Friday, 18 August 2017

Don't count...

...your care homes before they....are a reality.

Dear Son is not there yet.....

Another visit, another look at the physical training....and reassuring chat from the staff that the diaper use is not constant....really???...and he came away more positive about our ability to have Okaasan at home with us.

I am not so convinced.

But, I am playing the good wife role...gentle, understanding support.....whatever he want to chat about.

I AM being strong in opposition to the point that daily diaper changes are beyond me. And if we can't leave her safely for less than a few hours - home life isn't possible.

But.

Japanese man.
Man?

Making a decision seems to take forever.

I am guessing Okaasan will come home. And we all will see how that is...and then eventually....he will understand that a care home is a better option.

He is an intelligent person. Got one of those off the chart IQs, in fact....but sometimes SO BLOODY dense!!
"Oh, I talked to the social worker...getting a place in a care home isn't so easy..."

You think?
Yeah. Right. Japan - fastest aging society in the world...millions of families just like us, all trying to get outside care for their elderly. I know it. I talk to people....how can he not know this??

Am now waiting for him to reveal to me:

Eggs are not round
The world is not flat
Japanese office workers do no meaning overtime
Trump is going to bring America to its knees.

Sigh.

Holiday. 4 weeks from now.....counting the days....

Monday, 14 August 2017

Tectonic shift in thinking

Okaasan's future may not be home with us.....

A shift has taken place in Dear Son's thinking. A huge shift. Tectonic plate size change in thinking.

He is now thinking and talking about a care home future for her.

I'm trying to be gently supportive, not pushing one view or another.

A few days ago we went to visit her at the physical therapy hospital. He'd visited alone a  day or two before and watched Okaasan's training - how far she could walk holding onto bars and how much her heart rate increased when she tried to use a walking frame. He came home fairly positive.

Our joint-visit on Friday. Okaasan was in her bedroom with the deaf roommate shouting annoyingly. We got her into a wheelchair an the three of us sat in the physical training room - watching other elderly people have their training regimes with balls and bars. Okaasan kept saying how being in this room was a first time for her...despite having been in the room doing the very same exercises just a few hours before.

We drank canned coffee and chatted.
Okaasan smelled bad...I knew a diaper change would be necessary.
Then she asked to go to the toilet.
We wheeled her to the toilet and the three of us went inside.

Dear Son was advising/helping Okaasan to stand and move from wheelchair to toilet seat.
Advising her how to move her legs so her body changed direction. She had no idea....
I was pulling down her pants and reaching back and between her legs to catch the heavily soiled diaper as her bum swayed near the toilet seat...managing to catch and lift out the diaper before she sat - and into a handy trash bag nearby.
Then I went to get a nurse to help with cleaning and re-diapering....

We stayed for an hour or so. Wheeled around the hospital looking at pictures. Left Okaasan joining others for dinner time near the TV.
We came away.....for our dinner and life.

Hmm...

I wondered. Could Okaasan come home at all soon, like this? Come home ever, like this?
She has been in diapers for 4 months now, mentally and physically she is used to that. This will be beyond "toilet accidents", to regular diaper changes....even if she decides and activates a toilet visit on her own....I am guessing there will be more diaper use. Much more.
Could she turn in the toilet? Our toilet at home? Would she understand HOW to walk in, turn round, take down her pants and then sit? Could she DO a toilet visit alone?
Could we leave her for more than an hour alone...?

These thoughts were in my mind. I talked to friends about my worries...and said to Dear Son that I still thought Okaasn's permanent return to life with us was only a 50% possibility.

And he agrees...thinks the percentage is larger - in the negative.
He doubts we and she can manage together at home. Even with day service 5 days a week.

I guess this IS the hoped for/expected result of putting her in this kind of hospital/home environment - thinking by the social worker to get the family and the aged person accustomed to the reality of care outside the home.

Dear Son said he is going to talk to the social worker this week.
He is starting to believe that Okaasan may be generally happier and safer in a care home....

If you've read this blog for a while, you'll understand what a change in thinking this is for him. From not wanting any outside help - to accepting and coming to the realization that the time for us being able to care for his mother alone is coming to a close.

A new chapter is ahead.
I am relieved. I think so. 
I can't see how it would be here...specially how it would be for me in winter alone with her. Impossible.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Birthday at "home"


Happy Birthday Okaasan! 87 years old and getting stronger and stronger.
Our birthday cake visit went well. Just got the timing right:  at towards the end of dinner time in the hospital lounge. She enjoyed the cream and strawberry cake with her nearest and dearest...and only family members.

Still in a wheelchair, but she can stand and move to the  toilet or bed much easier. Blank memory about most things and confusion about place.
"Do you want to stay at my home?"
"U(m, this isn't your home, this is a hospital....you live with us at home..."

Doesn't matter. It just means she accepts the hospital as the "now" and ok place to be. It makes leaving her and coming away much easier.

Most years for her birthday we go out and eat her fave crab. This year was different. But happy enough :-)

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Hospital Visit

I did the daughter-in-law/wifely duties yesterday - the hospital visit.

AFTER I remembered which hospital she was in. I drove blithely to the wrong hospital...and minutes away realised my mistake and had to turn the car round and head in the right direction...

DS was busy all day driving a bike taxi at a city event. So I finished work at 4 pm and went to visit Okaasan in her latest hospital.

She was in a wheelchair in the day room, parked right under and in front of a huge TV. Engrossed in the later afternoon local Tv show of cooking and housewife things. A nurse and some other elderly residents were behind her doing simple handicrafts at a table...folding bags...

Okaasan was happy to see me. Chatted happily about the TV program. Enjoyed  me wheeling here around the ground floor of the hospital - looking at all the paintings and flower arrangements. Friendly, positive. Happy.

NO memory at all of physical therapy - the room nor the activity. Never mind.
Aware of her own birthday tomorrow..after some prompting.
Quite accepting that DS was at work, and that when I came to leave that I had to go shopping. She seems perfectly accepting of being in hospital - whichever hospital it is. This bodes well for the future I think - whether that is regular day service or longer care.

Tomorrow is her birthday. 87 years old.