Saturday, 2 May 2015

Alcohol and blossoms

Alcohol and cherry blossoms go together in Japan - as the nation celebrates the flowering with parties under the trees and over-consumption of various brews....always a bit of a shock to Muslim visitors who come here for the flowers and are met with scenes of debauchery. I've heard that they sometimes complain to tour guides. Who can't do a whole lot about the debauchery of course...

In our family we are also keeping our flowers and alcohol separate. And our alcohol under strict control...

Okaasan bought the bottle of plum wine for herself. I luckily found it when I was checking her bag for yogurts and half-eaten bread rolls. Dangerous! No way should Okaasan have even this small bottle of alcohol in her room without our supervision.
She drinks alcohol like water. Actually with a lot more gusto - tipping her head back and draining the last precious drop into her mouth. Even shaking the glass like a child trying to get the very, very last drop. All that in about 2-3 minutes. If there is alcohol in front of her she ignores the food and drinks all the alcohol first.

So I spirited away the plum wine. Now we are giving her small amounts at dinner time, mixed with water. But if we have alcohol in our glasses Okaasan spies it and wants some. We'll be on water at dinner times soon!
I think many alcoholics develop dementia as alcohol kills off brain cells. But I bet any dementia sufferers can easily become alcoholics too - with an uncontrolled pleasure in drinking and no sense of how much they've consumed.

So Okaasan's alcohol is carefully monitored. A drunk Okaasan is not something I wanna see...or deal with. Although...I wonder what kind of drunk she is? Over the top happy or angry?


And cherry blossoms - lots and lots in Sapporo now. 10 days too early and all flowering in the city parks. Dear Son took Okaasan out to visit a park, because on her regular walk round the neighborhood she only every goes to the supermarket and the Seicomart. 
So he took her out for a walk in a big park. Walk and a sit down near the lake to enjoy an ice cream. Great son and mother bonding time. Sunshine. Flowers. Ice cream.
That evening at dinner - Okaasan had NO memory at all of all of that. Zilch. Poor DS! He gave up his time to make mum happy and she didn't remember it!
When I asked about the trip she replied with vague general statements about cherry blossoms in the city now. The hours with DS chatting, walking and enjoying ice cream? All gone.

Of course the pleasure from those experiences must have been with her - which is a big positive. But the memory of 4 hours ago had gone.
This is of course why Okaasan has less and less conversation to offer - we usually talk about what we've seen or done, or we ask conversation partners about what they've seen or done. Dementia robs you of any memory of "seen" and "done" you can't talk about it.
The only "seen" and "done" is years and years ago.

As Okaasan drinks the plum wine she tells us (many times) about a woman who lived near her home in Saitama, and how the woman had plum trees and gave Okaasan old plums to make plum wine with etc. That story is there. Still.

Happy Golden Week everyone!
I'm home with Okaasan, the cats and the garden. Planning to do a whole lot of nothing much.
A little film screening promotion work. Dinner with friends. Movies. 2 months of accounts inputting on the computer.
And alcohol rationing!

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