Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Looking deeep inside

Off to hospital this morning to submit myself to a stomach camera.
Hoping the docs and nurses will knock me out with lots of drugs.
I feel it is "nothing much", just a sack or a blip, or a benign something. But of course, you wonder: is this the day I discover I have a serious condition. Is this the start of a round of treatments and worry?

That's how the multiplying ovary problem started out 2 years ago. First a bit fat, maybe a worm infestation from the cats? Something a bit odd. Oh, have got a day of no work so the chance to check it out at hospital - and suddenly the world of ovaries and operations hit me.


Doing my usual running-like-headless-chicken routine in a working week. Keeping all the balls in the air. Work/Shopping/Cooking/Okaasan/Snow Clearing/Cats/End of Year cards and shopping. Thankgoodness for taxies - getting to all the places I am meant to be at the right time. I am taking the taxi money out of Okaasan's spending money store - cos I am a headless chicken because of her.
She has just stayed all nice and quiet at home with the TV. Sapporo has had stunning amounts of snow.

I have a question for any of you blog readers - cos I know there are some dementia-experienced people here...
Does anyone know: does writing a letter to a dementia sufferer help them understand something?
Long conversations with Okaasan seem so pointless. She can't remember the start of the conversation, and often just responds to an idea or word at the very end of it.
She doesn't know WHY this conversation is happening.
I often wonder if a letter - laying out the reasons that Going to Daycare Is a Good Idea in Winter - would be better?
Then she could sit and read it, look at it, many, many times...and kind of debate it in her own mind.
One big frustration for me is that Okaasan is very interested in her own health and the importance of exercise. She knows the roads are snowy and dangerous. But connection those ideas and looking at the day service going as an option seems impossible in conversation.
What do you think? Has anyone tried this?
We leave messages on a little whiteboard for Okaasan: We are out with foreign guests, here is your dinner. Please eat this. etc
But would a longer letter be an idea?
It's too late this year. The Day Service manager man will come again on Friday and talk to Dear Son and Okaasan again. She will tell them all about the Saitama culture school and its rooms on the second floor and how her husband wouldn't let her work, so she tried many classes. And they will talk. And she will tell them about culture school in Saitama....
But I wonder about a letter?


  1. My hubs did write letters to his parents and it helped because they could read them over and over so it reinforced what we wanted to say. It also helped our sanity. I remember when they were starting day service there was alot of resistance mainly from his dad. So hubs wrote a letter explaining that 'mum has dementia, she will get worse quickly if she does nothing but watch TV all day. Yomesan has a sickness and needs to rest more. She can't look after you all day' . And it was read and re-read and that really helped. Hubs really played an important part in getting his parents going and making them continue. All I could really do was support him by helping them get ready every night for the next day and helping with dressing his mum and taking her to the loo, cooking etc.

    For really important things we typed it up in big kanji very clearly and laminated it and put it on the table. Things like the daily schedule: day service will pick you up at about 9:10. Yomesan will be back at 5:30. Etc...

    I really hope all goes well at the hospital. Let us know how it goes.

  2. Left a long long comment..twas lost....will try to recreate later. Bugger blasted Blogger !!!!
    Mata ne

  3. I hope all goes well with your exam.

    As for the long letter, I don´t think so. The "long" is the problem. Persons with dementia have limited attention spans, and Okasaan already find it difficult to follow long conversations. A long letter won´t help you. She respond well to the whiteboard because messages are short and direct.

    Now, your idea of connecting the centre with her interest in her health is brilliant. You could try to build a conversation around it with some visual aids (think flashcards and old photos perhaps - do you have any photo of her in one of those Saitama classes looking happy?) to see if she develops a positive link between the centre and her good health.

    These links may give you come ideas:



  4. Sorry, I don't have experiance with this, but what about some small posters with catchy phrases. Exercise is good....Snowy days.. sitting.. not good... Maybe better than a letter. She may think it's her own idea then. If she isn't wearing glasses, the print needs to be large to catch her attention. Just an idear. Nancy Tsurumaki in Tokyo

  5. I do wonder about the letter - It isn't something I can do myself, but maybe talk to the Care Manager about this - because I feel if she reads the ideas and reads them many times it may sink in more - she often sits in her room reading and rereading her notes and magazines, and shopping receipts...

  6. I know Okaasan doesn't like doctors, neither did our Ba-chan. However, she did respond to the doctor's recommendations. He gently explained to her that going to Day Service was essential for the improvement in her well-being mentally,emotionally, and physically. She often resisted going, but we never gave her a choice...I know it slowed the progression of her dementia. Our Ba-chan wasn't a reader... notes would have just been ignored. Each person is different- I do think short is important.