My name is Rhonda Brantley and this blog reflects daily living with an Early/Young Onset Alzheimer's Dementia patient; the good, the bad and the ugly. My husband, Billy Ray Brantley, was diagnosed in October 2007 and left us April 9, 2012. I was his primary caretaker and it was the biggest and most important job of my life. He will remain forever in our hearts.
Well, we have taken the church van to San Antonio to pick up Kate's beau, Hunter. He has never seen Texas and this was his first airplane ride. The weather on Tuesday was incorrigible. Hill Country Texas never experience the frequency and amount of rainfall that we do in Dixie, therefore six lanes in downtown San Antone (as the Texans call it) in the cold rain nearly caused me to take a powder.
Hunter trying on authentic COWBOY BOOTS !
Mike had already taken Kate, WB and I on a ride-about at dusk in Tierra Lenda to see the livestock. Black Buck, Axis, Antelope, Whitetail all roam here freely. Free range here means in your front yard, at the park and walking down the street in a residential neighborhood. Hundreds of high fence hunting and breeding operations are stationed in the Hill County of Texas and they are plentiful. I asked Mike how it was that they were so abundant here and he replied, "Mom, I think there's a lot of people asking that question everyday." Just amazing and we never tire of taking those rides and WB absolutely loves it.
Tierra Lenda Doe
We have eaten well. Chili. gumbo, red beans and rice, Mexican cornbread, baked goods, ham, dressing, homemade mac-n-cheese, tamales, boudin. You name it, we've given it a whirl. Joni is an excellent cook and had prepared in advance and frozen many dishes.
Mike has been trying to work and stops in frequently. I sent him a text yesterday afternoon that we needed a scenic ride and by 3:00 pm, the nine of us were loaded and headed to Bandera to take in Camp Verde and the Apple Store in Medina. It was a great jaunt through the hills and I had managed to get the kids good and sugared up with jelly beans and ice cream.
After getting WB and Keaton down each night, we assume our game faces for Scrabble or Mexican Train but last night we tried Cranium. Good times with my kids.
As for WB, he has convinced himself that he is getting better. He has also convinced himself that his belly (the one that has grown ginormous) is growing into his bladder. He also announced that it was the sole reason that he experienced his first episode of incontinence last night. WB tried very hard this morning to hide it from me but he had no luck. Then, when I actually realized what had happened, I had to remove myself to sob. Tough time to try and find a little privacy for that as it is important to me not to let everybody (especially WB) know that there is a problem, HOUSTON.
I want to say, "hey....no problem, we'll deal with this when we get home". However, this is a huge issue for me. I've always said that when the incontinence comes, it may change how we have to care for him. Bill is a BIG man and I will look for answers to help me navigate this. Still, it marks a severe milestone in the progression of his Alzheimer's Disease.
Interestingly, Bill has remembered so many of the landmarks here. He can call out what comes up next on a lone stretch of highway, remark about places we stopped before and comment on towns we pass through. So, in spurts, short-term memory back is still firing on things I believe he enjoys, things that make larger impressions on him. And, even with long-term stronger, I am starting to see misfires that I did not notice before.
My uncle called Monday to suggest a deer hunt in Johnson City for Bill and he for a couple of days. Not many people will take this challenge on and I love him so for trying. It may just not work out. WB's hunting and fishing days may be officially over. Perhaps we'll exchange that for more touring, looking and picture taking.
Today, we are trying and make a trip back to San Antone for a tour of the Alamo and famous Riverwalk. It will be our New Year's Eve Eve celebration and we will stay in Friday night. We've pushed our tour of Fredricksburg off until tomorrow. Got to get all of this in.......its a must!