Much of my observations have focused on specific instances of the progression of Kate’s AD or specific examples of her symptoms. Today I would l like to give a general appraisal of how things are going with Dad, Kate, and me. First, a comment on Dad.
After Dad returned from his most recent trip to the hospital with bleeding ulcers, he was incredibly lethargic for a few days. I’m not sure, but this may have been a result of the anesthesia he received before they performed the endoscopy that enabled them to diagnose his problem. Even now some 2 weeks later, he is not back to normal. The major symptom is that he is harder than usual to arouse when I visit him. Yesterday, he asked me if I could talk with the doctor to ask if it would be all right for him to sleep more because he didn’t want to get up. He thought he might be better off to sleep more. I talked with him about this at dinner. I told him he needed to get up it was good for him to get up and to eat and that he would deteriorate if he just stayed in bed all the time. He seemed to understand this and did not object.
Although he has for a long time had good days and bad days, it seems like he has greater swings recently. Some days I come home very upbeat over his condition. Other days I am low.
I am also noting more memory issues. He even forgets his speech therapist’s name sometimes, and she is a very special person to him. In fact, about 10 days ago, he remembered her husband’s name but couldn’t remember hers. He also slips on the name of his writing teacher as well as two members of his Sunday school class. He apparently had a dream recently about visiting the home of one of them. He seems to recall it was a very large house and that she has something to do with Mountain Valley. I think he may have been trying to convey that she was doing the laundry for Mountain Valley. Although he still talks about his upcoming birthday, he doesn’t seem to be as energized about it and is not making as many suggestions about things he wants done. This does not mean he has stopped completely. The other day he told Larry that he wants to have name tags on each of the roses he distributes to the ladies. He also continues to surprise me by asking about my staff and Gordon Seacrest. He clearly has not withdrawn from the world around him.
Turning to Kate, I would have to say that she continues to get along pretty well even though she experiences some discouragement over her condition. I have always noted that the person (in this case, Kate) with AD knows far more than most people believe and experiences frustrations related to her condition. I am beginning to notice that she has less concern about some things that would have been an issue before. For as much as the past year or so, I have noticed that she does not notice spots on her clothing that would have bothered her before. When she rinses dishes, she does a horrible job. She seems less concerned about how she dresses. The other day we went out for lunch and she didn’t wear a bra. That’s something that she would never have done before.
She finds it even harder to accomplish various tasks. Last night while she was working on a Word file in preparation for a program she is doing for PEO next week, she was frustrated and said, “I just can’t do anything anymore.” This type of frustration is what, I believe, leads her to spend so much time puttering in the yard. She has been out there for almost 2 hours already this morning. Even though we are having hot weather, she goes out periodically during the day. She gets so hot and dirty that she comes in and takes a shower. Sometimes she takes as many as 3 showers a day though his is not typical. She as commented to me that she doesn’t know what she does when she is out there which is to say that she doesn’t believe she can recite a long list of things she has accomplished. Perhaps that is why I feel she just finds it something she is able to do without making any mistakes or having someone telling her she is not doing it the right way.
So how am I doing? Like Kate, I am doing well overall; however, I am having my own frustrations. For example, I have to be more attentive to her schedule and provide help in making sure she doesn’t miss appointments or commitments she has made. As I left Dad yesterday afternoon, I called her to remind her that she was going to meet me for supper at the church. Not surprisingly, she had forgotten even though we had talked about it, and I had reminded her before leaving to see Dad. She can completely forget things quickly.
This can be a particular problem in conversation. If we are talking about someone and a moment passes and I say, “I told him . . .” She will either look confused or ask, “Who?” Increasingly I feel the need to remind her of things, but she sometimes resents this.
The biggest issue for me is the responsibility of taking care of my own affairs while increasingly being responsible for her and for Dad’s. When I go to see Dad, I frequently forget some things – for example, take him bananas but forget to leave them, get him up and take him to the dining room but forget his box of Kleenex that he likes to have with him at all times. I have mentioned before that Kate committed to preparing a new edition of our neighborhood directory. If left to her, it will never get done. What has been done so far is what I have done or done with her. She doesn’t even mention working on it now. This morning I spent an hour entering or checking information. I am going to take a little at a time and get it done on my own. She has also said she would do a city-wide directory for PEO. I put all of the information she will need to do it in a single place. I fear now that she has misplaced it. This kind of thing goes on and on, and, of course, this is only the beginning.
One final comment. I am beginning to wonder if her medications are not actually helping. I say that because she is better now than I might have predicted 3 years ago. Perhaps we will have more good times ahead than I originally thought. That would be nice. At the moment, however, I am still looking at the first 6-8 months of 2014 as possibly the last great traveling moments for us. We leave for New Zealand on Feb. 11. We will also have another trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake and Chautauqua in Late June. We are also going to take Heather to New York during the summer. In addition, we will have the other grandchildren for a visit. I don’t know what our situation will be after that.