Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Simplicity of Dementia

Simplicity...dementia? Yes, well.....

I've just reread this book recently and it was interesting to notice where Okaasan stands in all of this now...
I read it 2 years ago when she came first into our life. It was one of the four books I bought and devoured on the topic of dementia.

Anyway...all quiet here this week - me doing gardening and work, Okaasan behaving herself with hula practice and dentist and coming home on time, Yujiro out working, cats trying to get breakfast at 3.30 am...all normal.
Hell - I even booked myself a little weekend break down in the Hakodate area. I think I can walk far enough now to actually enjoy flowers and historic towns. Gonna have me some away-time.

So. Okaasan 2 years on. What changes have I noticed after rereading the book?

*  she does less - walking, clothes' washing, shopping, talking...all still there, but less of it. Shorter walks, occasional clothes' washing, a few bits and pieces of shopping and longer silences unless actually actively engaged in chat.
*   spells of double incontinence - the urinary incontinence is constant now (I noticed she is even now wearing THREE pairs of underpants sometimes!!), and the fecal incontinence hasn't happened for about 3 weeks now...but I'm sure it'll return. 
* less able to remember/understand equipment - she hasn't used the microwave at all recently, always heats her lunch rice in a pan with water and an egg; always finds the tap in the kitchen confusing.
* hovers more - after dinner when Yujiro is washing up Okaasan will often stand just behind him, somehow caught between making tea for herself and putting dirty plates on the counter....if we point out the teapot she sets off again on that task, but if not she kind of hovers mid-kitchen.
*  patches of memory even in old stories - Okaasan can be telling a story from her childhood as usual - but then forgets a whole chunk of it. i.e. She always tells us that she ate savory pancakes every day on her way home from school in a little shop with a table outside. But on one recent retelling she got "every day/after school/ate pancakes"....and then stopped. "Where? At home? In a restaurant?"...."I don't know, I forgot."

She often giggles like a child, maybe set off by a funny story, or something the cats do, or her own mistake....or just giggles when she comes home and enters the kitchen!
But she is still ok - goes walking, goes to hula class, can take part in conversations, washes herself, feeds herself. Isn't howling at the moon.

The Simplicity of Dementia (Huub Buijessen)


  1. You're more knowledgeable than I on the subject of dementia. Tks for introducing the book! Gonna have a look-see.... Need it for my work as well.

  2. Approaching my 'mature years' the only bright spark in all this is that giggling is common, makes you hope that it's not ALL bad for the sufferer.

  3. JY - if you send me your snail mail address I could mail the book to you here in Japan!

    Origa-me ....YES! I sometimes think the young Okaasan, the little girl in wartime Kawagoe must have been a bright, active and funny child...if that is the person Okaaasan is regressing to it will be good.

  4. Would u really??? Wow...don't you want to keep the book????

  5. well. I've read it twice now...and basically i've got the info in my brain...maybe! there a way to send me your address outside this public forum?

  6. Tks again... feel free to send it freight collect and all that... ! Feel bad for making you send it...