I came home directly from the Y in order to take Kate to Panera. She was up and dressed in black slacks and her Harrod’s sweatshirt that she bought when she and Ellen were in London in 2002. She had the sweatshirt on backwards. I asked her about going to Panera, and she said, “”In a little while.” I got on the computer and checked email and took care of registering for a platelet donation this afternoon. At 10:15, I went back to see if she were ready. She indicated she didn’t care. It was obvious that she was down. I asked her about it. She said she was bored. I said, “”Then let me take you to Panera, or we could watch a BBC program on TV.” She said she didn’t want to watch a TV program. She agreed to Panera. I came back in the kitchen. Shortly she came into the kitchen wearing the same clothes. She said, “I hope I don’t run into anybody I know at Panera.” I told her I thought we would go directly to lunch from Panera.
I have heard other people talk about Alzheimer’s patients and sundowning. I have wondered if that is something that Kate is likely to experience. Up until now I had not noticed any signs of what I believe to be sundowning. There have been several times recently when I have wondered. These instances occurred when we had planned to go someplace for the evening. When I mentioned that it was time for us to get ready, she has reacted very negatively. The times I remember involved going to a concert. One was the symphony. The other, I think, was a local choral group. This past Saturday it happened again. We have missed the last two symphony concerts. I was quite interested in the one this past Saturday because of the soloist (a former child prodigy who is now 33) who was playing the Mendelssohn violin concerto. The orchestra was playing the Tchaikovsky 5th Symphony. I thought this would be a concert that Kate might enjoy; so I made reservations to a luncheon with the soloist this past Friday. We went, and she enjoyed being there to meet her. We talked about Saturday’s concert. She was interested. I mentioned it to her several times on Saturday. Then about an hour before we were to leave I told her it was getting time for us to get ready. This made her very unhappy. In fact, she had gotten out of the bed and then got back in and pulled the covers over her. I tried not to force her to go but said, “”But you had told me you wanted to go. You enjoyed meeting the soloist at lunch yesterday.” I went on to tell her that she didn’t have to go, that I didn’t want her to be upset, that I would go on. After a few minutes, she decided to go with me. She ended up enjoying the concert and got to speak with a number of people we know. It was after this that I began to draw an association with sundowning. In the future I will be more careful to pay attention to her behavior around the end of the day.
The second thing that happened was yesterday. I had come home from church right after Sunday school as I have been doing for several months now. When we got home after lunch, Kate worked on her iPad. Then she lay down to rest. When she got up, I could tell that she was down. I decided to see if she would like to eat dinner a little early. She said she would. She was silent in the car going to the restaurant, and she wanted me to be quiet. As we were about to get out of the car, she said she was “down.” Then she went on to say, “I just can’t believe they would say that.” (I should also mention that in the past 24-48 hours she has mentioned something that indicated she thought I was checking with some friends in Nashville about something. I presumed this involved this same issue.) I asked her if she were talking about the same couple she has mentioned before. She nodded. She seemed seriously disturbed. When we had ordered, I reminded her of something I had said a week to ten days ago. I said that I really didn’t want her to have to struggle so because I believed she had had a dream about the whole thing and that I was unaware of our friends ever saying anything about her mother, certainly not to me. She appeared to accept it but with a little doubt.
This morning while we were at Panera she seemed in a good mood. At one point she volunteered that she had decided I was right, that she had just dreamed the whole thing (again without saying what the “whole thing” was) and that now she couldn’t even remember what they said. She told me she could remember my telling her it was a dream but not what they said. What I am hoping is that she will not call up her memory again so that we have to go through the same process again. She told me she felt better about our friends.
Two days ago my post suggested a change for the worse in Kate’s condition. I hesitated to say that because the difference had been so minor, but in the last 24 hours I have noticed a difference in her that may confirm my original suspicions. Yesterday morning I came from the office to take her to lunch before going to Rotary. When I returned around 2:00, she was in bed. That is not something unusual except that she remained there until about 4:30. When she got up, I suggested that we go to Chalupas for dinner and reminded her that we were supposed to go to the December meeting of the music club. She looked disappointed. I told her she didn’t need to go. She accepted. She went into the family room and sat with her computer. It was not open. She just sat there. She looked very sad. I went in and sat with her on the love seat. I asked if I could do anything to help. She said, “You’re doing it.” We sat there in silence except for a few comments that I made. During this time all I could imagine was that she was discouraged about her Alzheimer’s and being bored. At one point, I reiterated that I wanted to help her but that she didn’t seem to want to talk about it. She said, “About what?” I told her that she seemed depressed. She said, “I don’t feel depressed at all. I am just tired.” I told her I felt better knowing that. We then left for Chalupas. She seemed to get along as she usually does. She was not talkative, and she seemed tired. She is often this way when she is hungry. All this seems like something that is different. She is more tired than usual.
When we got home, I showered and dressed for the music club. She got into bed. When I left, she was in bed and said that she was going to sleep. When I got home at 10:30, she was sound asleep.
This morning she was up at 6:00 and went back to bed. That much is normal. She just got up again and seems tired. Libby is coming today, and I have a lunch meeting at 11:30. I asked if she would like to go to Panera. She said she would. That was 30 minutes ago, and she just got up. I had told her there was no hurry. We’ll see how it goes today. We have a symphony concert tonight. She didn’t go last time. I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t go tonight.
Yesterday afternoon before we were to leave for a movie, I walked into our bedroom where Kate was editing photos on her laptop. I said, “We’ll need to leave in about 5 minutes.” She yelled at me that she was ready. When that time had lapsed, I went to get her. She still seemed quite irritated. That continued in the car as we drove to the theater. I don’t recall exactly what she said, but she expressed her displeasure at the way I rush her when we are going places. As we started walking toward the theater from the parking garage, she said, “You tease me enough. I should be able to tease you.” She held my hand. Then as we sat in the theater, she also held my hand. It is as though she really was angry but tried to cover by suggesting she was teasing. Then she began to express her apology not in words but by being loving.
Kate was down all through lunch. When we came home she immediately lay down in bed. I spent some time on email.
Prior to lunch I had looked for a movie and saw that The Flick was showing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at 3:00. Kate said she would like to go. It seemed like it would be a good one for her. She loved it. When we were in the car on the way home, she said the movie had really lifted her spirits. It is a rather hokey 1950s movie. I enjoyed it as well from an historical standpoint. I was just pleased that it brought her out of her depression.
We had a couple of memory issues. We saw in the credits that Howard Keel and Jane Powell had starred in the movie. We commented that they were the only people we knew. In fact, Kate had said that the female lead looked like Jane Powell. As we were driving home, she was reading a brochure with information about the movie. She read that Jane Powell was in the movie. When I mentioned its being in the credits, she asked me what part she played. She had completely forgotten in that short time. Another incident occurred that has been common for most or all of the past 3-4 years. We past a pizzeria that I had not known before. When I pointed it out, she said, “Oh, I remember our passing that on the way to the movie.” We had not come that way going to the movie. She commonly says I have told her things that I haven’t told her.