Sunday, 19 November 2017

"She is AMAZING!"

This exciting news greeted me Friday night as I came home thru the door from work.
Dear Son. Very excited.
"Okaasan. Today! Rehabili! I took video, I'll show you later...she is amazing!"

My heart sank.....

As we talked about the weekend ahead I mentioned how we must sort out the things necessary for Okaasan's room move. I'd measured the curtains etc And if we were going to do that next Wednesday I needed at least 24 hours notice so I could reschedule one student.

"Ah. Next week might be difficult. I don't know..."
Heart sank a bit further.
Oh God. He'd seen her trolley around at speed. He imagines her coming home. He is doubting the whole care home scenario..oh god.

But he was just prepping dinner, it was Friday night after a longish work week. I was ready to pour a glass of wine, eat tacos and forget about hard things. So I did. Alcohol and food masked the fears.

Saturday morning we returned to the subject of Okaasan.
He showed me his smart phone video of Okaasan in the hospital rehabilitation room.
Walk round the whole room, at speed with a walking frame on roller wheels !!!!!!
Actually followed closely by a staff member, ready to catch her - but still. A big change from a week ago, when she was still walking about 3 m between parallel bars and sitting down for a rest.
There she was trollying around the whole room.
It was amazing.

Short silence.
I bit the elephant in the room.

"It IS amazing. But she still isn't safe to leave alone at home. She can't come home. You know that, don't you? Are you thinking she can come home now?"

"I feel I a good son...."

"You ARE a good son. I'm a good daughter-in-law. We've been good for 9 years. Now is the next stage beginning. We can't cope with her at home. Even with 5 days a week day care....she won't be safe. Really. You will be away skiing, I will have to get her ready for day care every morning, she will have to walk down the front door steps in the snow to the car...we can't leave her alone at IS the best thing to do for her. I'm done. I've done the winter care for years. Sorry, I am not doing it again. It isn't safe for her alone here....etc etc etc...etc"

All of it, again.

"I know. I know. She won't be safe here..."

"But you said last night that moving her next week may be you want to stop the care home plan? Leave her in the hospital more? Will YOU give up this ski season to stay home with her? Will you????"

And on we went....all the cards on the table...all the emotions out...all the fears swirling across our breakfasts.

He explained that:
* he feels guilty
* but he knows she should go to care home
* the "difficult" about next week isn't due to him - but actually due to two more meetings that need to happen from the care home and the hospital. On Monday.
* so it might be another week before we can furnish the room and move her.
* he doesn't plan on giving up a ski season to care for his mum
*  he even showed me the official documents he is preparing for her to move
*  he convinced me that we ARE on the same page about this

And of course what had happened was a confluence of miscommunication: my fears/his elation/his vagueness about next week/my misinterpretation of that/fears/guilt...confusion.

But I tell you. In the midst of that bare-it-all conversation I felt all you dear blog readers with me - all standing on the sidelines cheering me on: "Go Amanda! Go! Stand up for yourself! Don't let your delicious, new-found, winter freedom slip away! Fight!".

And I did. Thankyou.

Turns out my winter freedom wasn't in serious jeopardy. But I was worried there for a few hours...a sickening feeling.

I want it all this coming winter: the skiing, the friends, the movies...and I've even been offered a big tourism writing  job, which I think I will have time for....
And moving the English school in the early spring....that is a big thing to come...

All dependent on Okaasan being safely homed in that nice care home, with twice a week visits from me....

So. Still waiting...wish they'd all get a move on. Before Okaasan starts doing the can-can across the rehabili room and swinging from the rafters.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


Still waiting for care home action.
The doctor at the hospital has written a report on Okaasan. The care home has received it - now they have to decide whether they will let her in.....
SHOULD be no problem...but....

I mean, she isn't destructive or aggressive as the meds are working. She is just an old lady needing help constantly.

We went to see her on Saturday for about an hour.
When we arrived she was in the day room in her wheelchair with another old lady. Both of them parked in front of the TV happily.

We did the usual: went to the 5th floor lounge for a coffee and a cake snack, then round to the other windows. Mostly silent, but a bit of repeated chat about the main road and the UNIQLO signs, the trees, the weather....she was mentally bright, but repetitive. And copies our gestures - if we talk about our chair design and stroke the arm rest - she does the same to her wheelchair...if I mention my sweater - she fingers with her own sweater.

After an hour of idle chat...and  a diaper change by a nurse - we parked her back in front of the TV and came away.

So. Waiting. Soon....

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Okaasan's Care Home!

Just writing that title makes me happy!!! :-)

Forgive me if I break off every now and then to go do a happy dance....

One stage of Okaasan and Me life is finished, and the next stage is in motion.

Wednesday we went back to the hospital/care home to check out various points, got shown round by 3 staff...bathrooms, rooms, recreation room again, huge confusing discussion about financing (even the people working in welfare in Japan are confused by the government's latest tweaks)...and finally...

We were standing in the recreation room - when Dear Son said to me:
"So? What do you think?"
"About here? It's good. It's got everything. Yes, I think we should choose a room..."

And he agreed. The staff laughed, because it was obvious who wears the pants in decision making in this couple, and we all went back upstairs and looked at the three vacant rooms. Proximity to nurse station, wheelchair toilet, view, light...

And decided on Okaasan's room :-)    :-)

One of the smaller rooms, but big enough for bed and furniture - that we will rent and bring from home. A view of an apartment building, a bit of the city and mountains. Next to the toilet. Within sight of the nurse station.
The atmosphere on a weekday in the whole place was different: residents, families and various care workers around. A gaggle of old ladies watching TV, an old man sorting thru newspapers and more mobile residents taking walks around. It felt all good.
Her floor has about 15 rooms, a lounge with TV etc where that floor residents eat together. Lots of toilets, bathrooms. Downstairs is the recreation room with exercise machines and a central table where handicrafts etc take place.

It's not Florida. No garden. Just a nicely decorated tower block in the city center. But it is light and clean. I hope Okaasan will settle into life there - her own room with things around her, the lounge with the TV and outings with us locally.
He chose downtown because it will be easy for him to go before or after work in summer. In winter I can get there on Tuesdays after work, and by car at other times. There is a hospital in the building if she needs help in any way.

After the room was chosen we went downstairs again and he filled out the application forms. He looked knackered after it all. I was doing happy dances in my brain - finally!! Finally! - but we quietly went out separate ways to work. Had a quiet dinner and small discussion that night.

Okaasan is going to move from our home and daily care to a care home.

Never thought I'd be able to write that!

When? In the next 2 weeks maybe? Lots of official paperwork to be done.

I've started thinking what things from her room here at home we should move - and we already started to make plans to move my English school here. have to ask the house owners etc and make plans for THAT. It'll be interesting too see which of my students reads this blog and understands that the school may far students have heard me talk about moving Okaasan, without making the next-thought-step: what about your big house?  It's a home we rented for three people to live. far too big for just two of us - and I will be very very Home Alone here this winter.
But moving the English School will be financially a good idea, and will use the space.

I haven't told the cat yet. He thinks the room off the kitchen, the blanket, the sofa....all his....

Wednesday, 1 November 2017


Done. Applied for a care home. He's signed documents.
The next stage is in motion.

Gotta work now - more later.