Still Thinking About a Move

It is clear that Kate has not forgotten her impression that we are moving to Texas. This past Friday I went to the counter to pay for our pizza. When I returned to the table, she was talking to a friend who had taken a seat beside her. I sat down, and the friend said, “I hear you are moving to Texas.” I simply said, “We’re talking about it.”

Before going to dinner last night, Kate walked into our bedroom with two framed pictures and put them on a bench. One was a picture of her father. I asked why she was bringing it into the bedroom. She said, “I want to take it with us.”

There are a couple of other things she has done that are strange but don’t relate to moving. One of those occurred a few days ago. She found two old travel books that are kept on a shelf in the closet of a guest room and put them on the dryer in our laundry room. Then last night after the incident with the picture frames, she walked back into the bedroom with her hands filled with her underwear and a pair of socks. I said something like, “What have you got there?’ She said, “Underwear.” Then I asked if she was looking for a place to put them. She nodded. Then I told her I thought the top drawer of the dresser in her room would be a good place. (That is where she had gotten them in the first place.) She turned around to go back to her room. This morning I too several pairs of socks from yesterday’s wash to her room. When I opened the drawer, it was completely empty of all the socks that she keeps there. Then I looked on a nearby chair. She had thrown them on the seat of the chair along with all of the underwear she had been carrying last night. Then I put everything in the appropriate drawers.

The Sitter as Guard

201711-01 (9:01 pm).

Things continue to go well with the sitter. There are two actually, one on Monday and another who comes on Wednesday and Friday. For a variety of reasons, this is the first week that I have had someone for all three of those days. Today Mary was on duty. She had greeted Kate outside before checking in with me. I gave her a gift card that she could use if she and Kate wanted to go over to Panera. Mary went outside to be with Kate while I got myself ready to leave to donate platelets.

Before driving off, I went out to the yard to say goodbye. Kate was on the ground cleaning out a flower bed. I told her I was leaving and said, “ don’t have to worry about you, do I?” She answered emphatically, but with humor, and pointing to Mary, “No, I have a guard.” I left feeling all was well. I’m feeling good.

Halloween in Our Neighborhood

I don’t think I have ever commented on Halloween in our neighborhood. It’s a very big deal. We moved into our house in July 1997. Not long after that, I met some of our neighbors during one of my morning walks. They asked if the previous owners of our house had told us about Halloween. They hadn’t, but they informed me of the large crowds of children that descend on our street. I appreciated the warning but still didn’t buy enough candy. I had to run out to buy more an hour into the evening. I didn’t count the trick-or-treaters, but based on the amount of candy I had bought, I guessed it to be nearly 300. It has dipped a little in years when we have had inclement weather, but it has grown tremendously since then. Last night was our biggest crowed. I estimate that we had over 800 before running out of candy at 8:15.

Prior to living in our current house, we had lived on a busy street and rarely had more than 5-10 trick-or-treaters. Knowing that Halloween would be a quite different in our new home, Kate suggested that we also offer water. I laughed and made fun of what I thought was a silly suggestion. After all, what child would want water on Halloween. Kate got the last laugh on this one. I discovered that plenty of children and their parents appreciated having water as well as candy. I estimate that about a third of the total number also have water.

The success of the water and the candy has required us (me) to focus on the logistics of serving such large numbers. First of all, we need to remain outside the entire time. There are simply too many people. There is an almost constant stream. Sometimes tey are in groups of 10, 15, or even 20. We also have to have plenty of cups, a 5-gallon water container, a table for the container and cups, and a method of dispensing as efficiently as possible, and a plan for refilling the water and supply of candy. Kate has been the dispenser of water while I take care of the candy.

That has gone rather well until the past few years when the number of trick-or-treaters reached 500 or more. This year it was clear that Kate will not be able to handle the water in the future. Indeed, I suspect that by next year, she may not even sit outside with me. If so, I will arrange for someone else to help with the water. Even before her diagnosis, she was having difficulty doing things that required a designated series of steps, like those required for fixing a meal. Thus, she had some difficulty getting water served without spilling it, pouring water in the unused cups as opposed to those that were used and then placed back on the table, locating the supply of cups even though it was in clear sight of her, etc.

The good thing is that she never displayed any sense of frustration. It took much longer to serve the water than it should have, but it didn’t bother her or the people who were waiting for water. The latter is another indicator of the importance of the water itself. They were willing to wait, often with as many as 8-10 people in line.

As we have every year in the past, Kate and I both had a good time. I am glad we had another successful Halloween although I am sad thinking that it won’t be the same next year.

Something New. Paranoia?

I brought Kate over the Panera for lunch before the sitter comes and I go to Rotary. I left her at a table while I ordered. When I came back to the table, she asked if I had noticed the man sitting at the table across from us. I told her that I had not paid particular attention. She said, “When we came in, he looked at us. Then he left.” Unsure of what she was trying to say, I asked, “Do you think he realized that is the table where we usually sit and got up so that we could have it?” She gave me a funny look. Then with a little hesitation, she said, “I may be wrong, but he may gotten up to do something like mess up our yard or something.”

I recall that being paranoid is a common characteristic of someone with dementia, but up until now, I don’t recall any sign of that from Kate. I wonder if this is a sign of things to come.

Adjusting to a New Place

Yesterday Kate and I drove to Memphis to see our grandson, Randy, who is in his high school’s band. They were playing at halftime of their homecoming football game. Last spring, we came here to see our other grandson, Ron, in a junior high production of the musical Shrek. Since then Randy has been eager for us to attend one of his band performances.

The trip yesterday was a smooth one. I did notice for the first time that Kate became restless on the drive. We broke up the trip with a couple of stops. Otherwise, it was an easy trip.

We went to the stadium around 6:00 so that we could watch the band march into the stadium which is the equivalent of the team’s entrance to the field for parents of the football team. It was fun to see Randy march in with his band uniform. He has not hit his growth spurt and is at least a foot shorter than the boy in front of him. He had a big smile on his face when he saw us. The highlight, of course, was the halftime show itself. This year the band has worked on a program featuring the music of Gershwin. We enjoyed the show. As frequently happens, we were impressed with the quality of the performance of these high school students.

Not having a child on the football team, we left after halftime. We went to a neighborhood Italian restaurant for a later dinner. It was after 10:30 when we got back to Jesse’s and after 11:00 before getting into bed. Because this is a good bit later than we usual go to bed, we both slept later. I was up at 7:30. Kate didn’t get up until about 9:00. She came downstairs and said hello. She came in with her morning pills in her hand. She very naturally picked up a beverage cup that Jesse had gotten out for herself and used it to take her medications.

In a few minutes, she walked out of the kitchen. When I checked to see where she had gone, I found her under the covers in Jesse’s bed. She was there until close to 11:00 when she woke up and said she wanted to take a shower. While she was in the shower, I put her clothes out on the bed. Later I went back to check. She had gotten out of the shower. I thought she might not see her clothes on the bed and brought them to her. As I helped her by pointing out what she could wear, she responding willingly and even gratefully. This is another pattern that has emerged when we are traveling. My interpretation is that she finds everything a bit confusing and, thus, willingly accepts my help more easily than when we are at home.


Bad Dreams

I don’t recall if I have ever mentioned Kate’s having any problems with dreams. This has not been a big issue, but there have been several occasions when she has had them. Last night was one of them. It was also the longest lasting one. It occurred just before 5:00. I tried to calm her immediately, and that did have some calming effect but didn’t stop it altogether. She was completely calm by 5:30. During that time, I periodically told her, “I am right here. You’re going to be all right.” I also gently stroked her back. When it first happened, I also told her she had had a bad dream and that she was all right. She said, “I know.” But she didn’t calm down fully; so I believe she was still half asleep. Apart from sounds that she was making, she was struggling with her arms and legs as though she might be fighting someone or trying to get away from someone who was holding her. It was no surprise that she didn’t recall a thing when she got up this morning around 8:00.

Over the past few years, she has had other similar “bad” dreams although they were short-lived. She has more frequently had “good” dreams in which she talked to whomever was in the dream with her. A few days ago, she had a dream in which she was talking to me. It was like she was awake except for what she was saying and doing. I first noticed it when she was touching my chest and saying numbers, for example, “ten, eleven, twelve, etc.” I didn’t say anything at first. Then I said something that was a response to something she had said. That started a pattern that involved her saying consecutive numbers, and using her finger on my chest like a pen or pencil to write the numbers as she spoke them. When she got to the end of a column (for example, numbers in the 20s), she would take her finger up to the level at this she had begun the previous column only it was to the right. She would then pick up where she had left off (for example, 30, 31, 32, etc.) At one point, she stopped and asked, “What do you want to do now?” I spoke the next number for the next column. We proceeded to do 2-3 more columns of numbers before we stopped.

The most typical good dream has involved her playing the role of librarian, her career. She was always talking to students, giving instructions on various things. I would say she has probably had as many as 5-10 of these.


Our first day back in Nashville was a pleasant one. Kate’s good mood has continued. The sitter came in the afternoon. I didn’t mention to Kate that she was coming. She arrived while Kate was in the backyard, and I was getting ready to leave for the Y. Once again, Kate received her warmly, and I was off. Before leaving, I told the sitter that she had a 5:00 appointment for a massage. I asked her to make sure that Kate came to get ready around 4:00. When I returned, they were both sitting in the family room where Kate was looking at one of her family albums.

As we finished our dinner last night, I asked her if she would like dessert. She often gets a scoop of homemade gelato that we share. She told me that she had had enough and would skip the dessert. Then she asked me. I told her that I had eaten so much on our trip that it would be good for me to pass it up. Just then, our server approached the table and asked if we wanted dessert. Kate immediately asked, “What do you have?” Of course, she ended up with her gelato. This is not an unusual event. She frequently says she is going to do something and then turns around and does something else. This is hard for those of us with a memory to understand, but for her, it is as natural as breathing.

On the way home, out of the blue she asked, “Are we moving into the new house tomorrow?” I hesitated a moment. Then I said, “We won’t be moving right away.” I didn’t pursue the topic. I don’t know what motivated it. She must have been thinking again that we had talked about moving into a new house.

Incidental Happenings

2017-10-23 (7:44 pm)

Yesterday afternoon Kate and I went to a skilled nursing facility for a visit with the mother of a friend who lives near us in Tennessee. The friend’s mother invited us to have a seat. Kate took hers on a love seat with a table beside it. The friends mother had glass of water on the table. Apparently, she had been drinking it before we arrived. As we were talking, Kate up the glass and took a drink out of it. Our friends mother picked it up and took it to the kitchen and brought Kate a fresh glass of water. I chuckled to myself because I have had this experience quite a number of times.

Tonight we are staying in a hotel near the airport in Nashville where we will catch our plane home in the morning. We drove to a pizza place near the hotel. When I opened the door to the car for Kate, I noticed that she had taken her glass from the restaurant. I called attention to it and returned it. This is not the first time this has happened. It is not a typical thing but there have been as many as five times she has done this at restaurants.

Flexibility Required

2017-10-21 (5:39 pm)

We’ve had a nice day. We made another visit to Sadie’s café for a cranberry scone and a large slice of pound cake, one of my favorites. We were there for about an hour before coming back to the hotel for another hour. As we were leaving the hotel room, Kate said, “Haywood Park.” I knew she was trying to show me that she recalled the name of our hotel. Of course, it was wrong again. I didn’t say anything, but the look on my face must have given away my thoughts. She said, “That’s not right?” I shook my head and told her it was the Hilton. She accepted it without a problem.

We met our son, his wife, their son as well as Kate’s brother, Ken and his wife, Virginia, at our favorite BBQ place for lunch. It was good to see each of them. We had seen our son in September, but it had been June since we had seen the others. It was especially nice to see our grandson who is now a freshman at TCU.

At lunch, we learned that the powers that be had decided to “stripe” the stadium by having people in certain sections wear black shirts while others wore gold, the University’s school colors. The section in which we were to sit was asked to wear black, and we didn’t have black shirts. To rectify this, we stopped by a shop and bought black golf shirts with the WF embroidered in gold on the front.

We got back to the hotel where Kate wanted to rest. It wasn’t too long before she wanted to get out of the room. This, as I may have said before, is not unusual. I suggested we go to Panera where we are planning to meet Ken and Virginia in the morning. Just before 5:00, I suggested we go back to the hotel before leaving for the football game at 5:30 or shortly thereafter.

When we got back to the hotel, we discovered that all the parking spaces were occupied. We ended up parking on the street about a block from the hotel. As we did this, I noticed a lineup of buses with TCU colors. It appeared that they were going to the stadium. I thought this was fortuitous as I didn’t really want to drive the car to the stadium and fight the traffic. I checked and learned that it is a free shuttle service to and back from the stadium.

Then we walked back to the room where Kate had wanted to rest before leaving for the stadium. We hadn’t taken but a few steps when she said, “Do we have to go to the game?” I hesitated a moment and said we didn’t have to go but that I had wanted to go. We tossed this around a few minutes, and I decided it was better not to push her even though she had said she would go. We came back to the room where I sent a text to our son and his wife informing them of our decision. Then I took our tickets to the front desk of the hotel and asked the man behind the desk if he knew someone who might like the tickets. He did.

The truth is that I didn’t have my heart set on the game at all. I did believe it would have been nice to be with our son and his wife for the game. It was that experience and not the game itself that was important to me. I also have to confess that I’m the kind of person who makes plans and then follows through on them. Thus, it requires a good bit of adaptability to decide not to go to a game for which we bought tickets a couple of months ago, bought shirts for a few hours ago, and came back from Panera to get ready to go to the game an hour ago. On the other hand, it illustrates two things I believe are relevant. The first is that living with Alzheimer’s involves lot of changes in plans. Second, it illustrates the importance of adaptability. If I were less adaptable, I would be miserable. As it is, I am disappointed, but I understand the need for the change. I feel for people who have more difficulty making this kind of change.


Up in the dark

About 2:30 this morning, Kate got up to go to the bathroom. I woke up quickly enough that I was able to turn on the light beside the bed. As usual, she took a good while before returning to bed. I discovered this morning that she didn’t quite make it to the toilet in time which is not a rare event whether at home or while traveling.

When she got back into bed, she said enthusiastically, “I love this house.” I asked why, and she answered, “Everything is so close.” I didn’t go any further. I was just glad she was happy.