Friday, 5 October 2012


Hear me wilting from there?

The city office says we have to get Okaasan to a hospital and a doctor for the assessment.


Can't type the word I want to type here without Blogger deleting this account for public obscenity reasons.

Okaasan who hates hospitals and doctors, because she knows better than anyone in the whole wide world. Well, Health Guru Nishi-sensei knew a little better. But he's dead. Probably because he refused day care help and his demented mind stopped working. So we can't ask him to help.

I'm so, so so disappointed. Really thought that today it was all finally going to grind into action. Instead, came home from the city office after just 10 minutes, changed my clothes for work and will probably eat a huge amount of chocolate today to comfort myself.

A last ditch effort for help - the husband of one of my students is a psychiatrist. He offered back in the summer that someone from his hospital would do the assessment of Okaasan for us. At home? At the kitchen table over a cup of tea? I hope so. How I hope so.
I've sent my student e mails and stuff and we'll hold our breath. See what her husband thinks. Was it just a kind offer from someone who doesn't know the details of how the system works in Sapporo city? His specialty isn't old people, he was offering to introduce a colleague. Would a home visit assessment from a qualified person be ok? Frustratingly, my friend who is a public health worker near Tokyo says in HER city home assessments are available.
Not in Toyohira ward, Sapporo. Bugger.

The alternative is that this weekend we take Okaasan to a nice local hot spring and have warm friendly, family time...and then Yujiro will spring the topic on her.
He (predictably) wants to go the Total Honesty route: recently you've been having bad memory problems haven't you? Why don't we go along and chat to a nice doctor person and see if you qualify for a nice, friendly day  care place this winter, you could go along in a free bus and exercise and meet people and have fun! Couldn't you! That would be nice , wouldn't it!

And she will agree to this. And off she and Dear Son will go next week to a local hospital, and the doctor will say she is Level 2 on the dementia scale, or whatever, and he will recommend the city office make a Care Plan - and we will all skip happily into the sunset.

Or: she will say "I don't need anybody's help, cos I know best", or she will say "Yes" and then get to the doors of a hospital and see the words "Mental" or "Senior" on a sign and refuse to enter the building.

Not fair. Not fair at all. I get it : home assessments are expensive and my taxes would have to increase to support this. Most old people love going to hospitals and talking about themselves to a doctor.

Not ours.

FUCK IT. Hope Blogger doesn't delete me, cos otherwise I will go on a rampage with a large machine gun and take out my frustrations on the 3rd floor of the city office.


  1. You made it through the censors, in this case profanity is justified, after all. and gun control laws in Japan are sure to foil your back-up plan. I'm so sorry this has to be even more difficult than it would be anyway. I don't suppose you could just tell her she's going to drink barium and roll around on a tilting table?

    I do hope the total honesty route -->skipping and sunsets. Good luck!

  2. I'd like to tie Okaasan to a tilting table and let her roll...oh wouldn't I?????
    Holding breath to see if my student's husband can help...and then if not....I fear the Total Honesty route will follow. Why does this have to be so hard????

  3. Annoying bureaucratic glitches aside, you should consider having a Plan C (or D, or F) in case the Total Honesty speech backfires with her (which I am sure will).

    What about a Total Honesty speech from you to husband saying you *will not* (big emphasis here) handle another Winter with her alone? Maybe if he is aware of how difficult things will be for you he will do a better effort to help sort out the situation?

    It is *his* mother after all...

    Best of luck.

    Francesca (long time lurker)

  4. Well - I did my big speech actually a week or two back - the night she said she didn't want to go to hula anymore and I just wilted at the dinner table. We came straight upstairs and he could see how shocked I was. That was the Total Honesty speech. He does seem on board now.
    But I don't think TOtal Honesty is the way to go with her at all - I think "Sapporo city is interviewing all over 80 year olds, we have to go too" is a better lie. Then she will feel challenged to beat the system and all those stupid doctors by showing how healthy she is...and will go to the despised hospital....aghhhhhh!!!!

  5. Yes! Reverse psychology! It works on kids, so hopefully, it'll work on a proud okaasan! Rather than total honesty, perhaps "minimal information" would be best. The "all 80 year olds" might just work! Don't answer a question unless she asks it... Here in Saitama, they'll send someone to your home to assess for care. In the end, my MIL decided for herself that she'd rather live in a care home than have me look after her - she's mentally sharp enough to know she needs help though. Good luck!

  6. I agree the Total Honesty approach will not work with her (sorry, my non native English may have given you the wrong impression). The "interview for over 80s" is a good idea. I hope you can convince him that a white lie is the best thing right now.


  7. Thats men--total honesty is the only way. Sometimes you have to use psychology. I agree that he NEEDS to do more to help you as you are the one home alone with her in Winter a lot of the time. Hope he does realize this and gets something done. What IF she was given 2 choices--the visit to the hospital or something she would like less? He just has to be firm AND convince her that he knows what is best for her. Tell her if she passes the exam, you all will not bother about it anymore? I wish you the best.

  8. Hi, The interview idea sounds like a great idea. I was thinking that maybe she would go for a 'general physical exam' type of an explanation, but probably not since she doesn't like doctors. Or like you said, maybe you can say it is a required interview to show that she actually is living in Hokkido and getting her social security payments here, since there was the problem last year with people getting payments for people no longer alive. Good luck. I hope she will agree. As you said, she definitely won't go for total honesty, since she feels she is fine, and doesn't like doctors...So sorry that you couldn't get it done at home. Nancy

  9. Thanks for your support guys! Yup - if this was my mother and my decisions (and my first language-speaking country too) it would have been sorted ages ago...but it is all frustratingly NOT in my hands. I feel I am pushing a big blob of Japanese can't-be-helped....aghhhh. I'm waiting till next week to see if the psychiatrist friend can help with a home visit...and then Plan B is trying to persuade Dear Son to do a white lie along the lines of "every 80 year old in the ward is being surveyed"....

  10. HI :)

    I liked the interview idea too MUCH better than the total honesty.
    For us sometimes just doing something with little to no advanced notice works to keep anxiety down for both of us.
    Good luck, I'll be watching to see how things go for you all.

  11. Wow, sounds like you got one-in-a-million as a MIL. My J friend was just telling me her granddad goes to the doc every second day, just because he enjoys the chat and the outing, and she doesn't think that's too unusual for an elderly person here. I would probably have the same attitude as your MIL, to be honest. Good luck.