Monday, 29 December 2008

Privacy lines

How much to do you cross privacy lines into some one's life?

I can't decide. And I can't do it!

Yesterday I cheerfully told okaasan that I'd put her piles of wet, handwashed underwear into the gentle spin cycle of our washing machine. She leaves it in a pile in her bathroom sink, or in piles on the carpet in front of the living room heater to dry.

So I whisked it all away and threw it into the machine. Hung it in our living room to dry - we constantly have laundry drying it seems.

Later in the afternoon I unpegged the laundry and as I folded them all up I realized. They were ALL pants! Knickers! 20 pairs of pants....

Since I had washed some only the other day I was amazed. Is she washing them needlessly just because she finds them on her carpet and forgets she's already washed them? Does she have incontinentcy problems?

I discussed it with him. I feel I can't get into this topic with her. Partly my Japanese isn't good enough to do shades of formality/casualness...and partly I just feel she and I don't have that kind of personal relationship. Yet. I guess it's new territory for him too: discussing underwear with your mother!

I really wonder though how much to step into her life. She isn't ga-ga. Forgetful and confused about stuff. Illogical. But not crazy or incapable.

Every morning and evening I march into her home and reset the hot carpets and take out the trash. While she's in the bath I throw away stuff in the kitchen sink and supermarket flyers. I steal her post from utility companies/banks etc so her son can manage her finances. (we noticed with concern the other day that she had info about convenience store cash points...) and I march into her bathroom to set the bath water heating switch.

But I don't know how nag her into her doing stuff.

Yujiro tackled her on the 20 underpants after dinner last night. She said she has some incontinentcy problems. He told her it's ok, we can get some medicine for that etc. I wonder if she'll take it though, she doesn't like medicines and hospitals. One of those: I am healthy and don't need that stuff types. A few pickles and green tea is enough.

Anyway. This morning I popped into to do the hot carpets and collect the trash. There were 20 pairs of clean pants laid out on the carpet drying in front of the heater in the living room.....

"Ahh...okaasan, I washed and dried those yesterday. They were dry when I gave them to you. You don't need to dry them any more. You can put them away!".....

AGHHHHHH!!!!!! It's hard to make a difference! Of course it doesn't matter if she sits with piles of clothes on the carpet around her. But I feel it makes her living space more confusing her. I am guessing old people like the reassurance of stuff all around them they can see, rather than put it away somewhere?

Anyway. Today I am going skiing. Because I need to. He has just hobbled into her place on his crutches to monitorbathtime...and maybe tackle her on the Putting Away Dried Clothes issue. We discussed whether she needs more clothes boxes and different hanging space for coats.

Yesterday was ok. I had to deal with the cat and his health problems in the morning. I came home lunchtime. The 3 of us ordered a pizza and ate it with salad. In the afternoon I did very belated Xmas/New Year letters for friends. Then I went shopping. Then he put together stuff for a nabe, a kind of table top one-pot dish, which is easy to do. Okaasan was very animated at dinner and chatted away about wartime memories and New Year festivities when she was a child...I'm learning all sorts of stuff about Japan Circa. with us is giving her a great outlet for all these stories. Although by the third or fourth retelling he and I are getting a bit glazed over and our responses are getting muted!

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