Friday, 19 December 2014

Day helper success :-)

Just dropping in - as my week continues plowing on almost without me catching up with it...

This week day service helper success: Okaasan agreed to go out with the woman by taxi to the supermarket, where she bought a huge hoard of rice crackers, yogurts, packed food and breads.
Came home again by taxi and settled down by the TV to eat some of it.

I hid the helper file on a chair in the kitchen - and left a note outside the front door telling the helper where to look.
Dear Son sent me a message for his mother about the benefits of walking - and I printed it out and put it by her lunch things on the table.

All seemed to work.

I was actually here when Okaasan and the helper came back. I'd slipped back to feed cats and was lurking upstairs quietly....there wasn't the cheerful chitchat in the kitchen that would be ideal. But maybe the helper and Okaasan were all chatted out by the time they'd gone, walked round the shop and come home again.

The important thing is that the helper came, got Okaasan dressed, got her out for walking and chat. A break away from watching the TV.

I do feel sad for Okaasan. Last year she was taking herself out for a walk a few times a week, even in winter. Now she is down to twice a week - under supervision. But that is all we can do with our own working schedules at the moment. Plus her refusal to go to day center for dancing etc.

My evening classes this winter are only 3 times a week. But still that means she is eating alone 3 least.
Last night I called her between classes to tell her that her dinner was on the table, soup on the stove etc.
"Is it morning? I don't eat breakfast...." Okaasan told me....

"No,'s Thursday evening at 7 pm. That's dinner on the table...I will be home about 9 pm, please eat the food...."

Dear Son is home for the weekend. I can take a mental break from all this arranging and planning of my schedule and the needs of two cats and one old lady.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Hiding stuff

It feels a bit crazy...and mean...but...

I have started hiding stuff that I don't want Okaasan to use.

Her boots...and my kitchen pans.

Came home yesterday to another burned pan, I think she tried to heat up some left over soup, and maybe added some rice from the delivery lunchbox on top. The result can't have been very good.
She won't actually burn the house down, because this cooker cuts out when the heat gets too high, or the pan isn't moved. But I can't add in scrubbing charcoaled pans to my list of Stuff To Do every day. Can't.
Okaasan can heat up food in the microwave. Well, she "can" because there is a microwave in the kitchen...but she's of the generation that don't trust zapping food....if there is a pan...she wants to use it. But doesn't have the ability to monitor using it.

So. I hid the pans this morning before I went to work. Cleared out space on the top shelf of the towel shelves in the bathroom. She will never see them there. If she looks for a pan there won't be one. 
She can zap food in the microwave, and make instant hot soup. Or open the flasks I leave with hot food in them. 

Oh. And boots.
The weather is bad at the moment. I don't THINK she will try to go out. 
But I've started hiding her boots too. In a supermarket box on the top of the hall closet.

*** The sore foot? Blister?
Okaasan was complaining about something on her foot on Sunday. I checked. I can't see anything apparently wrong. And she isn't talking about it now. Maybe I'll ask the day helper to check again tomorrow.

Tomorrow. Day helper coming day.
Crossed fingers she manages to get Okaasan out of the house this time. The weather forecast is horrible - it'll be windy and snowy.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Weekend outings

Okaasan had a great weekend.
Thanks to me :-)
And, I managed to squeeze in a bit of joy for myself here and there too.

Yesterday took her downtown for walking and lunch.
Luckily managed to find a parking space just in the city center. Okaasan willingly grabbed my hand and off we started. Down the escalator into the underground shopping areas around the main subway station in Sapporo.
Okaasan's walking is bad for sure.
She kind of totters forwards all the time. Walking along the walls, so she can put out her hand to steady herself, and holding onto shop display areas to get along.
Downtown was busy with pre-Christmas shoppers, so it was a bit of a battle to move along. I'd hate to think of her alone in all of that. I agree with Dear Son - she can't do downtown trips unsupervised. Her balance and walking style just isn't great.

Lots of Christmas stuff to look at together, shops and displays. People dressed as Santa handing out paper butterflies, kids and families and music. All very stimulating.
I got Okaasan half way down the shopping arcade and then into an old fashioned restaurant where they had sets of fried oysters, with rice, soup and salad. Packed with families. But fast service. 
Okaasan ate mainly in silence and we chatted a little about the menu, the families and oysters. It was a good noisy place with many things for her to watch.
Then I managed to steer her BACK along the underground shopping street, via a few knickknack shops and a magazine purchase. Thankfully, when we got to the station she suggested herself that we should go home - having forgotten of course that we'd come by car.
I got her back thru the crowds, back to the car and drove home.
Successful. Enough walking for sure for her. After a week of sitting in front of the TV with her muscles doing zero.

Did dinner with her in the evening. Her conversation was very repetitive. I guess the outing was tiring.

I went skiing at 8 am!

Glorious weather. Great first skiing. This is 1 hour from home. Yes, I live in paradise!

Left Okaasan's lunch on the table and stove. Told her I'd be home by 2 pm.

Home at 2 for the next round of duties.
Today is Election Day in Japan. Nobody knows WHY Japan has an election now. The government decided to call one at the worst possible time - winter and end of year rush for everyone - to get a majority for 3 more years of awfulness.

Okaasan wanted to vote. She thinks it is important.
So I drove her down to the local elementary school and took hand again to take her inside. Took her up to the first sign-in counter, then pointed her on the next step round the voting area.
I can't vote in Japan. Lived here more than 20 years. Pay all my taxes etc. Own my own business. Can't vote.
I stood back at the entrance area and watched Okaasan go round the voting booths and boxes. There were two areas - maybe one is for the city and one is for national? When Okaasan got to the second area she seemed stuck in the booth for a looong time.
I didn't want to cause a voting center crisis by crossing the floor to enter the important area. Foreigners are probably banned from coming within 3 meters of a voting box - so I waved at one of the staff to go and help her. He presumably knows how much help he is legally allowed to give a confused voter....

Not sure what her confusion was. But she emerged a  few minutes later all smiley. Hope she didn't vote for 3 more years of the awfulness. 

She complained that she has a sore on her foot...I'll have to check that later.

Back in the car I casually asked if she needed any shopping. She asked to go to Macdonalds for coffee time. I delivered her there, then made an excuse and rushed home to clean her room.
BIG side effect of our new regime is that if Okaasan is always out WITH me, I can't get into her room to clean. So it was a chance. Otherwise I have to rush in while she is in the toilet...
Dirty clothes, old lunchboxes, newspapers, peanut shells...
45 minutes later I picked Okaasan back up from Macdonalds and politely turned down her offer of something to drink...cos back home at the end of all of this was a student's home made brandy plum wine.
As I backed the car out of the car park Okaasan said: "Oh...there is XX Supermarket. I could go there for a while, couldn't I?"
You can't.
I gave you 3 hours of my time yesterday. Now 90 minutes more. Plus two dinners. You are not going to wander round the supermarket too.
Of course I didn't say it like that. Just mentioned her painful foot and how it was best to rest it etc How the helper on Wednesday will take her to the supermarket etc.
Brought her home.

In the hallway was some election paper. Okaasan looked at it. "Oh, the election. I should vote today?"

You did. Already. You did. You did.

Time to break open the brandy plum wine.
And relaaaax.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The excuse.......

Why didn't Okaasan want to go out last Wednesday with the day helper?

She says: I didn't need any shopping, I didn't realize it was a walking chance. I thought it was a shopping trip.

Ladies and Gentlemen in the blogging gallery! What do we think of that excuse?
Does it sound possible? Does it sound credible? Does it cut the mustard?

Dear Son buys it. Maybe because he'd rather that story be the reason than accepting the depressing possibility that we're going to have to struggle with Okaasan over these day care visits. Again.

I don't buy it. Cos I'm a suspicious, nasty woman.

Okaasan has never turned down the chance to go out shopping. She adores shopping. Supermarkets and department stores are her playland.

But ok. We'll accept it for now and play along. All smiles. Stop the headbanging. 
DS says he'll write a note for Okaasan reminding her that Wednesdays are walking/exercising trips out and that she should go for the sake of her health.

And now he's left again for a other week of ski work.

** Last night I had a restless night with hungry cats demanding breakfast at 4.20 am. Got back to sleep and dreamt: Dear Son and the care helper were in the kitchen (this is cos he and I were talking about it all last night in the kitchen).
Suddenly I looked up and realised the helper was my old boss from a few years ago. A woman who buggered me around over a business chance and I escaped her craziness by quitting my job...two days later my best mate in the office also quit her job and we spent Xmas holidays commiserating with alcohol all over town.

Anyway - THAT woman was working as the day helper! And in my dream I am pleading with DS:"Nooooo!!! I can't accept HER in my home as the helper!!! Nooooo. We have to talk!!"

Today is Saturday.
Time to saddle up for Oyomesan Duty and take Okaasan out for a walk....and a bit of shopping. And lunch.
She hasn't walked for 7 days. Sat on the carpet and watched TV for 7 days. I can't let her walk alone somewhere, I'll have to be with her and make sure she is safe.

Off to work.