Sunday, 26 September 2010

She's GONE!!!!!

OKaasan has Left the Building.
We are wonderfully, deliciously, estatically HOME ALONE for the first time in almost 2 years!

It's so good.
Last night we sat across the table from eachother (I usually sit next to Yujiro, both of us across from O), and we ate cheese fondue, and drank wine and played pop music. And after eating we sat back and chatted about things. It was so good to just sit and relax, sit and make eye contact with eachother and sit and chat.
We confessed that when O is there we are both trying to get away from the table as soon as possible, she eats slower than us and forgets what she still has in front of her anyway. We both tend to start clearing the table, putting leftovers in fridge boxes, de-tabbing beer cans etc - all displacement activiities so that we don't have to sit and sit and sit there....usually I escape with laundry or cats or fake phone calls to England and Yujiro washes dishes with Okaasan hovering around the kitchen with Japanese-tea-in-the-making-bits.
Dinners with Okaasan are very boring. Family duty.

But last night we relaxed. I didn't eat too much cheese fondue in case my digestion system went into shock, and I drank a small glass of  wine.
Normal life ;-)) until Monday afternoon......
Well, as normal as you can be with a 6 cm gash on your tummy....
it kind of limits the running naked round the house and wild sex games.
But late September in Sapporo it's probably best to put on a sensible sweater, some more socks and forget about running naked anyway...

Yujiro got Okaasan off to Tokyo safely.
She somehow managed to pack a a small suitcase, with constant reopening and checking to make sure she had everything. She made piles of clothes all over the room as if going for an expedition, and was constantly asking: Why am I staying in a hotel? Where is Hiroyuki? Where is the wedding?
But apparantly in the past week she had done some preparation for the wedding by taking clothes to the dry cleaners. haircut. She went off to Tokyo looking wild and straggly.
I really think I'll just have to take this haircut topic in hand and book her an appointment somewhere. She seems to have lost the ability to make the decision to do it, make an appointment and go along to it. Of course in her talk on the topic: There IS no good hairsalon in Sapporo. It's only the 5th biggest city in Japan...

Anyway. Off she went. I stood at the door and waved her out. Reclaimed my home. Yujiro took her to the airprt and arranged for the stewardesses to treat Okaasan as an Accompanied Person, so there was less chance of her getting lost.

And then we settled into our Weekend Alone.
I stayed in my pajamas all day. Watched TV, ate chocolate (still at 54 kg!), protected my stitches from the cats with a cushion and drifted.

Yujiro got several phone calls from his brother about Okaasan: yes she arrived in Tokyo, yes she was ok...and then later in the evening: Does she have a coat? We can't find her coat and she doesn't know if she came with a coat!

Ha HA! NOW Older Brother - and other family members - are realizing How Okaasan Is. Realizing What We Do. Finally. Most of them probably haven't actually spent any time with her for about 3 the difference in her mental abilty will be noticable: the constant checking questions, the confusions and the not-quite-connecting-to-it-all.
Yujiro already primed Older Brother that he must make sure Okaasan goes to the toilet regularly and he must control the amount of alcohol she has access to.
We can both imagine how she will be at a day-long wedding party in a strange hotel with crowds of people. It'll be confusing with her. And I fear she will have toilet accidents and lose things. And drink too much. I hope Older Brother and other family members look after her.

NOW they are gonna work for 2 days!
And we are going to relax.


  1. Time for me to de-lurk! I really like your blog and the fact that you deal with your Okaasan on a daily basis. I deal with demential / Alzheimers too, but at work, not at home. I also live with MIL, but fortunately she is not at that 89 years old, I doubt she will be....! Anyways, do enjoy your 2 days off! You need it!

  2. Hey! Nice to meet you!
    ANOTHER Lurker....there are more than a few I think, only actually 15 official followers here, but I see about 40 people a day visit on the stats counter...and some people say they drop in a few times a week when their boss isn't checking their computer use in the office...
    Thankyou for your positive feedback - this blog often descends into self-indulgent Me-ness, but I try to steer it back to a record of Home Life With Dementia in a Cross-Cultural Family....
    and you know - this weekend is ours ours ours - but he and I find ourselves both wondering how Okaasan is coping out there in the big wide world beyond home :-))) which shows how much we care, despite the boring, often-frustrating grind of daily life with her.
    Shucks....could it be...we may actually be nice people afterall!

  3. It's no problem. The fact that I work in a nursing home makes it easier to deal with the dementia / alzheimers. If I had to deal with it at home, I really don't think I could be so nice! Added to the fact that I think that she is not even really your MIL.... I have a hard enough time dealing with mine sometimes...and she is still in the range of normality!!! Yes...and you are NICE people...! I can tell no matter how much you gripe or don't gripe on your blog! Ha ha. I am in Shizuoka btw, Honshu area... It's nice to meet you and I enjoy getting to know you more, abeit thru blogville!

  4. It will be interesting to see how the brother handles it and see what he has to say after he has dealt with okaasan all weekend.

    Meanwhile, enjoy your time alone together, you really deserve it after 2 years hard work!

  5. JY

    what do you think about labelling clothes drawers in Okaasan's room?
    She spends hours and hours opening and closing all the drawers in a big, wooden 12 drawer cabinet...and all around her rooms are scattered underwear, slips, socks etc etc.

    I always felt we should have put labels on the outside of the drawers when we first gave her this piece of furniture - and now she is away for 2 nights it's a chance to do she has some idea where pants/socks/slips ARE...
    but do you think she'd be upset that we do this or suggest doing it?

    It would help her make some order of her clothes and reduce the endless hunting around...but I don't know HOW to introduce this idea...or just do it and when she comes back say: Hey! Look! I thought you might like these labels on the drawers...would you like to add some more?

  6. At the home, we do it for one lady. Although I am not sure if it really works or not. LOL. She seems to remember where things are though. The best (idealistic) way is make the labels and put them on the drawers together. If you think she won't mind, you might just take the chance to sort out her drawers and label them while she's gone. The worse that will happen is that she will just take the labels off. If that happens you can try it again together, in the "cooperative spirit" mode at a later time, if you know what I mean. But it is a very good idea and as I said, we do do it here for some of the residents.