Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Buttons III

Ahhh! All is revealed! The Great Missing Button drama!
IF I'm lucky Robert Downey Jr. and sexy Jude will sweep in and solve the case.

Okaasan went out early this afternoon (leaving me a note and a delicious apple present on the kitchen table) to our surprise (it was still actualy daylight and warm) - and then about 4 pm she telephoned Yujiro...and asked to speak to me!
"Amanda...about your coat buttons...I think I've lost the button you gave me...I'm so sorry, so I can't repair the coat! You have to buy a new set of buttons, maybe you should choose them yourself, I'm so sorry!"

Okaasan says sorry to me. Amazing!

Of course I said her it absolutely was no problem. I could get nice, new buttons for my coat etc. No problem. No worry etc etc etc.
And of course it really isn't. The buttons are pretty ordinary. I earn enough money to buy another set of buttons. And hopefully I can buy the special thread and ask Okaasan to sew them on for me.

It's my fault entirely.
I gave her the coat. And one loose button - HOW stupid could I be? Give a woman with short term memory problems a thing 2 cm wide to keep?
Sadly for both of us she didn't have the correct thread for buttons in the house.
So that entailed almost a week of worry about the thread, the sewing shop points card, the button, the thread...and how to tell me she couldn't do it.
Now I understand why she always said "buttons" when she talked about this - and I always said "No, thread, isn't it..."...because for her the problem WAS the button. The button she knew she'd lost.

The big PLUS in all of this is that she talked to us about it and didn't keep this problem to herself...didn't stew over it and let the thing build. That is a huge improvement on last year's "Where is my magazine? Amanda's taken it!". So I guess our relationship and communication has improved.

I'm super-busy tomorrow...but maybe later I'll buy some new buttons and thread. And THEN go to Okaasan and ask her to help poor useless me and sew on the buttons.....

So. I've learned: give Okaasan a simple situation to enter. Give her a task she can do there and then. Make sure she has everything to DO the task.

It reminds me of when I was a child: my mother giving me money to go shopping. But I'd buy the wrong thing. Or it would cost more than she expected so the change would be short. I'd get in such a guilty panic about that, I'd lie to hide the fact of what was wrong. What I didn't understand. I can remember my mother saying:"Just tell me if you don't understand, don't lie about it!".

* But thankgoodness I DO have another coat to wear. The green coat is getting less and less wearable!


  1. It's funny how everything seems so simple to us but with people with dementia the simple things are often the hardest. Thanks for sharing it really is insightful.

  2. Hi Kelly,

    Yes, this whole episode is such a small thing in life - but it became an ever-spriraling large thingy in Okaasan's life because it involved decisions and inter-connected details...
    I'm sorry it didn't end up as the simple: Sit and Enjoy Sewing and Feel Useful experience I'd planned...but i've learned a lot from it anyway and she doesn't seem unduly stressed now about i'll get fully armed with buttons, thread, special needle etc and approach her again this weekend.....