Obituary: Barbara Simon Bradley

Barbara Ann Simon (Ridlehoover) BRADLEY died peacefully on February 13, 2009 in Issaquah, Washington of nonalcoholic liver disease and diabetes.  She was 61.  Born March 28, 1947 in Athens, Georgia, she grew up in a Marine Corps family, moving from coast to coast, and returning home to Georgia while her father was deployed overseas.  She graduated from Athens High and attended the University of Georgia before marrying her college sweetheart, Edward Ridlehoover, in 1966 and starting a family.  A devoted mother, she was a stay-at-home mom, playground monitor, den mother and PTA president.  She ran the annual craft bazaar for her sons' elementary school for several years, invariably staying up the night before to bake miniature loaves of banana and zucchini bread for her boys to sell while she manned a booth of her own full of crafts.  As her sons grew, she ventured out into the workforce, starting as a part-time teller and eventually becoming a credit union branch manager.  After graduating her sons from college and divorcing in 1998, she moved to Seattle to be near family and opened Tussie Mussies & More, a florist specializing in the English Garden style.  In 2001, Barbara met her true soul mate - a romantic Scotsman named James Bradley.  She and James married in 2003 and moved to the UK, where she spent three years as "the one with the charming accent."  Upon receiving worrisome medical news in 2006, James brought her back to the states where she was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease and told she would need a transplant.  Despite her best efforts, she was ultimately unable to regain the strength necessary to survive a transplant.  When she passed, she did so only after hearing her husband and sons together at her bedside sharing stories, tears and lots of laughter.  Barbara is survived by her devoted husband, James Bradley of Issaquah, WA; her sons, Alan (Jill / Hunter, Grace) Ridlehoover of Issaquah, WA and Mike (Kristie) Ridlehoover of Coeur d’Alene, ID; her parents, Anne and Frank Simon of Camano Island, WA; and her siblings, Dana Simon of Bend, OR, Joe (Linda) Simon of Central Point, OR, and Gina (Craig / Brian, Zak) Simon of Bellevue, WA.  A celebration of life is planned for late spring.  Details will be published on the web at  Please consider a memorial donation to Providence Marianwood Foundation (where the need is the greatest) or Swedish Medical Center Foundation (Charity Care).

Life is a roller coaster

After a couple of weeks of relative normalcy, Mom is back to having issues.  Within the last couple of days, she's started having difficulty keeping food down.  And, yesterday, she was running a temperature of 102, which could be related to an infection.  More when I have a better idea what's going on... As always, please keep Mom (and our family) in your thoughts and prayers.

Please say a prayer for my mom...

My mom is terminally ill.  She has cirrhosis of the liver, caused by a condition know as NASH.  And, recently she took a turn for the worse.  Since last Friday, she's been in a semi-conscious state brought on by extremely high levels of ammonia in her blood stream - a condition known as encephalopathy. She is able to respond to simple voice commands.  She can answer yes/no questions.  And, she's eating when someone feeds her.  But, she cannot carry on a conversation.  She cannot answer anything but yes/no questions.  And, her eyes, vacant and glossy, look right through you when you do manage to get her attention.  She spends most of her time in a sleepy haze of pain (from various bruises and sores related to spending all of her time in bed) and itching (from the toxins in her blood stream coming out through the skin). The treatment for this condition is a medication called lactulose, which traps the ammonia created during the digestion process in the colon, before it has a chance to be absorbed into the blood stream.  Mom is on a high dose of lactulose now, as she has been for a couple of years.  And, between last Friday and last Monday, her ammonia level dropped by almost 100 points.  But, at that time, it was still over 160.  (Healthy people have an ammonia level below 35.) At this point, the prognosis is mixed.  Mom could "wake up" tomorrow, regain some or most of her cognitive abilities, and go on to live for many more months or even years.  Or, she could stay in this sleepy, itchy, painful purgatory, eclipsed by this veil of ammonia.  Or, she could fall into a complete coma, stop eating, and die.  There's just no way to know.  What we do know is that if she stops eating, she will pass away from malnutrition within two to three weeks. We've known this was a possibility ever since mom was diagnosed back in December, 2006.  We hoped that she would qualify for a liver transplant.  But, unfortunately, her disease was already too far along when it was detected.  She was never deemed strong enough to survive the operation, and was therefore never placed on the transplant list.  Now, she's being placed on a different sort of list - she's being placed in hospice. I know my mom loves me.  And, I know she knows I love her.  But, I would dearly love the opportunity to tell her one more time, to share one more laugh, and to hug each other and cry together one last time, as would all of her friends and family. Please say a prayer for my mom.  May God bless her.  May God ease her pain.  And, may God share our thoughts and prayers with her so they might give her solace on her journey from us to Him, no matter how long it takes.