A Visit With Nashville Friends

We drove to Nashville yesterday afternoon to have dinner with longtime friends Jan and Scott Greeley. Kate and Scott have known each other since infancy. Their mothers were friends and pregnant with the two of them at the same time. We spent the night in a hotel and will have lunch with them before going home this afternoon.

It had been about six months since we last saw them. Kate has changed so much since then that I was eager for us to visit before she declines much more. I am glad we did. This was the first visit with any of our friends in which Kate’s changes have been so obvious. I had already prepared them in terms of conversation with her. What I hadn’t done was to let them know of her physical changes as well. In fact, it is something I have only mentioned in passing in my blog. They discovered this before we even got in the house.

They saw us drive up and came out to greet us. We walked up two or three steps to enter their house. Kate is fearful of falling, and she struggled to get up the steps and into the house. She also expressed audible expressions of anguish. This, too, is something that is common. As we entered the house she wanted to hold my hand. This is something that has become increasing common just in the past few weeks. She is very unsure of herself in unfamiliar places. It’s more than a fear of falling. She doesn’t know where she is going, so she holds my hand to guide her.

Over the past few days, I had been trying to refresh her memory about our relationship with them. Of course, I know that she can’t remember, but I wanted to try anyway. It was of no use. Even after reminders as we got close to their house, she had no idea where we were going and who we would see. For the most part, she handled herself well. I don’t think she said or did anything that suggested she didn’t know them. I believe she felt a general sense of familiarity with them but not as strongly as I had hoped.

The Greeleys are making a trip to New Zealand in December and had asked me to bring pictures from our visit there in 2014. We chatted about hour before looking at our slides. Kate was tired and wanted to lie down. She took a seat in a lounge chair and rested while we continued the slide show. When we were finished, we walked into the den where Kate was resting. Scott said something, and Kate said, “You’re a pretty nice guy, and I don’t even know who you are.”

Going out to eat gave the Greeleys another sign of her physical challenges. There was nothing dramatic, but she walked very slowly. She was unsure of herself as we entered the restaurant. She wanted to hold my hand most of the way to our table. Getting into and out of the booth she seemed like a person much older than she is.

I find moments like this to be sad ones. Because of their history together, Kate has always felt very close to Scott. It was sad that she couldn’t remember him. He and Jan gave her two photos taken when the two of them were in high school. I will put them in the three-ring binder that I call her memory book, although they didn’t prompt the enthusiasm that I would have liked. Kate has clearly reached a new stage.

Kate’s Last Pedicure

Kate has always enjoyed manicures and pedicures, and I have periodically taken her for both since her diagnosis. Now, however, she no long remembers the procedures and the little things she is supposed to do. The last couple of times I have stayed with her the whole time just in case she needed my help. It has worked out, but her insecurity on the previous visit made me more cautious. I made an appointment yesterday afternoon.

When we entered the salon, a different person was at the reception desk, so I pulled out one of my Alzheimer’s cards and slipped it to her. Although that was in advance of any problems, it turned out to be a good thing. I walked her back to the chair to help her get seated. Existing customers were in the seats on either side of her. It turned out getting in the chair was an ordeal. That was partially due to the fact that she had to go up a high step to get into it. The other part involves her eyesight and difficulty understanding directions. She apparently couldn’t see or didn’t recognize the chair itself. Despite my efforts to direct her by putting my hand on the seat of the chair and trying to get her to face it, she struggled to understand what we were asking. I should add that the woman who was to give her the pedicure and the woman sitting in the chair to her right were also trying to instruct and guide her. Although we were all trying to help, I suspect we added a measure of confusion. During this process, Kate let out a scream that was easily heard throughout the salon. All eyes were on her. That was just the beginning.

As luck would have it, the woman next to her was a retired nurse and very understanding. She introduced herself and explained the procedures Kate experienced. That began with the warm water running into the tub at her feet. She was frightened at first. The nurse had a very soothing voice that put Kate at ease at least as much as she could in what had to be a strange situation for her. I thought that at some point she would have some sense of familiarity with the process, but that never happened.

I brought Kate’s iPad to her chair; however, I put it down on a step to her side in our effort to get her seated. She didn’t realize it was there. It wasn’t long before she wanted it. The nurse gave her a magazine. I realized she was looking for her iPad and went over and gave it to her. I think the nurse was surprised that she was able to work an iPad. I wasn’t in a position to explain that she has only minimal capability to work her puzzles and that, with some difficulty. It didn’t take long for her to see that for herself. Kate finished one puzzle but didn’t know how to get to the next one. As usual, she made her way into the store. The nurse looked over at me and said she didn’t know how to help her. I intervened and showed her.

We had been there quite a while, when I noticed that Kate and the nurse were talking. The nurse mouthed that she was looking for her “mother.” I am sure she was looking for me and just said mother. She frequently mixes gender and relationships. The nurse showed Kate where I was sitting. She waved to me, and I waved back. A little later, the nurse called me again. This time Kate had taken her feet out of the tub of water. The nurse explained that the water was to soften the skin on the bottom of her feet so that they could smooth it out. Kate didn’t understand. I went to her and explained that she needed to put her feet back in the tub. She did, but it was only a minute or two before the attendant began her work.

That was when the “fun” started. Not knowing what was to come, Kate screamed again and responded audibly while the attendant rubbed the bottom of her heal. I went back to her and helped to calm her and then went back to my seat. In a few minutes, it was time for the other foot. Once again, she was surprised by the experience. I stayed with her for a while. When she was calm again, I took my seat in the waiting area that was about twenty feet across the room and clearly visible to Kate who waved to me periodically.

Finally, it was time to leave. It turned out that getting out of the chair and descending the step was a bigger problem than getting in. Anticipating that she would need my help, I was in place when she was ready. The first problem was standing up from a sitting position. That has become increasingly difficult at home and restaurants. This was a little more frightening for her because the chair was elevated so far off the floor. Kate is very insecure about going down curbs and stairs. To her this must have seemed like jumping off a cliff. All this was accompanied by a variety of audible sounds. As with other moments during the process, all eyes were on Kate.

As we walked out the door, Kate said, “Let’s get out of here.” I think most of the other people in the salon thought of their personal experience as a treat. Far from it for Kate. In the car, I apologized for putting her in this situation and mentioned that we might go back for a manicure sometime. She quickly said, “I don’t ever want to go back there.”

The personnel and the nurse next to Kate were very understanding. I don’t know how the others took it. I only gave my Alzheimer’s cards to the receptionist and the nurse. In my haste to leave, I didn’t think to give one to the woman on the other side of Kate and ask her to pass it around. I wish that I had because I did notice soft laughter among the group. I admit that from their vantage point, it was funny, but it was a sad moment for me. It’s been almost two months since I had to discontinue her bi-weekly massages. Now the mani-pedis. I wonder what is next.

A Day of Sad Moments

I’ve heard other caregivers talk about points on this journey in which their loved ones took a sudden downturn, but Kate’s decline has been very gradual until recently. During the past few weeks, I’ve noticed more changes that occur almost from one day to the next. Yesterday this pattern continued.

It started when I got her up for lunch. She was awake; she just didn’t want to get up. It took the better part of an hour get her to consent. When I walked her to the bathroom, she started shaking. In addition to holding my hand, she grabbed on to my arm with her other hand. She looked frightened just like she did the day before in Nashville. As I did then, I asked if she was afraid. She said she wasn’t. My best guess is that she didn’t know where she was and felt very insecure.

Once she was dressed, I decided to go to a place that is a little farther from home than we usually go. My purpose was to play music she likes in the car and let her begin to feel at ease. That worked, and we had a nice lunch. We had an especially friendly server and joked with him periodically throughout our meal.

When we got home, Kate asked what she could do. I gave the iPad to her and told her she could work her puzzles or look at her photo albums. She chose the iPad. That didn’t last long. She was very tired and asked if she could lie down on the sofa. I told her that would be fine. I let her rest for the next thirty minutes before getting her up for her hair appointment. Unlike the morning, she got up without a problem.

She seemed very needy as we drove away from the house. She said she liked me and liked being with me. She said something similar as we left the hair salon.

Back at the house, she started working puzzles. Very soon she was frustrated and asked me to help her. She looked depressed and was almost in tears. She had reached a point at which she didn’t know what to do. She wanted me to finish her puzzle for her. She asked me to work another. I explained what I was doing with every piece. Then I asked if she would like to work one. She did but wanted me to help her. We tried, but she seemed too tired to think. I said, “I love you and want you to know that I will always be with you.” She said, “I know that, and I need you.” She said she needed a break. I suggested we go to dinner. As she got up from her chair, she said, “You just tell me everything I should do.” This was a very sad moment. Once again, it reveals an awareness of her difficulties, and that is painful for both of us.

On the way, I played music that I knew she would like. That seemed to lift her spirits. We enjoyed our dinner. Near the end, however, she got very sad about the servers. She said she never had to work like that. That got her thinking more broadly about all the people who struggle to make ends meet. She said she grew up taking her life for granted. It is not unusual for her to express such feelings, but she doesn’t usually seem so depressed.

Typically when we arrive at home after dinner, Kate likes to sit in our family and work on the iPad. Last night, she said she was tired and wanted to go to the bedroom. I asked if she would like to watch our DVD of Les Miserables. I thought it would be a good idea because it is our favorite musical. I neglected to take into account the sadness it portrays. It wasn’t long before I could see that she was sad. I asked if she would like to watch something more upbeat. She did. I pulled up a series of segments from Andre Rieu concerts. In the meantime, she decided to go to bed. Fortunately, she sleeps well at night. It wasn’t a good night for me. I was awake at 1:00 and didn’t get back to sleep until after 3:00. I wonder what today will bring.

Joy and Sadness Intertwined

The other day I mentioned that I experience more sad moments now, but that does not mean that we don’t experience many joyful ones as well. Our Saturday meeting with Joan, my Twitter friend, is a good example of that. Even in our daily lives we have such moments. There are also times when I experience both joy and sadness at the same time.

As we arrived home from lunch the other day, Kate asked me her mother’s name. When I told her, she said, “I wish I could have known her.” I said, “Let’s go inside, and I’ll show you some pictures and tell you about her.” Once inside, I took her to the hallway where there are several family photos. I pointed out one of her mother that is a favorite of mine. It must have been taken when she was about twenty. Kate has always liked it as well. She asked me who it was. For several minutes, she looked at it and commented on her mother’s eyes and how beautiful she was. She was deeply touched. Then I showed her pictures of her father. She asked his name and said, “He looks like a good man.” I told her he was “a very good man.” I followed that by showing her a photo of her grandmother. Kate was excited to learn that she had been the first member of the family to attend TCU.

After looking at these pictures, we went back to the family room where I showed her an album she and her brother had made of her mother’s family. It was just like the first time she had ever seen it. She was excited.

After dinner that night, she worked on her iPad for a while. I noticed that she had put it down and was just sitting in the chair looking bored. I brought in the “Big Sister” album that her brother Ken had given her a year ago. We went through a few pages together before I took my shower. She continued to look through it until she was tired, but she had had a day of pleasure looking at her family photos.

They were moments of joy for me as well, but that joy was accompanied by a measure of sadness as I perceived that the pictures did not bring back memories in the way they had done in the past. They only served as brief moments during which I told her about her family. The memory was gone just as fast as I gave her their names. Her interest in the photos struck me as a vain effort to reclaim her memories of family. We’re in a different place now.

The Mixture of Happy and Sad Moments

Throughout the time that Kate and I have been “Living with Alzheimer’s” I have repeatedly told people that she is doing “remarkably well.” That’s exactly what I would say if someone asked today. I’ve tried to be open about the fact that a simple answer doesn’t adequately convey what life is like for us, but it does express what I believe is a central truth. We have lived well from the very beginning, and I have wanted to communicate in my daily interactions with people and through this blog that it is possible to experience joy while living with dementia.

On the other hand, living with this disease is no cakewalk. Since Kate’s diagnosis 8 years and 4 months ago, our world has gotten smaller. One thing after another has dropped from our lives. At the present time, I sense that we are undergoing a more rapid change. We have had an abundance of happy moments. They used to occur all day. Over the past year, we have encountered moments of Kate’s confusion and fright. It seems that we are beginning to experience and happy and unhappy moments during the same day.

Yesterday was a good example. The morning (starting at 3:30) was rocky. When I woke her at 11:00, she got up easily and was in a pleasant mood. She is, however, more sensitive to anything I do that rushes her. While dressing, for example, she wanted direction about what to do. I said, “Let’s put on your bra and pants and then your top.” I had given her too much information. She snapped at me, “Wait a minute.” That is something I hear more often these days. I told her I was sorry. Then she said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” She wasn’t as cheerful after that. This kind of exchange between us is more common now. I have to be very careful to simplify all my instructions.

On the way to lunch, I played music that I know she enjoys. Before we got to the restaurant, she was her cheerful self again. That continued through lunch. After lunch, we relaxed at the house until it was time to pick up a friend we were taking to see Mamma Mia at a local theater. She had enjoyed the movie, and I was optimistic that she would like the theater production as well. After we were in our seats and the show was about to begin, she wanted something to drink. I told her that food and drinks were not permitted in the auditorium. She became irritated about that. She is less patient than she used to be. When she wants something, she wants it right then. Fortunately, she didn’t create a problem, but she wasn’t happy. During the show, Kate kept looking at me and rolling her eyes. She wasn’t enjoying herself. At intermission, the three of us talked briefly. As it turned out, none of the three of us thought the quality of the performance was up to par. We decided to leave.

We went to a nearby Starbucks where we had a nice visit with our friend. I think Kate enjoyed herself, but it was a challenging experience for her. There was so much she didn’t understand. She kept asking for clarification and repetition of names. I have noticed the same kind of thing in other social situations. In every case, including the one yesterday, the people we have been with understand about Kate’s Alzheimer’s, but it does make a change in the dynamics of conversation.

We took our friend home and then went to a Mediterranean café. While I went to the counter to order, Kate arranged paper napkins and utensils on the table. She used napkins as a placemat with the knives and forks neatly arranged. We had a very pleasant meal. Kate is, however, getting messier. A Greek salad came with her meal. She doesn’t like salads and throughout the meal took the greens off her plate and put them on her napkin (placemat). That created a mound of salad around her plate. She also had rice. That meant a fair amount of rice went with the greens. It turned out that her using a napkin as a placemat was a good idea. When she was finished, I simply picked up the napkin with the greens and put it on my empty plate.

I don’t mention these things because they are big problems. They are not. They are really minor. My point is that Kate is changing. She is beginning to exhibit more of the signs that accompany dementia. It saddens me to see this and to recognize the future is becoming imminent .

Despite the changes that have occurred in the past, we focused on the good things that remain. I am hopeful that we will be able to continue doing so as we experience a greater mixture of happy and sad moments. I suspect that will be harder.

More Confusion and Confusion

Shortly after midnight last night, Kate and I had what was almost a replay of a conversation we had yesterday morning. I had gotten up to go to the bathroom. When I got back in bed, I noticed that she was awake. She said, “Where are we?” That began another conversation that lasted until 1:35. She said she didn’t know anything. As I had done the night before, I said, “That must be scary.” She said, “Very.” From there I gave her my name and hers and our relationship. I followed that by lots of the same family information I had given the last time.

Several times she said, “I don’t understand why this is happening.” I told her I didn’t either but that it had happened other times and that she improved as we talked about our lives and family. This conversation was unusual in that she was able to grasp the change in her memory (or the way she felt) as I fed her information. At one point, I asked if I was overwhelming her. She said, “No, I can tell it’s helping.” She suggested that she was remembering a few things and that made her optimistic that her memory would come back. It’s been close to a year since she had her first experience like this.

At that time, it brought about a more intense emotional response. I described it as a “panic” or “anxiety” attack. This morning’s experience was not nearly as intense, but it had an element I had not heard since last summer. She made reference to her doctor’s telling her she might get better. She said the doctor also indicated that she might not. Nonetheless, she was encouraged last night. She also talked about the support she had received from friends. This time, however, she mentioned that her memory might not come back “all the way.” I told her no matter what I would be with her to help. We both said that whatever happens, we would deal with the situation, that we were good at adapting.

The conversation ended when she said, “I think I’ll go back to sleep now.” I asked if she felt relaxed. She said she did. The crisis was over. What is lingering in my mind now is that she seems to grasp that she has something that she won’t be able to conquer. She may improve, but the problem won’t go away. Once again, her intuitive thought processes are working. She doesn’t have a name for it or understand a way to beat it, but she knows something is wrong.

Just before 9:00 this morning, I saw on the video cam that she was starting to sit up in bed. I went to her. She smiled, and I walked over to the bed and sat down beside her. I was expecting that she would be back to normal again. She wasn’t. She was just as confused as she was earlier this morning. The difference was that she wasn’t in the mood to talk about what she was experiencing. She kept saying (not in rapid succession), “I don’t know what to do.” I asked if she would like to go to the bathroom. She asked why. I told her that she usually wanted to go to the bathroom when she woke up about this time. She repeated that she didn’t know what to do. I tried the same approach that had been successful in our two previous midnight conversations. She didn’t seem to pay attention. I think she was still tired and wanted to go back to sleep. I asked if she would like to see some pictures of her family. She didn’t, but I showed her a wedding photo of our daughter and brought in the “Big Sister” album to the the cover photo. She responded with a smile when she saw it, but she wasn’t ready to look at anything else. I asked if she wanted to rest a while longer. She nodded. I asked if she would like me to stay in the room with her. She did. That’s where I am right now. She opened her eyes a few minutes ago but is asleep again. We have a 12:30 reservation for lunch. I think I’ll let her sleep until 11:00 or 11:30 before waking her unless she gets up on her own.

I don’t like all the signs I have seen over the past week or two. This isn’t a change for the better.

Melancholy Day

Yesterday was a different kind of day. The past couple of days I’ve had wonderful connections with friends and family that go back to my college days at TCU. In one case it went back to the fourth grade. At this stage of life hearing from people you have known over a lifetime is especially precious; however, there were aspects of each of them that gave me something of a melancholy feeling yesterday.

It began the day before when I tried to reach my childhood friend and neighbor and discovered she is in the last stages of dementia and unable to communicate with me. Then yesterday morning I received an email from one of Kate’s cousins. She had written a very touching poem as a tribute to her husband who was diagnosed with dementia and died in 2013. Yesterday was his birthday. It was a beautiful expression of her love for him. A little later in the morning, I read an email attachment from a college friend and widow of one of my college roommates who had dementia. It was a tender story of their lives together. My former roommate took up poetry in a serious way in his later years. She included a poem he had written to her on an anniversary in 1996. I am sure it meant a lot to her at the time and even more so now.

After Kate and I returned from lunch, I was surprised to see a package on our front porch. It was from another TCU roommate. We had been out of touch until the past six to eight months. He sent some autobiographical writings that he had prepared for his children. He was an outstanding singer in college, and we had sung in two different choral groups together, but I hadn’t kept up with his career at all. I also learned that he had lost his wife to cancer. Reading about his experiences summoned up feelings I often have at memorial services. It’s a feeling of “knowing” people but not really knowing much about them. I am glad to have connected with him now but wish that I had been in touch with him before.

Add Kate’s situation to this mix of connections. Her Alzheimer’s continues to take her in the only direction it can, and now she has a cold. My feelings for her are the same as those a parent has for a sick child. After lunch, we came back to the house where we spent the rest of the afternoon in our family room. Kate rested on the sofa while I went through the writings of my former roommate. As I reflected on my friends’ memories, I looked over at Kate. Despite her cold, she was lying there peacefully with few of her memories left and no sense of the future or just how precious our moments are right now. I felt sad for her. I don’t like to see her facing the symptoms of a cold much less those that accompany her Alzheimer’s. Like my friends who lost their spouses I am grateful for memories of the past, but, unlike them, Kate and I still have time to make new ones. They will be quickly lost for her, but I will remember.

Sad Moments

Yesterday I mentioned the sadness that accompanies special holidays, events, or occasions that one believes might be the last ones. They are not the only sad moments. There are plenty of others. I had one of those yesterday afternoon. It was almost 3:00 when Kate and I came back to the house after lunch. For a short time she looked at one of her photo books that she and her brother Ken had made for her mother’s family. I was glad to see her pick it up and sat down with her. It’s been a week or two since she had looked at any of her photo books. With her memory fading quickly, I was interested in seeing how well this one brought back memories. I was pleased that she was often able to recognize her various family members, especially her mother, father, and grandmother. It wasn’t long before she said she was tired and wanted to lie down. An hour later, I asked if she would like to get out of the house for a while. She did and got up to go to the bathroom.

I went to the laundry room to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer. In a few minutes, I heard her say, “Hey.” This is becoming her common way of calling for me now that my name is slipping away. Until the last few weeks, she has been calling my name. I walked into the family room. She was standing there pointing to her wet pants. She didn’t say a word. She was like a little child who might have had the same experience. She just wanted me to help her. I felt so sad. Although she has had accidents around the toilet, this was her first experience when she was fully dressed. I said, “It looks like you had a little accident, but we can take care of that. Come with me.” She followed me to the bathroom where she took off her clothes, again with my help as one might do with a child. Then I got her some clean clothes. She thanked me. I told I wanted her to count on me anytime she needs help. This is the kind of experience I find the hardest to deal with. I don’t like seeing this disease bring her to her knees like this.

I had one other sad moment last night as she was getting ready for bed. She asked, “Who are you?” I told her I was her husband and that I loved her. I added, “And you love me too.” She could not believe either of these things. I went to the family room and got a photo book with our wedding pictures. I showed her several of her with her father and with me. She was convinced. Then she said, “What is your name?” Her memory of me is fading more quickly now and will soon be gone.

I hasten to add that she is remains very comfortable with me. She still mentions the good times we have had. It is clear that her memory comes and goes throughout the day. It’s not just a period of confusion in the morning. It’s almost like someone turns a switch on and off at random times. I am grateful for those moments when she does know who I am, but know what lies ahead.

Travel

This is Thanksgiving week, and we leave tomorrow to spend the holiday with our son Kevin and his family. As you would expect, Kate and I are approaching this trip in very different ways. This is very likely her last trip to her home state of Texas. I have been thinking about this trip for months. Her feelings for Texas are actually stronger now than they were when she was younger, but one of the things that disappeared with her memory is the ability to anticipate the future. I have been telling her for weeks that we are going to be in Lubbock for Thanksgiving. I’ve heard that the estimated length of time that a person at this stage of dementia can remember is a matter of seconds. As a result, she has no idea that we are going. She will enjoy the visit with family and being in Texas “in the moment” as she does with all her experiences.

There is usually a bit of sadness associated with “last-time” experiences. I think immediately of the time when a child leaves for college or gets married. Parents know that their lives will be changed forever. The sadness brought on by those experiences is partially offset by the pleasure we derive from watching our children take their place in the world as adults. That is very different from the anticipated loss of someone who is approaching the end of life. I derive much pleasure from my recall of our lives together. I believe we have made the most of our time, not only since Kate’s diagnosis but from the beginning of our courtship. We will continue to enjoy life together as long as we are able. I have to say, however, I cannot escape the sadness of these last experiences. I believe that is as it should be.

More Confusion in the Past Two Days

Changes in the Past Two Days

Two things happened night before last that are indicative of the kind of changes Kate is making. After returning home from dinner, she sat down with her iPad. It wasn’t long before she asked for help. It turned out that she thought the puzzles were photos and was trying to figure out how she could label them. At first, I didn’t understand that and tried to show her how to put the pieces together. She responded by asking me to put the pieces in place. I worked two puzzles and asked if she didn’t want to work them herself. She said something that made me realize that she didn’t understand they were puzzles. Then she said she was tired and thought she would put the iPad aside and work on it “tomorrow.” I told her I would put on some music she might enjoy. She said she would to get ready for bed.

After she was in bed a few minutes, I noticed that she was shaking. I asked if she were all right. She said, “I think I made a big mistake and hope I didn’t mess things up.” I asked her to tell me about it. She didn’t know what she had done. She just thought she had done something she shouldn’t have. I told her I was going to take my shower. She said, “When you finish, will you come to bed.” I told her I would even though that would be a little early for me. After my shower, she was still worried about having done something wrong. All I could do was hold her and try to assure her that everything would be all right. I didn’t convince her, but she gradually calmed down and went to sleep.

Over the course of her illness, she has had periodic episodes that involved her thinking I had told her something that I hadn’t or that someone was coming to visit that wasn’t. I can’t help wondering if she is going to experience more of this kind of thing in the days ahead. I hope not. In the past, what she has imagined has bothered her. I hope we can avoid that.

During dinner last night and afterward, Kate was especially confused. She always asks the name of the restaurant as well as the hostess and our server. She just asked more times than usual and also appeared to be struggling more to get it right. She works so hard to remember names and places.

We had the following conversation on the way home.

KATE:            “What are we?”

RICHARD:    “Do you mean the nature of our relationship?”

KATE:            “Yes.”

RICHARD:    “We are married. Are you disappointed?”

KATE:            “No, I’m glad. What is your name?”

RICHARD:    “Richard Lee Creighton.”

KATE:            “What is my name?”

We are working our way into a regular routine when we return home. She said, “I’ll follow you.” She was impressed with the family room. As in the past, it was as though she had never been here before. Then something new occurred. She saw her iPad on a chair and asked, “What is this?” I said, “That’s your iPad” She gave me a look that I interpreted as, “What’s an iPad?” I explained it was something that she could use to work jigsaw puzzles. I wish you could have seen the excitement on her face. She said, “Oh, I’d like to do that right now.” I was shocked that she didn’t know what her iPad is, but it obviously caught her attention. As with people whose names she can’t remember, she didn’t recognize what it was, but she knew it was something familiar.

She mentioned wanting to brush her teeth. I told her to follow me to our bathroom. When she walked in our bedroom, she said, “Oh, this is nice.” Once again, she seemed not to recognize having ever been here before. After she went to bed, she said, “It’s been nice to stay here.” Apparently, she thought we were out of town.

When I got into bed, I moved close to her and put my arm around her. She accepted that as naturally as ever. Then she said something that made me think she didn’t recognize that I am her husband. I said, “You remember that I am your husband, don’t you?” She couldn’t believe it. Then she said, “Could we talk about this tomorrow?”  It seems like she is making noticeable changes on almost a daily basis. I don’t like the direction in which we are going.