Sunday, 29 April 2012

Shaking up the nest.

This is Okaasan's nest AFTER a massive spring cleaning. You can?? imagine what it was BEFORE.

First day of an 8-day holiday and what am I doing? Crouching on the carpet with Okaasan sorting through the trash on her table top, guiding her to putting it in Burnable or Unburnable trash bags and trying to make a dent in the trash mountain.

Yujiro was off on his first day of summer work as a bike taxi driver downtown. So after he'd left I swept into Okaasan's room and told her that the dry cleaning shop was offering a great discount on cleaning kotatsu blankets, so I'd better take it right now.
A kotatsu is that table in the picture. A low table containing an electric heater, all covered with a big soft blanket, and then the detachable table top goes on top.
Okaasan lives in the kotatsu. Sits watches TV there, sleeps. Eats snacks. Eats dinners when we are out there. Will probably die there.
She nests right there in the center - between the left-hand corner of the kotatsu and the clothes-covered sofa. Sits on the floor amid all this stuff.
There must be some part of dementia about needing to SEE possessions out all around you - not put away where you might not find them. But all around you. As you can see Okaasan has the sofa and the floor and the table covered with things-important-in-her-world.

I was in there an hour picking thru the stuff with her and getting 60% of it into trash bags.
Then I gave her another blanket for the kotatsu and whisked the other away to the dry cleaners.

Also moved her over-loaded laundry stand (covered with clothes and itsy bitsy shopping bags), so she can get in and out to the outside laundry stand in summer....and told her that the Glen Miller Orchestra concert she was excited about...was...err...sorry the one we went to LAST year, this is an old flyer....see?
But she did have a flyers for another big band concert THIS year, June in the local concert hall. In the afternoon - after a relaxing time at the gym and lunching with a friend - I went and bought her a ticket. One ticket. She is quite happy to go to concerts alone, that day I'll make sure she has bath and lunch and get her to the concert hall on time.

Okaasan remained shaken and stirred all day. The cleaning was a real shake-up to her nest and mind. She fussed around her room for ages afterwards, examining bits of paper and clothes. She even took out the old hula dance dresses from the closet and left them on the futon she has never used.

And in the evening she went out for her walk - took the subway downtown and got lost.

Yujiro had 3 phone calls between 6.30 and 7.30 - to and from Okaasan - and once to a helpful passerby who'd found her in an unfamiliar part of downtown. She was asking directions to the subway station near our old apartment - a long walk from where she was lost.
All topsy-turvey. The cleaning experience disturbed her calm quite a bit.

By 7.30 pm she got home and we had family dinner......and I stopped Yujiro badgering Okaasan about WHY she'd been in that part of town and why she'd been trying to go to the wrong subway station etc. No point in rehashing all of that.....

But see - that Okaasan nest above. That's clean:-)


  1. OMG, that was the After shot? I guess, the problem is 'out of sight, out of mind' - so she forgets anything she can't see... which could be a good way to get rid of stuff - just put it 'away' somewhere till she forgets, completely. I am longing to put away the kotatsu blanket and hot carpet here, but can't prize my husband out of it just yet. Hope okaasan calms down soon!

  2. yes - that is the AFTER shot, I don't have a Cinemascope function on my camera, so couldn't fit it all in BEFORE :-)
    Getting the bookshelf for the magazines was a good idea last year - I move them from the table and floor to the bookcase for a week or two (in case she suddenly asks where this month's mag is)....and then I remove the old mags from that bookcase and out to the recycle pile in the garden shed.

  3. Granny k's room is like that after shot and I think its a progression for Japanese women of that generation - plus what you say about perhaps wanting to be able to see everything out. Sad to hear she got lost :( But glad you were able have a family meal together and stop Y from badgering her on something she doesn't have any control over. I need to do that more with the kids!

    Happy Golden Week to you.