Sunday, December 5, 2010

Looking In The Mirror When Looking For Reflection

WHOA, what a year.

Looking back on a year of posting has been an incredible walk through some things we just do not want to remember. Regardless of our relentless attempts in "trying to remember" and working with the memory lapses with AD ~ there are just some things we (I) intend to let go of.

I probably know a thousand people (personally) and WB could say that squared. When the proverbial shit hit the fan, there seemed to be never enough time to keep everybody in the loop and juggling this communication became exhausting both physically and emotionally. It was then that I abandoned the Just Brantley blog and created Diagnosis: Alzheimer's.

It was also then that I created a communications network. I tell a few people what's going on and they can tell everybody else. Looking back now, that may have been a mistake on my part. Communication and therapy was the reason for this rhetoric, so I will just try and do a better job of it. That and what Dr. Lee calls "caretaker withdrawal".

Big changes in just twelve short months that look something like this:

Kate, #3 Daughter, is finishing up her first semester at the University of Alabama. She is still dating Hunter and we do not hold his love for Auburn Football against him, much.

Amy, #2 Daughter, comes each Wednesday and picks WB up for a ride-about. Either to lunch, or errands, or a haircut, or to visit old friends.

Susie, #1 Daughter, flies in from Boston once a month for 3-4 days to spend time with WB and the rest of  the family.

Michelle, Live-In Daughter, is still working at mostly nights and continues to help us get through the daily living aspects of AD.

Wade, #1 Son, has a new and demanding job that he loves and is on call 24/7.

Mike, #2 Son, is still living in Texas, comes here for a week in the summer and we try and visit them whenever we can.

WB's condition has declined. He now tests 13 on the MMSE. Still problems with speech and it is most evident when around large numbers of people. One on one, he still enjoys nice long chats. He will forget the last thing you said one millisecond ago, but hey....

Looks like we are out of the clinical trial at UAB as he refuses to enter the MRI machine. I have decided that we will not participate in the IOP at Princeton Hospital. Looked like a wonderful opportunity at first glance, but it will be too hard on him. Any kind of stress brings on more than the fallout is worth. Not BIG stress, but doorbells, dogs barking, riding in the car, other people in the grocery store, Alabama Football in Tuscaloosa ~ that's what stirs him up.

And me, well I am convinced upon reflection that its me, myself and I that exhibit the most significant change.

Guessing you never really notice the war you are in until you starting coming out of it, reflection for me has not just been mind boggling but mind blowing.

Physical growth was certainly noted when last year's jeans no longer fit and I began to pay better attention to stress eating. Certainly not proud of that and am sure when my friends see me they must be thinking, "WHOA, what must she be thinking?" I did break down and purchase for myself a new pair of tennis shoes for walking, am not hitting the salon (ever) and am going to splurge this Christmas and get some products for myself that may preserve the old Rhonda before she gets too old. That's the outside stuff.

Its the inside growth that takes me longer to see. Never a jealous person, but I have been so angry and resentful. I was supposed to be looking forward to a month in Italy by now not a life of visits to an assisted living facility. Pfft. Right?

Patience and humility. Yep, that's the good stuff. Can I laugh at myself? Oh yea. Do I still have few scores to settle? You bet, but that will all work itself out. 

We are still hanging upside down on that roller-coaster that levels out and takes wild climbs and deep plunges. Sometimes it lifts my ass completely out of the seat, but our success getting through Alzheimer's will always be relative to how I handle it.

Thinking about taking a road trip soon and it will not matter where we go, WB will never have been there before!

Just Brantley

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