Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friends in Lower Alabama - Friends in Low Places

It has been nearly a year now when I returned from a month long stay in Orange Beach and WB's first stroke. There seems to be little to remind us of last years oil spill except a still struggling global economy, a new Tacky Jacks and an elevator in the FloraBama. Because the people there, my people, are the same. Still shuttling kids from beach to pool, cooking ribs, selling real estate, sipping Cobalt mojitos, the smell of Australian Gold #8, spotting a few dolphins in Old if time stood still.

A last minute decision to take Sheri up on a few days off to soak up some sun to soothe my ailments took only a few seconds to make. I have needed a respite for months and didn't really believe I would head south until it happened. Matter of fact, I left home with only an eighth of a tank of gas needing an oil change and half of my clothes still hanging on the ironing board when I arrived. Suppose it is much like a kid thinking that if you didn't act upon the opportunity, it may dissipate altogether. That whole unorganized scene is so not me, but was cured by a Target drive-by and two $10 tanks. Problem solved.

For some reason, I needed everyone's permission, when it was truly only my permission that was required. Worried that the girls may have issues while I was away, I adjusted the medications and threw caution to the wind. Then instead of traveling the normal five miles above the speed limit, it was slow and steady to the sea. The added hour alone gave me time to begin wrapping my arms around many decisions that have been laying scattered around my plate over the past several months. Amazing what happens when you're in the car, alone.

Leaving the beach yesterday with invites from friends to stay longer, I had to decline. The pull of home and what WB may be thinking about me being away were too strong. I had promised he and the girls only two days away and felt that he needed to be secure knowing that he should expect me back as planned.

It was amazing to me last night that within just a few hours of being here how quickly my nerves began to unravel. Calm, cool and a little sunburned upon arrival, then a ball of anxiety by the time I got him fed and ready for bed. Selfishly, I want to repack. Honestly, those two days probably bought me another month of endurance.

Today, the hardest decision I will make is what kind of padlock to put on the pantry. WB is trying to eat himself to death and today took snacks to the basement in an effort to hide from me. I want him to eat if he's hungry, but this has now gotten out of hand. Looks like another trip to the doctors office. Who knew this would become a problem? It certainly isn't in any Alzheimer's policy and procedure handbook I've come across.

A special thanks to my friends who think enough of me to make a effort to include me in their family vacation time. They know that I love the sea and our white sandy beaches. And I know, that they are my friends, forever, in low places.....

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.

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