I can still remember the days when the kids were small and how excited they were to start their first day of school, well, mostly Bradley . . . Asheton not so much. The morning would be busy with making sure lunches were packed, school supplies were in the backpacks, the-first-day-of-school-new-clothes were ironed (Shannon doesn’t let anyone walk out the door looking like, as she calls it, a raisin) and then we had to make sure we were ready for work. It was hectic. It was exciting. It was our life!
Thanks to the fact that Alzheimer’s has not yet taken my long-term memory, I can still recall these things.
Flash forward to today. It’s about 7:15am, Shannon is getting ready for work, Dallas and I are sitting in my recliner watching the news. I hear one alarm go off and then another. Doors start to open and close. I know Asheton and Bradley are now up and about and getting themselves ready for the start of a new school year. With Asheton in College and Bradley in his Sophomore year in High School, it’s a far cry from when they were small.
Shannon leaves for work, Asheton and Bradley are talking in the kitchen and instead of cereal and juice, it was coffee and anything in the refrigerator they could either eat standing up or in the car on their way to school. (Asheton now drives Bradley to and from school because my driving is limited to just around the immediate area.) They hug and kiss me goodbye, get in Asheton’s car and away they go.
I know working parents have looked forward to this “First Day of School” for they don’t have to worry about summer day-care; being concerned with who’s doing what to who and why; settling arguments over the phone and all that goes on at the house during summer break.
Then there are the stay-at-home parents that once the kids are out the door they may breathe a big sigh of relief; dance a jig; excitedly make a grocery list so they can go shopping ALONE; have the computer/laptop/iPad/Tablet to themselves; pleased to not hear, “MOM! / DAD! every 5 minutes.
I know I’m generalizing and this doesn’t pertain to everyone but you get the picture.
I included the sentence above because the above scenarios do not pertain to me.
I’ll tell you why.
I have found with Alzheimer’s, I don’t like being alone. I’m pretty sure I have not liked being alone all my life so I will say instead, Alzheimer’s has MAGNIFIED my desire to NOT be alone.
Having Dallas around has helped me cope with my loneliness a bit but, although Bradley and Asheton spend the majority of their time in their rooms, I’m comforted in knowing they are here. I’m not sure they are as comforted as I am for I sometimes tend to hover. I don’t mean to do this but from researching the topic, I have found that hovering is a side effect of Alzheimer’s. Our loved ones, especially our spouses, tend to be a sort of “security blanket.” I guess when Shannon is not around, I then turn towards Asheton and Bradley.
I tell them to tell me so I won’t do it but since my short-term memory short circuits, I continue to do it. They do tell me at times and they do it politely so as not to hurt my feelings. When I catch myself, I back off on my own. I get mad at myself for doing this because I know they all value their privacy. That makes it a bit difficult when you have 1 person who is dependent upon the other 3. The last thing I want to do is to be more of a burden on them than I already am. It’s a slippery slope this dependent thing.
So, this “First Day of School” thing has me feeling a bit anxious. I know they have told me their schedules and such but if I don’t write it down it becomes like dust in the wind. Well, I forgot to write things down. DUH!!!
Shannon, Asheton and Bradley are very good about keeping me informed of schedules and such so my anxiousness levels stay at a minimum. Since Asheton tends to write these things down for me, I will have her write some things down on my message board when she gets home. (of course I will have to make a note to remind myself to ask her to make a note. Geeeezzzz this gets to be exhausting.)
Anyways, when I am anxious or, experiencing some other emotion, Dallas sticks close to my side. I am more than thankful for his presence. The link below is a video I made about this subject.
The advantages of having a pet when you have Alzheimer’s
So, this “First Day of School” thing has changed a bit over the years. This is due the ages of these young adults who live with us and because of my Alzheimer’s. The thing that gets me through it all is my support system, the BRASH System. (BRadley, ASheton, Shannon) Yeah I know, I still have some of my creativity left.
As a side note, if you ever want to see how much of unnecessary knowledge I still have, come by and watch Jeopardy with me. For some reason, I’m really good! Lol
So, whether you’re a working parent, a stay-at-home parent, or anyone else who has the job of raising these wonderful human beings called children, I hope your, “First Day of School” thing was a good thing.
Until Next Time,
I Have Alzheimers, BUT It Doesn’t Have Me!
5 thoughts on “The “First Day of School” Thing”
So as the practitioner, as the face and voice of healthcare – I know the clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s. I know the prognosis, the progression, the trials. I have initials after my name that have been bestowed by meeting the professional qualifications to carry them. My memberships include ISTAART and CMC and FGCMA etc,,,,But the sum does not equal the total experience that you face Brian. A man experiencing things for the first time through the lens of Alzheimer’s. How we all take the most valuable and the most simplistic parts of our lives for granted….until they are in question.
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Very good post Brian!!! 😊 The video was great as well. It is so wonderful to see how Dallas is helping you and as much of a companion for you as you are to him. You guys are a great duo!! 😊
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Jen, you made that happen. It has had such a positive impact on, not just me but, the whole family. For that, I will be forever grateful!
Wanted to let you know that your article is included in the dementia “Symptom Perspectives” monthly links tonight, September 30, 2015
I would like to thank you for sharing your lived experience. My hope is that these words and projects can become valuable resources for change in relationships, treatment, and policies.
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Thank you so much, Tru! My goal in my Alzheimer’s Life is to share awareness in hopes it will help individuals who want to know more about Alzheimer’s.