Monday, 31 October 2011

Get me to the salon on time....

Operation Hair Salon.

Gave Okaasan early lunch and chatted to her about hair salons and hair cuts to get her in the mood.
I set the departure time for 1.30 pm and kept appearing in the kitchen with my coat on at 5 minute intervals from 1 pm onwards so she got the message. 
She dressed herself and was ferreting around in cupboards and drawers a lot, but finally at 1.35 came into the kitchen with ...THREE handbags.
"Which one shall I take? Where is my key? Where is my subway card? Where is my money? Which one shall I take? Is this my key? Am I going by subway? Do I need money?".
And a million other questions.

You know the magician act with Three Cups?
This was the Three Bags version. The key/subway card/purse/purple handkerchief kept being taken out of one bag and put in another bag, and then swapped again........aggggggghhhhhhhhhhh.....

Got that sorted. Out to the entrance hall.
"I'm going to a hair salon. I should wear these shoes. But these socks look strange with these shoes. I should be wearing stockings, but I don't have any. Where are my gloves? My nice gloves were stolen by a woman on the subway, I should have stockings...."

Out of the door. Into the car. Drive downtown.
Find a parking lot, wait in line for a space.
"Have I been here before? Is the salon in that hotel? Is this near the dentist? I haven't been here before have I?".

Out of the car. Walk one block to the salon building.
"I need stockings? Is there a shop near here that has stockings? I can't wear these socks with these shoes! I should go and buy stockings!"

NO TIME! Already 10 minutes late!!!!!!

Delivered safely into the hair salon. I left as a hair salon staff was explaining the mystery of how to put on the salon gown. Somebody else's deal now.

Came home and cleaned Okaasan's room for an hour.
Looked for the "stolen" gloves. No luck.
Found 3 seperate piles of stockings.
Found more than 25 handbags/shopping bags.....why oh why oh why??? Japnese women have a strange obsession with bags-for-things and Okaasan has a huge collection of bags for every occasion. 
Cleared out another box of magazines/old food/shopping reciepts/stuff/more stuff.

Cooked dinner for the family return.
Okaasan looks great with a cut and a perm. All chirpy.
TV. Movie. Beer.

Cute cat in MY workbag. (I have only two bags, so I am NOT Japanese). Obviously can't go to work tomorrow! Bag is balanced on ironing can't iron any clothes either. 

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The autumn family day out.

Just realize we are doing this every year: taking Okaasan out to see the autumn colors.

So today the weather played nice and we got out for that annual happy-family-thing. Got Okaasan to have a bath first (she never has one on her own decision, we always suggest it), and then via a quick panic about the front door...and OUT!

Took the subway to the campus of Hokkaido University, one of the big old universities of Japan, where the Ginko Tree avenue was glorious in yellow and everywhere else was pretty goregous too. 
We enjoyed it. Okaasan enjoyed it - all very nice.

Mum and Son.

Okaasan and Yujiro.


We walked a looong way. Okaasan is amazing with this: she can walk and walk. By the time we got back to Sapporo Station she was looking a bit starey eyed and tired - hardly surprising really as she hadn't eaten breakfast or anything.
In the station we found a real autumn treat: deep fried oysters. YUM. After talking about it etc it was great to actually find a restaurant serving it and stuff ourselves.

And then we went home. Mission Accomplished.

I asked Okaasan if she'd telephoned the hair salon with the telephone number etc I gave her last week....a look of blankness. Last week I'd actually given her a A4 size piece of paper with the name and number of the salon etc all highlighted with pens, and talked to her several times about wouldn't-it-be-nice-to-have-a-haircut-hint-hint....but she hadn't done anything. Somehow dementia seems to have the effect of robbing people of decision making and carrying out a plan - Okaasan sometimes decides to go to the drycleaners and manages to gather the clothes she wants cleaned and go to the shop (but of course forget to pick up until the shop telephone months later) - but that's about it.

So, acting on all the good mood after the autumn colors viewing trip I marched into her room with the salon number again, dialed it on Okaasan's phone and handed it to so that SHE could make the appointment herself.
"What am I calling about? Who is this?"...and then she managed it, I sat by the phone too so I could hear the conversation and write it all down on the calender...because Okaasan had forgotten the day and time within seconds of putting the phone down.

Tomorrow at 2 pm. I'll take her downtown to the hairsalon. A weekend of family duty.

It's ok, has to be done. Last week he and I were working in the evenings three times, so Okaasan got a lot of left food on the kitchen table dinners. This weekend is time to give her some human interaction. 
She was GREAT last night: I noticed immediately. She came back from her evening walk and stood in the kitchen chatting to me, almost...almost normally...bring and  engaged and eye contact and everything...just forgot once or twice who we were talking about...but a very normal conversation.

But that conversation stands out because usually, it's a few stock phrases and not much give and take or conversation.

But this year's autumn day out was a success. :-))

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Child - childer - childish....

No - that isn't correct English! (just in case a student who is reading this thinks that it is...).

But it's how I sense Okaasan is gently sliding ...backwards into childhood. Little Kazuko Okamoto of Kawagoe, whose Daddy is a haulier, whose mum works hard with all these kids and the housework....she has a friend who may be Korean at school, she likes running with her siblings in the long reeds near the river, she eats pancakes at the street stall on her way home from school, waits up late for Daddy to bring a crab home from work....

Most of the time the adult Kazuko is...just and with us. She can make comments about the latest news on TV and knows the names of the baseball team star pitcher.

But sometimes?
Young Kazuko sneaks out.

Since coming back from Australia I've noticed that Okaasan is sucking her thumb when she sleeps, and her giggles are often so childish - specially in relation to something the cats do...or some silly wordplay joke.

I made scones again recently. I left one on the kitchen table for Okaasan. In the middle of the afternoon I went into the kitchen to find her sitting at the table holding the scone a little guiltily.
"Can I eat this?"
"Yes of course! Please! You can eat anything on the table or in the fridge!"
"Oh good. Giggle,, I've started eating it already!! Look!" and she waved the scone at me....sure enough the bottom was looking a little nibbled.

I felt I was looking at an 8 year old! Not an 81 year old!

I reckon we will get to the stage where she thinks Yujiro IS her father.
Yujiro is important in her life, her father was too. I can see this two morphing into one in Okaasan's mind one should make for some interesting home life.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Ongoing nothingness.

Am still here - haven't been washed away in the rains.
No nearly as bad as poor Thailand of course, but it's been preeety wet here.

Stayed home at the weekend, didn't do much.
Spent hours though filling out the 8 pages of application form to be considered as an IELTS examiner. 8 pages!!!! Aghhhh.....trying to think of times in my professional life when I have been precise/been creative/challenged...that kind of stuff.
Somehow Being an Oyomesan in a Japanese Family probably doesn't qualify you to be an examiner.

Nice thing - was a cake scoff out at the Grand Hotel cake buffet with other foreign women in Japan, all members of the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese. I'm not married and I don't have kids, so my life is a bit different....although...maybe kids and teenagers and their needs come close to two young cats and a demented old lady? Anyway, that was fun....big plates, small cakes (lots) and fun chat.

Okaasan ongoing nothingness really.
We bought some cute little flasks from the home care center at the weekend - one for rice and the other for leftovers/hot food of some kind.
But we haven't used them yet because Yujiro was home for lunchtimes. He has a regular customer, a blind lady who comes to Sapporo on holiday alone several times a year and she uses him and the other bike taxis as kind of personal he had a series of late-afternoon bookings from her and started late each day.

Okaasan stayed home a lot in the rain. She folded up old newspapers in her room. I spirited away a bunch of washing when she wasn't looking. I managed to cook a pumpkin without her help.

and do you know what? Okaasan has started sucking her thumb when she sleeps? Talk about return-to-childhood.....mind you, I had a boyfriend once who did that!! Very disconcerting and not at all sexy.....

Friday, 21 October 2011

Option C?

Didn't work.
Well, half worked, I guess.

Lunchtime stuff: she didn't eat at all. May have been because she'd just come home from the dentist and didn't feel like it.

Dinnertime she ate the raw fish, ate the salad, didn't eat the potato salad because it was too hard....and couldn't WAIT until 7 pm when the rice cooker was she went OUT for more food.


That wasn't the idea at all.
Why couldn't she wait? Or why was she trying to eat dinner before 7 pm? It's always been the time we do dinner. I found the shopping receipt that shows she was in the local supermarket at 6.47 pm....if she'd waited 30 mins there would have been freshly cooked, steaming rice in the rice cooker.

Ho hum.

Option C, which we've just come up with is : to use hot flasks and food containers. Cook up lunch in the morning before we go to work and leave it for her on the kitchen table.
All she'd have to do is open up the flasks and the hot food, rice and soup will be inside. Like food delivery service, but delivered by US to the table at 9 am when we head out to work. We used a lunch delivery service 2 years ago in winter. It was fine, but in the end Okaasan got a little bored with the food and asked us to cancel it.

This weekend we'll go and look at flasks etc and see if Option C is workable. Can't do any more burned pans.
I know this all seems like mountains-out-of-molehills - but that's the daily life stuff that occupies our minds with Okaasan. How to make things easy for a lady who has failing abilities, while maintaining the cheerful facade that "nothing is wrong"....
SHE thinks she can heat up stuff in pans and feed herself. 
We know that left to herself in the kitchen she burns the pans and leaves uneaten or half-eaten food out on the counter or table.
She'll never go hungry because she can find the food on the table or fridge and help herself, and she can go shopping and buy pre-cooked or cold food.
But the rice/egg/soup cooking in the pans isn't so successful anymore and as winter arrives she won't be able to get out and shop.
We have to find a way of giving her hot food at lunchtime, without her using pans and the cooker.

On a different topic: Okaasan and her memo making.
She is always doing this. Sitting in front of the TV making memos about recipes and TV shopping telephone numbers etc etc. When she isn't writing memos on scraps of paper she is picking them up from the table and carpet around her and looking at them thoughtfully, setting them to one side....and then minutes later picking up the same memo.
It's obviously a self-preservation method against the deep-down knowledge that she IS forgetting important stuff.

The other day one of the memos ended up mixed in with our post. Maybe she'd left it on the kitchen table and it got scooped up with letters.
Anyway: it's for a recipe for noodles and sesame sauce, other random bits of writing...and this:

"To prevent the onset of dementia it is important to focus on yourself and give up trying to be a good wife and mother". (this was in Japanese of course).

How true! Yes, absolutely.

It comes back to what I reckon is my biggest question about dementia - how far Okaasan understand her own condition - truely, deeply inside herself.
I think she must know, must worry about it and hopefully accept that we will help out when things get a bit mixed up.
When she sees programs on TV about dementia does she think - "oh, I should watch this, it may help me"...or is it more "one day I may be like this, how sad for these people".??

When she is asking me about which trash goes in which box, or what day of the week it is, or what she ate for lunch - all of those kind of questions about things she would usually know, but now isn't sure about - is she acknowledging that things are falling away bit by bit?

Anyway. Interesting to find Okaasan making memos about dementia!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Burning pans

I've hidden the pots and pans in the kitchen.

We've come home more and more to a series of burned pans. You can smell it when you open the front door and enter the kitchen with foreboding. Sure enough: the remains of rice/soup/egg/something.....burned to the bottom of the pan.

Okaasan can't stay focused long enough on a cooking pan, can't control the up and down switch, can't....

We've been doing too much pan scraping recently. Finished off one vinegar bottle and I'm now cleaning pans with clothes washing powder.

We discussed ordering lunch in from a delivery service again. We discussed trying to get her to reheat stuff in the microwave.

We are trying Option 2 at the moment. Leaving the rice and main food on the kitchen table with a big notice about HOW to heat them in the microwave.
And I hid the frying pan and the other pans, so she can't use them. Okaasan often says that she cooks rice in a pan because she "likes it this way", but steamed rice reheated is the standard in Japan and IF only she'd use the microwave then our fingernails wouldn't be lined with grime.

Here's hoping. Okaasan isn't good at coping with new technology and of course learning new things - but the microwave is SO easy....hope, hope, hope...

She was off today to maybe the last dentist trip - took us ages to get her geed up for getting out. I did a quick room clean after she left, latest Okaasan room oddity - what IS she doing with bags and bags of scrunched up newspaper?????? They can't all be for shoes can they? 

Maybe she's going to light a fire on the living room carpet and cook rice over that....


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

What is she ON???????? (and can I have some?)

Okaasan on something amazing last night at dinner.

Don't know why. Maybe she's found a secret supply of performance enhancer-drugs and taken 6 at one time?

The ikura/salmon roe was a big success so the whole atmosphere at dinner was better and Okaasan was off and running with the story of how her father got fish and brought it back to Kawagoe late at night and she waited up for him because fresh fish was unusual in those days.
In her story the fish was either a crab or ikura - it changed when she retold the story a few minutes later. She was on high-speed chat function - chatty chatty chatty - all great.

But towards the end of dinner we realized it was a bit too much - she was alighting on words in the conversation and going off on tangents. 
By the end of the meal she had alighted on family finances and the stocks and shares she got from her husband and what was happening to them now...and what were they worth now and....and....
THIS is Yujiro's topic to deal with for sure. I escaped upstairs with an armful of laundry and left him batting off the repeat questions....


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Bits 'n pieces.

That beach in fading into a holiday memory now.
Real life kicked in finally.
This is actually week with no public holiday - so Monday to Friday work, but nice to finally see my Monday students again. :-)

First snow in the city limits in Sapporo, on top of the local mountain....but still. You can see the white from downtown.

All jogging along at home.
Okaasan eating what we leave out in the kitchen for lunch, sleeping all afternoon and heading out about 5 pm for a little neighborhood walk...usually home by 6.30 pm or 7 pm. She really doesn't go far these days, the Seicomart convenience store or Seiyu supermarket. In Sapporo now it is dusk at 5 pm and cold, but Okaasan isn't tuned into that at all - and off she sets when the best weather has finished. She's on a yogurt-buying-spree at the moment. She buys endless pots of it.

This week she did a little laundry for herself, dropped her favorite rice bowl on the kithen floor and smashed it, giggled about the cats etc. I cooked her old fave food potatoes/cabbage fried up...but it wasn't quite as she does there was endless analyzing of THAT scintillating topic at the dinner table - I am getting better at just gritting my teeth and sitting thru this, but OH MY GOD - really....why do Japanese family members do this to eachother? Why not say: "Oh it's a bit different from usual, but tastes good, thankyou for cooking it....and what did YOU do today?"????
Instead Okaasan, with Yujiro's inevitable encouragement, go on and on...and on and on about "oh this is different, why is different, oh it's different, what is it different.....yadda yadda yadda".
Drives me nuts.
It's potato and cabbage fried in a pan for God's sake! Not centuries old traditional New Year food!!!!

Ahhhhhh. Just need to get that stress out. Thankyou.

I hope Okaasan just drifts in this daily routine for a while, but I often worry that when I come home one day I'll find her in a crises - not sure exactly what of course, but something. Some family accounts in the dementia books tell how the family come home one day to find their dementia sufferer in a huge mess in the toilet, or upturning all the contents of the kitchen or ripping up all the flowers in the garden - and that for some reason unknown the dementia has reached another stage.

Instead the cat gave us stress: we were both working late Monday night (left notes on the table and phoned Okaasan to buy something for dinner at the supermarket)....but the cat? Chichi obviously came home. Found nobody and buggered off again. Until now. Tuesday evening, he came home about 45 minutes ago....I guess he was away in his Hanako alternate reality.
Maybe he needs a cell phone with a GPS function so we can track him too.

Two bits of good news....more to do with me that Okaasan though...

I can now reveal (because she says it is ok), that one of my oldest friends in Japan is MOVING TO SAPPORO FROM TOKYO next year!!! With hubby and baby! Her husband has been offered a job here and they will move in early 2012.
I am so selfishly happy - never ever thought one of my Japanese sisters would actually come and live just along the subway line from me. I am imagining all sorts of fun activities - barbecues! coffee shops! izakiyas! skiing!...oh...she has a tiny baby....well...maybe afternoons on the carpet with toys and nappies then! But it is happy happy news.

And the other is a work thing: I've been introduced as a possible teacher to do examining for the IELTS test, the big international English-ability test that people who want to study in the UK (mainly) have to take. 
I teach it sometimes and now I am taking the first steps to maybe becoming a local examiner for the speaking section of it...or even teaching a short course in it locally. All good professional advancement :-))

Anyway. Tonight dinner is easy - dear kind wonderful generous Tamiko gave me salmon roe - so tonight will be rice and fish eggs and soup and vegetable/salad. I am wondering which part of that I can muck up.
Or maybe we'll have an interesting dinner conversation instead.

P.S. After that amazing giant turd story in a class last week I decided to tell the manager of the class, so that if there are complaints about that student from his classmates - at least the company are forewarned. The manager was supportive about it and said if it gets worse he's call the family....but I'm hoping THAT kind of behaviour doesn't happen again in my class!......I feel for Okaasan's hula dance teacher and classmates because I am sure they had to work around her...but thankfully I am pretty sure she NEVER told a giant turd story in public!!!!!!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Pumpkin partners. Not.

Okaasan showed interest in cooking again.
It's that rare an occurance that it merits a blog entry.
This lady who long-ago attended a highclass Tokyo cooking school, who spent years as a Super Wife cooking for the family and staff parties can just about heat up soup, pour hot water on instant noodles and peel a vegetable.

And then on Friday evening.
I was settling into some quiet time making pumpkin stew when Okaasan came home and noticed what I was DOING IT WRONG.
First she was shocked to see me peeling the pumpkin (actually only some pieces to make the all-orange stew base), and then I was using a knife to take out the seeds - NO! No! No!
She saw these terrible deeds from her room....and ran into the kitchen to set me straight.
Don't peel the pumpkin! It's wasteful! In Japan we eat the pumpkin skin!
Don't use a knife, use your fingers like this!

Inside my head I was fighting my feelings.
Good Oyomesan - ahh, must encourage her to show off her skills, must thank her for teaching me something, dementia people need to feel useful blah blah blah....
Bad Oyomesan - get OUT of my kitchen and go back to watching TV pleeeese.....I can make pumpkin stew without your help...pleeese let me have this quiet time in the kitchen to myself...pleeeese go away.

I managed to be Good Oyomesan. I thanked her for teaching me etc. Then.... I went upstairs and stayed away for 20 mins., hoping that it was enough time for Okaasan to forget about the pumpkin cooking and settle down by the TV again...
And it was. When I came back to the kitchen she was down under the kotatsu heated table entranced by some noisy, talentless people TV show again....and I could complete my pumpkin stew in peace.

Okaasan hardly ever shows an interest in our cooking in the kitchen. She usually drifts through and into her room or the toilet or bathroom, just barely noticing what we are doing.. until we call her to come into the kitchen for a meal. I am so, SO glad for this - everything would take 10 times longer and be 10 times more stressful if she wanted to be there too.
There is always "The Way"/ "The Japanese Way" to do things. And MY way of doing something is totally wrong.

I know helping to prepare food is good for her brain activating and hand dexterity, but I hope to keep it to the current level where she fixes her own lunch from stuff we've left out for her - heats up the food, boils an egg, burns a pan....if she started taking part in the evening meal prepping it would be a nightmare.
Here's hoping the pumpkin partnership was a one-off.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

And the turd was THIS long!

Thought that title would get you!

This little gem of information popped out in my English class today! From an old guy who I am guessing is sinking over-so-quickly into another stage of Alzheimer's.

I simply couldn't believe it. Totally inappropriate. Totally awful. But very funny.

This gentleman has declined over the past year. He used to be the bright, chatty, physically active senior - a bit of a rascal, but polite and kind to other members.
Then I started to notice that he couldn't remember details of stories he was trying to tell - in a mixture of English and Japanese - couldn't remember the words or places.
Then earlier this year he was diagnosed with throat? cancer and spent time in hospital, but came back to classes afterwards - quite a bit changed - fading in and out of focus on the class, losing more and more words, behaving a bit strangely.
His pronunciation is pretty bad and he mixes in a lot of Japanese and English, so most of the other students - four women - don't understand what he says.

Thangoodness after today's performance!

"How are you today Mr. X?" I brightly asked, after we'd already heard other students' reports about walks in the autumn colors, shopping trips and other innocuous topics.

"Hah! This morning I went for a long walk, it was good for me, I've been constipated for a week, and when I came back I went to the toilet and it was good, my turd was 20 cm long, like this. really big.....}_`~="!#$&%&".

I was laughing and trying to stay polite, and trying to SHUT HIM DOWN quickly before the ladies realized what he was talking about. Luckily it was such a mix of Japanese and bad English I don't think they realized...but I did...oh my...oh my.

We are so lucky that, at the moment, Okaasan doesn't do anything like this - well she hardly HAS any social life anyway, but she doesn't talk about wildly inappropriate topics....lots of giggling like a child, which is strange for an old lady...but giggling is sweet and funny. 
Turd boasting isn't.

I guess I have some kind of spotter sense for dementia now - I notice that our old neighbor - the wonderful 90 year old who cares for her big garden almost single-handedly, is showing a few signs this past summer.
She often doesn't know what day or time it is, and she's mentioned twice now that the bank are giving her problems with the money and she has to go and talk to them. Maybe she DOES have money problems, but my sense tells me the "problems" are in her own confusion.

But that's minor compared to turd talk in an English class.
I hope he doesn't repeat this kind of behaviour, it would be hard to ask the class managers to talk to his family and get him pulled out of the class...

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

That time again...

Christmas and New Year are approaching again.
At least the shops are telling me so.
Spotted my first plastic display Kurisomasu Keiki in a convenience store the other day and the supermarkets and department stores are taking orders for traditional Japanese New Year food boxes.

Looks great! All the traditional fish paste, simmered vegetables, fish, drowned in sugar foods.

AND: Oyomesan....Oyomesan......Remember, remember LAST YEAR and the horrendous, horror of Five Hours Shopping and Cooking with Okaasan?


One boxed food order coming right up.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Okaasan catch up time.

Enough about me...and beaches in hot places.

How is Okaasan doing?

Basically ok.
But the bad tooth is giving her trouble and she is eating a little. Of course not helped by the fact that she took 3 days of medicines in 72 hours. But she is due back at the dentist on Tuesday, so she can get more drugs - and Yujiro can take a firm control of them this time.

Her memory is "as usual". Patchy.

*  She's thanked me for 4 days in a row for the souvenir flowery shawl from Australia - almost everytime she saw me in the kitchen she thanked me for the present.
*  She and I met on the door step Friday night. We found a pumpkin in a bag left by a kind student (Miwako is that from you?), we came into the house together and talked about pumpkins/Halloween/weather and walked into the kitchen together....I took my work stuff upstairs and came straight back into the kitchen..."Good evening!" ????????? She had NO memory of all of that coming-into-the-house-together...and was greeeting me as if she hadn't seen me all day.
However many times I see this dementia short-term memory loss in action I am STILL amazed at this. It is such a strange concept - that she had no memory of that previous 5 minutes.

*  Hula Dance. Yujiro has talked to the NHK Culture School hula teacher and that class only has a performance event one every few years. This sounds much better for Okaasan. The Culture School is in the city center and links directly inside from the subway station. Small class. Friendly teacher. When the latest round of dentist visits is over we'll try and get her interested in going.

*  Okaasan told the dental nurse: "I stopped going to the other hula class because they bullied me!".......our old friend Paranoia. Of course they didn't bully her, but Okaasan's insecurities about being able to learn the new dances transformed into a negative feeling about the group...and now she is convinced that they bullied her. Sad.

*  While she was out yesterday we did a big clean up in her room, hence 30 plus pairs of pants to wash....and various old food packets. Thankfully the pants are pee incontinence only, hasn't been any poo for a few months now....

This weekend is a 3 day holiday weekend in Japan...again. Gorgeous weather. He and I escaped to see amovie on Friday night (Glee cos we are Gleeks), and a lot of shopping, and stuff-that-needs-doing and TV and cats....and Sapporo is gripped with the news that bears have been seen in the city. In the city, near the shrine and near the library! Sadly an acorn shortage is driving the bears in search of food, and Japan always seems to have a shoot-to-kill policy when wild animals enter urban areas - so I think these bears (one cub and mother? two cubs?) will be dead soon.

Today I am going to clear out the shed before winter and go to a kids' concert called The Imagine Music Festival. The old friend who sponsored me for my Permanent Resident visa in Japan invited me. My English classroom is called "Imagine", so it is all very fitting. October 9th is John Lennon's birthday - he would have been 61 years old today...

And finally...shh!!! Look! This is flowering outside the front door! Shhhhhhhh!!!!!!

Thursday, 6 October 2011


Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland....Okaasan.
What's the connection?
Dirty underwear all over the living room?
Random shopping?

No. Drugs overdose!!!!!

But luckily, oh my God...luckily...Okaasan just got all bleary eyed and more confused than she took 3 days worth of dentist 72 hours.

Our fault. We didn't control her intake and she kept taking them.

Dentist on Tuesday morning gave her NINE pills - antibiotics to reduce the gum swelling I think - with instructions to: "Take ONE after meals".

Okaasan had that bit of information in her head ok, and worried and worried and worried about it.

Tuesday lunchtime - check. ONE.
Tuesday dinnertime - check. ONE.
Wednesday in the kitchen looking at the medicine packet..."I should take this after food, but I don't have breakfast, what should I do. Is it ok with coffee? It says after meals, but I usually eat at lunchtime....what should I says....".
I suggested eating a yogurt and taking the medicine and she happily agreed and I left for work.
Okaasan by the TV eating yogurt. Medicine in front of her. ONE...?

Wednesday night. Family Dinner: "Do you have your medicines to take?"
"Oh yes, where are they? they are. Oh...almost finished aren't they!"

"WHAT?????? Finished???? How?????? You had SIX left this morning!!!!"
"But it says I should take one after meals, so I did".......
"Have you eaten 6 meals since this morning?"
"No, but it says here I should take them after meals..."

and on and on and on and on.
Yujiro got a bit angry with her. I calmed him down. Trying to explain and reason with her doesn't work at all. She doesn't understand...she forgets the first part of the arguement anyway....

Oh my God. We are so relieved Okaasan is ok. She looked bleary eyed etc. But she had been out for a late afternoon walk, and she ate a full dinner.
We guess she took SIX antibiotics during the day...the morning one with the yogurt, and then FIVE more.......

Learned THAT carers' lesson very well then. Okaasan hates medicines and hospitals, so she is never going to take medicine much...but anytime she does...we must be very, very careful. Must dish out the meds ourselves at the correct times...must...must...

Welcome to my world...again.
Beach? Cairns...already fading as a happy memory....

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Home from holidays....

"Did she go to that mountain in Australia? I climbed that mountain in Australia on my tour. The other tour members didn't go to the top, but I did. I climbed to the top.....did she go to that mountain in Australia? I went there on my tour. I climbed to the top. Did she go there? On my tour I climbed to the top of that mountain in Australia....."

That's the conversation Yujiro's been having for the past 10 days with Okaasan.

No. I didn't climb that mountain - Ayer's Rock by the way - but I did do all of this!

Mud crab chili - first Oz meal!

My apartment complex.

Finally feeling the sand between my toes!

Err.....snorkling....Great Barrier Reef.

Bond Girls look better...this is a sausage stuffer.

And when I'd finished doing that near Cairns/Port Douglas....I flew to Melbourne and did some of THIS!

Melbourne Cricket Ground tour....before the Football Final.

Coundown to the final.

Loretta and me....on the MCG cocktail terrace, but no cocktails ;-(

Roast lamb dinner with Loretta and Brett.

Loretta's pad.

Saori, Gordan and Sola's forest pad.

Heidi checks the heating vents.

Let the Football Final begin!

Geelong Cats win!!!!!!

4 hour stopover in Cairns - lunch and sunshine.

Final top up of sunshine before leaving Oz.

Don't you just hate people who show you hundreds of their holidays snaps?

And then....I flew back to Japan...and took the trains up north of Tokyo to Tochigi where Izumi (one of my original room mates in Japan ) had given birth to baby Takeru 5 days before. Mother and Baby looking very very healthy! And "Takeru" means "Healthy"....
As Izumi is one of the old Japanese friends I call "sister"...I guess this makes Takeru my nephew....

And then Yujiro and cats...oh...and that old woman who is still living in the rooms off the kitchen. Who is she and what is she doing here? I bought her a flowery shawl from Australia, it can join the pile of other flowery shawls which I'll inherit when she goes off to the great Seicomart coffee bar in the sky.

All is well at home. The cats were overjoyed to see me - noisy and demonstrative. Chichi, a.k.a Hanako brought me a dead sparrow and Popo followed me everywhere. Yujiro has coped - although now of course I face all the housecleaning that he didn't do for 10 days.

And Okaasan? Looks a bit wildhaired in a crazy messy room. She's had tooth pains again and a badly swollen gum. Yujiro's taken her to the dentist again.
Yesterday Okaasan went to the dentist at 9 am for a tooth out...and at 1 pm I went to have Stage II of my cap treatment. Poor Okaasan - the tooth's been giving her pain off and on for a year now and finally she seems locked in enough to going to the dentist to have it treated.

And so...autumn in Hokkaido. Time to connect to my life again after a wonderful trip. :-))

Next? now...let me see....London Olympics!!!