Nobody hit anybody. Nobody broke the kitchen chair. Nobody cried.
We sat down and just had dinner.
Just about ok. But it felt like one of those painful, breath-by-breath scenes in a movie where there are dangers lurking beneath the casual chitchat. Quentin Tarantino should come to my kitchen. He direct me in a massacre with a large, frozen turkey.
Didn't want to come home and do it at all. Thought about bolting for the hills. Or at least staying on the second floor.
But gritted my teeth and got stuck in.
Instead of watching Tv/checking email while Yujiro prepared dinner - I went down into the kitchen with him to "own the space", so that Okaasan could hear my voice, hear us talking...KNOW Oyomesan was In The Building.
She was sitting watching TV, with her back to the kitchen as usual.
I emptied the washing machine of her underwear that's been there since Monday night and popped my head round her room door to casually give it to her in a washing bowl.
She didn't spit fire at me. Didn't give me any warmth either. I could have been the under parlour-maid.
Then we 3 sat down to eat.
Yujiro chatted away about a cooking Tv program, Okaasan responded..I actively joined the connversation...it all chatted along ok....but Okaasan was always looking down at her food or looking at him. She didn't look in my direction at all.
My confidence was sinking....would I have to go upstairs afterall?
Ahh! Oranges from my friend Heather! Yes! Bingo!
"Those oranges over there are from Kyushu! My friend gave them to me as a souvenir from Nagasaki!" I exclaimed in excitement, gesturing wildly to the fruit bowl.
Okaasan looked up - looked at me as if noticing me for the first time, looked over at the oranges.
"Really? They look good, Kyushu has delicious oranges..."
Did it. Broke the ice with oranges.
After that it was better. She seemed to relax. We relaxed...she even laughed at the story of a student who had to buy a second-hand freezer to store all the end of year fish presents she'd received.
She didn't accuse me of anything....this time.
He ate his dinner and didn't shout, hit, break chairs.
I didn't retreat to my classroom 1 km away.
After dinner he and I went back upstairs. He turned and grinned at me - and we High Fived eachother on the stairs. We did it.
* The biggest thing he says he has learned from the book and Social Worker is how to deal with Okaasan's stories about what she's done - NEVER to contradict her, even if you know it isn't true.
My book about dementia says this too - just agree and reflect back with smiles and interest whatever she says: I ate Korean food (actually it was Indian food because she didn't have enough money for the meal and he had to go the next day and pay the extra Y200 to the restaurant), my other son lives in Tokyo (actually he lives in Nichinomiya)....
I always felt this was one of Yujiro's weaknesses as an Okaasan conversationist - his natural desire to correct her all the time, to set her right. But apparently with dementia sufferers this just isn't helping them, it just confuses and eventually stresses them.
But the type of food and where someone lives isn't important. Accusing someone of taking stuff is. I'm hoping the doctor today will give us some idea HOW to respond to that kind of a statement! We can't just nod and smile ("Ahh yes, I came into your room and took your stuff, yes, you're right!).
So. I'm really looking forward to going to the doctor this afternoon.
Last night was ok. But it was exhausting. I felt as if I'd finished one lot of work 10.30 am to 4 pm...and then did another stint of work from 7-8 pm. Home and dinner shouldn't be like that.
*** and Heather dear...those oranges may have been cheap - but oh - SO USEFUL!!!