Sunday, 22 February 2015

A good daughter-in-law...

I was the kind, good, caring daughter in law.
Pats self on back.
Took Okaasan downtown in the car for three glorious hours of wandering, eating, chatting and looking at stuff.
She hasn't been downtown in weeks. So must have been a major stimulation to the brain.

A couple of conversation themes accompanied us:
1) You are still sick, are you sure you should be going out?
2) I didn't know we were coming downtown. I am wearing old boots.
3) I had a cold, so I didn't come downtown to the Snow Festival.
4) If I wear my hat, nobody can see that my hair is messy.

Got THOSE four topics round and round and round and round.
Walked her street level to Marui department store, did a couple of circuits of the bag and hat sections and then upstairs to the food floor.
There was a long line outside her favorite restaurant, so she impatienty suggested we went next door. Kind of expensive. But good food and a view over the park.
Yet again: absolutely unable to choose from the menu.
"Anything ok, I don't mind..."
Why IS it that people with dementia go to pieces of given a choice?
The whole menu was in high class swirly Japanese writing, so I couldn't read it. I got the waitress to explain the specials again and ordered two of those.
Tempura, rice, soup and Japanese bits and pieces. We ate in mostly companionable silence.All around us were ladies of a senior age and retired couples having polite lunches. Okaasan looks a bit wild and wooly in this kind of place. But I really can't do much more to get her presentable in public.

After lunch we went one floor down to a food and drink festival of stalls from other parts of Japan. Wandered round and round that. Getting free samples of food.  And interspersing it all with cheerful: "oh, it's ok, we have some of that at home already!" if Okaasan showed too much interest in something.
I bought us a brown sugar sponge cake to share and found us seats to perch on and eat it.
Unfortunately the seats were right opposite a stall selling very high class sake.
Okaasan kept telling me how she likes to drink sake. How she wanted to buy it etc etc. I kept saying:"oh but we have some at home!"...and wishing I'd found seats elsewhere.

Finally we went up to the stall where sake-lovers were appreciatively sipping the samples that the staff were dishing out. Okaasan got two little samples. She knocked them back in an instant. No gentle sipping   :-(
I knew I had to get her away.
Then I politely, but directly said: "so sorry, we can't buy today because we have some at home!" and steered her away.

One  floor down was a clothes shop that Okaasan likes. She used to go to a branch in Tokyo. Out came the old story about the manager of the Tokyo shop promising to come and visit Okaasan in Sapporo and bring her a selection of the latest designs. It's an odd story: born out of a few polite pleasantries uttered 6 years ago by a shop manager in Tokyo. When the woman heard Okaasan was about to move to Sapporo she said something to the effect of: "Oh how nice, I will come and see you there then!".
In Okaasan's mind that phrase fossilized as a plan. She has even written notes to the woman saying: "I look forward to seeing you when you come to Sapporo!". Notes that never get posted. Just written on scraps of paper around her room.

It's a hard story to let slide/accept as all the dementia books tell you to do. But I just made vague sounds of agreement.

Anyway. Our stay in the shop was short.
"I've drunk some sake. I feel drunk!" Okaasan cheerfully told the pinched-nose, skinny shop assistants...
I dragged her out and headed for the exit. Fresh air much needed.

By the time we got to street level the two little sips of sake had really gone to her head.
Had to find her a chair to sit in and I ran three blocks to get the car. Load Okaasan in and drive her home.
Enough excitement for one day!

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