Thursday, 23 May 2013

Shouting...again :-(

That's me.
Shouting at Okaasan in fury again.

Not a proud moment as carer.

Why? Oh, you know...the old cooking and the Japanese family reaction to it. Cultural differences about how you react to food that somebody else has made for you. Salt.

End of a loong day with 6 classes, I was home happily to have dinner with family. He was heating up my homemade chicken soup - asked me to taste it and check it was ok to serve.
YUM! Perfect.
Got myself some wine. Bowl of chicken soup...settle down to eat.

Okaasan says sourly "this has no taste, where is the salt"...and then after being given it...count 1, 2, 3....34, 35, 36....."this has no taste, I need salt" and repeat....

Once would be bad. Rude in my books. Better a gentle, "hmm, I think I need more salt" or a jokey response. Not this sour voice complaint.
But two and then three times and the atmosphere round the table was going into danger zone.

I jumped up and gave her and earful:"YOU are being rude! In England in a family you don't complian to the cook like this, you quietly add more salt, you don't use this kind of voice, YOU are rude!!!I've had a hard day at work today, I don't need to hear this at my dinner time!" etc etc

I think I repeated myself about three times too.

Then scooped up my soup bowl, salad plate and wine glass...and glasses and stormed out upstairs to eat alone in front of the TV. Joined 10 minutes later by a placating Dear Son.

Not a good evening.
The trouble is that isn't just the dementia - the repeating it IS the dementia. The sour voice and the lack of concern for the sensitivity of others.
But the actual direct complaint is just Japanese. In a family situation - you can say what you like? 20 years ago - way before dementia - Okaasan would probably have said the same thing to a younger family member: "this soup has no taste, it needs salt".
But layer on some dementia and it becomes a sour faced, repeated complaint.


Must. Try. Harder. Must.


  1. Wait...You had a very normal reaction. I would have done the same. Yes, she has dementia, but she also has moments of clarity and she must know she does not have a free pass to be rude. And she was rude. You have limits, you are a normal person, she pressed your button too many times.

    Remember that being a carer does not mean being a saint. :-)


  2. I totally agree with Francesca and I too would have done the same, so don't feel bad about yourself. You are doing a great job under very trying conditions. I think you should feel proud of yourself for caring for your MIL... you're a better person than me, as I know, which I'm ashamed to admit, that I could never do what you're doing!

    Hang in there, and don't be too hard on yourself.