Thursday, 9 September 2010

I've quit!

"I've quit hula dance!"  Okaasan announced yesterday.
You did what? When? Why?

I'd popped into her room to borrow back the hairdryer. Okaasan was sitting sewing one of her hula dance skirts. I guessed getting it ready for the hula dance performance event this coming weekend.
"Ahh, are you preparing for the event?"
"The event? No, I quit hula, so I'm unpicking the skirt. I don't need it anymore."

Stunned. That was Yujiro and I.
Standing there at the entrance to Okaasan's room with this news hanging there.

You did what?
I did yesterday. I told you!
No, you said nothing to us. Or the hula teacher. Or Ohta-san.
I didn't? I told someone. Maybe I dreamed it? I told someone. I quit, didn't I?
I can't do it, it's too fast. My body can't do it. I can't......

And then Okaasan cried.
It was so sad. She was sobbing like a child. I backed out of the living room to the kitchen so that Yujiro could comfort her, lots of reassuring words....but she cried....
I can't do it, it's too hard, I dont want to go, I'm at the front of the stage, I can't do it, I don't have my dance accessories, it's hard, it's fast, I can't remember the steps....

Yujiro calmed her down after a few minutes.
He reassured her. He reminded her that HE had all the accessories bag for safekeeping. He said she could quit if she really wanted to, but not to worry about keeping up with the others etc, that the teacher and classmates wanted her to dance with them, that she CAN do it, etc etc.
It was like a parent comforting a child - but here was the son comforting the mother.

Poor Okaasan. It was so sad. I felt for her so much. We all know that feeling: when you know you can't do something. But you will have to do it, in front of people, as part of a group.
Hobbies in Japan are taken very seriously. This hula dance class in a hobbygroup at a culture school run by the local newspaper. Just ladies who like hula dance getting together. But they have these performance events with other groups in front of family members. And THESE events are so important - they practice, practice...there is a whole list of Stuff That Needs Doing, preparations, rehearsals....and Ohta-san told Yujiro that Okaasan has had a hard time with the new routine her group has been learning. Learning new things is so hard.

What should we do?
Let Okaasan quit?
Sounds the best thing to do.
But it isn't that simple.
By next week this feeling of panic has probably passed. Then Okaasan will want to go to the class again.
Or let her drop out of the event this coming Sunday?
Then Sunday morning she'll want to go? Or at the class on Monday when they are all talking about it, she'll wonder why SHE didn't go again...and get the whole "They don't like me, so they didn't tell me about the event" scenario.

Dementia means Okaasan won't remember her own decision. Or conversations.
This panic about the event on Sunday leads naturally to "I want to quit" feeling - but that feeling and decision isn't fixed.

In fact, after this meltdown yesterday morning at 10.30 am...we left Okaasan sewing the dance skirt BACK together. By 11.30 am she was fine again.
We ate lunch 3 of us together. Chatted. Then we took her kotatsu blanket out for drycleaning and even got Okaasan to vacumn her room! (asked me 8 times in 30 minutes how to operate the vacumn cleaner and 5 times: "Am I going somewhere today?"). And bundle up old newspapers, She cleaned her room! Did laundry! Watched TV! Went for a walk! Came home on time! Ate dinner happily.
All smiles again.

It's the curse of the hula dance.
What will happen this weekend?
There is an event on Sunday afternoon. There is a rehearsal on Saturday. It's my Oyome-san job to get Okaasan ready for these two outtings, take her there and hand her over to Ohta-san.

After that I think I'll need a good rest.
Ahh! Two weeks in hospital? That will do nicely!


  1. poor okaasan. Hope she sticks with it although the hula dance sounds like a lot of grief sometimes : ( Hope she manages to get to the practice and the dance this weekend.

    are they really making you stay in hospital for two weeks? Marina had to stay in for two weeks and the last week was hard cause most of the tubes had been taken out and she was so damn genki. Hope you are getting
    collection of books, mags and things to d ready.

  2. Enjoy your time in hospital, not long to go now is it? I'm sure that it will be good to get away from all the mental gymastics you have to put yourself through.

    I feel sad for okaasan, it must be so confusing. But at the same time the activity and interaction with others must be good for her. I think she needs the stimulation.
    I hope it all goes well.

  3. Yes, I feel that the hula dance class is almost more grief than happiness recently...but Yujiro just paid for her next 3 months of we'll see how it goes into winter...and maybe try and find ANOTHER hula class that doesn't have these stress-inducing performance days.

    2 weeks in hospital? That's what they said. I've never been in hospital or had an operation (naturally!), so I don't know.
    It'll be a 12 cm or MORE cut up my abdomen and how long does it take to get used to that?
    At home my living space is up a steep flight of stairs and the toilet is downstairs, also have two heavy/bouncy cats...I may be better off living in my English classroom : ground floor/toilet/computer...NO Okaasan.

  4. Marina's was about 8cm cut across her abdomen. I THINK I heard that doing c-sections horizontally across abdomen instead of vertically is better for recovery so you might be looking at shite recovery time and may well need whole time in hospital not moving much :( Don't quote me on that - could well have been other way round. Is nearly 1am after all. not thinking straight.

    I would opt for seriously putting bed in your English room until you are fully better to be doing normal stuff.

    Hey, this time next week the worst will be over. You'll be 10kg lighter, have a completely different profile tummy pic and be in a hospital room with three other women, hopefully none of whom snore.

    Enjoy the weekend - good luck for the hula.