Monday, 2 April 2012

Dementia 101. Fail.

What do the books say?
DON'T question what the dementia sufferer says.
However nutty. Just accept it. Again and again. Don't contradict. Don't get angry.

Yeah. Right.
Just failed that one this weekend.

It was a nice weekend: shitty weather, but my other half was home all weekend, and we spent hours doing stuff like TV, housecleaning, essential shopping, my accounts and other ongoing life things.
Took ourselves out for a couple lunch date on Saturday, because Okaasan had a lunchbox delivery - so we went to a great local Italian place that puts together pasta and crab in a yummy combination, AND has two big slabs of homemade tiramisu for the lunchset dessert.
Awesome :-)

Sunday lunchtime I thought it was a good chance to use these: dried rice cake pieces.

A student gave them to me as a souvenir. Different colors for different flavors. Little playing card size bits of dried rice. Yes, in Japan this is a good souvenir.....don't ask!

I hadn't been sure how to cook them, but Yujiro said make miso soup and then drop them in...cook for a few minutes tilll they soften and then serve. But maybe not Okaasan's soup because she said recently one of her teeth has fallen out.
So, a little tricky: one pot of soup, serve her portion from it and then add the rice cake for us and serve our soups a few minutes later. She won't notice the difference.

Then he started changing the idea: he ASKED her if she would like rice cake too. Why? For F*&K sake? Don't give her the choice!! But he has snow for brains, so he asked her.
She said yes, so I took her soup bowl and threw her soup back in the center pot. And cooked it all for a few minutes...and a few more...and a few more...and bugger me...20 minutes layer ( after we'd all finished the other lunch foods)  - the soup was still boiling and the rice cakes still had the consistency of credit cards.

Obviously NOT the way to cook them.
We put some more in the grill and pre-cooked them, then added them in the soup...which was getting overcooked and a bit thick by now.

Anyway, finally we ate some and gave Okaasan only two small pieces.

She complained of course: too hard!

And she complained again.

And again.

Every time we said: yes, we cooked them the wrong way, 20 minutes in the soup didn't soften them, so just drink the rest of the soup and leave the rice cake.

But that information stayed in her brain for about 20 seconds.

And then she complained again.

It was like one of those crazy comedy routines where two people are talking at cross-purposes, each getting more bewildered by the other.

Except this was our nice family lunchtime.

I wanted Okaasan to just give up on the rice cake and eat the  rest of the soup. She kept trying the rice cake and saying: too hard...and so we went,  on and on.

Finally I threw my hands up in frustration and left the kitchen to clear snow in the garden.
 And Okaasan kept the rice cake bits in the soup bowl and tried (unsuccessfully) to pour soften them with hot water......later in the afternoon I threw them away.


And the good news?
Okaasan went out walking both Saturday and Sunday. And came home without a police escort.
And....on Sunday night she even TOLD us about something she'd seen while out: crowds of people round a shop downtown because the shop had been refurbished for the April spring season.
She actually remembered this fact and told us.

Just the fact I am writing about that here shows you how unusual this is, sadly.

Okaasan hardly ever remembers anything she has seen or done during the day, so the idle sharing of experiences which constitute family conversation is one-sided as we chat, but she has nothing to offer. Her mind is a blank, usually.

But last night she actually told us, three times, about the shop and the crowds. It was notable.

* And my nose. Just so you...know (s)....if you ever have the same problem. I share Okaasan's body functions here on this blog, so in all fairness I should share mine too.
I think I mentioned last week that I've suffered for 2 months now with non-healing, internal nose sores? Recently all crusty and nasty and bleeding. Gross.
Last week I went to the hospital. Waited 2 and a half hours for a 1 minute doctor check. 
While 3 nurses gathered round for a gawk (foreigner in Japanese hospital familiar scene), he took  long metal pliers...and.....stuck them up my nose and peeled off the crusty bits.....and then stuck a Q-tip with ointment up my nose and told me DON'T PICK THE BOOGERS YOU STUPID WOMAN! THERE ARE VIRUSES UNDER YOUR NAILS! HOW OLD ARE YOU ANYWAY??????

Well, he didn't actually put it like that. But you get the idea. Now I am sticking Q-tips up my nostrils twice a day (dangerous with cats playing at elbow) and my nose is glorious.

So, now you know (s).

**** And he's gone away for another week of ski get ready for more Oyomesan whinging :-)

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