Wednesday, 2 November 2011


"I was busy!" - Okaasan's go-to excuse for staying at home ALL one glorious autumn day, and finally emerging at dusk along with the leftover Halloween bats and ghouls.


Haven't laughed so much in ages. Both of us. Howled at that one. As I washed up the lunchtime dishes she hadn't done and he unloaded shopping from the car.

It was such a gloriously, off-the-chart huge lie. Can only laugh. And slave on.

We'd just come home from a Costco run, with the car bursting full of stuff to be unloaded. Just gone 5 pm at the end of a sunny, warm autumn day in Sapporo. The autumn leaves looked great, people were strolling in the parks, kids chasing leaves, everyone's mood lifted by the unseasonally warm day.

5 pm. Now dark. People heading home. End of the day.
Okaasan? In the entrance hall just about to go out.
We both commented on that as we came in and met her: why now? why didn't you go earlier? You missed the best weather today! etc etc.

"I was busy. That's why I am going out now."

This from a lady who we are 99% sure has sat in front of the TV since early morning. Probably stood up a few times to walk to the toilet and walked to the kitchen table for lunch. Maybe she brushed her hair. Looked at the newspaper. Looked at some old shopping receipts. Err....looked at a magazine. The TV. Lay down. Sat up. Lay down. Looked at a shopping receipt.

Of course that's all ok. At 80 plus you can have that kind of day if you feel like it. But the sheer confidence it takes to say: "I was busy!" as an off-the-top-of-the-head excuse for not doing something. 

The dementia books talk a lot about "sun-downing", how dementia sufferers appear to get more active at the end of the day - so certainly Okaasan fits this pattern of doing nothing for hours and then finally at the end of the afternoon doing things.

And the barefaced lies - of course not conscious lies, but kind of automatic responses to a question. Okaasan doesn't know where she's just been or what he's just done a lot of the time, so if we ask (and all the advice is that you shouldn't ask), then she'll always say "Seicomart/SapporoStation/Seiyu/TanukiKohji/McDonalds", and it might be true, but not necessarily so. It's just her brain supplying a stock answer to that situation.
In one book I read, a lady was always telling visitors: "I've just come back from holiday in Cornwall", much to their confusion as she had actually been in a carehome for a year, and hadn't been travelling for years before that either.

So. "Busy". The new "Vegging Out by the TV". I like that kind of busy....

* But! I will be able to track Okaasan from now on, with that wonderful GPS system linked to her cell phone. Yujiro's new lover - his many-function AU mobile phone - enables us to use the GPS system via the house computer.
I've called it "Okaasan Hunter" on our desktop, and from now on I can check where she is and how long until she appears for dinner.
She doesn't in fact get lost now, that happened a lot when we first moved here. And her walking world is much smaller than a year ago. But will be fun to be a snoop and see where she's at. :-)

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