was encouraged.

Less than an hour later, she started to get up. She wanted to go to the bathroom again. This time she took a shower and then rested in bed for almost another hour. I don’t recall anything unusual until just before we left for Panera. She said she felt a little sick. Then she said, “Maybe I’m just hungry.” On the way, she was talkative, but she had much more trouble than usual speaking her words correctly. In addition, I was clear about the content of what she was saying. She was delusional. She mentioned people we were meeting or had been with. I really couldn’t make sense of what she was saying. At Panera and on the way home, she exhibited the same symptoms. They were noticeably more severe than in the past. Before finishing her muffin, she took it off her plate and set it on the table. Then she picked up every crumb that was on the plate until it was spotless. This is something I have seen her do a few other times. Occasionally, she does the same thing with the table top.

I began to wonder if she might have had a TIA, but the only symptoms she had were ones that she has had before, and they didn’t seem to be like those we generally associate with a stroke. Nevertheless, I gave her four baby aspirin as soon as we got in the house. She was very tired and lay down on the sofa.

Only minutes later, the sitter arrived. I met her outside and explained what was going on and encouraged her to call me if she needed anything while I was gone. I didn’t hear from her and felt that was a good sign. Generally, by lunch problems like these would be gone. When I returned, she was resting on the sofa. Cindy told me she had eaten a good lunch and had been resting since they returned home.

After Cindy left, I asked Kate if she would like to look at one of her photo books or read something. When I mentioned Anne Frank’s diary, she expressed interest. I picked up the book and sat beside her on the sofa. I read several entries before she said she was tired. She rested about thirty minutes before I suggested that we go to dinner. She was still very tired but got up without a problem.

She was talkative on the way to the restaurant. Once again, however, I had difficulty understanding what she said. I know it involved other people that she thought I knew. She also had trouble with her words. At one point, she said something about “blee.” I finally realized she meant blue.

We sat in a booth at the restaurant, and she wanted me to sit beside her. That happens much more now. She had two cheese burritos. She still had one remaining when I finished my meal. I had cut the first one into bite-size pieces. She tried to do the same with the second one. I offered to help. Instead of eating them, she started moving them around on her plate using her fingers. It soon became clear that she was creating a “work of art.” She tried to explain, but I couldn’t fully understand except that she wanted me to take a picture of the plate of these pieces. She wanted one picture of the plate and piece alone and one with her in the photo. I obliged her.

When we walked up to the counter to pay, there were two other people in line in front of us. Kate was restless. She didn’t understand what they were doing and wanted me to go ahead of them. I explained a couple of times that we needed to wait until they were finished. The woman immediately ahead of us had opened the door to leave when Kate called to her. The woman stopped and looked around. Kate asked her if she would take a picture of the two of us. By now there was another waiting behind me. I started to tell Kate that we should let the woman go. Then I agreed. I told the man behind us to go ahead, but he said he could wait. The woman took our picture. I paid the check, and we headed home.

Typically, I would turn on the news after we are home, but I didn’t last night. It had been an unusual day for Kate. She seemed very tired. Her speech might have been a little better than it was in the morning but not significantly. I thought it was a good time to refocus her attention. I went back to YouTube. We watched a playlist we had seen before and liked. As it did the night before, the music captured her attention from the time I turned it on until I turned it off.

Even better is the fact that today (as of 2:45), I haven’t seen any of the same symptoms that she displayed yesterday.

Morning Hallucination

As I was finishing my previous post, I heard Kate talking on the video cam. I walked into the bedroom and saw that she was lying on her side facing my side of the bed. She seemed to be watching something that moved from place to place. She said something like, “I see you. There you are,” and she moved her hands from one spot to another as if she were trying to catch whatever it was.

She saw me and smiled. I told her it was nice to see that smile. She looked at my shirt, and said, “I like that. They have them every year.” It was clear to me that she was having one of her “dreaming while awake” experiences. Maybe it’s better to say she was hallucinating. I stayed with her a few minutes and then asked if she wanted to get up or rest a little longer. She said, “I think I’ll just stay here a while.” I told her I would be in the kitchen if she needed me.

She continued to talk off and on for the next fifteen minutes or so. I haven’t heard anything for a while. She must have fallen asleep.

Saturday Afternoon Conversation

 

Kate and I had a pleasant day yesterday though she was somewhat confused about where she was for an extended period of time. She also experienced some delusional behavior during the afternoon. Here is a sample of some of the things she said.

As we walked into the family room after lunch, she said, “I remember being here before.”

As usual, she rested and actually went to sleep. She woke up and said, “It’s really nice to be back here.” I said, “Yes, it is.” She said, “You know I was born here, don’t you?”

A few minutes later she said, “It’s a nice place. The owner has done a lot of things.” I asked, “Do you know the owner? She said, “I think I am one of them.”

She moved from the recliner to the sofa to rest a little more. Off and on for an hour she made numerous comments. I jotted down a few of them. In each case, she seemed to be talking with someone else, not me. She often does this while sleeping at night, and sometimes responds to me if I speak to her. Yesterday’s experience was different. It was much more like something I reported on a week or so ago. She was awake but talked in a style that was more like she was dreaming. Her eyes were open and displayed nothing that would suggest she was asleep. She also talks to herself. It was more like that except that I was just a few feet away from her. What she said frequently seemed out of context as though I were hearing her side of the conversation and not the person with whom she was speaking. Here are a few examples.

“She said we could stay this night and see what we like about it.”

“I think I will close my eyes, but not for long. Then I will get up and make some friends.”

Looking up at the ceiling and laughed she said, “I can see you. . . Oh, look.” She was pointing to the trees out back.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could sleep here.? That would be nice.”

“I like this room.” <pause> “You know, this is bigger than I thought.”

“Yeah, I like this place.”

“Do you live here? <pause> I don’t remember her name.” (She chuckles.) “Yeah.”

“Well.” <pause> “Uh huh.” (She chuckles.)

“It looks so pretty out there. Those tall trees. I don’t know what that blue thing is. That real pretty blue. Can you see it?  <pause> Uh huh, right over there. You got it.”

“I’ll just rest here a while.” “Yeah, we’ll come back. You’ve been so nice.”

“That girl over there talked with us a little. She lives here. <pause> To live here. That would be fantastic. We’ll just have to see.”

“My goodness, when did you come in. You’re a pretty lady. <pause> Uh huh. There are a lot of people here.”

I wondered what she would be like when I got her up for dinner. She seemed normal. I didn’t notice anything during or after dinner that was like the way she was in the afternoon. It reminds me somewhat of the urinary tract infections that my dad used to get during his time in a skilled nursing facility except that she exhibits the symptoms so infrequently. This was only the second time she has been like this other than when she is sleeping at night or when I am in another room. I will be watching out for any further signs and be prepared to contact her doctor if I think it is necessary.

 

Problems with Toes, Teeth, and Hair

Kate’s “hair-pulling” is an old story, but I’ve said less about her toes and teeth. They are beginning to play a more prominent role in her personal care. Let me tell you about an episode earlier this week.

It was a very good day. Kate got up to go to the bathroom around 5:30 and went to bed. She got up around 7:30, and we went to Panera shortly after 8:00. We came back to the house and relaxed until lunch. She was in a good mood. We had a nice conversation at lunch. The sitter came at 1:00. Kate received her warmly and didn’t seem disturbed in the least when I left. She was happy to see me when I returned but didn’t express any sense of relief as she has on a few occasions. We had a good experience at dinner.

While we were eating, she told me she was likely to get to bed early. I didn’t think much about it since she often says that but doesn’t get in bed. I have to admit, however, that she has been getting into bed earlier lately now that she hasn’t been occupied with her iPad. That night was one of those times.

First, she went to the bathroom. She spent 20-30 minutes “brushing” her teeth. She didn’t really brush them all that time. Much of the time she was rinsing her mouth with water and using her fingernails like dental floss. She always feels like she has food caught between her teeth. I often help her with flossing, but that doesn’t seem to work. She finally gave up and came back to go to bed. I got her nightly meds and helped her get into her night clothes.

She was disturbed about her teeth. She mentioned she hadn’t been able to get all the “bees” out. She followed that by other words that didn’t fit what she meant. She was talking about something in her teeth. She also talks the same way about things between her toes and in her hair. Sometimes she refers to them as “these little things” and says they are “smart.” She says they know when you’re trying to get them. I was able to calm her by talking to her softly and telling her I would help her. That is when she focused her attention on her toes. She wanted me to get a towel or wash cloth and get “them” out. I followed her instructions, and she felt better.

Then she got in bed and started pulling her hair. It wasn’t long before she became frustrated. She said she was tired and hadn’t been able to finish and would have to do it tomorrow. A few minutes later, she asked me to come over and pull her hair for her. I did that for a couple of minutes before reminding her she was going to rest and work on her hair in the morning. She said I was right that she needed the rest and thanked me for helping her. She was fine after that; however, I don’t expect this to be our last episode with “them.”

Dreams, Delusions and Hallucinations

Here’s another post in which I will never be able to capture the details. Let me start and see where it goes but understand you will not be getting the whole story.

Kate has talked in her sleep off and on during her life with Alzheimer’s. In the early years, the focus was almost always her teaching and library career. Most, if not all these experiences, involved her speaking to students. She was very deliberate in what she was telling them. Her memories of those days faded away long ago, but she continued her talking just in different situations.

Yesterday morning at 3:00 she had another “dream” experience similar to one she had a week or two ago. She seemed wide awake and very clear-headed. She wanted to go to the bathroom. On the way and back to bed, she looked and sounded normal but she appeared to be “dreaming while awake.” That’s hard to describe, but she talked as though we were someplace away from home. She mentioned other people. Then she said, “What do we have planned for tonight?” I told her we were going to have dinner at Casa Bella. She asked if we were going with anybody. I told her we would go by ourselves and sit with the same people with whom we usually sit. She was pleased we were going by ourselves although I thought she missed the fact that we would sit with others.

I thought that was it, but after we were in bed we spent the next fifteen minutes or so repeating the same conversation. Then we both went back to sleep. This kind of thing has occurred several times in the past. I think she has a dream about some obligation and is concerned about it. In a couple of instances, it was clear that she thought she had an appointment and needed to get ready. Most often, she just asks the question and the repeats it a number of times without any expression of anxiety.

About 10:15, I noticed that she was sitting up in bed. I went back to see if she wanted to go to the bathroom. She smiled as I got near the bed. It looked like everything was fine. We chatted a few minutes. She said, “Where am I?” When I told her we were at home, she wasn’t satisfied with the answer. She wanted to go home. At first, I told her she was at home, but that didn’t sink in.

I tried to divert her attention by taking her to the family room. She enjoyed seeing all things she usually admires, but she still wanted to go home. She was also tired. I led her back to the bed. She didn’t want me to leave her although she didn’t remember who I was. I brought my laptop and sat with her for another thirty minutes before suggesting that we go to lunch. By that time, she had forgotten about going home, and she didn’t say anything more the rest of the day.

When we got home, she had a brief hallucination as we got out of the car. She pointed to something leaning against the side of the garage. She thought it was a girl. There wasn’t anything I could see that might cause her to think that, but I just went along.

She had another unusual experience after she was in bed. She pointed to the ceiling and mentioned something about the “people over there.” I was never able to make much sense out of what she was saying. Then she said she wanted me to help her understand what was going on. I told her I would be glad to and asked what she needed to know. She pointed around the room and said something I never understood. It was another sign of her aphasia. She used a word that had nothing to do with whatever she meant. I think she was talking about all the objects in the room, but I was never clear. Periodically, she would say, “See them over there.” A couple of times, she mentioned animals in the room.

We got through the night without any special “happenings.” She was up early to go to the bathroom and was in a cheerful mood. She has been back in bed for almost two hours. I noticed on the video cam that she is moving around in bed. I’ll check on her. It’s about time to get her up for lunch. I wonder what’s up for today. Clearly, her brain is making changes. I never know where it will lead.

Our Strangest Day

It began with yesterday’s “Surprising Conversation.” The rest of the day was filled with strange incidents. I’m sure I would have noticed more if I had been home during the afternoon instead of the sitter.

The first thing I noticed happened as we were walking in the door at Applebee’s for lunch. Kate said she wasn’t sure she would be able to eat anything. That remark and the expression of concern on her face made me think that she might be sick. She walked very hesitantly into the restaurant and took an unusual amount of time to walk up the two steps to the booths where we always sit. She seemed very confused. I asked her if she felt all right. She told me she didn’t feel “all right,” but she wasn’t sick.

She could never explain the problem very well, but it turned out that she thought two people that she and I know were out to get her. When the hostess put the flatware wrapped in a napkin on the table, I unfolded the napkin, placed the knife and fork at her place, and handed the napkin to her. She refused to take it. It seemed she thought “they” had contaminated it in some way. Later when the food arrived, she picked through everything and put some of them on the table beside her. She shredded some of the chicken and said, “See that. They got this too.” She put it on the table as well. It took her a long time to finish her meal, and she didn’t eat all of it. That is unusual, especially recently. I suppose it was her belief about contamination.

Before the sitter arrived, Kate went to the bathroom. Since that is the bathroom that the sitter usually uses, I checked to see if any clean-up was required. I discovered that she had taken one of three artificial tulips out of an arrangement on the counter, torn off the leaves and all the petals of the flower itself. She left them in the sink where it appeared she had washed them.

When Mary arrived, Kate was picking up two ceramic containers that used to have small cacti in them. She filled them with water and started looking for a place to put them. She and Mary had gone outside to find a place as I was preparing to leave. I left, so I don’t know what happened after that. When I got home, I found them in the laundry room sink.

After Mary left, I sat down on the sofa beside Kate. She said, “Is my mother still upstairs?” (We have a single-story house.) I told her that her mother wasn’t here. She said, “Well, where is he?” I said, “Who do you mean?” She said, “You know.” I never figured out who “he” was.

We went to dinner at our regular pizza place. While we waited for the pizza, she  diligently tried to tear her paper napkin into multiple sections. She carefully attempted to make each tear a straight line. As you can imagine, doing that with a paper napkin is almost an impossibility, but she gave it her best effort.

As for eating her pizza, she ate almost every bite of it. I know that doesn’t seem strange, but she has never liked pizza crust or crust on any bread. (She also has a distaste for the peel of fruit like apples, grapes, or tomatoes.) All our servers know that when she eats bread, she eats from the center out to the crust. Recently, I have noticed that she has been eating much closer to the pizza crust. Last night, however, she ate everything. She only left specks on her plate.

As we were preparing for bed, she started looking through the drawers in her bedside table. She also picked up a coaster on top and asked what it was. I explained it to her, but she didn’t understand. When I got out of the shower she had 8-10 things from the drawer spread out on the bed. She was trying to figure out how to use them with the coaster. She wanted me to look to see if she was doing it the right way.

Before calling it a day, she said something about having a big day “tomorrow” and would be leaving early for church. A few minutes later, she asked me what time she should leave. I told her 10:30 would be fine. She said that was later than she wanted and would probably leave by 9:30. I feel sure she was living in a “flashback” to the years she was our church librarian. She gave that up in 2009 because she was beginning to have trouble doing the work the way she knew it should be done. That was a year and a half before her diagnosis.

What I have reported above is just what comes to mind as I write this post. She made other comments throughout the day that indicated she was experiencing delusions or hallucinations. Like so many things, I don’t know how to explain what she was experiencing. I do know that these symptoms are not unusual for people with dementia. For that reason, I don’t feel any sense of alarm. She has had periodic experiences for several years, but this was the first time so many different things have occurred over the course of a one day. I take it as a further sign of her overall decline.

What is in store for today? I am eager to see.

More Delusions/Hallucinations

Over the past week or two, Kate has experienced more “delusions” than in the past. I’m not actually sure that is the right word. Most often they involve things like a belief that we are somewhere other than our home, that there are other people in the house, and that she sees people or things when nothing is there. When I noticed that she was about to get up yesterday morning, I went to the bedroom. As I approached the bed, she said, “Don’t touch me.” I thought this might be a time when she didn’t recognize me at all, but then she added, “I’ve got a cold.”

As she got out of bed, she insisted that she do it herself without my help. She didn’t want to hold my hand on the way to the bathroom. Once there she continued to be careful about my not touching her because of her cold. What was especially unusual about this was that she has never before shown that kind of concern about spreading her germs to me. I have always been the one to be concerned about passing along a cold to her or her passing along one to me. I didn’t observe any signs of a cold. I didn’t know if she really had one or if she had a dream in which she had a cold.

After finishing in the bathroom, she went back to bed. It was 8:00. She had plenty of time to get back to sleep before getting up for lunch. When I went back to wake her at 10:45, I found that she was awake. This time she didn’t say anything about having a cold. Neither did I see any signs of a cold during the time she was dressing or as we drove to lunch. I didn’t mention anything a cold during lunch, but I did ask if she was feeling well. She said she was fine and never reported any health problem the rest of the day. I am left to believe that her earlier mention of having a cold must have been the result of a dream.