Friday, 30 November 2012

Day service visit

They came today.
Came. Talked. Decided something. And left.
And I don't know anything about it!
All I know is there were slippers in the entrance hall, and the evidence of 2 guests drinking coffee or tea in the kitchen....

So frustrating.

He and Okaasan had the meeting with two people from the day service management office. I was at work all day and came home later.
But he's gone off to the mountains to do 4 days ski teaching and Okaasan is in her routine of TV, newspapers and a bit of dinner and chat...and I'm not going to open THAT can of worms with her as a topic.
So - who knows what happened!!!!!

But the setting was perfect for all of them to understand why it is so important to get her signed up for hula classes and lunch etc with lots of other friendly people.
This week we had a blizzard on Tuesday, then rain on Wednesday and sheet ice on Thursday. Okaasan couldn't go out all week. Too dangerous on the roads near the house. Dear Son drove her to the subway station finally to get her out of here.
And then last night the ski school called - sudden late booking for 4 days from a Malaysian family. Want the same teacher. He had to grab his stuff and go to stay tonight near Otaru and the ski area. Tried to move the day service meeting earlier in the day, so he could leave early - but failed.
I'm sure he had his ski stuff in the entrance hall when they came - and was stressing about leaving before dark - so they certainly got a clear idea of this old lady's life....icy roads forcing her inside for a week, a son about to go away working for 4 days...and an absent, working, foreign Oyomesan.

They'd better offer us 5 days of constant day service and rescue her from this hell hole....


P.S. BIG thankyou for all your votes on my beautiful cherry blossom's now got 110 votes and is the top picture of New Pictures in the photo competition!!!
...and if you haven't voted yet - click right back to the last post - WOW! - and vote NOW!
In fact go right now to a friend's computer, log in and vote from there too.


Now to settle into a weekend of Okaasan care....I have Couch Surfing guests too...and think I might try and get out for a ski myself....oh...and Christmas. THAT is lurking. I should really get stuff set up for the Uk etc....because we all know that last minute panic gets expensive when you have to air mail large presents.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


There is no point in having a blog with 50 odd (some very odd :-)) readers and not using it shamelessly to garner votes.

So, here we go. Nothing at all to do with Okaasan and Me.

Just Me. Cos I am selfish.

I took a great picture in the spring in my local park - now I've entered it for a Japan Photo contest. Pleeeeeeease visit the link below and click on the WOW section to vote for my picture (and then you can check out the other cool pictures too)....

My wonderful photo!!!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

One step forward. One step back.

Friday is another little step forward: the day care manager person will come and meet Dear Son and Okaasan and discuss the exciting program of events that will open up to her this winter.
Just as well. Winter has arrived here. Huge daylong blizzard yesterday, the roads are now icy and snowy. Okaasan hasn't been out for 3? 4? days. This situation should remind everyone WHY day service is important soon.

So, all well on the Okaasan front.

Not so for Oyomesan.
Thursday night my back tooth cap and filling fell out while I was sticking my fingers inelegantly in my mouth to retrieve bits of soft cookie from my gums.
3-day holiday weekend.
Yesterday got to the dentist.
Aghhhh.....the root canal work all needs redoing, had gone bad inside the cap....agh agh agh. Gonna cost me my non-existent Christmas bonus. I'd better GIVE myself a Christmas Bonus as I am self-employed.
I'll probably need to go 5 times to get it all fixed.
Brush your teeth carefully boys and girls...otherwise you'll end up like me.

JUST as I was going to make the appointment for the polyp check. Can they stuff camera tubes in my mouth while the cap is a loose temporary one? Will the cap come off during the stomach camera thing and I'll choke on my own broken tooth??

Will I get Christmas cards/presents bought, written, wrapped and sent in time this year?

It's all a mystery.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Choosing a day service center

We're at that stage. Finally.
Choosing a day service center.
And learning the difference between Day Care and Day Service. Things we've never, ever thought about.
He got back from his holiday and awaiting for him was the To Do list that every woman has ready for a man.
1.Take car to garage to get summer/winter tires changed.
2. Read the paperwork about day service.
3. Etc
4. Etc

I asked one of my friends (whose parents have used various services) to talk directly to Dear Son: so I connected them up on the telephone and left them to chat about care plans and care managers and how to go about it all. And I chatted to a woman at the gym, whose 89 year old mother-in-law goes to the local center too. All information gathering.

The snow is here - in bits and pieces, but coming for sure. So really it IS time to get Okaasan sorted for winter exercise. She is still going out when the weather is good.  In fact she went off twice last week with the Kawagoe souvenirs to give to the friend in the coffee shop (sweet!), but the time of icy streets and knee deep drifts is hiding down the street and round the corner.

And I discovered why Okaasan has been oddly going out in just a thick cardigan or thin summer coat recently: her warm coat is dirty and needs cleaning. But she hasn't done anything about that, or said anything about it ;-( More and more recently she is failing to take action on a personal need, or express a need. I think I should ask her more directly and try to check if there is something she wants - but isn't telling us.
Many people with dementia start to look dirty and unkempt and I guess it's because they only notice something is dirty when they want to use it, so they don't use it, and then they forget to do anything...and so it goes, on and on.

We had a great long 3-day weekend in Japan. I really needed it after last week. It was also his birthday weekend. My GOD! He is 54 years old....seems very old. Not possible. We did a lot of eating out of BBQ meat, and  plum wine and beer, and hamburgers and ...and ....I need to eat salad this week.

Okaasan wasn't really aware it was her son's birthday. We told her a few times, and we had (another) bottle of cheap BJ at dinner last night and the three of us toasted the occasion. Then I hid the rest of the bottle by my feet, under the table, so that Okaasan wouldn't demand any more alcohol.

So. I hope this week he will investigate the day service and make an application so that Okaasan can start sooooon.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Day 7. Rescue....zzzzzz

I'm not doin' it alone anymore.
He's home from the "ski instructors' meeting in Tokyo", and even remembered to buy a box of cakes made in Okaasan's birthtown Kawagoe. What a Dear Son!!!

He got back just in time. I was exhausted. Still am. Somehow, knowing that rescue is at hand makes the last 24 hours harder.
Okaasan was fine, to be honest. But I was having a busy work week, and what with the weather and the cats and all the other bits of life....shattered.
By the time I got home and got dinner on the table I was almost incoherent. So good to have him chatting along all jokey.

How did Okaasan feel about his week-long absence this time?

Well, in the morning I mentioned that Dear Son was due back around 4 pm.
"Oh? Isn't he back yet?" she said vaguely looking at the calender...

And when he arrived at the door he didn't have his key, so he rang the bell. Okaasan came into the hallway asking: "Who's there?" and opened the door.
"I'm back!"
"Oh, you aren't upstairs?" she replied.

So, Okaasan not really stressed this time about his absence at all really!
Last year she was more aware of his absence and asked about him several times. Not so this time. Good really. Shows she is basically ok with me looking after her.
And the mystery doorbell ringer didn't make an appearance either.

So. His holiday is over. Before work start at the ski resorts (opening this weekend in Hokkaido!!!), he has important stuff to do. 
Change the car tires for winter. Number 1.
Fill out all the paperwork from the city office for DAY SERVICE. Number 2.

And! Apparently I read the paperwork wrong. Okaasan's level is higher than I thought - meaning even MORE care/service is possible. ;-)
There are two Low Support service levels or 1 and 2, and then the 1-5 of actual Needing Care ranking. Okaasan is Level 1 in the second stage.

And. More good news: yesterday was my final day at the physiotherapist for the latest knee drama. My left thigh muscles are now so super-strong I can maybe do ski jumping on one leg....please come back if you have problems...but continue the exercises at home.
Now I can get onto the next health problem - I've reached the age where it is all falling apart - next is this potential polyp in my stomach. I need the stomach camera and I've found a hospital where my student swears they will knock me out senseless before forcing tubes down my gullet.
In my working week I don't have time for more than one Japanese hospital wait-for-hours routine - so now the knee is super-strong it is time to move to the next problem....

And. It is a long weekend. Three glorious days of no work. I need it. Rest time. This week was tiring. I need to get energy up for the whole Christmas/End of Year....and I need to ski ski ski....

This is a video of Niseko one of our famous ski resorts earlier this week. Some guys from a local company went up to enjoy first runs in a deserted ski resort with no lifts working. Oh.....look at it...look at that powder....oh....

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Day 6. Almost finished......

Okaasan is the star :-)
This is my caring helper - the computer screen grab of the GPS system on Okaasan's mobile phone. Wherever she is - well not actually when she is on the subway train - we can find her location. Just put in the code on our computer, press "Search" and within 20 to 60 seconds the map will come up! Amazingly, wonderful technology!!!! Here it is at 7.30 pm last night - showing me that she is wandering near Macdonalds in Susukino, in downtown Sapporo.
And it gave ME the essential knowledge that she wouldn't be home for at least 25 minutes.
I could hurry up and cook dinner, serve myself and sit there is solitary splendor in the kitchen with another glass of Beaujolais Nouveau. Never has food been cooked so quickly, served and eaten! I was delighted and determined to get a meal to myself. I felt tired and sad with it all. Had a bad night's sleep on Monday night, the weather, the responsibility, lots of work things on the boil at the moment...really DIDN'T need dinner with Okaasan too.
By the time she got home at 8 pm I was all done and back upstairs.
"Oh, sorry...I have a busy day tomorrow, I have to prepare, I ate earlier...sorry....!". Lies, lies and more lies.
She was fine with it apparently. Talked again about meeting her "friend" in the coffee shop. But doesn't know friend's name or where she lives. I heated up and served her food. Then opened up the dividing door so she could watch TV from the kitchen. Then I left her cheerfully:"to prepare for tomorrow's work".
Actually that meant running around the second floor with bits of string to entertain the cat. Drinking another glass of BN and watching Medium on TV.
But if it gives me stress relief it is a kind of prep for tomorrow. Isn't it?
He is home today. I hope. There is snow forecast again....if his plane gets diverted back to Tokyo I'll be on this blog whinging tonight.
But got one more glass of BN to go.
GPS systems and wine in plastic bottles - it's what every Oyomesan needs.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Day 5. Wardrobe Malfunction.

Okaasan set out for her late afternoon/evening walk in....her big, wooly cardigan and a fur muffler and a hat. No gloves.
Temperatures here last night dropped below freezing by 5 pm and the streets were crackly with frozen bits of snow and ice.
Oh well, at least it didn't snow or rain - so I guess the cardigan is warm enough.
But, a bit odd.
She has a coat: a rather stylish dark pink, fitted item - which is what smart housewives would wear to amble along Tokyo streets on a slightly chilly day. Not really suitable for the snows of Sapporo.
I reckon we shoould buy her another coat - and some sweaters. The stylish coat is too fitting to allow more than T-shirts and thin silk blouses under it. Okaasan has got fatter in the past 3 years - all the wonderful food we serve and the sitting doing nothing day after day.

I'm guessing that when she got ready to go out (after my prompting at 4 pm) she realised that the big red cardigan wouldn't fit under the stylish she left the coat and went without it.

I left her dinner on the table as I had an evening class. Ordered myself a yummy curry from the Indian place near work and looked forward to ending Monday with some wine and curry.
But...I got home at 8 pm to find Okaasan had only JUST come home herself and hadn't eaten yet. So...groaning inside selfishly...I had to sit with her in the kitchen and eat together.
Know that feeling when you didn't expect to have to do something...aghh...I couldn't let my frustration show...had to make a bit of chit cht for her. But really disappointed. Hoped to have curry and wine dinner with the cats and the TV. Ho hum. Family duty.

He's home on Wednesday....and can get cracking on this enveloped full of day service decisions.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Day 4. Ladies who lunch. And dinner.

Winter is here.
Had a Sunday of snow storms.
Plus lightning and thunder.

Okaasan stayed home all day and had the pleasure of my company for two, whole meals.
Chatted along about various memories. Asked about Dear Son a few times. Laughed at the cats.
She was wearing the big red cardigan that she loves. Told me her husband had bought it for her when they were first married. Told me that it used to have a colorful lining, but it got old and torn, so she'd taken the lining out. But the cardigan was still fine.
I took that lining out! About a month ago. After a lot of dithering on whether this was a good thing to do. Wondering what her reaction would be.
And the result is perfect. She thinks SHE did it.
Japanese language doesn't usually use the "I" or "you", just "lining took out", but from her tone of voice etc I could understand that she was telling me something she had done to make the beloved cardigan better.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Day 3???? Repeat after me.

Saturday night....................:-)
He is posting pictures on Facebook of him and friends in restaurants down Tokyo way...I am here in Sapporo with a bottle of Beaujolais a plastic bottle!! When did that happen? I thought I'd developed super-human strength when I picked up the bottle and felt the surface move under my fingers. It was a present from a friend and I didn't take it out of the plastic bag till tonight. Wine bottles usually feel they are alive AFTER drinking the contents. Not before.
Another day with Okaasan. All well, did LOTS of duty today.
Gave her lunch and sat and chatted. I had a prompt prop on the table ready - a leaflet of old photographs of Sapporo...which I showed her and casually inquired: "didn't your mother live in Sapporo before she married?"
And OFF Okaasan happily went on a 45 mins of how her mother lived near the river bridge,and how HER father was the leader of two village communities, and how he came to visit his daughter when she married and moved south - he came with lots of money...and then that got us into Okaasan's father and the wooden chest transport business pre-war....and on and on and on.
Loads of repeats - endless loops of the same sentences actually - but she was happy.
After 45 mins I made my excuses, cleared my plates and left her to finish her food.
In the afternoon I escaped with a friend to a shopping mall and wandered in all the pre-Christmas jollity..I refuse to do any decorations until the first week of December. Grouch grouch.
Okaasan was out downtown when I returned. She got back at 7.45 pm. She said she'd been downtown but "didn't meet my friend today"...I was surprised. "Friend"??? She has a friend? She said there is a someone in the coffee shop she often talks to....which is good. Okaasan has nobody, apart from us, to talk to - so I'm glad that somebody out there is chatting to her.
 I cooked salmon and potato for dinner, and we had dinner together. She was chatty - all about salmon and food and Hokkaido and food...and somehow we got into Korean food - her FAVE topic - and that was into the stories about the restaurant she used to eat at near Ikebukuro station in Tokyo. A few rounds of that story.
But strange - I mentioned that there aren't many Korean restaurants in the UK, there are many more in the US. I mentioned New York/Korean restaurants - fully expecting the familiar story -the JTB guide in New York told me that Korean food is the best in the world etc.
And nothing. Zilch. She didn't start that story at all! Has that memory gone? I haven't heard that story for a year or so maybe...and tonight with the prompts of New York/Korean food is the best in the world....nothing came. She just went back to the Ikebukuro Korean food story.
So odd that - a well-trod memory and story just vanishes.
Anyway. She is fine. I think I can slip away tomorrow and go see a movie or something, leave her to have dinner alone.

Day 2 - Solo dining and a letter.

Tried, and failed to be a good Oyomesan...but not my fault.

Okaasan has eaten alone for two days, since we were out Wednesday night and I was working Thursday night.
That means she hasn't had a conversation longer than a few words with anyone for 2 days either.
Okaasan's lunch things waiting for me at 5 pm.....

So, last night I was home and cooking. Made a delicious pork/potato/miso soup, and equally delicious rice with little scallops in it, plus saute mushrooms. All great.
Okaasan came home about 6.20 pm and sat watching Tv surrounded by magazines, newspapers and convenience store and bread shop plastic bags...

At 7 pm I called her in for dinner. But she looked uninterested.
"I've only just come back and sat down, I'm not ready for dinner yet. What time is it? What time is dinner? I've just come back..I'll wait and have dinner when Yujiro is home...he's in Tokyo???!!! Why...for job training....????...."

Sigh. But. Yippee. I can have dinner alone.
So I sat at the kitchen table and read the newspaper and ate the delicious dinner.
Two meters away Okaasan sat in her room watching TV. I hoped she might hear the sounds of chopsticks on bowls and come and join me...but no.
Ironically - in the paper I read a really interesting story about a documentary called "Everyday is Alzheimer's" (Mainichi ga Alzheimer), it was made by a Japanese woman who came back from living in Australia to care for her mother. You can find bits of the movie on YouTube and I think there have been some public showings too - looks interesting.

After eating I washed up the cooking stuff and my plates and put hot food for Okaasan into the lunchtime flasks, she was still watching TV. I told her that dinner was on the table anytime she wanted...and left her to it.

:-( A pity really. I hoped to give her some mental stimulation over dinner. But I think she'd eaten something out, or brought home bread and snacks - so of course...not hungry.
If I was a really good Oyomesan I would have gone into Okaasan's room and tried to get her chatting about something to FORCE the mental stimulation on her, but it was already 7.45 pm on Friday night and I was ready to relax. So, I left her blobbed in front of the TV.
Later in the evening I noticed she had eaten what I'd left out for her. She will never, ever starve :-)

This weekend winter arrives in Sapporo and I doubt she will go out, maybe I should take her out for lunch or dinner? I should make sure she actually has conversation anyway.

The letter from the city office about day service has ARRIVED!!!!!!!
I've opened it. No excuses, just nosy...and desperate.

I think it says that she qualifies for Level 1 - which is the lowest level of service...and there are lists of day centers and forms to be filled in etc etc
Dear Son is away till next Wednesday, so nothing can happen.
But the Next Stage of Getting Public Help is HERE in the house. Oh yes, yes, yes, yes!!!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Day 1 - easy.

Very easy.
Hardly saw or spoke to her :-)

Wish I could slip thru a week like that...

In the morning I left lunch and shopping money on the table for her and said one "Hello" as she went thru the kitchen en route for the toilet.
And in the evening I was working, so I came home at 5 pm and put sushi on the kitchen table, and left again - so only another "Hello, sorry we were out" when I came home at 8 pm.
We have a small whiteboard for messages and I'm keeping the "Sorry, we are out tonight with a foreign guest, please have dinner alone" message that Yujiro wrote a few nights ago to use when I need it.
I've also moved his slippers around in the entrance hall a little - so it kind of looks like he is here, and left a few of his clothes on the kitchen chair (where he ALWAYS leaves stuff)...all reassuring for Okaasan I hope.
Tonight I have no work, so she and I will have dinner - so I'll spin the little lie that he is "away in Tokyo for a work meeting. That annual ski association training in Tokyo...."

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Responsible. I. Am.

I am in charge again.

The Decider.
The shopper.
The cooker.
The washer.
The cleaner.
The banker.
The trash collector.
The reminder.
The checker.
The fountain of ALL conversation.


He's left for his annual piss-up with old friends down Tokyo-way. Gone a week and left me and Okaasan to cope together.

In the past this has resulted in minute by minute blog postings as I pee in trash boxes and hear stories about wartime food/Ishihara Yujiro's house/Nishi-guru/Kawagoe city/JTB guides and Korean food etc etc etc.

Who knows what this week will bring?
I expect the mystery, nightime doorbell ringer will be joining us in the next few days.
Dear Son left this morning for the airport bus without saying "Goodbye" to Okaasan. We decided that it was best that way: she won't realise he's gone till tomorrow and so no point in setting off the stress levels now.

I've hardly been involved with Okaasan in the past week as Dear Son was home and doing (most) of the above jobs. My focus was really on the cat and his giant plastic-collar, taking him out for daily walks and trying to stop him ripping out his wound stitches. The neighbors have seen a lot of me in my dressing-gown with a cup of tea....standing around while the cat sits thoughtfully in the neighboring bike garage at dawn.
Yesterday the vet finally took out the stitches and the cat is free to go fight again, or lick the wound raw and need more stitches..

Okaasan was fine. The pickles she made a week or two ago - they finally dried and she soaked them in soy sauce and carefully turned them over every day. We both noticed that she brought great focus to this task and really did it well. Did it normally, of course. But for her: well.

And she demanded wine :-) At dinner the other night I was drinking beer and Dear Son had a glass of red wine. Okaasan had green tea.
Suddenly she spied the wine across the table.
"Yujiro! I can drink wine too, you know!"
He gave her some. A tiny amount, because we've seen her tipsy and her walking/standing gets more dangerous.
"Hmm, that's a very small amount...a bit sad really...." she grumbled cheerfully. I was giggling into my beer. But she accepted her tiny amount and luckily didn't ask for more.

Giggle, giggle...that'll teach him to drink red wine in her sight. Usually we drink beer at dinner and she doesn't ask for some. If I drink white wine she maybe thinks it is water. But red wine? Oh!! Noticed THAT.

And so. Off we go - into a week of solo caring. I hope the weather is good enough that Okaasan goes walking a lot. I will knuckle down and do the dinners with her and chat.
Just a little while longer and then I hope we'll hear from the city office about day service in December. That hope is gonna keep me going this week.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Sooooo bloody strong.

Apologies for British swearing.

Okaasan is soo bloody strong. Physically.

Thursday she went to the hair salon to get a cut and perm. Yujiro took her downtown by subway, and then went to pay for it all - and instead of coming home after almost 3 hours in the salon Okaasan THEN headed out alone into the department stores etc. She was out over 6 hours.
Didn't come home till almost 8 pm.

And last night we did a family dinner at a local soup curry restaurant.
She ate her way through a huge bowl of chicken and vegetables curry, and a plate of rice. Huge amount.

Dementia is the brain; the body - and stomach!! - are doing great, thankyou.

Dinner out with Okaasan was sadly, the usual conversation-blackhole affair.
Yujiro says it isn't the dementia, that her generation of Japanese people don't talk and eat.
That, I understand. But I think the conversation black-hole before the food comes IS the dementia - she puts absolutely nothing into the social event of sitting at a table waiting for food to come.
Of course, I am not complaining. (well, only a little here!!! It's my blog, it's allowed ).I don't expect to have entertaining dinners with my old mother-in-law. It's family duty time.

But it IS strange to sit at a table for 15 minutes with people and say nothing to them. Only responses.

Okaasan read the restaurant information papers on the table, stared around a bit and responded a little to our conversation...but really passive.
I find it exhausting. Even with Yujiro there - he can chat and chat. I am at the end of a working week - where I have successfully brought personality and energy to many conversations with a wide range of  people.
I totally fail when it comes to Okaasan.
After we'd commented on the restaurant decorations, the menu, the poster on the wall, the elephant design on the coaster, the water bottle.....agghh.....what ELSE can we talk about?
I try a few funny stories I've heard from students (GREAT one about the lady who sent her daughter a "Happy Birthday" email, only to be told it was the dog's birthday, not the daughters)...and anything else...but its tiring.

Yujiro got all defensive when I mentioned it, and said some people just talk more than others, but I am sure that if you sat in a restaurant 10 years ago with Okaasan she wouldn't have sat silent like this. I'm sure she would have talked about her life, or asked questions about our lives, or commented on the elephant table mats herself.
But now, I am sure - the burden of filling out the space with conversation falls on us.

However, she loved the curry in fact. Ate her way all through it - even the meat. And was happy. Chatted in the kitchen with Yujiro at home etc Happy lady.

Thankgoodness, the weekend.

I'm STILL in this collar thing....I HATE it.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Gadgets to make life...confusing.

Can't say when it was - but we kind of realised this summer???that Okaasan's hair always looked unwashed. Even the day she'd had a bath.

She only brushes her hair when she is going out. Usually round the house she has matted, dirty tresses. On days when we tell her to have a bath, we give her the hair dryer and she appears to have wet hair to wrap in a towel and dry. But after drying? It's often, still dirty.

I vaguely thought she was focusing more on washing underpants or her body - and forgetting her hair. Or that she was putting water on her hair and no shampoo.
The tiring family trip to the hot spring recently gave me a slightly better idea as I watched Okaasan befuddled by the shampoo/body soap plastic bottles with their push tops and nozzle dispensers.
Her confusion wasn't just WHICH was which, after all both bottles had Japanese writing on them. But the mechanism of the bottles appeared to be the problem.

We are used to Okaasan's daily confusions around the home: the central tap with lever swings to the left/right for hot/cold water; the electric kettle that she thinks every day is a constantly-hot water pot etc She sometimes uses the microwave...but forgets that she's put stuff in it...despite the "ping" telling her it's finished.

In our bathroom we have a blue plastic bottle, which we fill with shampoo. It has a push top and a nozzle. And quite a bit of English writing on it. But it does say "Shampoo" in Japanese.

Yujiro solved the riddle a week ago. He realised Okaasan didn't know that the hand soap bottle by the bathroom sink WAS soap. Or how to use it. He showed her. She couldn't get the idea of pushing the top down and holding her hand under the dispenser.

We realised she hasn't been washing her hair lately because as far as she could see: there wasn't any shampoo in the bathroom.

What form did shampoo take years and years ago in Japan? What form of container would Okaasan expect? I asked some of my older students: they said ordinary soap. Parents washed kids' hair with the same soap as for bodies...maybe.

Okaasan has a hiar salon appointment this week - I thought maybe we could get her to buy shampoo at the salon and maybe connect with that in future. Would that work? A squeeze tube maybe?

Yujiro solved it all today: he dug out our store of hotel and magazine sample shampoo sachets. You know - the stuff we all steal from hotels and in drugstores.
Bingo! Okaasan realised the sachet was shampoo - maybe because she used to travel to hotels a lot all over the world and must have used sachets many times in the past.

Wonder what else around the home will be confusing for her?

* haven't done anything about the possible stomach polyp yet. Too busy. Talking to people to find out about which hospital to go - somewhere that they will knock me senseless before they stuff tubes down my throat.

* But other health news is good : the knee and leg muscle rehabilitation has been a success. Much stronger now after weekly rehab/physio trips (it's called rehabili in Japan!). I am back to before condition or better. Just in time, as my friend has come back with her baby from a 3 week trip to her parents' home. I can be adoring aunty again.

* and cats....major jealousy/bullying going on between Chichi and Popo. Tonight they finally sat down near eachother. The plastic collar scares Chichi and he stayed out 2 nights, while we had to close all the windows and doors to keep his injured brother in.

Oh...and...and...Obama won again!!! YEAH!!!!! Loved the BBC poll which found that around the world...only Pakistan would support a Romney win. Thank goodness Americans voted for the right guy.

Monday, 5 November 2012

And, and , and...

I was going to write a nicely crafted blog entry about how Okaasan copes/doesn't cope with machines and equipment around the home.
How we're starting to wonder if she is understanding how to use things like taps, shampoo bottles etc

Turned into a hell of a week somehow.
Luckily Dear Son finished his bike taxi summer job and is now on holiday for a month, until the ski season starts. So he is home and in control of the shopping and cooking and chatting to Okaasan.
She's fine I guess. A bit stressy yesterday about wanting to change newspapers - went on and on about it. Apparently after her morning paper was delivered all wet and wrinkly. Dear Son not so keen to change the newspaper order after similar complaints last year, which after he had arranged - Okaasan then changed BACK...because she'd forgotten, of course, why she'd wanted a different newspaper in the first place.

All of that. Life as normal. Still waiting to hear from the city office about what level of care Okaasan will qualify for. That's ok.

My week spun gently into exhaustion though.

* An old student and friend suddenly told me she'd got a job in Kyoto at one of the old hotels that caters to famous, foreign celebs - so she and I went out to dinner to say Goodbye.
* Then students from a class wanted to talk about their class structure...over dinner and drinks.
* Then Ordinary Lives, the Fukushima documentary I was involved with - that had its English subtitles premier and I went and made introductory remarks etc. Wonderful to finally see the film in translation. About 65 people for the first show and 25 people for the second. Lots of familiar faces.
* Then, Popo-chan our little, fat fighting cat - I discovered Sunday lunchtime he had an old fight injury on his back. The scab came off and revealed a nasty, gaping, going-septic hole beneath - so we had a vet rush.
He had stitches - with no anaesthetic. And is now in a plastic collar to stop him licking the wound. So he goes around the house crashing into door frames and furniture...miaowing mournfully. Last night he tried endlessly to climb into bed with me, lick my neck reassuringly etc....and then panicked when his collar caught under the sheets.
It was a long night. And there are 10 more days of this.
And we have another cat - super healthy and always out - and the whole windows-open/windows-closed/sick cat in/healthy cat out stuff to monitor.

** Oh, and one more thing?
The hospital sent my stomach barium test results.
It appears I may have a polyp in my stomach.
Please come in for a more detailed examination.
Endoscope camera tube thing down the throat etc.
Dr Google informing me of my chances that this will be cancerous etc etc etc.
So. Quite a week really.