Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Peeking through the dementia fog.

Dementia isn't 24/7.

At least not at Okaasan's stage.
Anybody meeting Okaasan for a short time wouldn't think anything is different: just a nice old lady who says various stock phrases about the weather/food/names/traditions...and maybe repeats them a bit.
Spend a bit of time and you realize the phrases are repeated a lot and nothing much "new" is offered into a conversation, instead slightly inappropriate giggles and endless checking actions.
Living with her: silences and emotional highs. Sometimes fluid responses to chat and almost-normal conversations. Sometimes hamster-wheels.

And sometimes: wonderful moments of clarity.

Last night Yujiro and I had our usual pre-dinner glass of wine and nibbles of cheese upstairs when he came back from work.
Then I made dinner (stir-fried squid and ginger/cabbage/rice, soup, pickles - really GETTING this J-food cooking now :-)).
Called everyone to the table around 7 pm.
Yujiro came with the last centimeter of red wine in his glasss. I'd already quaffed mine and refilled my glass with water so I could take my menopause and cartilage supplement pills.

We all sat down and said: "Itadekimasu" (Thanks for the food, let's eat) standard Japanese phrase before eating anything.

Okaasan looked across the table at our wine glasses....

"Excuse me, but can I have something to drink? You've got red wine! You've got sake!"

??????!!!!!! Loved it.
Yujiro explained that he was finishing off some wine, and I'd got water, not sake.....and Okaasan was ok with that excuse and busied herself making tea (which took ages with all the checking of water and cup and tea and water and cup and tea..).

But it was sweet. Complete clarity of mind and expression of need.:-)
This on a day when she'd needed reminding to have a bath, needed lunch setting out for her, and has a wet towel in a bowl sitting on the carpet of her room....amid the dementia life-fog complete clarity of thought and awareness of surroundings.

Okaasan loves a drink. A bit dangerously so in fact, because she can't remember HOW much she has drunk and tends to knock it back unguardedly. Over the New Year holidays must remember to bring some alcohol to the dinner table for her. :-))

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