Sunday, 14 November 2010

Day Hula or not to Hula.

Yes? No?
Shall we hula?
Yes! no! no! no!

I  broached the hula event topic with Okaasan at lunchtime, while we were both cosily seated at the kitchen table eating fish, rice, soup and pickles.
Predictable response:

Hula tomorrow?
Hula event tomorrow?
Where? When? Why? Who?
Nobody told me!!!!

I carefully took her through it all - you've been practicing haven't you, the teacher told everyone about it, Ohta-san told Yujiro, you just have to get some clothes and accessories together in a bag and a taxi will come at 1.30 pm and take you to the hotel.
Taxi? Why? Too much trouble? Nobody told me. I don't want to go....
We went back and forth on this.....endlessly....I could see her mood going lower and lower....the hula dance event was a troublesome thing...not something to look forward to at all.
I finally managed to get her onto a different topic - cooking and New Year and how she used to cook special food for 20 office staff every year. Seemed like a good idea to get her talking about something she remembers being good at and praising her for it a lot: you cooked for 20 people all by yourself??? Really??? Wow, how amazing!!!!

We got thru lunch.

After lunch I went upstairs and emailed/called Yujiro. He said he'd talk to Ohta-san or call Okaasan.

I went back downstairs.
Okaasan was sitting on her sofa looking at her clothes: "Tomorrow I have hula dance don't I? Which dress am I wearing?" - and so we started...hunting down the necessary stuff she'll need, dress, shell necklace, white flower (NO! NOT pink), sandals, hair extension....gathering stuff with a dementia sufferer is hard work because they instantly forget that you just found something...and if you put it in a bag - they can't see it, and continue looking for it!!!!
Okaasan was convinced that Yujiro had everything she needed in a bag already. Back in September before the last hula event he DID gather everything in a bag and keep it for her. So she remembered that - and looked pretty confused when I said I didn't think he had taken her hula accessories with him to his ski job in Tokyo this it all MUST be in the jumbled room before us.
We hunted together amid newspapers and plastic bags and socks and T-shirts and magazines...and pants. Found most of it and I crossed it off my list to show her we'd found things.


Yujiro called Okaasan and reinforced everything I'd said about the taxi and the clothes...and how fun it was all going to be.
Okaasan seemed to be getting brighter. A little frenetic. But back on track.

* AND I took the opportunity while she was hunting for the WHITE flower, not the PINK flower hairpiece to snatch the damp underwear bowl off the carpet and hide it upstairs to dry. She'll never do it. It's easier to do it myself and put clean underwear on her sofa little by little.*

Anyway - Hula Preparation Mission Accomplished...maybe...I left her for the afternoon and enjoyed myself with TV shows, cats, wrapping up the garden plants, a walk in the park and a whole box of chocolates.

Dinner: finished off the chicken and daikon, cooked some Chinese leaves with garlic. Okaasan wasn't impressed with my food: daikon was too hard, the leaves weren't cut into small enough pieces...I nodded with interest and just lightly remarked that Japanese cooking has so many rules etc etc...let it wash over me.

And so.
I've put together Yujiro's letter to Okaasan and the information - which will go on the kitchen table tomorrow. I'll set out some lunch for her. And then I'll leave for work and hope that it all works out.

The taxi driver will come, she will be ready WITH the bag of clothes and accessories and money - and off she'll go to have a good time with the hula ladies......

We hope.

And to finish with color - these wonderful trees are in the park near the house. I took my knee for a walk round the park and enjoyed the glorious colors before we may get snow tomorrow.


  1. I am really impressed with the way you deal with okaasan. I of course deal with them at work but then I come home and barely deal with my own MIL and she's just ONLY starting to show signs of early stages of dementia! How is that so??? It feels hypocritical at times to be so good to the people
    at te home but not be able to handle a family member.

  2. Oh I think that is entirely normal JY! I can be sweetness and light to my students - endlessly interested in flower arrangement and tea ceremony - but when I come home it's hard to work up interest in ski bindings and the velotaxi driver politics. I'm paid to be interested in students' lives...Yujiro's life often bores me silly...and I show it.