Sunday, 14 October 2012

And then....?

After the joy.
Comes the worry.
WILL the doc see what we see? WILL she give Okaasan a low/high? enough score on the Hasegawa scale that the city office will approve day care.
Hell. WILL Okaasan go at all next Friday?
All of these questions go round and round my head.

I think on the last point it'll be ok. I think Dear Son will take my advice and tell Okaasan that "every 80 plus year-old in the city has to have a doc interview check", just to get her to go with him and walk into the clinic.
He is always overly honest. But he is also overly lazy and wants to take the easy way in life. Telling the little, white lie to get her to go is the easy way in this situation. I think he understands that. (I tell him enough...nagging power is in the DNA of every woman :-))

But the rest? I worry. Of course the doc is a professional and used to interviewing people who are good at consciously/subconsciously masking their selves. Okaasan can chat along politely with someone for a while...and then....and an interview with questions about dates and times and Prime Minister names - I hope the truth will emerge.

Should I go too? Should I write the doc a note to explain Okaasan's home abilities? Will Dear Son tell it like it is? Will he be sitting in the same room WITH his mother, and thus sugar-coat it all a bit? Will she deny what he is saying and the whole interview get stressy?

You can see I've already played out the visit a million times in my mind.

I will be 400 meters away in my classroom actually working at that time. I don't think I should go with them - because I think Okaasan would feel embarrassed to have me there and it would just add to the stress.
But should I do a letter? I can write it and ask a student/friend to translate.
Outlining what Okaasan Can and Can't Do.


Don't know. Would the doc think it strange? Too much. Not trusting of her professional ability to suss out dementia level? I don't want to antogonise the woman.

This week I have this bloody Rotary club ladies' lunch speech to do - Thursday - so my time and stress is also focused on that. Doing a thing about Okaasan that a good use of my time?


Yesterday we went out for a nice relaxing trip to a local hot spring, nice family trip for the three of us. Just a short shuttle bus rode away from our local station. Actually, we went there last year too - just a few hours of hot water soaking and lunch.

Agh. Hard work. Hard. Hard. Hard.
For me.
While Dear Son was soaking away his worries in the men's baths, I was in the women's baths with Okaasan who was fiddling around with all the new things and decisions-to-be-made.
The locker keys; the towels; the toilets; the washing places and the water/shower functions; the body soap/shampoo choices; the baths; the steps; the locker rooms; the clothes; the hairdryers; the wet towels.....aghhhhhhhhh.
The worst point was when she came and got into a jacuzzi style bath place next to me. And then couldn't get out...
The bath had this kind of swimming pool ladder.
Okaasan was trying to out her first foot BETWEEN the ladder and the wall, over the top! I was trying to show her where to put her feet....but she was all confused about this new fangled thing.
Then, I got her sitting on the side of the bath and swinging her legs around so that she was sitting next to the ladder outside the water - and showing her how to pull herself up by the ladder rails. She couldn't. Recently no power in her legs...and she has got fatter.
She kept refusing help. I left her to it and went and sat in a nearby bath. Other women tried to help. She refused. Other women commiserated with me in big whispers...and after 5 mins. I went back to her and put my hands under her armpits and helped pull her upright....great for my gammy knee of course!
This physical situation isn't really connected to dementia, many elderly people have problems getting up from a low position - but it reminded me that Okaasan is needing help in life situations.
We finally got out of the bath and met Dear Son in the restaurant for lunch. Only 45 mins late. I was knackered. Don't think we'll be doing a family trip to a hot spring again, anytime too soon.
Last year we went to this place and Okaasan was much better at doing things herself. All the little decisions in a Japanese public bath. Small stuff like how to operate the hair dryers or push the shower button. Looking for information about where and what and how. This time she really needed guidance. It all took much longer.
Just another sign, that slowly but surely Okaasan's abilities are slipping.
Anyway. Sunday morning. Time to focus on my Rotary Club speech thingy. Bugger.


  1. Yes, yes, do send along a letter for the doctor so she get a true evaluation of the home and day to day living situation. My father in law is living with us at the moment from interstate and he has Alzheimer's disease, but denies it completely. My husband's brother refuses to accept the situation and refuses to have him assessed, thinks he is still capable of paying his bills and is still competent to drive. He fights every suggestion my husband and I make, telling us we don't know what we are talking about... we both have health science degrees, have worked in health care for 25 years and 80% of our patients are elderly. YES we do know what we are talking about.! Denial isn't going to help anyone when he has a car accident and causes a tragedy. We are just trying to keep him safe and comfortable and in his own home as long as possible. I read your posts and can relate to everything you say. Good luck with the assessment. I hope it results in you being able to have some relaxing time to yourself every now and then.

  2. Taking a bath with okaasan? No!!! I sure couldn't do that! A letter to the doc might be a good idea - if not before the meeting, could you send a follow up letter? A kind of "thanks for seeing Okaasan the other day, just a few things about her abilities to get on at home (and in the bath) that you might want to know..." that way, you're not interfering with the doctor's assessment, just giving extra info. I don't know if she'll make an assessment on the spot, or contact you guys later? Fingers crossed it all goes "well"!

  3. The letter is a good idea and it must be given before the interview not after as suggested above. This is not interfering at all. Present facts in a short "report like" way, very formal and without any emotion. Give the doctor facts *not* your opinions and I am sure he/she won't be offended.

    Good luck.


  4. Thankyou all for your co0mments and suggestions - I think more and more that I SHOULD do a short letter to the doc, a Can Do/Has Problems/Can't Do list.
    The doc is already (hopefully) sympathetic to us as she was introduced by the husband of one of my students and I am sure he said something about our familiy situation (the gaijin Oyomesan is very stressed in winter alone with the old lady) there is already some extra info in there. I will try to calmly write a Can/Problems/Can't list this week and get it translated.

  5. Maybe you could use one of the dementia scales available on the Web as an inspiration for your letter. That would help you to write a clear report to the doctor.

    The Blessed scale is quite nice and it is short:



  6. Oh Francesca - this is useful, yes....this is the kind of factual kind of thing...with Okaasan it isn't that she CAN'T do things, but that her ability isn't so great or statements with a scale of ability is useful. This week is so busy with many things I have no idea if I am going to get this done ...and translated. But even if I do a basic thing for Dear Son - to remind him what he should be talking about...