jsb pianoNow we can add to the saga of the keyboard. Holland America, via the Entertainment Director, had continued to refuse me the privilege of practicing on any of the three pianos aboard Amsterdam. So I asked son Tom to send our four-octave ke….yboard to me c/o the ship in Honolulu. Our friend Bryan at FedEx in Portland had packed it up and sent it off.

I had been in touch with the front desk and with Frank, the Port Agent, so I’d found out it had gotten as far as the HAL offices on shore. When we got back from dinner last night there it was delivered, sitting on our couch.

This morning, I first made a music rack out of two chopsticks with the ribbon leis that we made strung between them, and it’s the perfect support for my notebook full of my music. And putting it on the table in our cabin and sitting on the couch gets just the right level.

In the other arrangement, when I was using the ship’s pianos, I had to play at the crack of dawn before anyone else was up. Now I can practice any time of day. Thank you so much, Tom and Bryan!

Today, our second day in Honolulu, I’ve come ashore and walked just a few blocks along Ala Moana to a Starbucks where I can get on line for free at a breezy outdoor table. Will also do some banking and pay some bills on line before we set off for Fanning Island and points West and South.

Tom and I talk about how two days ago, ready to fill his medication box with the next week’s supply, he thought he had somehow not brought enough. He came and sat down, distraught. “My mind is shredded!” he exclaimed in a kind of plaint, almost a lament. For a few minutes we sat there afraid, worried. “I did all that planning, made sure I had enough for the trip and then just didn’t bring them.”

“But they’re in your black toilet kit,” I said, hoping I was right. He’d said that’s what was in there, but he’d just looked and said it wasn’t, began to talk about calling Jim at the pharmacy in Portland. I went to get the kit, realizing he might be angry at the implication that he hadn’t looked carefully enough, while he pulled out one of the empty suitcases and started to look in there. Perhaps I was just going to find nothing.

But as I read the labels, I knew these were the pills he needed. The largest batch had been transferred to a ziplock bag. When I brought them to him, he took them, sat down and examined the containers one by one and finally said, “Yes, these are what I need.”

So a crisis was recognized to be not a crisis. And actually we had a new look at Tom’s brain which had not perceived something, probably because his “mild cognitive impairment” (a phrase he loves to roll off his tongue) caused a panic that blinded him: unfamiliar place, imagined failure, no memory of transferring those particular pills into the Ziploc bag.

Other incidents have given us clues as to how we need to function. It’s difficult for anyone to know which is Forward and which is Aft when you’re inboard and can’t orient yourself by looking outside. Only on Deck 3, the Lower Promenade deck, or way up top on the Sport Deck, can you go outside. There are signs everywhere, once you know how to spot them, telling you where you are and which is which. But when we separate, it is very difficult for Tom to find me again. We have tried writing down where I will be. And that may help. But it is easy for him to forget where to look, or even that we have written it down. I’ve learned that if he doesn’t reappear as he said he would

Interesting and good that moments like this don’t seem to interfere at all with our overall enjoyment of the days, our reading, watercolor painting, writing group and crafts group on “Sea days,” delicious meals and Happy Hour in the Crow’s Nest. And at most times, in fact, his memory works fine.

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