Sunday, 22 September 2013

Shouting. Again.

I promised myself that this blog would be honest.
Even if I'm not doing good things.
And i'm not.

Shouted at Okaasan and Dear Son again yesterday.
Full on, in your face shouting with anger and frustration.
Worst thing to do with someone who has dementia. Worst thing to do in Japan, a land of repressed emotions and unspoken communication.

We - well he mainly - tried to get Okaasan to get up, get dressed and come for a short walk to the outside of the house. To give her leg muscles some kind of exercise.
Long struggle with that, mentally and physically. She didn't even want to stand up in her room.
But after 30 mins she had made it to the entrance hall and put on her shoes. She had the new walking stick he'd bought for her.
She got down the step from the front door onto the porch mat.

Then couldn't get down the next 3 steps into the garden.
Couldn't. Wouldn't.
With help, or without it.
Pain, pain, pain.

Returned to the entrance hall chair.

I lost it at that point.
She was going on and on about how 20 years ago it had got better on its own, or some kind of treatment in Saitama had helped it, and it all got she knows her body better than anyone etc etc etc
And I really do mean etc etc etc

And I shouted.
Got the kitchen calender and waved it at her. FIVE Bloody weeks of this and it hasn't got any better. It's got worse. 6 weeks ago you could walk in department stores downtown, two weeks ago you could get to the local McDonald's. Now you can't get out of the house. Next week you can't get to the toilet? Or the kitchen table?

Wasn't a good moment as a human being. Shouting with fury at an old lady, while her son tried to calm me down.

He got her back into the kitchen and got her to walk a few times around the kitchen for the muscle exercise. She was in great pain.

Maybe breakthrough.
OKaasan says that 20 years ago she went to some kind of treatment place near her home in the Tokyo suburbs for a leg problem...and it helped.
I don't know what kind of treatment. Not mainstream medicine. Some kind of massage place?
The important thing is that she believes it helped.

Dear Son got her to agree that if he can find a similar place in Sapporo, maybe it's a good idea to go again.

That IS a breakthrough. That somebody outside this family can maybe help.
I don't care what the treatment is: it can be an old man who waves Japanese fans over the afflicted area and chants, or someone who does things with fireflies - as long as Okaasan thinks that SHE needs someone's help.
It is a step forward.

I've spent two months this year having acupuncture, and I know for many people that is way out beyond the fringe of common sense. So I am open to the possibility of alternative treatments.

Whatever might work. Let's try it, for F*** sake.

HOW he will get her out of the house and into the car to go to treatment...I don't know.

I hope that the treatment guy takes one look at OKaasan's condition, throws the fans away and calls her an ambulance to take her to a mainstream hospital - but of course, that won't happen. Whoever will try fireflies for a bit...and it might work, or not.
I've told Dear Son that in October, after 2 months I am calling in a home doctor. 

And now. I need to take my blood pressure away all of this. The ocean. The forest. Somewhere better than this house.


  1. When under duress, we aren't always the people we want to be. This is not a character failing. You only fail if you think it's okay to keep doing it, and clearly, you don't believe so. As long as you know it wasn't the best response, then it is just in the spectrum of understandable human behavior. You endure so much. Of course you're going to snap now and then.

    If in two weeks, Okaasan goes to a doctor and they tell her that they have to amputate her leg because something terribly wrong was going on and she didn't come in any sooner, but if she had gotten attention sooner, they would have saved it, you may wish you'd have screamed sooner, longer, and louder. With some people, they push you so far and your frustration is as much for them as it is for you. I hope you forgive yourself this time, and the inevitable next time.

  2. Thankyou for kind comment, support. I do know it's wrong- and he knows it is wrong. We were like bad cop, good cop. I was all blind rage, he was calm and kind. Sometimes he isn't. Oh yes - I would so so SO love an "I told you so" moment in the coming weeks, when a doctor looks at Okaasan and looks at her son and says: "this is so bad, why didn't you come before?, this is beyond help"...I hope for that kind of moment, I really do. And actually I think the day care manager and staff are going to start putting on the pressure on Dear Son - because they must be able to see that decisions need to be made in this situation. Day care manager is due to visit next week.

  3. I think your frustration is reasonable, even if you didn't act the way you wanted to. Your situation is very stressful; please don't beat yourself up about it. I hope that somehow everyone will be able to convince your mother-in-law to see some kind of doctor.

  4. So sorry that you are all going through so much stress and that she hasn't improved. I can really understand your yelling and worry. I think that the calender is a great idea. Maybe you can X out the days in colored ink so that she can see how long it has been. Also, you are probably already doing this, but maybe you and dear son can make a lot of 'I am so worried; what should we do. I don't want you to be bedridden' comments everytime you see her during the day.
    But like you said, you really can't make her go to the doctors if she is really against it. there is a certain amount of blood testing, xray or something that would need to be done for a diagnosis, and if she won't cooperate, it is very difficult. Alot of the newer orthopedic clinics, look link of new agey, with massage chairs etc… Maybe you could find one that looks kind of alternative, which she would like, that will prescibe some kind of nutritional supplement, along with her medications.. Thinking of you.. Nancy in Tokyo

  5. I agree with Orchid. However, one vital caveat- she isn't your family. Just your boyfriend's mother. This isn't, shouldn't be anyway, your issue to deal with. It is 100% his. If he isn't man enough to stand up to an old lady, I don't see how he can expect you to do it.

    Besides, leg pain such as she has can be the precursor to so many different issues, from gout to diabetes to.... the point is, such a rapid deterioration is not good. If the BF can't get the job done, then call an ambulance and let them handle it.

  6. I totally second Orchid's comments. Please don't be too harsh on yourself. Everyone snaps from time to time, especially when put under such pressure 24 hours a day. We can see that you care for your MIL, otherwise you wouldn't have had her stay with you for so long, especially when she has been so ill. So, feel proud that you and your husband have for many years, cared for okaasan. She has been very fortunate to have had people like yourselves to help her. From what ever happens in the future, know that you've done your best and have done so for a very long time.