Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Pain pain pain

Was going to be a blog posting about Okaasan suddenly announcing: "I have no money, I'm going to take this ring downtown and sell it!".

But, instead.

Early evening she was still downtown and we started the phonecalls to her to remind her to come home for dinner.

I have leg/knee pain and can't stand or walk. 
Get a taxi?
I can't go downstairs from the coffee shop.
Ask the staff to help you.
I can do it myself. I have to go to the toilet.
Ok now? Ask the staff to help you, get a taxi home.
I can't stand. I need the toilet.

Repeat over the next 30 mins. Same conversation.

Finally I drove downtown to get her.
She was sitting outside the coffee shop. With lots of pain in her left knee and arm. I helped her, agonizingly into the car.

The coffee shop staff said she'd come in around her usual time, and mentioned "falling". But had somehow gone to the second floor of the coffee shop as usual! And then got stuck.

Came home.
It's my rheumatism. It suddenly comes. Fall? Me? No, I didn't fall. It's rheumatism.
DS helped her from the car, painfully, agonizingly the 5 meters to the front door steps.
To the entrance hall chair.

Where she sat.
And sat.
I don't need dinner. I can stand myself. Just give me time. I don't need any help.

So we sat in the kitchen and ate our dinner.
Okaasan sat in the entrance hall.
The cats peered at her round the door frame.

We finished dinner. Washed up. She was still in the entrance hall.

Remembering the past situation we decided to lift her ON the chair.
Between the two of us we can just about do it. Okaasan weighs..what? 55 kg maybe?
With her screaming in agony and moaning we huff and puff the chair across the entrance hall, thru one door and to the toilet door.

I can do it myself! I can stand!

Okaasan then sits on the chair 1 meter from the toilet - for the next TWO hours.
Refusing help. Fighting help.

We go upstairs and watch a DVD. Come down sometimes to give her drinks of water. Get only refusal of any offers of help.

Come 10.30 pm our movie has finished.
We push the chair right up against the toilet, Okaasan is trying to hold onto the towel rail to pull herself up. Can't. 
Finally. Finally - DS puts his arms under her arms and hauls - really hauls her onto the toilet.
Screams of agony.

I am making telephone gestures to him and mouthing the word H-O-S-P-I-T-A-L-!! and he is shaking his head.

Then another struggle to get her off the toilet. He is standing behind her - between her back and the toilet, I am trying to position the chair as close as possible at the front. Then we are dragging the chair, lifting the chair out of the toilet - into the kitchen - into her room...and Okaasan is finally finally slipping/falling off the chair, onto the sofa and down onto the carpet.
Crying out in pain constantly.

It was a looong evening.
From 7.45 pm to midnight.

And then, just now we  were all awake at 6 am and we've done it again.
Carpet to chair. Chair carried/dragged to the toilet. And all the way back again.

But - we have managed to persuade her to put on the old people diaper pants. Because he can take the day off work today. I can't. He can't get her to the toilet alone. It's the first time she has agreed to let us put her into them.

I know. Hospital would be a really good idea.
Maybe she did fall downtown. There are no external wounds. Her knee looks swollen. And this time her arm or hand - or both - are painful. It suggests she fell and put out her arm to break the fall.
But it's the old story. Utter refusal by Okaasan and her supported by DS to even consider help.
At one point last night I was half way up the stairs to the telephone to call the ambulance myself. Trying to remember the emergency number in Japan - then she cried out and he shouted at me to come help again, and I was back downstairs in chair-lifting mode.

And so - here we are again.

I actually wish this would happen when he isn't here. Then I could just call the ambulance myself and get professionals involved. I don't care if she is angry with me. I don't understand why he lets her decide the course of inaction.

So. Here we are.


  1. I hope she is better today. However I think you should take a deep breath and try to talk to him in a calm manner. Try to explain to him that there is a limit for deference and respect to the elders. I cannot believe he thinks that the situation you both went through with her yesterday is ok. She cannot be in so much pain and be left alone. If she really had a fall she may have a hairline fracture, she may have hurt an internal organ, she may have dislocated something. She needs to be checked and it´s about time he understands that he has to be responsible for her health - even if that means going against her wishes. I am sorry to be blunt, but it infuriates me to see how passive he is regarding his mother and how the burden always falls on your shoulders.


    1. Hi there - I know. I hear you. I know. It isn't really passivity - that suggests doing nothing - he is actively following her firmly held belief - as taught by a post-war health teacher - that no food/specific exercises/listening to the body etc - will lead to natural healing. She has plenty of examples of how it has worked for her in the past etc So he is following that. And it is HIS mother. I don't think she has any huge injury - because she is talking/eating , but the her muscles are getting weaker by the day. In my mind as a write this "Monday" is kind of my deadline for some necessary improvement - or I bring in the cavalry.

  2. I am also a believer that the body has an enormous capacity of healing, however I also think there is a limit for everything. We are talking about a 90 year old lady who may have had a fall (or not) who is now wearing diapers because she cannot move on her own. However, as you well pointed out - it is his mother. Wait "a few days" as he wants although I am sure it must be total agony for you to wait (as it would be for me). Hang in there.