Sunday, 28 October 2012

Showing she CAN?

These are bits of cut up giant raddish - drying for later-pickling. A very popular, autumn activity in Japan. All over the country at the moment people in villages, towns and cities (amazing that really) are hanging up giant raddishes and drying them. It's a sign winter is approaching.

And Okaasan did too.

Absolutely amazing. So, I took a photo.

Okaasan hasn't prepped/cooked ANY food for...what?...a year or more? And suddenly this?
I went into her room late afternoon to close a window and found the curtains neatly pinned together with clothes pegs, and a kitchen basket and a plate full of raddish bits, placed by the drafts to dry.
In the kitchen was the cut off top of the raddish, a supermarket box and a receipt showing Okaasan had gone out and bought it about 2 pm yesterday.
Come home. Done all of this. And then...gone out again, as per usual, about 4 pm.

Really amazing. She looks at cooking shows on TV endlessly, she writes down recipes, she stares at recipes in magazines, she cuts them out etc etc But she never actually DOES anything.
It is a real clearing of the dementia fog. This is something she has probably done every autumn of her adult life. And I bet she helped her mother do this as a child too. Something yesterday - maybe on TV - made her get up and go shopping and prep the raddish for autumn.
I am not exagerating, she really never, ever preps any food. Once in a blue moon heats rice and an egg in a pan (and burns it), heats and forgets things in the microwave occasionally, boils water in the kettle. That is it. Not Decide/Shop/Prepare something.

5.30 pm Okaasan comes home. I help her into the kitchen with a plastic pot of Oden (simmered veggies and fishpaste sold in convenience stores). Great. If she is eating this at 5.30 pm she won't need dinner at 7 pm. I go to the toilet and come back to the kitchen. Okaasan is looking at TWO pots of Oden on the table.
"Did you buy this? Who bought this?"
Well, obviously not me...

In her bag she had one pot, in her hand she had a second pot. She had gone to two different shops? The same shop? And bought the same thing. Buying Oden actually involves standing for a few minutes and talking to the shop staff, because it's displayed in hot tanks on the counter and the staff fish out the bits that the customer orders.
So, Okaasan had stood twice yesterday afternoon talking to two staff in one or two shops, ordering the same thing. And bring it it home.
She was pretty surprised to see two pots :-)

I was happy. Easy Saturday night for me. Yujiro was out at a party. Okaasan could eat her Oden. And I could have a quiet, relaxing dinner myself later by the TV. Easy. No dinner chat required at the kitchen table.

So, there. Another odd day in dementia.
Clearing of the dementia fog to prepare a seasonal food. And then complete fog-out a few hours later by shopping for the same thing twice.

Later Yujiro and I talked about it and he said:
"Sometimes recently I feel she is making a real effort to DO things, to show us somehow that she may be old, but she isn't incapable etc. She wants to wash dishes, the wants to prep food like this."

I a point. We never talk to Okaasan directly about her dementia. But I think on a basic level she does recognise her failing abilities and every-now-and-then she seems determined to DO stuff. It's great. It shows the woman she was is still there - wrapped in a fog of mindlessness a lot of the time - but breaking thru it sometimes.
The "sometimes" is "sometimes" though. The very fact of my amazement at finding the drying raddish shows what a rarity this kind of activity is for her. It's a parting of the fog for a moment. And then fog returns.

And tomorrow? 9.30 am. Cometh the day care manager.
She'll see the drying raddishes too. Hope that doesn't gain Okaasan too many ability points! Glad I've left the room uncleaned. :-)

Finishing with cute cat picture.
Sunday morning with the newspapers.
In the newspapers? Under the newspapers?


  1. It's almost like your okaasan knows the care manager is coming!

  2. The cat is staying on top of the news!