Sunday, 16 January 2011

Ability and Secrets.

Okaasan seems to rock from one extreme of ability to another - all in 24 hours.

Yesterday we were delighted to find that she'd decided to have lunch/looked in the fridge for food/chosen some appropriate food/heated it up/served it to herself.

Yujiro was home for another 24 hours between jobs and he and I had been out doing errands. We rushed back at 11.30 am to do Okaasan's food. And found her in front of the Tv eating a bowl of rice--left-over-soup-fishy-snack-things.


She also went out for a walk and came home on time. And did the washing up after the evening meal.

And then.

There was a large piece of shit on the toilet wall....we're not sure how it got there (did it fly out of her pants and she didn't notice it or forgot to do something about it?) and at dinner her conversation about Japanese machines and cars started well and got lost and confused in a myriad of started sentences and lost thoughts...something about how her father before the war had a Ford truck to deliver highclass wooden chests that were made in Kawagoe.
Something. She didn't seem to find the words..or the thoughts. And stopped and started. I didn't know whether to prompt or not. So I just smiled and made encouraging noises. But those parts of her brain that were meant to be supplying the vocabulary...just didn't.

All in one day.

Patches of ability.

Although - our delight at finding that she'd fed herself is an indication of how infrequently THAT happens. Usually she sits with the Tv...and maybe about 1 pm or 2 pm when she is hungry she wanders into the kitchen and has a yogurt or a boiled egg.
It's VERY rare for Okaasan to actually put together then elements of even a heated up meal in one saucepan.

Toilet: I talked to Yujiro about whether we should put a trash bin in the toilet with a label "Dirty Underwear for the Washing Machine". He thinks no - that she would think it was only for sanitary towels like a public toilet. I think it's worth a try. We can't talk directly to Okaasan about her double incontinence, but if there is a bin with a plastic bag next to the toilet I think she might be triggered into putting her soiled underwear into it.

It would be so much easier for her and for us: she wouldn't have to worry about it and do the handwashing. We wouldn't have to worry about it, clean it up and go hunting for it in her room.

I've heard and read that many dementia sufferers end up throwing their own shit around, smearing it behind the sofa, leaving it wrapped up in bits of paper around the room etc...and I am SO thankful we aren't at that stage yet with Okaasan. But almost every day now she is in the toilet with soiled pants and is faced with cleaning stuff off the floor, walls or bowl...and then disposing of the dirty clothing.
Her room stinks of stale urine as it is - I bought an air deodorizer yesterday and hid it away on the back of the (unused) House Shrine shelf in Okaasan's hardly used Japanese style room. The shit is rapidly becoming another problem.

And so.

Today I am busy helping Uni Spagetti move from her apartment and she gets ready to leave Japan next week. She has been such a good friend to me in the past 3 years - we met when my life was normal...and she was there through all the horrors....whose sofa will I cry on now???

Three friends are coming together to help her squeeze bits of life into boxes, send them off at the post office and clean the apartment - and we'll probably all come home with the contents of her food cupboards and fridge.

Just seeing her Moving Mess apartment yesterday afternoon reminded me so strongly of that 10 days in Dad and Jane's house last October....the boxes everywhere, the random bits of a life on the floor....aghhhhhh!!!

Talking of which: MY life from England is heading nearer and nearer. All 15 boxes of it. Plus a large bill. 
The shipping company and customs broker in Tokyo say my ship arrived, the pallet was unloaded into a warehouse and the customs check will be Tuesday next week.
And then it will all come to Sapporo!
Maybe arrive here next Sunday.

And. The bill for all of this? So far...

I paid the UK shipping company 600 UK the Customs Broker is billing me for Y85,000 (which is about another 600 pounds)....and it still has to move from Tokyo Port to the Sapporo suburbs.
So: 1,200 pounds and counting....Y160,000 or so.......

Oh MY GOD. Nostalgia is expensive.
I have no children. Nobody but me is really interested in my photo albums....when I die in 30 years or so all this stuff will be trashed by someone.
But. It's my life and now it needs to all be here with me.

So much for simple Zen living.

I think it's time to move the cats OFF the bookshelves and get make space for my (expensive) memories.


  1. WOW! Shipping is expensive! But, looking at those photo albums will bring you great pleasure and it sounds like you could do with a happy distraction from Okaasan's toilet issues.

  2. oh i do..I NEED those boxes to remind me of a Life Before Oyomesan!

  3. Why do dementia sufferers put their poo on the walls? do any of the books say why? I wonder why someone would do something like that, which is really apart from normal behaviour.

  4. Well, I haven't read the books for a while - but I seem to remember things about - return to childishness - loss of inhibition - frustration and mislpaced anger outlets - one of my friends whose father has now entered a home said that the past year he has been getting progressively worse with this - what started as faecal incontinence ended with him handling his own poo and throwing it AT the woman who was living there and trying to care for him...

    Okaasan, THANKGOODNESS - is only incontinent and soils her underwear several times a week...and sometimes the results are not squirreled away or washed away...