Friday, 6 September 2013

Down, but not out...

If you are eating while blog surfing - maybe give this one a skip til you're finished.

Had a toilet crises at home yesterday, not Okaasan, not me, not cats...Dear Son.
In a blog which has shown you a plate of bloody ovaries and pictures of old lady's panties - there isn't much NOT to show or discuss here, but as I think some of Dear Son's old friends are readers, I will try (not too hard!) to preserve his dignity.

He had awful pains in the toilet yesterday morning, at first I thought it was just male whingeing about the details of his bodily I continued watching Friends on Tv and playing with cats.
By the time he was pleading with me to go and buy enemas at an early-morning open drug store - twice - I realised something, maybe, was wrong.
He was groaning and carrying on in the toilet and up and down the stairs.....and I was trying to get Okaasan ready to go to daycare.
(Yes! She was happy to go!! Progress!)

Of course, VERY important to keep her ignorant of the crisis in the toilet, otherwise she would be right in there offering him advice about don't-eat-for-a-week and I picked up a trash bag of beer cans and cat food cans - noisily shaking them in my hand while getting Okaasan out of her room, past the toilet door and into the house entrance hall.The sound of the cans drowned out the man-agony behind the toilet door.
Day care came and whisked her away safely, for a day of ballroom dance, bath and hair wash.

And I locked the front door and attended to the a-hole that I share my life with.
No luck.

MY work departure was looming and he was still in distress.
He called an ambulance.
Three guys in light blue plastic macks and white helmets arrived - maybe taking time out from Fukushima cleanup operations - and there was lots of advice and chat. And then Dear Son was taken away by ambulance!!!

A shock. I'm writing it funny here, because it was...looking back. At the time not.
I live with a 54 year old Peter Pan, who skis and bike rides and drinks and eats with no care in the world. This whimpering poor guy was a stranger.

I had to go teach for 90 mins. Plastered on a smile on my face and a cheerful manner.
Then rushed to the hospital at lunchtime. My old ovaries operation hospital.
Dear Son was on an IV drip awaiting results from blood tests and an X-ray.
I cancelled my afternoon of work and we waited...and waited.

All clear on the tests, apart from high cholesterol, and no signs of cancer or internal obstructions.
Go home and drink medicine. Eat more fruit and veggies. Drink water. Exercise. Be careful. Come back in 2 weeks.

We got home mid-afternoon and he was exhausted. I had to clean up the toilet and kitchen from the panic of the morning.

In the evening he wanted to eat the veggie dinner I was cooking, but not WITH Okaasan. First time he has chickened out of having to sit across the table from her. I've done it several times. When you are feel bad, it's hard to sit and think up chat to fill out the eating time with her. She just eats and reacts...sometimes. Meals with Okaasan are just hard work really, not a pleasure.
I could understand his need to avoid that.

So I told her a big white lie that he had to eat upstairs because our computer had a big problem and he needed to be near it...then she and I ate downstairs and he ate peacefully upstairs.
Okaasan chatted to me about Korean food, the Tokyo restaurant story - but the JTB guide in New York and "best food in the world" story has been lost forever.

Along day.
Big shock.
I am still not convinced Dear Son's problem is "nothing". This man never has any problems of this kind. Usually the opposite. With that charming male habit of sharing every single little toilet information - I know he is a down the hatch and shoot it out kinda guy.
So I am pressing him to go and have an internal camera.
Since MY health scare I am much more proactive on the topic. He should be too.

And why does this sorry little tale have a place in this blog? Apart from giving us all a few sniggers?
Well, in the midst of it all I was thinking:"Shit! If he is really ill and in hospital etc, I will be landed with Okaasan full time - of course with day care support, but oh Shit!".
Selfish. That's me.

It is a factor, always in my mind. That if something happens to him - what will happen with Okaasan? I will care for her a while, but ultimately I don't feel longterm responsibility for her. She will have to be shipped back to the family in Saitama - the useless son, or her brother's family. Somebody.

So. A stressed day.

* Okaasan needs to go and have the annual dementia assessment by the end of October. This isn't the quick visit in the kitchen that the ward office care manager does, this is actually a 45 min. appraisal interview at the mental health clinic.
Draw a clock - tell me the date - remember 5 things on this list, kind of an interview.

Is Okaasan worse than a year ago?
Sometimes I think yes.
The random strange questions or statements are more common now. Some of the old stories have vanished. The personal care such as hairbrushing or clothes choosing has got weaker, and she isn't doing much laundry now. The staring at the TV shopping channel and weather data is more.
In fact - you can (and I do almost every day!) - change her TV channel from behind her with the remote and she doesn't notice. In the morning I use our remote control to flick Okaasan's TV away from mind numbing shopping and weather onto slightly less-mind numbing Japanese morning Tv shows. It's  away of getting to to sit up and wake up - to start the day.

Good things: But she is still walking independently outside ok (but not for 2 weeks with the rheumatism now), still participating in conversations that interest her, still trying to help by taking in laundry from the garden and aware of who we are etc.

It will be interesting to see what the doc thinks.

As winter approaches...yes winter....Dear Son casually mentioned the other day that he has got his first ski teaching job booked from one of the big resorts - 20 days of ski teaching work.
THAT translates into 20 days of Okaasan and Me......20 days.
This year must be a little easier, because we have sort of decided to keep the old car for winter use - so he will take that skiing and I will keep the new car for driving from work to the supermarket - to home - to work - to home - to the vets - to the supermarket- to home - to the madhouse.....

Winter approaches.......groan.


  1. How selfish he is to go off skiing and expect you to do it all on his own with HIS mother! I would be telling him to get a job closer to home. What would he do if you weren't there? He would have to do something about it. You are so kind to put up with it for so long.

  2. No - don't worry - he IS SELFISH sometimes, but the skiing is work and just that. When I met him he was a ski instructor, and every year he is a ski instructor. It IS his life and I am happy that he goes and does it. When Okaasan came to live with us, his summer job was a tour guide on tourist buses and he was often away for days...but he had to stop that job to work here in the city and be home every evening. The ski teaching doesn't need to stop. If Okaasan gets really bad, a gibbering wreck on the floor who needs food spooned into her mouth - then maybe, but at the moment it's ok. Don't worry!

  3. You are indeed the saint of hokkaido - who makes a fabulous mother of the bride in magazines :) He needs to work. Its not his fault he is actually doing a job he enjoys and therefore it makes it sound a bit selfish. I hope everything is OK with his bits and systmes though. Am sure everything is fine and hopefully it was just a one time thing and a bit of man vs a pain a tenth the strength of child birth where they think they might be dying. Fingers crossed. Second the push for an internal camera though. Catching things early is the

  4. I have just spent a month taking care of Husband' 89 year old mother by myself since Hubby had a stoke and is in the hospital. Juggling fulltime work, visiting the hospital and care for a senile person is not easy.Sometimes life just mantra for the moment is "this too will pass, this too will pass".......Anna

  5. Anonymous - that sounds awful . YOu are the Saint. You must be so worried about your husband - and then doing all the work and home. And then you read my whinging sorry! You are living the nightmare. I hope it passes very soon.