Sleep and Rest

Until a year ago this past April, Kate’s sleeping pattern had been pretty steady. I’m not at all sure that she sleeps any less today than she did, but the time she gets up often varies. More than half the time I get her up between 10:30 and 11:30 depending on whether we have any special obligations. Sometimes, as she has done in the past couple of weeks, she gets up as early as 8:30 or 9:00. It is not uncommon for her to be awake when I go to wake her. She usually goes to bed between 8:30 and 9:30. I don’t think she is usually asleep until 10:00 or later. She must get about 12-13 hours sleep a night. Eighteen months when she was on Trazadone, she slept about 13-15 hours.

The major difference now is the amount of time she rests without going to sleep. Yesterday, for example, I got her up around 11:00. It took an hour and a half for her to shower and dress before leaving for lunch. We got to lunch just before 1:00 and arrived home at 2:30. I suggested that she and I look through one of her family photo albums, but she wanted to rest which is typical when we get back from lunch. She immediately went to rest on the sofa in the family room. She rested until 5:30 when I suggested we go to dinner. There was a short period, no more than 15-20 minutes, when she appeared to be asleep. Otherwise, she was just relaxing.

I am guessing that the strain of social interaction, looking through photo albums, and working on her iPad wear on her in a way that is hard for me to understand. She doesn’t usually show any special signs of fatigue until after we head home from the restaurant. During lunch, she sometimes tells me she wants to rest as soon as she gets home.

As I have mentioned before, the amount of battery life left on her iPad is a good indicator of the amount of time she uses it. Though it remains her primary self-initiated activity, she clearly doesn’t use it as much as she did. That is a result of her resting more because she hasn’t replaced the iPad with another diversion.

The most significant change brought about by her current pattern of sleep and rest is our getting out to Panera in the morning and to Barnes & Noble in the afternoon. That had played a major role in our social engagement. That makes our lunches and dinners our primary means of social contact. That continues to work well for us.

The mornings are times for me to take care of all the routine household chores and other personal obligations I have. I now wash as often as four times a week. A year ago, washing was just once a week on Saturday morning. I also find that the afternoons are pleasant times for us. When she is resting in the family room, I always take my laptop or iPad and stay in the room with her, and, of course, music is always playing. Since Kate is not asleep, we also engage in intermittent conversation. It makes for a very relaxing afternoon for both of us.

Life is different now, but we still get along “remarkably well.” I certainly expect more challenges like the ones we have faced recently, but I am also optimistic that we will handle them well and be grateful for Happy Moments past, present, and future.

The Value of Social Connections

Maintaining social connections has been a major part of our therapy since Kate’s diagnosis. I have found it especially important in recent months as Kate has declined more significantly. Although she enjoys being with others as much I do, her pleasure is strictly in the moment. On the other hand, I enjoy the anticipation, the moment, and the memories. As a caregiver, being with other people lifts my spirits. I never heard my dad express it, but I know he must have felt the same way as he cared for my mother who had dementia.

Yesterday we drove to Asheville for what turned out to be a better than expected variety of social experiences. As I mentioned in my previous post, I thought it could be our last one and wanted to see a couple of people who had meant a lot to us on our previous visits. A few days before leaving, I learned that one of my Twitter friends and her husband were in Asheville and would be driving back home Sunday afternoon. I asked if we might meet before they left. We decided to get together at our hotel as soon as we arrived.

Our meeting went off without a hitch. I was eager to meet my friend and was eager to introduce her to Kate. This could have easily been a conversation between my friend and me, but she immediately looked straight at Kate and engaged in conversation with her. I was pleased to see that. It illustrated her sensitivity and comfort level with people with dementia. More importantly, she quickly established rapport with Kate. That set the stage for an hour-long conversation before they had to leave. As we were saying our goodbyes, my friend said something nice to Kate who was unable to respond verbally. The tears in her eyes said it all. She was touched by someone who entered her life as a stranger but left her feeling as though she were a longtime friend.

Our experience at dinner turned out to be another touching experience. We had another anniversary celebration. This time at a new restaurant but with a server who has taken care of us at three different places over the past few years. It was good to see her again. Just as I am telling you about her, she had told her associates, including the manager, about us. We met several of them and were very well-cared for. The meal itself was outstanding. At the end of the meal, we had quite a surprise. Our server said the evening was “on her.” She didn’t even accept a tip.

Experiences like these are bright spots in our lives. They sustain us through difficult times, and we have enough of them to keep us going. I feel grateful.

A Few Things From Yesterday

Kate woke up at 5:00 and said, “Hey.” I looked over and saw her looking at me. I asked if she needed help. She said, “Where’s the thingy?” I asked if she wanted to go to the bathroom. She did. After she got back in bed, I was wide awake and decided to stay up.

Around 8:30, I noticed on the video cam that she had gotten up. When I reached the bedroom, she was just coming out of the bedroom. She seemed awake. I asked if she was planning to get up for the day. She said she was. I asked if she was going to take a shower. She shook her head to say no. Then she said, “Do you want me to take one?” I told her it would be a good idea, that she had missed one the day before. She said, “Okay.”

After the shower, she went back to bed and slept for an hour before I woke her. She wasn’t eager to get up but did so anyway without lingering or protesting.

I took her to the hair dresser’s at 2:00. I was about to offer her my hand as she stepped onto the walkway but realized there was less than a two-inch elevation from the pavement. I said, “I was going to offer you my hand, but there’s not much of a curb here.” She took my hand and said, “That’s all right. I wouldn’t know where to go without it.”  Afterwards as we walked out, she said, “Take my hand.” I did, and she said, “I don’t really need it, but I feel more secure.”

I see signs of her need for security in other things she is doing. A good example is that she more frequently asks me what she can do when we get home. I guess it is getting harder for her to remember what her options are. That is similar to her waiting to follow me each time we get home. She never remembers where to go. With few exceptions (I can’t remember any.), she always asks me where the bathroom is.

We had about two hours to pass before leaving for dinner. We spent the first hour relaxing in the family room. She started out working on her iPad. After less than thirty minutes, she put it down, closed her eyes, and rested in her chair for another thirty minutes. I told her we had another hour before dinner and asked if she would like to go to Barnes & Noble. She hesitated. It looked like she thought I might want to go. I told her I was fine staying at home. She did as well. This is becoming more common now. For such a long time, she rarely wanted to spend much time at home. Now as she is feeling the need for rest, she is less likely to accept an opportunity to go out. It’s just one more sign of how she and our lives are changing.

We ended the day with dinner at Bonefish Grill where we had a good social experience. We ran into a man who was a very good friend and admirer of my dad. They had both been students in a writing class for several years. They struck up a friendship that lasted until Dad’s passing in 2013. It was an interesting relationship since this friend is just one year older than I am and 26 years younger than my dad.

He was with his significant other who has dementia and just moved to Knoxville from New York City. She has been quite involved with the performing arts and had a neighbor with her who operates a ballet school. The conversation broke down into one between the dancer and me and Kate and our friends. I was glad to see Kate so actively involved in conversation. I don’t know what she said, but at one point she turned to me and asked how long we had been married. Our friends had obviously asked her, and she didn’t know. We both left the restaurant feeling energized. Eating out continues to offer us such experiences.

A Nice Visit with Longtime Friends

Several of our longtime friends live in Nashville, and we have visited all of them periodically for many years. During the past six to eight months, we haven’t done as well. We have continued to see our friend Ellen who is in memory care there, but I have not been good about arranging visits with the others. I miss seeing them and need to make a serious effort to see them more during the rest of the year.

As a first start, I arranged for us to see Ann and Jeff Davis in connection with our regular visit to see Ellen. Because Kate has often slept so late, we have been getting to Nashville late in the day to see her. That puts us back in Knoxville later than I like. This time I decided to visit the Davises in the afternoon and stay overnight at a hotel. That way Kate can sleep late, and we will be able to see her earlier. So far that is working well.

Even though she can’t remember, I always tell Kate where we are going and who we will see. I did that the day before we left, the morning we left, and even in the car on the way. When we parked at their house, I said, “This is the Ann and Jeff Davis’s new house. She said, “Who are they again?” I explained a little about our history together and told her that she and Ann had been very close when they lived in Knoxville. She surprised me when she said, “She and I used to talk a lot about our daughters.” That was the first time in recent memory that I can remember her recalling something like that. She didn’t say anything more specific, but I remember they talked about their daughters who are the same age and attended the same schools during middle school and high school.

In advance of our visit, Ann and I had several email communications. She had asked advice about engaging in conversation with Kate. I gave her a few suggestions and explained how well she has been able to get along and that I expected it would be the same on this visit. We got off to a good start when Kate noticed the flowers planted around their house. Ann and Jeff had seen us coming up the walk and came out to greet us. Ann and Kate had a few minutes to connect as they talked about the flowers and trees at the back of the house.

As we walked inside, we took a tour of their new home. It wasn’t planned at all, but we divided up so that Ann took Kate and Jeff took me. I think that made for a good beginning. I believe that gave Kate a chance to reconnect with Ann before the four of us sat down to visit. Kate took great interest in their home. For the next two hours we sat on their sun porch and talked.

Some of the conversation was between Ann and Kate and some between Jeff and me. For the most part, however, it was the four of us. Kate was not especially talkative, but she was comfortable and participated without any problem. As in other conversations, Kate said things that are not correct. For example, Ann asked if we used our pool very much. Kate told her that she used it more than I. The truth is that neither of us has used in much in recent years and that I am the one who occasionally takes a swim. In fact, I have recently suggested that we use it more this summer. Each time I’ve mentioned it, she has balked. I don’t mean to suggest that Kate wasn’t telling the truth. She just can’t remember. In conversation, her imagination takes over.

We could have talked much longer, but I felt it was time for us to check into our hotel and have dinner. As soon as we closed the doors to our car, Kate said, “I like them.” Once again, I thought about Kate’s intuitive abilities. Kate and Ann had been very close friends. Kate can’t remember that, at least not very well, but her feelings for Ann were rekindled just by being together. I don’t think it relates to something special that Ann said to her. I think there was something Kate was able to pick up intuitively that made the difference. Once again, I am struck by the power of her intuitive thought. It has carried us a long way.

Thoughts on Living Normally

A couple of days ago, I read a Facebook post by a friend whose 8-year-old-daughter has Down syndrome. She and her daughter were in Nashville to make a pitch to the legislature not to overlook children with special needs when it comes to the education budget. She talked about the importance of providing special needs children with as many “normal” educational experiences as possible. I am not an expert with respect to those with special needs, but what she suggests makes sense to me. That has been my approach to care for Kate.

Right after her diagnosis, we talked about how we wanted to spend our time. We agreed that we wanted to focus on the kind of things that were important to us before Alzheimer’s. We didn’t think of it this way, but what we wanted was to lead normal lives. We wanted to remain active for as long as we could. That involved travel, attending live performances, dining out, and maintaining contact with friends.

It has been eight years since Kate’s diagnosis, but we continue to be as active as possible. I suspect we spend less time at home than many people our age. We are reasonably active in getting together with other people for meals and outings like our trip to Flatrock Friday night. Just the social engagement we have with our servers at the restaurants we frequent provides a source of social contact and support. I am sure they would never imagine the contribution they make to our lives.

I wish I knew a way to assess the impact our social engagement has had on us. I am sure it has enhanced the quality of our lives and probably helped us maintain a positive outlook on life even at the present stage of her Alzheimer’s. My best guess is that Kate is just past the mid-point of Stage 6 of the seven-stage model. Life is changing, but we are still active and happy.

Over time, we have had to modify our activity. Our last international trip was four years ago in May. We love Chautauqua, NY, in the summer. We’ve spent at least a week there in each of thirteen summers, ten consecutive years until our last one in 2017. The past two years we have rarely gone to any evening events that start later than 6:00. Thus, we no longer attend the Knoxville Symphony. We have been able to continue going to live theater performances because they all have Sunday afternoon matinees. We rarely attend church on Sunday because it is difficult to get Kate ready in time. As I have frequently reported, we no longer make our daily trip to Panera for Kate’s muffin in the morning. We usually go straight to lunch. That has cut down on our social contact. Until ten-to-twelve months ago, we often spent more than six or seven hours a day away from home. That is now four to six at the most.

My background in sociology has made me sensitive to the variety of environmental factors that can affect us. That leads me to believe that my friend whose daughter has Down syndrome is making a good point that the value of living a normal life is good for her daughter and other people with special needs. To the extent possible, Kate and I have tried to live as we did before Alzheimer’s. I believe it has worked.

Another Day of “Happy-Sad” Moments

For the second day in a row, Kate got up early. I was especially glad because she had a 10:30 appointment with her ophthalmologist. It was her final follow-up visit after her cataract surgery. I planned to wake her about 9:00. I knew even that might cause her to rush. I also assumed we wouldn’t have time to get her a muffin before the appointment. It turned out we didn’t need to rush at all. She got up at 8:00. That enabled us to stop by Panera for her muffin and work a few jigsaw puzzles before hand. We were early enough to see several people in the Catholic group that comes regularly after morning mass. It has been several months since we have seen the Baptists who have Bible study on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 10:30. I have heard indirectly that they have been asking about us.

The good news about the doctor’s appointment is that she said Kate’s eye had healed nicely. She also removed a stitch she had put in to protect the implant if Kate had forgotten she wasn’t supposed to rub her eye. That turned out to be a good plan. Testing her eyesight is almost impossible. Although she tested at 20/50 a month ago, she didn’t do as well two weeks ago. Yesterday was even worse. It is hard for her to know how to follow instructions and where to focus. They finally took her to another room where they were able to test her through digital technology.

Yesterday afternoon, we drove to North Carolina, to attend a show at the Flatrock Playhouse. On the way, Kate repeatedly asked where we were and where we were going. At this stage of her Alzheimer’s, it is simply impossible for her to remember things like this. Her brain won’t “allow” it. We also had one of those conversations in which we talk about about our marriage, our families, and the many experiences we have had followed by her asking my name and her name. As usual, she asked without any sense of frustration or concern. She just wanted to know. I never mind her asking. It’s those times she is troubled by not knowing that bother me. We had one of those later in the evening.

We made this trip at the invitation of a couple we know from Casa Bella. We have attended one other show at the Playhouse with them in the fall. Kate, of course, never remembers them, but she enjoys being with them. They are friendly people, and she feels comfortable with them. Last night’s performance was the comedienne Jeanne Robertson. This was the first time time in our marriage that we had attended a performance by a comic other than as part of a variety show on a cruise. Kate doesn’t generally take to comedians, and I was worried that she wouldn’t enjoy her. Before accepting the invitation I looked at a couple of YouTube segments of some of her other shows and decided it was worth a chance. I’m glad I did. Kate thoroughly enjoyed it. I am sure she didn’t understand much of it, but a good comedian is successful for much more than the exact words. She enjoyed it so much that I was a bit surprised when we saw Robertson in the lobby talking with others who had attended, and Kate had no idea who she was. That was true even after I explained that she was the one we had seen on stage in the auditorium.

As we walked to dinner and from dinner to the Playhouse, Kate whispered to me, “Where are we?” She repeated her question a number of times as well as when we went to our hotel for the night. When we got to our room, she said, “I sure am glad I’m with you. I have no idea where I am.” That was the beginning of a lengthy conversation that continued off and on for about an hour. She said, “I want you to know how much I appreciate what you do for me.” I told her that everything I do for her is because I love her. She was a bit teary but never broke into a full cry.

During the early part of the conversation, it sounded like she understood that she has Alzheimer’s. She said things like, “You’re the only one who knows what I am going through, and I even have trouble remembering your name. I do sometimes, but . . .” As she talked a little more, I learned that she was disturbed because she has lost “so many of my family.” She was worried that she had not done enough for them. I tried to encourage her. I reminded her of the way she had cared for her mother and how good we both felt about having her in our home the last years of her life.

On this particular trip she seemed to be less at ease in a strange place than at any other time. I’ve been looking for this on our previous trips but haven’t observed it. I’m not even sure about this one, but a few times she said, “I’ll be glad when we get home.” One of the reasons it is hard to determine if it is uneasiness about being in a strange place is that she sometime says the same thing when we are at home. In those cases, I don’t know if she thinks we are in Texas and wants to go to Knoxville or if she understands we are in Knoxville and wants to go home to Texas.

When I got ready to shower, she asked if it would be all right if she worked on her iPad. I told her that would be fine. She said, “Are you sure?” I told her this was a time she could relax and do whatever she wanted. I reminded her that we had no commitments in the morning, and she could sleep as late as she wanted.

It wasn’t until we turned out the lights and were in bed that she said, “Thank you. I’m beginning to relax now.” She continued to talk for a while. Then she drifted off to sleep. She slept until 5:00 this morning when she got up to go to the bathroom. When she got back in bed, she wanted to know “Where are we?” I told her, but she asked several more times. It took her a good while to get back to sleep. It is now 9:45. She is still sleeping soundly. If she doesn’t wake before, I will get her up around 11:00 so that we can get home early in the afternoon.

Considering everything, it was a very good day. She was in a good humor and enjoyed herself. She seems comfortable with the friends who invited us and loved the show last night. What more could I ask this long after her diagnosis? We continue to have good times. How fortunate we are.

A Day of Uplifting Social Experiences

At 9:40 yesterday morning, I saw on the video cam that Kate was up and walking back to bed. I went to her and discovered that she had gone to the bathroom next to our bedroom. I said, “I see you’re up.” She said, “For the moment.” She pulled back the covers and got back into bed. She said, “Is that all right?” I said, “That’s fine.”

An hour later at 10:45, I brought her clothes to her, and we had the following conversation.

Richard:        “Today is a special day. It’s your daddy’s birthday.”

Kate:              (She smiled.) “What’s his name?”

Richard:        “Carl Franklin. He was a good man and he loved his little girl.”

Kate:              “Who are you?” (In a very natural, conversational tone)

Richard:        “Before I tell you, do you recognize me?”

Kate:             “Sure. You have a nice voice. I know other people tell you that.”

Richard:        “I’m Richard Creighton, and I’m your husband.”

Kate:              “How did we meet?”

Richard:        “We met at a friend’s house on a Sunday evening in September, 1960.”

Apart from her memory loss, she was very relaxed and seemed just fine. She expressed no uneasiness about not knowing my name or my being her husband.

When she was ready, we went to lunch. On the way, she asked me where we were four or five times and several times on the way home. We had a very pleasant lunch at Carla’s. We hadn’t seen the hostess in a couple of weeks. I asked where she had been. She told us that she and her siblings had moved their mother from Guam where the family had grown up. During our meal, an acquaintance took a table next to ours. She was meeting friends who had not yet arrived. She sat down at our table and we chatted until her friends arrived. We don’t know her that well. She is French but spent most of her youth in Egypt where her father was a dentist. It was nice getting to know her a little better.

Although we eat lunch there almost every Tuesday, Kate commented on the restaurant as though she had never been there before. They serve gelato that we both love, but she never remembers that. It seems like her sense of taste is not nearly as strong as her other senses. <g>

When we returned home, Kate asked me what she “could do now.” I told her we could go into the family room where she could work on her iPad. She said that would be fine. She wanted to know where she should sit. I pointed to a chair and told her she usually sat there so that she could look outside to the back yard. I put her iPad on the chair. She walked over, picked it up and said, “What’s this?” I told her that was her iPad. I took it from her and said, “Let me show you what you can do with it.” I opened the cover and touched the icon for her puzzle app. As it started to load, I said, “Now watch what happens.” I showed her a selection of puzzles of flowers and said, “When you touch one of them, it will break into pieces that you can put together.” She looked amazed and said, “That’s neat.” It was as if she had never seen it before. It is hard to believe this is possible when she spends as much as 6 hours a day working such puzzles.

While she was working on her iPad, I tuned into a station featuring the music of Frank Sinatra and other singers of his period. The first song was “New York, New York.” I can’t remember the last time we heard that song, but she recognized it before she heard the first words. A little later, we heard Rosemary Clooney singing “Mambo Italiano.” She chuckled in recognition as it played. I said, “This is ‘Old-fashioned’ music. She said, “I love it.” As much as I’ve observed the power of music for her, I was still taken aback by how quickly she recognized these old songs when shortly before she hadn’t even remembered what her iPad can do.

After a while, I suggested we go to Barnes & Noble. She liked the idea. I was happy about that. I felt it would be good for both of us to get out of the house. That worked out well. We had conversations with two different people. One is a member of our church who meets with a group of other men each Tuesday afternoon. The other is a young woman who tutors students there almost every weekday. We often chat with her in between or before her students arrive.

Kate began to have problems working her puzzles, and I suggested it was a good time to break for dinner. We went to Bonefish Grill where we know the hostess and several servers who speak to us even when they are not serving us. It is the only restaurant we frequent where we don’t have just one server that we request each time. That has made for an added bit of social activity when we dine there – even when we don’t see other people we know. Before taking our seats, Kate wanted to go to the restroom. I walked her to the door and walked back to my seat where I could see her when she came out. The servers look out for her as well. Last night our server was walking back to the kitchen when Kate came out of the restroom. She walked Kate back to our table. Eating out turned out to be another social experience for us.

As we were winding down the day at home, our son Kevin called. It was nice way to end our day.  It was a good day. That doesn’t mean there was any improvement in Kate’s condition, but I felt we had a day of more uplifting experiences than some recent days. That keeps us going.

Social Engagement and Music

I have often expressed how fortunate Kate and I have been. We’ve not had to face some of the problems that others encounter. Social isolation is often a problem for couples living with Alzheimer’s. That has not been an issue for us. It is true that we don’t attend many events that keep us out past 9:00, but in other respects we still get around. I’ll never know if that has played a role in Kate’s doing so well. I do know it has helped us maintain the quality of our lives.

Wednesday night we had dinner with friends we originally met at Broadway night at Casa Bella. We’ve gotten together with them for dinner a number of times in recent months. Kate and I have enjoyed their company. We always have a good time.

Yesterday we had lunch with a church friend. He and Kate became friends when she was the church librarian. His wife died about four years ago. She had Alzheimer’s, and he has been very sensitive about our situation. He stays in touch by phone, but this was our first time to have a meal together. We talked about our getting together again and look forward to that.

It was Opera Night at Casa Bella last night, and we had an especially good time. A new couple joined our table, both church friends. The husband is a professor of voice at UT. The two singers were students of his, both working on their PhDs. There were a number of ties that made it an interesting evening. Our church friends also knew the couple we sit with. For many years, they had been neighbors. The music was also outstanding. Kate and I first heard the male singer when he was an undergraduate four or five years ago. It was amazing to see how much he has improved since that time. The soprano was someone we remembered having sung in our church choir several years ago.

I was pleased to see Kate insert herself into the conversation, but I felt she was just on the edge of doing it inappropriately. We had an active conversation. That can be difficult for her. She handled it well. We have come to know (at least recognize) many of the people who attend. As the crowd gathers, people “greet and meet” those already there. Some of them are aware of Kate’s Alzheimer’s and are especially attentive to her. I like that because large groups are challenging for her.

As we left, Kate was on a high. She loved every minute. As we talked about the evening on our drive home, she expressed how much she enjoyed herself. She said, “I’m so glad we enjoy the same things. It wouldn’t have been as much fun without you.” I told her I felt the same way. She mentioned how much we have in common and that we were “on the same wave length.” Then she said, “And what’s your name?” I told her. There was a pause in our conversation for a few minutes. Then she said, “I’m glad we came.” I knew immediately that she thought we were in Texas. I said, “Me too.”

When I turned into the driveway at our house, she said, “I like the place where we’re staying.” After we pulled into the garage, she commented on what a nice garage it was. Once inside, she needed me to guide her to our bedroom and bathroom, but I didn’t hear anything more that suggested she thought we were in Texas. That is becoming more common these days.

People Make a Difference

I have often mentioned the importance of our eating out as a way of minimizing the social isolation that is often a side effect of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. That and our regular visits to Panera and Barnes & Noble go along way to keep us socially active. The beauty of these social encounters is that they are not lengthy ones that place any special demands on Kate. One might think of them as very superficial and unimportant, but I have found them of significant value. Yesterday, we had three that were especially nice.

The first occurred at Panera. As Kate was getting something from the drink dispenser, I put our things down at the table where we often sit. I was opening Kate’s iPad and the jigsaw puzzle app when I noticed a young woman with her laptop at another table. We exchanged “good morning” greetings. Then she told me that she had seen us a number of other times and was struck by what a loving couple we seemed to be. She had noticed my setting up Kate’s iPad, getting her a muffin, and helping her coming in and out of the restaurant. I thanked her and I told her that Kate and I have been married 55 years and about her Alzheimer’s. I hadn’t remembered seeing her before. It was a short encounter, but I was touched by her words and the way she expressed them. She probably doesn’t think did anything of importance. For me, it was an great way to start our day.

The second experience was having dinner with a couple with whom we have shared a table on several occasions at Casa Bella’s Broadway nights. They called on Monday and asked us to have dinner with them last night. Kate, of course, could not remember them, but I told her she would recognize them. Several times, before meeting them she had me repeat their names and try to remember them. It was impossible. It’s one of those times I try to imagine what it must be like for her, not remembering the names of anyone around her. It turned out to be a good evening. They are very easy to talk with, and Kate was not put on the spot in any way. They had remembered Kate’s drinking iced tea and brought her a box of tea to take home with her. We had a good time. I don’t believe they invited us thinking that they were doing something special for us. It was just a simple invitation for dinner, but it’s just one more uplifting social encounter.

We bumped into someone who stopped us on the way out. She had remembered me from my visits with Dad when he was in a nursing home. Her father sat at the table next to him. We often chatted, especially with her little boy. We talked with her family and her for about ten minutes. It turns out I have another connection to the woman’s husband. I had worked with his mother when her company was a client of mine quite a few years ago now. It’s been five years since I had seen her. She said her father, who was a good bit younger than my dad, is still there. It was another unanticipated encounter that was meaningful to me. Kate had not known the woman, so I know it didn’t mean much to her, but she enjoyed seeing her son. Children always brighten her day.

Once we were home, we watched a little of South Pacific. It was interesting to see that Kate was familiar with all of the music and some of the words. It was another good day and one that illustrates the power of both people and music.

In a Cheerful Light-Hearted Mood Yesterday

Kate got up on her own around 10:00 yesterday. We were too late for Panera but right on time for lunch. One of the first things she asked when we got in the car was, “What is your name – whoever you are?” I told her. She must have asked the same question another two or three times before we arrived at the restaurant. Although she had originally asked in a light-hearted way, she was clearly serious about not being able to remember it. I said, “I guess you remember that we are married.” She looked shocked, and said, “We are?” In a few minutes, she said, “I guess we have children.” I told her we did and then expected her to ask about them. Surprisingly, she didn’t.

We came back home after lunch, and Kate went right to our bedroom and napped for over an hour. When she got up, she was ready to go. We left for Barnes & Noble. We had been in the car only a minute or two when she asked my name and then where I was from. A few minutes after that, she said, “Do you know my name?” I told her. Before we arrived a Barnes & Noble, she asked my name again. She asked again at least two more times while we were seated. At one point, I was pretty sure that she was just playing games with me and that she really remembered my name. I am equally sure that most of the time she didn’t.

I received a phone call from a friend we see at Panera. She is in a Bible study group that meets on Tuesday mornings. We often chat briefly with her as well as the man who leads the group. She said that several people had asked about us. She specifically mentioned a man with whom I have had quite a few conversations over the past few years. I have his phone number and called him. I reassured him that we were all right but that Kate’s sleep pattern has been changing. I hope this won’t be the end of this friendship. It is not the same as longtime friends that you have gotten together with over the years, but it has been a meaningful relationship. I don’t want it to end.