The Ride to Memphis

After our early morning conversation yesterday in Nashville, I got up and dressed. Over the past year, I have requested a room that is near the breakfast area. That has worked well. I went to the lobby and brought my breakfast back to the room.

After being awake three different times the night before, I thought I would have to wake Kate to get her ready for the drive to Memphis. She surprised me as she often does. She got up around 9:15, and we made it to breakfast just before they closed at 10:00. She would have gone back to bed after her shower if I hadn’t told her they were getting ready to stop serving breakfast.

I was encouraged that we would be able to leave earlier than I had expected and sent a text to Jesse telling her that we would soon leave for Memphis. Then Kate wanted to rest again. She lay down on the sofa in our room and went to sleep. I woke her at 11:30, and we left the hotel just before noon.

Kate was in a very good mood and more talkative than usual. I have often mentioned that she gives higher evaluations to theatrical and musical performances than she would have done in the past. Recently, I also mentioned that she sees more beauty in things around her. She was very charitable in her assessment of the world around her yesterday. That lasted until she was sound a sleep last night. She liked the Residence Inn in which we stayed in Nashville. She loved the trees along the highway even though many of them were now without their leaves.

She was also very adaptable. We stopped at a Wendy’s for lunch. It was a cold day. When we got inside, she immediately commented on how cold it was. We discovered that the heat had gone our earlier that morning when it had been 27 degrees. I went to the car and got our jackets. She didn’t complain at all as we ate our meal in the cold. When I got up to get ketchup for her fries, I discovered that the two containers were empty. I mentioned it to an employee who (I thought) said he would take care of it. I thought he meant he was going to refill them and went back to our table. It was probably ten minutes before I went back for the ketchup. They were still empty. I asked again. This time the guy said they were out and asked if I wanted some. I told him I did. That is when he told me that they have it in packets. Earlier he had come back to the counter with them, but I had gone back to the table. He thought I didn’t want them. At any rate, Kate never complained about not having ketchup. She was simply happy to get it when it finally arrived.

I used to talk about Kate’s déjà vu experiences. The reason I haven’t mentioned them in a while is because she stopped having them (or talking about them). They were back yesterday. We had a detour that took us completely away from the highway and through a town we had never visited before. As we drove through it, she commented on different things she remembered. There were several other places along the road that she “remembered.”

About fifty miles out from Memphis, we passed homes along both sides of the highway. She commented on how nice they looked. She noted that they were small and unpretentious but kept up very nicely. She repeated this refrain for quite a while. I failed to see the same beauty, but I enjoyed the fact that she could see it.

Throughout the trip, she frequently asked, “Where are we?” and “Why are we here?” I explained that we were on the way to Memphis to celebrate Christmas with Jesse. Each time, she wanted to know who Jesse is. I told her that she is our daughter. Sometimes she was surprised that we have a daughter. Other times she remembered. When I mentioned her family, she asked Jesse’s husband’s name. When I told her, she almost always said, “He’s a nice guy.” That was not something new. She has been saying that for a long time.

We arrived in Memphis shortly after 4:00. We took a few minutes to unload the car. Then we were off to Jesse’s. It was a good travel day.

Patterns in Kate’s Behavior

I am always looking for patterns in Kate’s behavior. Sometimes that is difficult. For example, the time she gets up in the morning has been somewhat erratic since the spring. There is a general pattern, however. She clearly gets up later on average than she used to do. The fact that we rarely get to Panera in the morning is the best indicator of that.

I have tried to detect patterns in her confusion as well. That has been harder than her sleeping pattern. In general, I would say that she is more confused in the morning than later in the day. That makes sense to me because she has always been slow to get up. She has never been interested in conversation in the morning. It was like she needed time to pull herself together. Then she would be able to think more clearly. I admit that I really don’t know what was going on. I just know that she tended to be quiet. After a little time, she was “more like her normal self.” This makes me wonder what she thought of me all those years since I can be ready for conversation immediately after getting up.

Yesterday was a good example of how, given a little time, she can change. As I reported in my previous post, she was very confused when she awoke. It was as if her mind were blank. She was quiet through lunch. She didn’t even ask my name or her name or where we were on the way to or during lunch. That is unusual. We came back to the house where I put on some Christmas music, and we relaxed in the family room. By the time we left for our haircuts, she seemed alert and happy.

Yesterday was a day for her to have her hair colored. I waited while the woman who does our hair started the process with Kate. During the time that the color was setting, I got my haircut. I was seated in the chair next to Kate. At one point, the stylist (I always feel a bit awkward when I use this term. I still think it should be a barber who cuts a man’s hair. It must be a sign of my generation. <g>) stopped and went to Kate to “help” her. Let me explain.

Kate has developed what to me seems a strange habit. This happens most often when she is lying in bed before going to sleep and after her shower in the morning. She gets a few strands of hair at her scalp and runs her fingers along the strands until she gets to the end. Then she gets another few strands and does the same thing. This can go on for a long period of time. This is something I don’t understand. She has tried to explain that she is doing something good for her hair. She is pleased by what she is doing and has asked me to watch. Since this often happens after the lights are out and we are in bed, she says, “I will show you in the morning.” The only thing I can think of is that she might be getting tangles out of her hair. She does the same thing after she gets out of the shower. Her explanation for that is different. She says she is drying her hair. As you might imagine, this is not an efficient way to dry hair. Kate stopped using a hair dryer years ago. I have never used one, so we don’t have one in the house. On our trip to Texas for Thanksgiving I used the hair dryer in the hotel to dry her hair. She seemed to like that. I’ll put that on my shopping list.

That is a long introduction to tell you how the stylist was helping Kate. She had noticed that Kate was gathering strands of hair and doing the same thing she does at home. She was wearing light khaki pants and was getting the dye from her hair to her hands to her pants. There was no harm done. It’s just another illustration of the kinds of things that happen that I would not have anticipated.

After dinner, we came back to the house and watched two specials on TV. That is very unusual for us. The first was a Rick Steves’ special on “Christmas in Europe.” I was very surprised that Kate watched the entire program and without working on her iPad. I can’t remember the last time that happened except for a musical production. We followed that by watching a memorial concert celebrating the lives lost in the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue. It was a beautiful concert and a peaceful way for us to close our day. I should add that the time we are at home together after dinner is the most predictable time for us. I look forward to it each evening.

From Clarity to Excitement to Insecurity to Enjoyment to Confusion

All of us experience moments when we are up and when we are down. Kate sometimes changes quickly from one emotion to another. She hasn’t always been like that. Alzheimer’s is the culprit. Yesterday she went through a series of emotions from the time she awoke until we had gone to bed.

When I went I to wake her, her eyes were open. She was very relaxed. She was enjoying the comfort of a warm bed on a cold morning. As I approached her, she smiled warmly. There was no sign of confusion about who I was. I told her good morning and that I love her. She smiled again and motioned with her hands that she felt the same way about me.

We didn’t have any obligations that required her to get up at that time, but I thought it would be good for her to get up for lunch and take care of a few things before Ken and Virginia arrived later in the afternoon. Often she is resistant to getting up, so I approached this cautiously. I found that for the second day in a row she was very cooperative. We were off to a good start.

Apart from her usual problem with names, Kate seemed quite normal and completely at ease. We had lunch and came back home and relaxed a while. Later we went to Barnes & Noble. Shortly after we arrived, I received a call from Sue Glenn, a childhood friend of Kate’s in Fort Worth. She was calling to check on Kate. It was just over a year ago that we had visited with her and several other high school friends when we were in Fort Worth. We hadn’t spoken with her since a phone call conversation a few weeks after that. I always wonder how Kate will handle phone calls from people she has not seen or talked with in a long time. I was very pleasantly surprised that the call could not have gone better. I told Kate who was calling and handed her the phone. Her eyes lit up immediately. There was a clear sign of recognition. She and Sue chatted almost ten minutes. Kate couldn’t say much with a lot of specifics, but she was able to convey her feelings about her past experiences. I think I derived as much pleasure listening to Kate’s side of the conversation as she enjoyed talking with Sue. I don’t often see such excitement or recognition these days.

We went back home to await a call from Virginia and Ken. After their call, I told Kate they would be coming to the house and then we would go to dinner. Coming off the phone call with Sue, I expected Kate to show a similar reaction. Instead, she felt a little uneasy. She said she was tired and didn’t feel like being with anyone. She didn’t say much more. I thought (and still think) she felt the need to be a gracious hostess and wouldn’t be able to carry it off. I assured her she always did well in social situations and would be just fine. She said, “You promise?” I said, “I promise.”

I am happy to say that I was right. She was herself, and we all had a good time. We chatted a short time before going to dinner. The dinner also went well. Ken and Virginia got a sense of why we like eating out so much. We encountered a couple of people we hadn’t seen in a good while. That added another nice touch to the evening.

Ken and Virginia went back to their hotel after dinner. When we came in the house, Kate was confused about where she should go. She wanted to go to the bathroom and asked where it is. I took her to the one she uses most. It wasn’t long before I heard a loud “Hey.” She didn’t hear me answer and asked, “Hey, where are you?” I said, “I’m in our bedroom.” She said, “Where is that?” By that time, I had walked to her. She was standing in a hallway around the corner from our bedroom. She didn’t know where to go. As I walked her to the bedroom, we passed the open door of the guest bathroom. She looked in and saw the bathroom door to the bedroom was also open. She said, “What’s that?” I told her. She said, “Oh.” Nothing seemed familiar to her.

Her confusion continued after we were in bed. She had forgotten that we are married. This was the second night in a row we have had this experience. Our conversation sounded like a couple that is dating. I said, “I love you.” She laughed and said, “We’ll see.” I said, “Well, don’t you love me?” She said, “Maybe. We’ll see.” I said, “Maybe we should make this a long-term relationship.” She said, “Let’s not talk about this right now.” It wasn’t long before she touched me. Then she touched her lips and blew me a kiss. Shortly after that she put her arm around me and we went to sleep.

Why does “roller coaster” come to mind?

This has been quite a day. Let me see if I capture it in words. First of all, there was no sleeping in today. I heard Kate push open the door from the back of the house to the family room. When I checked, she was standing in the doorway fully dressed. It was 9:15. I walked over to her and said, “Good morning.” She said, “Let’s go.” She was impatient, ready for her muffin at Panera. I told her I needed a few minutes to get ready and that I would get her medicine for her. She said, “What medicine?” Apparently, she had forgotten she takes pills each morning. This was the first time she has responded this way about her meds.

She went to the kitchen. I went to our bathroom for her medicine. I heard her say loudly, “Hey.” Before I could answer, she said it again. I got the pills and headed toward the kitchen. Again, I heard her say, “Hey, are you coming?” It is not uncommon at all for her to rush me when she is ready. This morning she was more vociferous than usual.

I put her meds on the island where I put them every morning along with a glass of water. After taking half of them, she turned around to the sink and poured out the water. I noticed the others she had left and called her attention to them. This, too, is becoming a frequent pattern, so I am watching more closely to see that she takes them. When I pointed them out, she said, “Why didn’t you put them over here where I could see them – on the counter by the sink where she was standing.” (At one of Kate’s recent doctor’s appointments, the doctor mentioned the possibility of reducing the number she takes. He was talking about her Aricept (donepezil) and Namenda (memantine). I told him I didn’t know that they worked at all, but Kate was doing well. I wasn’t ready to drop them, primarily because there is some evidence that a decline sometimes follows that. I am still not ready to drop these two prescriptions; however, I believe we might be able to give up the vitamin D and calcium. That will be something to discuss at Kate’s next appointment.)

Once we were in the car, she continued her “gruffness” only this time she was trying to be funny. It wasn’t working. It was almost like a Don Rickles bit, and I was the victim. She said some of the things she has said before. She said that I wasn’t handsome and talked about my nose. She surprised me by asking me if she had a nose like mine. I told her she didn’t. She was relieved.

As we got out of the car, one of our Panera friends drove into the space beside us. I said something about his wife’s not being with him. Kate said something like, “I guess she didn’t want to be seen by you.” That is totally out of character for her. I’ve never heard her say something like that to anyone else but me. She was kidding, but it didn’t sound like it.

Once we were inside and about to sit down, Kate stopped and said something to a man seated at the next table. I didn’t heard what she said, but she was telling him something about me. She started to turn away. Then she stopped and said something else to the man. I set up her iPad for her and went to get her a drink. When I brought her drink to her, she said thank you. Then she spoke to the man she had spoken to earlier and said, “He’s really a nice guy.”

Her behavior was not just notable because she was teasing but not doing a good job of it. It was more like she were playing a role and not herself. Normally, she wouldn’t be talking so much, nor would she say the things she said. She continued in the car on the way to lunch. Once again, she was “teasing” me. Something came up about our relationship, and I told her we were married. She expressed surprise. That was nothing new. Then she said, “Is that for real?” I told her it was. She said, “I don’t know what I was thinking. In a few minutes, she said, “You know I’m kidding, don’t you?. You’re a nice guy. What’s your name?” Her tone was very different than before. She was more like herself.

As we settled in at our table in the restaurant, we had a rather typical conversation except that she was more talkative than usual. Several times she asked me questions about her mother and father, my name, her name and where we live. Our server commented that she hadn’t had to refill my coffee as much as she usually does. I also didn’t finish my salad before the entrée arrived. I told her I hadn’t had time because we were talking so much.

After lunch, we drove back to the house. On the way, Kate said she loved me. I told her I loved her as well. Then she said, “What’s your name?” She was very tired and asked if it would be all right if she took a nap when we got home. I told her that would be fine. She didn’t waste much time before she was in the bed where she remained for an hour and a half before I asked if she would like to get out of the house. She was ready, so now we are at Barnes & Noble. We’ll be here another thirty or forty minutes before going to dinner. I’m glad to say it seems like she is back to normal.

Hyper in the Morning. Mellow in the Afternoon.

Kate’s behavior was been a bit unusual yesterday morning. It started when she got up on the early side again. We even got to Panera in time to see some of our regular friends there. It had been almost two weeks since we had seen them. She was wide awake and seemed almost hyper. She was quite talkative, mostly kidding me about the usual things, my name, my nose, and my graying hair.

It started as we stepped from our laundry room into the garage. I handed her a sweater. As she was about to put it on, I said, “You could put it on before you get in the car.” She said, “Men.” She followed that with something like, “You say the dumbest things.” Once we were in the car, she asked my name. When I told her, she just laughed.

When we walked into Panera, we saw the group from the Catholic Church sitting across from the table where we usually sit. Normally, Kate would walk directly to the drink machine while I greet our friends. This time she said “Good Morning, Everyone” in a loud voice. Then she started talking about me. She was telling them that I am a big talker. They seemed surprised at the bold way in which she spoke since she is normally rather quiet.

Her talkative mood continued during lunch. Soon after we sat down at our table, she looked at me and said, “It’s a good thing you have a good personality.” I interpreted this to mean that I don’t look so good. As she frequently does, she commented on my nose and gray hair. We left the restaurant a little over an hour later. As we walked to the door, something unusual happened. Her mood changed dramatically. She gave me a serious look and said, “Are you going to divorce me?” I told her I love her and would never divorce her. In the car she said, “I want to thank you for your patience. You are very patient with me.” I am sure she had reflected on what she had been saying and was concerned about my feelings. It’s another good illustration of how well her senses are still working. The balance of the day she was in good spirits.

Follow up to Kevin’s Visit

As always, we had a good visit with Kevin. Except for Kate’s minor anxiety attack the other night, she enjoyed herself. She did feel tired, but that was probably related to getting up so early two of the days he was here. On a few occasions, she was more animated than normal. That was good to see except for the times when she was a little grouchy. That was only in the morning before she was fully awake.

That didn’t end when Kevin left. She’s been a little gruff with me this morning. She was in the shower by 9:00 and ready for Panera just after 10:00 and now seems to be all right. The first thing she said to me this morning was “What’s your name?” She followed that with “What’s my name?” Before we left for Panera, she asked my name again. After I told her, she said, “You’re a nice guy.” I think much of her gruffness is an attempt at humor. Mostly, she is trying to tease me, but it doesn’t come off that way. It was this behavior that led me to stop teasing her quite a while ago. There were times that I am sure that I offended her, especially early in the morning before she was wide awake. The change in my behavior worked. It’s only in the past few days that I have seen this emerge again. I unwittingly teased back. That isn’t a good thing. I will need to be more careful in the future.

That leads me to something else. Having read quite a few caregivers’ experiences, I recognize that we all make mistakes we wish we hadn’t made. I did that earlier this week but didn’t realize it until this morning. Among the potential side effects of Aricept (Donepezil) is diarrhea. To counter that I include an antidiarial with her nightly meds. I forgot to do that when I prepared her pills this week. She got by all right until this morning. Fortunately, she hadn’t developed a serious problem, but I am sure that it was unpleasant for her. She never said a word to me. I just found a few traces of the problem around the toilet this morning. She has only two medications that have noticeable effects. The other is Venlafaxine. I like to avoid these problems and feel bad when I don’t make sure she gets these meds. The good news is that missing the antidiarial was a first. There have been several times that she has missed Effexor (venlafaxine), but I have always discovered it the next time she was to take it.

Kate’s Mood and Mine

I recently read an article that encouraged caregivers to be sensitive to their own moods and the impact that can have on those for whom they care. The author stressed how well people with dementia can read moods and feelings long after they have forgotten most people’s names. I have long observed this quality in Kate. In fact, Monday morning while we were in Chapel Hill, she overheard a man talking on his phone. I hadn’t noticed him until she said, “I don’t like him.” As we sat there, she continued to pick up things he was saying. Several more times she repeated that she didn’t like him. I never knew exactly what he was saying, but it seemed to me that what she was not responding to what he said but the emotion with which he was expressing himself. That was far from the first time I have been aware of how much she reads the emotions of others. Almost all of those experiences have been more positive ones.

Long before I had been aware of the ability of people with dementia to read emotions, I believed my own emotions could or might influence how Kate is feeling. I thank my background in social psychology for that. One of the first things taught in the introductory course is that all of us influence others as well as being influenced by them. I had observed that in my relationship with Kate years before her diagnosis. Many times in this blog I have commented on how my own mood has been affected by Kate’s behavior. When she is not doing well, I don’t feel so well myself. When she is enjoying herself, I am too.

Over the past few weeks, I have been especially conscious of how she affects me. Even as she has declined, she has given me a boost when she has been cheerful. For a couple of weeks, she was very talkative. She was expressing gratitude and appreciation. At the same time, she was in the process of forgetting my name and her own, something that is certainly depressing; however, I was feeling good because she felt good. During her several anxiety attacks, my mood dropped significantly.

Over the past week or so, especially while on our trip to North Carolina, she has been less upbeat. This wasn’t so when we were with our friends but when we were alone. She rises to the occasion with others. That is definitely true at first. The longer we are together the more withdrawn she becomes. During the trip in the car, she was very quiet. That was also true most of the time we were alone. It was quite a contrast with her talkativeness in recent weeks.

Yesterday her mood was more upbeat. We had an especially good conversation at lunch. It wasn’t because she was any less confused about where she was or because she didn’t have trouble with names. In fact, it was one of those times that is such an interesting blend of her symptoms with her normal personality.

It began with her talking about our marriage and how fortunate we are. As she usually does, she brought up our children and how proud we are of them. Then she said, “What is your name?” I told her, and she asked her name. Then she asked me to tell her about her parents. I told her almost like telling a child a bedtime story. I told her their names and how they had met, about her mother’s moving from Michigan to Texas, and how she had become such a valued member of her father’s family.

Then she wanted to know about our children. Again, I told it like a story. I described our excitement when they were born and how proud we have been of the way each of them has matured. She took great delight in hearing about both her parents and her children. She was very happy. Although asking her questions is a clear expression of her memory loss, there wasn’t the slightest sign that she frustrated, anxious, or fearful. She was simply asking for and receiving information about those who are most precious to her and loving it. I am only sorry there was no way for her to grasp what an impact she had on my mood. I am also hopeful that with her further decline, we will still have moments like this.

After Lunch

Once we were back at the house, I suggested we change clothes and relax a while. She told me she didn’t want to change. I told her that was fine. I got her a Tylenol to help the pain in her knee, and we sat in the family room. I started this post, and she worked on her iPad. We have been here a little more than an hour. She has been working on her iPad steadily and peacefully all this time. I thought all was well. Then she said, “I’m ready when you are.” I asked if she wanted to go to Barnes & Noble. She said, “I’m just tired of the same old thing.” We went to Barnes and Noble and were there about an hour before she was ready to leave. During the time we were there, she seemed fine.

On the way home, I stopped by Walgreens and bought a sleeve for her knee. I had no idea whether or not it would help, but I didn’t think the Tylenol had made a significant difference. I was ready to try anything. When we got home, I put it on for her. She immediately felt better. I should add that she hasn’t given it a real test so far. She has been sitting in bed with her leg stretched out straight. We’ll soon be off to dinner. That will give me a better idea of how well it works.

I just checked to see how Kate is doing and was pleased to see that her mood had changed completely.

Things pick up in the afternoon.

Kate has never been a morning person, but I think her cold has made it especially difficult to get going. She didn’t get up until shortly after 10:00 today after going to bed close to 9:30 last night. When we got to Panera at 11:20, she was still not fully awake and not very jovial. She didn’t recover during lunch. After getting home, she went directly to bed where she rested about 45 minutes. When she got up, she joined me in the family room where she worked on her iPad for another hour. We didn’t talk during that time, but she seemed to be more alert. Finally, she indicated, though not in words, that she was ready. She just closed her iPad and said, “Well.” I said, “I guess you are ready to go.” She said, “Whenever you are.”

As we drove to Barnes & Noble, she was quite cheerful and talkative. I was playing a CD of the musical Cats. When she heard “Memory,” she said, “I love that song.” I said, “It is interesting that it is probably the best known song from the musical, and it’s the only one not based on one of T. S. Eliot’s poems.” She hadn’t remembered that the musical is based on his book, An Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats. She said, “That’s got to go in the album.”

She was talking about her photo album of our family. She hasn’t worked on it in at least two years, but she still occasionally mentions things that she wants me to remember to put in the album. I could tell she would never finish the album more than two years before she stopped working on it. The only thing she has ever done to create the album is to select some family photos for inclusion and edit them. She has never put anything into the software that she would use to make the albums. She did edit and edit and edit the photos. That was the first of her activities to go. That left her with the yard and jigsaw puzzles on her iPad. Now it’s looking like the yard may become a thing of the past as well.

Speaking of the yard, spring is on the way. We see various trees and shrubs beginning to bud and flower. I have been watching to see if we might get any new leaves on the shrubs around the house. I am glad to see that at least some of them are coming back. I haven’t seen any indication that others have any new growth. They are completely bare. I’m not going to give up hope just yet, but it’s not looking good.

The short rest that Kate had gotten after lunch must have done the trick. She has been just fine since she got up. Once we were at Barnes & Noble, she got rather chatty. She started reminiscing about her mother and father as well as our marriage and how good she felt about our children and grandchildren. These are things she says quite often. She and I talk about how fortunate we are. Periodically, she would say, “Okay, I’m going to stop now.” She would look down at her iPad. Then she would start talking again. She must have done this at least four or five times before she really stopped. At that point, she said, “Now, I think I’m going to play.” Then as though she had to justify that to me, she added, “You know, you can’t do serious things all the time.” I am glad to see I’ve got the “real” Kate back now, and I am grateful that we always seem to have good afternoons and evenings.

Still Recovering from the Flu

We continue to make incremental steps forward in our recovery; however that isn’t the most important thing about which I’d like to comment. That relates to her mood today. She has been a little depressed, something that I don’t see that often. Part of the reason it made an impression on me is that she had a very good night’s sleep. She got up close to noon on Saturday and 11:00 yesterday. Today, I finally woke her up at 12:20. I didn’t rush her. She got up slowly, and we didn’t get to Panera until 2:00. Earlier this morning, I decided not to go to Rotary and to cancel the sitter. I think I did the right thing.

When she was ready, she was not cheerful. I didn’t think much about that at first. She is often not ready to engage in conversation when she gets up. She needs a little time. We were at Panera about an hour before I looked across the table and noticed that she was looking bored. I knew she was ready to go home. I asked to make sure, and she confirmed my suspicions.

It was about 3:15 when we arrived home. Recognizing that she was a little depressed, I asked if she would like to work in the yard. It’s not a beautiful day, but the temperature is warmer than we have had in a while. She indicated that she did not. I suggested that we might find a movie on TV or Netflix and watch it. She said okay without any enthusiasm. While she went to the bathroom to brush her teeth, I explored movies. I suggested an old Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn movie. She indicated she didn’t want to watch a movie. I asked if she would like to look at some of our old photos from or past travels. She didn’t want that either. Then I gave her the iPad and told her to work on it in the family room, and I would find something. I found some old family photos her father had taken along with a couple of albums of our own and took them to the family room.

I sat down beside her and told her I wanted to show her something. I gave her the album with her father’s photos and let her look through them while I watched along with her. She enjoyed seeing them and took her time moving from one page to another. I was feeling good.

When she finished, I said, “Now let me show you something else.” I reached for a box of photos of our own and was going to show them to her. She said, “Do we have to do this now?” I told her no. I had already put on some music that I thought she would like and said we could enjoy the music while she worked on her iPad. She got up and went to the kitchen. In a minute, she had gone outside. I thought that might be a good thing. She hasn’t worked in the yard for more than a week. I think that is mostly because of the weather week before last. Last week, it was the flu.

She was outside for about twenty minutes before coming back inside. She asked if I were ready to go. I told her to give me a minute, and we would go. So here we are back at Panera where we are likely to stay for another 20-30 minutes before we head to Chalupas for dinner. I surely hope she feels better before bedtime tonight.