One step at a time

July 29, 2015

To get through a hard journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.

I watch her walk in the other room and tears sting my eyes. She does not remember what she has been through and her frustration mounts with confusion. Often I misunderstand what she needs help in as she tries to explain her confusion. The questions begin again and she struggles to remember the events of another day.

When we are together, she needs to get home and when I am home she repeatedly calls me to come get her. This volley of emotions can drain us all as we try and help her through her disorientation. Not recognizing her own surroundings leaves her confused and searching for our childhood home, just another piece of the puzzle remains missing.

Some days there are tearful conversations when she shares that nobody calls her, other days it is frustration or questioning what she has done to be left alone.  A truth stained battle that she routinely engages in. Her friends, once plenty, now left with a few that remain in contact with her.

To Debbie, each struggle is real and her thoughts are endless with worry and frustration as she tries to remember where she needs to be. As much as we try and help with planners and dry erase boards, to her the record skips and returns to the previous thought and that memory is gone.

Her attention fluctuates from her childhood recollections to raising her own children, as she repeatedly asks about our father or brother and always about her boys, this loop of questions we repeat to her over and over.

I have relived my father’s death a thousand times, but to her it never happened as the next conversation starts “I talked to dad” – sometimes I give up for that day, for my own sanity, but other times I keep trying, giving her more details, hoping this will be the magic potion that lets her remember this tragic day in our lives, but that has not happened yet.

As we attend support groups and seminars to help us understand TBI (traumatic brain injury) Deb grows worried and anxious, unable to grasp the conversations around her or understand why we are there. She wants to leave for a party or some other event she feels she has forgotten.

Her family and entertaining during the holidays and birthdays were always a big deal, making this constant confusion of an upcoming birthday or holiday understandable.  Still believing she missed Christmas and every other holiday, and reasoning about the temperature doesn’t make a difference.

She has gone through endless doctor appointments, most of which she does not remember. Multiple spinal taps to see if a shunt in her brain will help her, and constant tests. Long hours lost downtown as we continue to search for more answers.

She is passionate about all the same things, but her stamina and thoughts derail her from completion. Many projects we begin together I have to help her finish as the worry builds and she assumes she needs to leave. At the gym she works hard twice a week for balance and to rebuild strength.

We mourn the life we once shared with her and search for joy in the life she has been given. She makes us laugh with the humor she still maintains and cry with the frustration she lives with each day, but we do not give up.

As we approach the two-year anniversary since her surgery, the next hope for change is to put a shunt in to help drain the fluid in her brain. We hope that this shunt will improve her gait, pace and even hopefully some memory issues. Most of all we hope it makes Debs life a little bit easier.

As always keep Debbie and the family in your prayers as her battle still continues, if you have a moment give her a call, she may not remember, but you will, and knowing that you brightened her day for that moment should be incentive enough.

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  • July 31, 2015 @ 6:04 AM EDT
    By Gordon
    Thanks
  • July 30, 2015 @ 10:23 PM EDT
    By Tina   (Unraveling My Heart the Write Way)
    Thanks Natalie - we had such a great childhood...
  • July 30, 2015 @ 5:51 PM EDT
    By Natalie Harants-Aspery
    It was so great living next door to the Wallace's in Indian Creek we had so many good times with the family's . Awesome Neighbors that you were . Miss you all and prayers to Debbie and her family

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