Thursday, March 10, 2011

Follow Me There.....

Roughly 10 days since Susie and Meghan left on their trek back to Boston, but it seems to me like it has been at least a month. They were in town for nearly a week and their visits normally include more family coming by to hang out, visit, play games, watch movies, grill out or whatever strikes a fancy. All but one of her children spent time here that week (Dalt and Gracie came in from Georgia and Maddie stopped in a couple of times). 

Lately, I have worked myself into a different attitude about it. I no longer make plans or try to work around anybody's schedule. We are here, company is always welcome, there is always something to eat and drink. Ever reluctant to call for reinforcements with an opinion that if you don't recognize there is a big elephant in the room sitting on my chest, so be it. WHOA, that was a powerful statement. Isn't that really what it is? If an elephant is sitting on your chest, you may feel trapped, anxious, short of breath, tired from the struggle of getting loose, abandoned, helpless, fear of the outcome ~

Digressing, Susie's first day with WB was a trip to the barber shop and grocery store to stock up on Meghan's rubbish requirements and ice-cream for her Big Daddy. Not a full-on disaster, but enough to cause a crying jag for Susie in the hall bath upon their return. I was pretty sure all along Susie was connecting with me on the level of her dad's impairment, however, now I know she understands in just a few short hours what we go through 24 hours a day.

Additionally, she has offered to come in and stay with WB the week I had planned to travel to Costa Rica on vacation. A solo trip, with perhaps a girlfriend or two, I had great plans to lolly gag around not worrying about much of anything but have still been unable to pull the trigger on the ticket purchase. Not that it won't be grand, as I will be pampered by great friends. Its the fallout I fear.

Getting WB motivated to do much of anything is a trying proposition. He so needs the exercise but is essentially helpless. Just last week, I sent him outside to rake leaves from the flower beds. Walking out to check on him in less than an hour, he is sprawled out on the lawn, on his back, taking a nap. All the while, Michelle (less than two weeks post-surgery on her foot) was balancing herself with a crutch and a rake trying to complete the task for him. Classic.

And, as much as I try and monitor the phone activity, he always manages to sneak around and find his cell phone. Too much news from old buddies or his inability to communicate creates additional stress. So, when he called Spud on Monday afternoon, he learned that Peggy Brantley had passed away and within minutes he could not remember when relating the news to me who's funeral Spud was headed to.

Downhill from there, he woke this morning not knowing where he was. Everybody does this at some time and one may not find it unusual, except that this morning he was lost for about 15 minutes. Even after seeing me and me talking to him, he was unsteady. Even after admitting to me he knew where he was, I am confident he was only telling me that because he recognized the hysteria in my voice.

From there he cried. Sobbed, actually. Until about 11:00 am when by the grace of God, an old friend came by to visit. A few crying episodes during the visit, but nothing since. Fingers crossed that this was just a fluke and praying that this is not the beginning of what we have feared the most.

Why does he cry? Because he still has enough capacity to understand he is losing his abilities and  it is crushing him. He has little understanding at this point that it is going to get worse and no understanding whatsoever of where this disease it going to take him. Long gone are his abilities to understand its effect/affect on those of us on standby. Helpless.

I am his person and I have touted since the beginning that this is mine to navigate until he no longer knows who I am. For a short time this morning, he knew nothing. Thinking of saddling up for another appointment with Dr. Counce and simultaneously pondering ~ there is probably not much in her arsenal to remedy this.

If you subscribe to this diatribe from afar and have experience with this stage of Alzheimer's, we welcome your advise and comments. If you know WB and are a close friend, relative, son, daughter or member of his extended family, this is your smoke signal. Today, I have few regrets with the level of care I demand that he receive. Rattled, yes. But my conscious is clean.

As a side note, I am posting the theme song from Palin's Alaska. I am not a huge fan, but a fan of Third Day and their inspirational music. The link takes you to a YouTube URL to hear. You can mute my play list below to eliminate any conflict. Enjoy ~ JustBrantley

Song Lyrics
You need a place where you can find some shelter
Follow me there, follow me there
You want a hand to hold, someone to help you
Follow me there, come on, follow me there

Where love, like a river, flows
Peace like you’ve never known
And joy never ending lives
A place where faith can find
Hope that will never die
Follow me there, come on, follow me there

You need a place to be your sanctuary
Follow me there, come on, follow me there
Where you can lay down all those burdens you carry
Follow me there, come on, follow me there

Where the lost can find salvation
And the lonely finds a friend
Where the sinner finds forgiveness
Won’t you follow me there
Won’t you follow me there.

My name is Rhonda Brantley and my husband, Billy Ray Brantley, suffers from Early Onset Alzheimer's Dementia. This is the best shot we have at documenting daily living.


  1. Rhonda, praying for you to continue having the strength to deal with this.

  2. Thanks girl. I know you're with us, all the way. LUV you!


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