Just the two of us, cos he was working late.
Ahhh....it made me realize: Okaasan really DOES have dementia.
The conversation circles within circles within circles...on and on and on and on...
It's pure dementia in action. A story from the distant, personal past, told with the same words and phrases in 1-2 minute loops.
Dinner was potato and cabbage, one of Okaasan's favorites, and I got her onto the topic: "you like potatoes because your mother came from Hokkaido, didn't she?".
So her chat was: wartime we didn't have food in the Tokyo area, if you had relatives in the country they could send you food maybe, but the local police opened up the packages and stole the food...and I didn't go to school, I worked in a factory making military underwear, I didn't have lessons, classmates who hated English were happy to miss school, the underwear sewing machines were noisy....
Repeat till dinner is finished. 8 times? No, more....my own mind kind of blanked out.
In summer it is kind of easy to forget quite how bad Okaasan's dementia is, because she slips from day to day ok. watches TV, eats the lunch we put out for her, takes a bath when we tell her to, washes a few of her own clothes, goes for an afternoon walk and shop, comes home and sort of joins in dinner time conversation with family....washes dinner plates occasionally, takes in laundry, goes to the toilet herself etc All positive things that she CAN still do.
Yes, the dirty underwear is in layers of twos/threes in the laundry basket; yes, there are rotting Taiwan banana skins by the sofa; yes, there are confusions about folk dance vs. hula dance classes - but generally she is ok.
However, that hamster wheel conversation. Oh :-(
Yujiro says it is good for her: it shows she is relaxed and lets her chat on and on about her memories. I guess so. My Japanese language skills isn't good enough to fill out a whole dinner time with conversation (like him!!), so Okaasan fills it out. And how!
Sigh. Exhausting to give the same, interested responses.
Really? no food? How hard! Really? no school? You worked? Underwear for soldiers? Really?
Finish with a food picture. I have the tea party for my students coming this weekend. So I am practicing my cake making skills. I made sponge cake and carrot cake at the weekend. The carrot cakes were a success - yum!
For some reason, I chose Saturday as the party day this year. So, Yujiro will be home..and Okaasan? She panics if we say someone is coming to the house. I won't tell her this time. And then, about an hour before the party I will casually mention that there is tea and cake in the garden at 3 pm if she would like to join us - so she at least gets out of her pajamas and into clothes. All my students are, of course, wonderful friendly, Japanese people. Most of them middle aged and older. Okaasan would enjoy meeting them I think. But the whole meeting-strangers thing usually spins her world off its orbit a little.