Losing things

During the time we were in Chautauqua, Kate lost a sweater left under her seat at the opera and her purse that I left beside her seat at Scott Roselle’s radio talk show that we attended each morning. We recovered both of these. They had been delivered to the Lost and Found office.

On the trip home, Kate left her iPad either on the plane or the ladies room. We went back to both places and did not find it. On Monday I went out to buy another one. It was delivered to our house yesterday while we were in Nashville visiting with our friends, Angie and Tom Robinson.

While I can blame Kate’s Alzheimer’s for the major part of these losses, I feel responsibility as well. After all, I should be the one to make sure that we have all of her belongings. I am not good at remembering to get her things. I will continue to work on it, but I find, especially while traveling, I often have my own things to look out for, and it is easy not to take specific note of her things as well. I am far from perfect.

I am also thinking of the fact that I have lost her a number of times. That, too, is partially (perhaps largely) my fault. If I never let her out of my sight, this would not have happened.

PEO Sisters Know.

On Sunday we went to a Christmas concert. Kate’s PEO chapter took this opportunity to make it a club social as they did last year. I went to get the tickets Sunday morning and didn’t find them where we keep tickets. I remember that Kate brought them home from a meeting and had them in her PEO bag. I thought I had removed them and put them with our other tickets. I obviously didn’t do so. Kate just walked in. Will continue later.

Next Morning, 7:41 am

Just back from my walk. Kate has gone back to bed, a common pattern for her. She gets up and eats. Then she gets back into bed with either her iPad or her laptop. She gets sleepy and rests a while.

Let’s go back to Sunday. We didn’t have our tickets; so I called  a PEO sister who arranged for everyone’s tickets. She didn’t answer, and I left a voice mail message. She called back later, but we were at the concert or dinner.

Yesterday morning I called Linda. I wanted to apologize for not taking care of the tickets and also to see if she understood Kate’s situation. As I suspected, she said they all knew. She indicated that is why they someone to our house early on Thursday – just to make sure all was in order. I told her that the diagnosis had been 4 years ago this coming January 21. She seemed quite surprised that it had been that long. I didn’t tell her a lot but did ask that she keep in communication with me regarding any obligations that Kate has (like meetings, etc.). She agreed to do so.

Kate and I both continue to believe that she is getting along pretty well. Kate especially does not realize the full extent of her condition. At lunch the other day she asked me if I had seen the ad for a movie about Alzheimer’s. I asked if she meant Still Angie? She said she thought so. She told me she didn’‘t want to see it. I told her I had read it and that the situation was different from ours in a number of ways. First, Angie’s condition progresses rapidly over a 2-year period. Second, Angie’s husband is focused on his career which leads him to be much less sensitive than I think he should be. That led to her telling me that she thought she was doing well. She mentioned that she does have to ask me about names. She didn’t say something that I believe she also realizes. She asks me many things repeatedly – what time we are going someplace, etc.

One thing I am asking myself now is how blind I might be to her condition. I clearly believe she is much further along than Kate does, but I have a hard time imagining that in another year that she will be as far along as Angie was at the end of two years. In time I am sure I will have an answer to this question.

A New Observation

For a long time I have made a point of saying that the person with Alzheimer’s does in fact know they have the disease, and it frustrates them. In the past 2-3 months I have come to another observation. The Alzheimer’s patient is like all of us in that he or she does not recognize the basis of all behaviors. In Kate’s case, she is most frustrated by the difficulty she has performing tasks like working with the computer or remembering where she puts things. On the other hand, I don’t believe she has any recognition of the lack of care of thought with which she does things. I think it was those things that were the first signs something was wrong, not a problem with memory. Just yesterday she had an experience that may illustrate this lack of recognition.

She has lost several pair of clippers that she used to trim her shrubs. I know I have bought at least 3 or 4 since spring not including 2 I bought this past week. Day before yesterday she told me she had lost one of the 2 new ones. Yesterday she asked me to walk around the yard and help her look for them which I did. Neither of us found them. When she came inside, she said something like, “I just don’t know how I do this?” The way she said it, I was unsure whether this was simply an expression of frustration or if she really doesn’t know the cause of her behavior. I am well aware that she doesn’t recognize how far along she is, but I have assumed that she grasps the fact that her Alzheimer’s is what causes all the problems like this one. I believe I was wrong about that.

On an unrelated note, she came inside for some water about 45 minutes ago. When she saw me, she said, “I didn’t know you were here.” That made me stop and think about it. This is a Saturday morning, and I have been inside working on my SS lesson for tomorrow. She doesn’t usually know what day it is; so she was thinking it is just like every day. She works in the yard while I am at the office (though nowadays that normally occurs on MWF, not the other 4 days of the week). She was probably thinking I was coming home from the office. Then walked in the house only to see that I was here. Before going back outside, she asked me how long I had been at home. That gave me a jolt because I assumed she had grasped that I had been home all along. I thought a moment and said, “”Well, since I came home from getting my haircut yesterday afternoon.” She looked at me and said, “”That wasn’t funny.” I apologized, and she said, “”Well, it was a little funny.” I could not help wondering if she did not think it funny because I was making light of the fact that she can’t help getting mixed up on such things.

Two days ago, she asked me where the church directory was. I told her the last time I had seen it she had taken it out of the drawer in the kitchen where we kept it. She said, “”That’s scary.” This was said matter-of-factly. She wasn’t making a big deal of it but it seems to me interpreting the situation as one in which her Alzheimer’s could mean the directory could be anyplace. Indeed, I have looked around the house without success. It really could be anyplace.

Home from the Golf Tournament

I just got home from the foundation’s annual golf tournament, one of our biggest fundraisers. Kate is not home; so I know she got to go with our neighbor to the orchid garden. I looked around for her debt card and money and tip information and found them on the bed in her office. I guess that means that the neighbor had to pay. I know this had to be embarrassing for Kate. She had worked so hard to do this on her own.

On a different note, Kate gave me a bill for plants that Ellen had bought for her on Wednesday. It was $230. She acted scared to give it to me. She had held off giving it to me since Wednesday afternoon. Then she said something that I have thought for a long, long time. She said, “Think of it as my therapy.” That is exactly how I think of it.

The lost is found.

Kate found her driver’s license and ATM card this morning. I am sure she was relieved. I know that every time something like this happens, she suffers. After church today, we walked to our cars. She asked if I were taking her to my car first – that her car was in front of the church. I told her I thought I had seen her car in back near my car. She told me it must have been a similar car. When we got near the car, she still thought it belongs to someone else and started to walk away. I looked closer and saw that it was hers. She was surprised and hadn’t remembered parking in this spot at all.

As we drove away from the church, I noticed that she turned right instead of left. I followed her to see where she was going. The road took her back to the church parking lot. She then went the correct way home. When we got home, she looked at me without saying anything. I know she was saying without words, “I am getting worse. I am discouraged.” I gave her a hug. We embraced. Neither of us said anything; however, we each understood the other.

Driver’s License and ATM Card Again

I just got home from the hospital visiting Dad. The first thing Kate said was that she couldn’t find her driver’s license or ATM card. Of course, we may find them. She said, “I don’t know, Richard.” I took that as an expression of personal frustration over her decline. We’re going to have to figure out a way to keep them in a single location. I thought we had done that this time by putting them in the console of her car between the driver’s and passenger’s seat.

Back In Business

Yesterday we got Kate a replacement driver’s license. This is the second time in two weeks that we have done so. We have now placed the driver’s license and her ATM card in a small change purse and put it in the storage area under the console between the two front seats. I hope this works.

I know this has been hard on Kate. She has been stuck at home. Monday she was particularly cooped up. She was glad to have her license back for the psychological boost it gave her. One of the ways I notice she is down is that she pays no attention to dieting which she talks about for a few days and then goes off. While we were in Jackson Hole, she said she was going back to Weight Watchers as soon as we got home. She has made no effort to do so. She did take a stab at watching her diet a few days, but then gave in. I have not worried about this much since I feel that I want her to be able to enjoy herself as much as possible.

It is so hard for her to do much nowadays. She continues to devote herself to the yard. I think this is because it is one thing she can do. Everything else requires more thought than she wants to give. She even asked me to answer an email from the treasurer of our neighborhood association. She had offered to reimburse Kate for the newsletter she distributed in May or early June. All Kate needed to do was tell her how much to pay. She asked me to write it for her.

Before leaving for Dad’s yesterday afternoon, I could tell that she was down. I told her I would take her to dinner when I got home. I headed for a nearby Thai restaurant when she asked where I was taking her. When I told her, she didn’t react positively. I suggested another place, and she was happy about that. We went and had a good time as well as a good meal. It’s just that we spent more than we usually do for a weeknight dinner. Although someone might think we spend too much eating out, I feel that it is worth it. Before we started eating out for all our meals, I spent time preparing food by myself. Then I cleaned up by myself. Now we can spend that same amount of time together. Of course, I know that we won’t continue this forever. How long is the real question. I feel confident it could go on for more than a year and perhaps as long as 3-5 years.

Dad has continued frequent calls yesterday and this morning. At 3:00 yesterday afternoon he called to say he didn’t know where he was and that his phone was not working. When I was there for dinner, I asked him about both of these things. With respect to not knowing where he was, he said, “”Oh, I knew where I was, I just didn’t know what else to say.” As for the phone, he told me that it said it was Tuesday, July 9. I told him that was correct. He said it hadn’t moved all day.

This morning he called twice while I was at the Y. He said he didn’t know where he was but he was in a real nice restroom. It had bars on the wall that you could hold and everything. He went on to say that he was sitting on the side of his bed at Mountain Valley. I told him to stay there. I told him what time it was and that I would be there this afternoon. I got a call back in about 30 minutes. He asked if I were looking for him. I told him know. He said he was still in bed and that he was all right. I told him to stay there, and I would be there this afternoon.

I can’t help noticing similarities between some of the things he does and those that Kate does. They both get confused and don’t like to be questioned for explanations. Kate regularly says, “Let’s not talk about it now.” Dad says almost exactly the same thing.

Losing Things Again

Before leaving for Jackson Hole, Kate had misplaced her driver’s license, ATM card, Medicare card, and her supplemental insurance card. Last Friday we replaced her driver’s license and arranged for a new ATM card. I can’t recall how many ATM cards we have replaced. This morning as she was ready to leave for Lowe’s, she found that she had misplaced the driver’s license that we got on Friday. She has looked everywhere and continues to look, but no luck yet. It is most discouraging to her and to me. I am afraid I am going to have to take charge of these things .

Cards Lost Again

I believe I mentioned that we have replaced Kate’s ATM card several times over the past year , three times since Jan 1, I believe. A few days ago, I gave her a leather card holder that I had used in the past to carry my business cards. I put her driver’s license, ATM card, Medicare card, and supplemental insurance card in it. Yesterday afternoon she told me that she couldn’t find it. This morning she let me know that she has gone through all her purses and looked in all the places she thought it might be without success. I looked in the car and around our bedroom and laundry room. Still no luck. I told her we would look for it later. I also told her we could use her passport when we travel to Jackson Hole on Wednesday. In addition, I suggested that we put the new cards in the glove compartment of her car and that we leave them there.

Of course, I stopped short of saying what I think is coming – that I take all her cards and hold them for her.

Where Are My Keys?

I suspect it may be clear from what I said last time that I am going through a sad time as I think about Kate’s decline and as I imagine where we will end up.

Today I made two presentations to a client group just outside Knoxville. As I was leaving, I got a phone call from Kate saying she was at Bojangles and couldn’t find the key to the car. I told her to sit tight and went to meet her with another key. When I got there I looked for the key and found it in the console. She didn’t remember putting it there, and I don’t think she had actually gotten out of the car. Thus, it would not have been hard to find for someone else, but with AD, a lot of things are difficult.

I hated to leave her, but when I got home, she said she had gotten along all right. She was having trouble with email, and I helped her. We went to dinner at Altruda’s, and she has gone to bed. I went to the bedroom and she said she had forgotten to take her evening medicine. I got it for her. After she had taken it, she said, “I’m glad you are back.” This is the kind of thing she could have said to me in An earlier time, but I think we both read more into it now.