We looked at the Wailing Wall, we dipped our toes in the River Jordan, we were disappointed at the lack of souvenirs, we learned about Christian history...
She was on great form in fact. Pretty lucid and clear in her conversation. Repetitive, but not hamster-like. Just a nice cosy chat with an old lady telling me about her travels.
When Yujiro's Dad died (a few years before I met him), Okaasan took on a whole new life - joined the hula class and started going abroad with a religion-study group. I've seen pictures of her riding camels and hiking Ayre's Rock. It must have been a wonderful time for her - free from being a wife and no need to be a mother or grandmother.
Dinner last night I served up fish and Japanese-style veggies and soup and pickles - and she talked. Students had given me persimmons and I mentioned that in England persimmons (if we can get them at all) maybe come from Israel.
"Israel" was the key word - and Okaasan was off on her travels....with me as her audience.
So, yesterday all good.
Lunch on the table and I doled out Y1,000 of spending money to her before I left for work. She accepts this - us giving her a little bit of money - it always surprises me really. How she accepts the passive role of someone who doesn't have money, but gets it from us.
I was home at 4 pm - as the skies of Sapporo darkened for the first snowfall of the season. Local radio and Tv had been predicting this event since yesterday, on and on, everyone was in "scurry mode" to get stuff done and get home before the snow arrived.
I got home and found Okaasan....preparing to go out.
She made it out ok, into the dark and cold with the first flakes falling.
She was back in under and hour luckily.
Yujiro called from yet another drinking party with old friends in the Tokyo area. He has a new Smart Phone with a SKYPE Ap. and like a child with a new toy he is endlessly calling me and asking me to shout "Hello" and wave at various drunk friends in bars. I'm not sure if it's the So Young Looking Foreign Girlfriend, or the Smart Phone with SKYPE he is showing off, after all these years as a couple I suspect the gadget has the greater appeal.
He is back on Thursday, so my Mission Oyomesan is heading into its final stages - and has been pretty successful I reckon. :-)
Thankyou for some nice comments this week : saying what a kind, sweet, generous woman I am.
Well, I am I suppose. I try. I think I fought this Okaasan situation for such a long time - giving me and her stress. Now I am accepting that this life is what it is...for a few years. I am SO LUCKY that Yujiro is the rare kind of Japanese guy who takes an active part in the caring, he shops, cooks, cleans (a bit). I am also very lucky that I have my own life and work to escape to.
And I'm lucky to have this blog to vent into!!!
Watching those dementia videos recently reminded me that Okaasan is probably at Early/Mid stage dementia now.
On a good day - like last night, she is just a rambling old lady, who needs someone to cook/clean for her and control her money. She doesn't initiate conversations and she can't decide and act on thoughts like "Have a bath" or "have a haircut". She has single-incontinence, sometimes double. She hand-washes a few clothes. Usually not sure what day or month it is, not sure whether or what she last ate.
She can: dress herself, go to the toilet herself, feed herself and go out for a walk and come home. She can follow a conversation and respond.
On bad days: she gets into a depression and confusion, can't operate machines, can't use kitchen things, hunts for "lost" things, accuses people of stealing stuff, has double incontinence and hides the soiled underwear.
Being nice and kind to Okaasan is a self-preservation act for me: Happy Okaasan = Easy to Manage Okaasan = Relaxed Oyomesan.