Some things disappear. Others show up. Kate’s esthetic ability is still working.

It has been seven and a half years since Kate was diagnosed. Over the past four years or so, a lot of things have disappeared. Some things have re-appeared. Others have never turned up. Occasionally, things that have been intentionally stored away have suddenly appeared. That happened just yesterday.

Late in the afternoon or after we returned from dinner, I noticed that there was a display of old catalogs on the table next to my side of the bed. I should have recycled all of them originally, but I had put them in a drawer of the table and quickly forgot they were there. Previously, I had a clock radio on the table. It had broken, and I disposed of it. The table looked pretty bare. It was obvious to me that Kate had gotten into the drawer and found the catalogs. She didn’t look at them as something to be thrown away. Instead she thought of them like magazines one might display on a coffee table in a family room.

As I was leaving the room, I noticed something else. She had found a basket of Christmas ornaments and put them beside a bench in our bedroom. She must have found them in a closet and was attracted by them. She wanted them where she could see them. That made me think of a couple of other things that have shown up recently. One of those is a change purse decorated in needle point. It has nothing in it, but she found it somewhere in the house and has been keeping it on the table by her bedside. Sometimes she takes it with her in the car. She found another one and does the same with it. I may have mentioned that she found a book that she must have liked. I know that I have seen her looking at the book cover, and she has taken the book in the car before.

This caused me to think about The Dementia Handbook once again. You may remember that the author distinguishes between our rational and intuitive (via our senses) abilities. Her main point is that we should deal with people with dementia by de-emphasizing the loss of their rational abilities and focus on their intuitive ones. The latter last much longer and provide the person with much pleasure.

This makes me look differently at her collection of things that have been in closets and on shelves. She still has much of her intuitive abilities. She appreciates beauty, and I think she sees beauty in lots of little things around her. Some of these are things that she purchased in the past. She is reconnecting with them. There is often little practical benefit to her now. She doesn’t carry money or ID to put in a change purse. She just thinks it’s pretty. That’s enough. She derives her pleasure from holding it, looking at it, and having it around. Although there are still mysteries as to why she was digging around the house for different things in the first place, I think I understand why she picks out some things. They are things for which she has a special feeling. That comes from her intuitive side.

Good Day with Friends

This morning we went to Nashville to have lunch with our friends, Angie and Tom Robinson. It was a good day. Kate handled herself quite well. There were a few things that she said that were not true (e.g., she said that we had eaten a Japanese meal that Jan Greeley had fixed.). I had an email from Tom when we returned home that said they thought she had not changed a bit since the last time we were together. Once again this is an illustration of how important long-term memory and strong social skills can be to superficial social interactions. We came home a little earlier than we usually do because I felt she was getting tired and a little withdrawn.

This morning before leaving I mentioned something about our not having found the two missing remote controls. She said, “Let’s not worry about it.” I told her I loved her. Then I said, “You know, you are handling your Alzheimer’s well.” She agreed. Then I said, “Let me ask you a question. Do you ever associate your misplacing things like the remote controls with Alzheimer’s ?” She said, “No.” I then said, “That’ one of the things that goes along with Alzheimer’s. You put things down in one place but don’t remember where you put them. I hope that should make you feel better about it. You really can’t help it.” This is the first time I have ever pointed out an aspect of her behavior that is connected to Alzheimer’s. I feel sure that she won’t remember our conversation, but it confirmed what I had suspected for some time. She doesn’t associate many of the things she does with her diagnosis. I don’t plan to make a point of it every time he does something like this.

Lost is Found

This morning I decided to look for Kate’s pill box. I looked in all the bathrooms. Then I looked in our bathroom once again. I opened the cabinet on her side and slowly looked at one shelf after another. Then I saw it. It was on the second shelf from the top. It wasn’t easy to see because it was turned with the top facing toward the back of the cabinet. In addition, there were other items hiding most of the bottom of the pill box.

Why it was there I’ll never know. I am sure Kate would have no idea that she had put it there or why. To me it is clear that she was disturbed by something and did several things last night to hide things and close doors.

I am thinking more about not leaving her alone. I may have to figure what is the easiest transition to make. Certainly I can have Libby come at some other time. I am arranged a meeting with Cindi Renner tomorrow morning at Panera. She might be someone who could help as well.

An Unusual Day

Several things to report this evening. First, is we had two problems getting ready to go out. One occurred at lunch. The other this afternoon for dinner. This was a day when I had a luncheon board meeting at the foundation and an executive committee meeting for the music club this evening at 6:30. Here’s what happened.

I was scheduled to be at the board meeting at 11:30 or shortly thereafter. I went to the Y early (left at 5:50 a.m.) so that I could get back home before Kate was up. This would also allow me time to make sure she was ready for lunch 10:15. That would enable me to leave around 11:15. Shortly before 10:00, I went outside to tell her it was time to get ready for lunch. I also offered her the opportunity for me to bring home a sandwich if she would like to stay outside a little longer. She didn’t like that and said she would come in. She delayed 15 minutes. I went back out and told her we needed to get ready. She was on the verge of a panic attack. She came in, but she wasn’t ready until 10:55. By that time, she would not have had time to eat at Panera; so I went to get her a sandwich.

When I got back I showed her the bag that held the sandwich and put it on the island. When I got home after my meeting, I didn’t see any sign that she had eaten the sandwich. I looked in the trash to see if the bag was there. No sign anywhere. She couldn’t remember that I had left a sandwich but said she must have eaten it if I couldn’t find any sign of it.

Since she hadn’t been away from the house, I asked if she would like to go to Panera. She did. When I went to the car, I noticed the Panera bag on a shelf in the garage. She had never unwrapped the sandwich. She had eaten half of the cookie. I took the sandwich with us to Panera where she ate half of it.

We came home, and she rested a little and worked on her iPad. A few minutes before 5:00, I went into the bedroom and told her it was time to leave for dinner. I went back to check on her. She had undressed and was getting ready to take a shower. I told her we didn’t have time for that because I had to get to my meeting. She took another 15 minutes to get ready, but she had a panic attack. She was breathing heavily. We went to eat. She didn’t completely calm down until the meal was almost finished.

When I got home from my meeting, I found that the door to our bedroom was closed (something that rarely happens). I knocked and then went in. The room was darkened, but it was still light outside. I could see that she was not in the room. I went over to turn on the lamp. It didn’t turn on. I found that she had unplugged the surge protector in which the lamp was plugged.

I went to the bathroom door that was also closed. I knocked and opened the door. She was not in the bathroom. Then I went to her room where I found her under the covers as though she were there for the night.

I came back to our bedroom. I looked for the TV remote and couldn’t find it. Then I went to her room knowing that it is usually there when it is not in our bedroom. I looked all around her room without success. Not only that, the remote for the TV in her room was not there either. I have looked all around the house without success. I can’t find either remote.

I went back to our bathroom to see if Kate had taken her medicine for the night. I didn’t find her pill box. I started looking for it. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. This is not the first time she has misplaced the pill box. A few months ago, it was missing. I have not found it yet. I’m going to let her medicine pass for this evening. Tomorrow morning I can’t do the same. It has her Venlafaxine. If she doesn’t take that she has a reaction. She can go 24-36 hours without it. After that she has a problem. Fortunately, I have the supply of medicine; so I will be able to see that she doesn’t miss it. I am just curious to see if we find it somewhere. It is amazing how things can get “completely” lost so easily. I can’t help wondering what was going on in her brain that motivated her to put it somewhere else. This is not the first time she has put things in an unusual spot, but it is a striking example of the behavior that is occurring that was not commonplace before.

Back from Lubbock

We had a smooth trip back home on Wednesday. The only problem we encountered was that Kate left her iPad in the rental car. Unfortunately, we didn’t discover that she didn’t have it until we were already through security and settled in for lunch before our flight. I had what you might call a “false memory” experience. I was sure that I had seen her with it in her hand while we were in the security line. Had I thought about its being left in the car, I would have been less concerned because I would have thought the possibility of getting it back were greater than in the airport. As it turned out, I contacted the TSA at the security check point. They had not seen it. I also spoke with the airport lost and found office. They did not have it either. We got home assuming that we might not get it back. Yesterday morning I got a call from Avis informing me that they had found it. They sent it yesterday for delivery today.

This was a reminder of how important the iPad is to Kate. I was glad that I had mine along. She used it on the trip and continues to use it at home until hers arrives today.

Today is my birthday. Of course, Kate will not be able to remember. I did write it on our daily memo pad that I keep on the island in the kitchen. Every morning I write down all of our obligations including things that I am doing. For example, I write down the time I am going for my walk as well as my time to return, Today is a free day. We don’t have anything on our agenda. I just wrote down. “Richard’s Birthday.” It doesn’t bother me that she doesn’t remember except for its indicating something about the state of her mind. That does sadden me. It is not just that she doesn’t remember. It is when she doesn’t seem to care that is more troublesome for me.

Off to Asheville

Yesterday, when  I returned from my morning walk at 7:45, Kate was about to go outside. It was obvious that she had forgotten about our leaving for Asheville. I told her that we were going to leave at 9:45. She gave me a dirty look but didn’t go outside. She went back to her room to get ready.

At 9:00, she came out and told me she was ready. That was earlier than I had expected and meant that I had to rush to finish up a few things myself. When I packed my things, I also put in some tops and one pair of slacks in my suitcase. As I was gathering things together, she walked into the kitchen with a pair of underwear in her hands. She showed me and told me she had her black underwear.

I went back to her room to get her suitcase. When I picked it up, I noticed that it was very light. I opened it up and found that it was completely empty. All she had was what she was wearing except the black underwear in her hands. She hadn’t packed anything. I quickly gathered up several pair of slacks and tops as well as 3 pair of shoes and 2 sweaters. She came back to the room and asked what I was doing. I told her I had noticed that she hadn’t packed her suitcase and had packed it for her. She said, “Thank you.” She did it very naturally and was genuinely happy that I had done this for her. When we got in the car, I also discovered she had a pair of white underwear in a magazine along with her iPad.

Before leaving for Asheville, we stopped by Panera to get Kate a muffin. Thirty minutes after leaving Panera, we discovered that she had left her iPad there. I called but they didn’t find it. This is the third iPad lost in less than 12 months.

Last night I noticed that she was wearing a robe and an identical robe was on the bed. I said, “It looks like you have two robes.” She said it was a mistake. She meant to bring one gown and one robe but they were packaged like that. She said that was all right. This shows continued confusion. She hadn’t brought any robes. Both robes were in our closet here at the hotel, and she simply got two robes out of the closet.

This morning as I was finishing up in the bathroom, she pushed the door open. She looked quite groggy and didn’t say anything. I asked if she would like to use the bathroom. She said, “I want to take a shower in that shower.” I didn’t understand her, and she repeated it. I understood the second time. The way she said it was very much the way a young child would have said it. I told her I would finish shaving and then turn on the shower for her.

We just finished breakfast. She hasn’t said anything except in response to my questions. The answers have been minimal. She is not typically alert first thing in the morning; so I am not about to draw conclusions. For instance, I am not ready to say that she is disoriented being in a new place although it is a place we have stayed 5-6 times before. I do realize though that she probably does not remember much from those visits.

Kate put the iPad down and looked sleepy. I asked if she would like to go back to the room. She did, and here we are. We have been back in the room for almost an hour. She immediately got into bed. For much of the past hour she has been sleeping soundly as she is at the moment. I will need to wake her up in 15-20 minutes in order for us to get to lunch on time. We have reservations for 11:00. It is now 10:15.

Strangeness continues

For the most part today has been quite normal. I took my morning walk. Upon returning home, Kate was in the yard. Though I had planned on our going to Panera around 10:00, I decided to let her remain outside as long as she was enjoying herself. She came in around 10:00, and we got to Panera at 11:00. We just ate lunch and came back home.

Around 3:30 she was bored and asked the whereabouts of her iPad. I had left it charging when we returned from lunch. She had obviously unplugged it; so I went to the usual places where she might have been using it. No luck. When I told her, she said, “I hid it.” I hesitated and then said, “I’m not going to ask.” She said nothing. We both looked in drawers and closets without any success. Then I engaged the Find my iPhone app from my iPad. It quickly confirmed that my phone and iPad as well as Kate’s iPad were in the house. Then I chose the “Play Sound” option. We heard the ping and identified that it was near the kitchen. Then we realized it was coming from the laundry room. We found it in the back of the closet in the laundry room. It was behind a couple of jackets and a large container of laundry detergent. It was not immediately visible when you looked in the closet. It was then that I said, “I have to ask.” She gave me a look that said, “Forget it;” so I did.

These little things are not problems in themselves, but I can’t help wondering what lies ahead. I don’t think of this as a problem for me, but it can be quite troublesome for her. I would like to avoid that.


Shortly after I finished my previous entry, our daughter, Jesse, called. This was the first time we have spoken with her in 6-8 weeks. It was good to hear her voice. This was also good for Kate . We finished our conversation right at 3:00 and had to rush out to a movie that was to start at 3:30 downtown. It turned out that when we arrived we saw the longest line we had ever seen at this theater. It is a small one compared to the mainstream theaters. As soon as we got out of the car, I realized I didn’t have my wallet. That meant we couldn’t buy ticket anyway; so we came back home.

Once home I came inside and uploaded some of my CDs to my computer. Kate remained outside to prune her plants. While she was outside, I took some time to look for her iPad and found it on the floor in the bathroom of the big guest room. I then took it into our bedroom to be charged. I decided not to rush outside and tell her we could celebrate the finding of her iPad. I wanted to see if she might remember it was lost. This had been such a traumatic experience for her that I thought she would. When she finally came in about 20 minutes ago, I was syncing her iPad with my calendar. I told her what I was doing, and she smiled. She started to get something to drink. I took her iPad to the bedroom to charge it and left it on our bed. She is now working jigsaw puzzles on it and hasn’t said the first word about finding it. This puts me in a bit of a quandary. I hate not to have given her the opportunity to feel good about our finding it. On the other hand, I was concerned that it would remind her that she had misplaced it in the first place. I think I may just let it ride. She’s happy.

Another Crisis

Sometimes it seems like we are going from one crisis to another. We got back home from lunch at about 1:00. Kate stayed outside to put some lemons from her ice tea in the compost. I came inside to check email. I also started downloading CDs to my computer so that they can be transferred to my phone. I also loaded several professional photos from our cruise in January. I was going to sync Kate’s iPad with my calendar and couldn’t find it. Almost 40 minutes ago, she came in and couldn’t find it either. It was very disturbing to her. She cried off and on for about 20 minutes. She said, “I can’t find anything.” As always, this is painful for me to watch. I have been all around the house looking everyplace I can without success. I even called the restaurant where we had lunch. They hadn’t found it either. I guess this is just the beginning.

Something Strange

I neglected to mention in my earlier post that my pillow was missing when I was ready for bed last night. Kate was already in bed. I looked in all the rooms, but didn’t come up with it. I suspect it is in Kate’s office. Usually it is something of hers that is missing. It is strange that it is my pillow. I have to believe she moved it someplace. I know I didn’t. In normal situations, I would ask here if she knows where it is. That doesn’t work with a person who has dementia. She never knows.