Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Back on duty.

Guilt got to me.

Yesterday I saddled up, strapped on my spurs and headed out into the wilderness that is Okaasan's room to clean.

A month left alone and what did I find?

5 plastic bags/screwed up old newspapers containing peed-on underwear, some soiled pajamas and some trousers. About 40 other pairs of underpants in the laundry baskets and around the room ... lurking.
One old lunchbox. 

Not so bad.

I also had lunch AND dinner with Okaasan, as well as sending her off for an afternoon walk and picking her up in the car from the subway station as it started raining.

Meal times were so silent. I tried to lob over some likely topics of conversation (Dementia 101), but apart from a few comments no topic seemed to ignite her interest. We ate in silence and I used laundry and work to prepare as reasons to get away from the table as soon as possible. 
I know mealtime isn't chat time for this generation in Japan, but as the silence deepens and plummets into a dark hole - it is really amazing that she can sit across the table from another human being and say nothing. 
Exhausting saying nothing.

But I am back on duty.


  1. Indeed it is exhausting to say nothing and the silence can be deafening. I struggled with communication with my husband, I finally realized that he too struggled with conversations as he wasn't able to process it. SO silence was better for him.
    I don't remember if I asked you this before or not, have you considered exchanging the soiled underclothes with disposable pull up briefs? A slow introduction to them might help.
    You're doing the best you can with what you know. Hang in there. :)

    1. Thanks for your thoughts - yes, the silent meals....maybe for her it IS best, just warm feeling, companionable sounds of "hhmm, delicicious!" are enough. The stress is on ME!
      About the disposable pants. Yes, we tried - about 2 or even 3 years ago we put some next to, on the area where she was keeping most of her clean pants...and a small, lined trash bin to throw them away into...but she has never ever used them. When we talked to her gently about it - she looked like I would look if someone tried to get me to use a wheelchair! "Me? Those? Why?"....I think the pants are still there....:-(