Last night when Kate came inside from pulling leaves, her top was soaked from perspiration. When I commented on how hot she was, she said she was going right in to take a shower. Then in a whisper she asked a question that she occasionally asks, “Are we staying here (pointing to our bedroom) tonight?” I told her we were. Then I went back to the bedroom where I was watching TV. In a few minutes she came in the bedroom wearing different clothes from those she had been wearing. She had not had a shower. She asked me, “What should I do now?” I told her it would be a good time for her to take a shower and put on her night clothes for bed. She accepted that and only asked which bathroom should she use for her shower. After her shower, she returned to the bedroom in a robe but no gown. I asked if she would like me to get a gown for her. She said, “Yes, but first get me another towel.” I got both a towel and a gown. When she was fully dry, she put on the gown and got into bed with her iPad. She was in a very good humor. I continued watching an ETV program on the migration of Zebras in Botswana.
I have mentioned signs of possible sun downing in prior posts, but I don’t believe I have said anything in a while. Tonight Kate came in from outside without my calling her in. I suspect that was related to the heat. She has not been staying out very long lately.
Once inside, she said or did several things that in combination are somewhat unusual. First, she came into the bedroom where I was watching the news and asked, “What now?” I told her it was after 8:00 and that I was going to take my shower. She said she needed to take as shower as well. I told her she could go first. She had the clippers in her hand and walked toward the end table on her side of the bed and asked if she should put them in there. I told her I thought it would be better for her to put them in the laundry room where she would find them when she went outside.
She left the bedroom and came back in a few minutes. She stood by the bed, looked at me, and asked, “Are we sleeping here tonight?” I told her we were. She asked me what she could do. I told her it would be a good time for her to get her shower. She left to do that.
When she came back to the bedroom, she had taken her shower and put on a robe without a night gown. This is something she does fairly frequently when she can’t seem to find a night gown. I asked if she would like me to get her.a gown. She said she would, something that is a fairly typical response. That seems surprising since she continues to be as independent as possible. Maybe she is just tired at the end of the day.
She started picking up a few things on her side of the room. One of the things was a bra hat she picked up and threw to me. I must have looked surprised. She said, “Well, you said you would know where to put it.” Of course, this was one of those occasions when she thinks I have said something when we haven’t had any such discussion at all.
Since returning from dinner, Kate and I have been sitting in the family room. She has been working puzzles on her iPad. I have been watching the news. She has had a little problem taking her pills at night. It seems to cause a little reflux. I decided to divide her pills so that she takes half now and the other half a little later.
After she took them she got up and went to her room. She came out in a few minutes with another top over the one she had been wearing. She indicated she was ready. I asked her, “For what?” She told me, “Anything.” I told her I thought she was going to get ready for bed. She said it was too early. Then she went to our bedroom and said, “I’m just going to lie down in bedroom with my iPad for a while.”
I walked back to take my medicine. As I was leaving the room, she called my name and pointed to her iPad. I didn’t know what she was communicating and walked over to her bedside. She asked, “Should I take it with me?” I told her we weren’t going anywhere now. Then she asked me what she should do with her iPad. She asked if she could just put it down beside the bed as she usually does. I told her that would be fine
This is another occurrence of her acting as though we are going someplace and/or that we have spoken about doing something when nothing of the sort has happened.
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.