Sunday, 13 December 2015

Not the best of weekends.

Started well. Very well.
First there was this.

That was Saturday. All great.
Came home mid afternoon, hardly any snow in the street now (big, strange warming here), so I let Okaasan go out on her own for a walk. I escorted her to the end of the street over a few ice patches. She came home 45 mins later looking very tired, with a bag of boiled foods - oden in Japanese - which had leaked all into the bag and down her trousers...
Anyway. Sorted her out. Made dinner. I went out to friends for dinner. All good.

Today. Not so.

Bath time. After 1 hour I went into the bathroom and suggested that it may be time to come out. She was not happy....I left her some more...then one hour and 15 mins later tried again. Started letting the water out of the tub to encourage her...
Didn't want her to get all faint again....
She was getting antsy with me. She didn't have the energy to pull herself up. I am trying to help. Putting my hands under her arms to give her a starting lift...she starts screaming at me and swatting at me with her hands.
My antsy is rising. Voices rising. I can't actually lift her because the bath is low in the ground....I expect the neighbors can hear us shouting...

I leave her. Go away to calm myself down. Check every 5 minutes. Worry a bit about her getting cold in the waterless tub. Bang me head on my hands.

After another 15 minutes she manages to get out by herself and is all sweetness and light. She has forgotten. I haven't.
Serve lunch and eat it with her. Wartime rah rah rah memories. Oh joy.

Mid-afternoon I suggest she goes for a walk, escort her out again. 
She starts to complain about "that woman who comes. That day service. I don't need that. Look! I can walk! It's a waste of money! Why does she come???".

Which of course is true. On a Sunday afternoon when I am not working, so I can cook lunch and dinner for her. And make sure she gets out safely. With door key, money, cell phone. On a day when there is no snow in the street. Today. But not usually in winter in Hokkaido. 

We have booked the once a week day service help from now till spring. Without knowing that a strange, unseasonable warming up would happen. A week ago there was snow. Now there isn't. Because in winter Okaasan needs to go out at least once during the week when DS and I are away working. She needs to get out of the house and have some mental/physical stimulation.

But of course today: she is doing that fine. She doesn't know this is an unusual day, doesn't know anything about day service ordering systems, our schedules yadda yadda...her own inabilities.

I see her off down the street. She is back soon with the same oden food as yesterday.

A few hours later I am prepping dinner.
She comes into the kitchen and starts in again on "WHY day care?????" etc etc etc. Her voice angry and rising. There is no reasoning with her. We go round in circles. She believes she does everything for herself.....she is unaware of the long, winter weeks when she just sits by the Tv with nobody, no conversation, no exercise....

I can't have Sunday dinner with her like this. Just can't.
I make an excuse about being tired. Which is true. Take food upstairs secretly and eat alone. Serve her dinner. Leave her to stew.

Dear Son tried talking to her after dinner on the phone. He is back next week. They will talk again.

With absolute bad timing the day service woman is coming TWICE this week - Wednesday as scheduled and tomorrow - because I am out from 9 am until late night, with two end of year work parties. I need the helper to feed Okaasan and feed the cats.
But of course there is a street with no snow and Okaasan will think - and will be right - that she can go out alone. Won't need the help that is coming. Will certainly get angry again...

Sorry. BOring blog. Just feel caught in a web of it all.
I wish it would snow so she is housebound and we can argue about the need for the helper's help.
Tomorrow I think Okaasan may send the woman away. I will try to leave the woman a note about Walking NOT Taxi with Okaasan....and hope that at least she accepts the helper escorting her down the road.
hate having to argue and negotiate all of this with her.

Can't cancel the booking - tomorrow is necessary as I am out till late. Wednesday is the scheduled visit.
The weather news says winter will return on Thursday.


  1. so sorry about this. I hope she forgets she is concerned and just enjoys the time with the helper. She is so independent and it's funny that she will forget other things, but not this topic. Would the stategy of 'excercising the legs and stimulating the mind argument work'.

    Also, not sure if they have them in Japan, but my father got a bath chair they he used, so that he could easily get in and out of the tub. (I know she may not like it, since it's not traditional, but it would be safer, since she is sitting up higher) and then maybe a timer, and tell her that she has to get out after 30 min. (that her guru says it's not safe to stay in the bath more than 30)… just thinking out loud, but this is all very tiring for you. I hope you can get through the week easily. Nancy in Tokyo

    1. Hi, thankyou - fighting thru! Hopefully with spirit, not actual fighting...we do try to sell the day care helper visit as "important to get out and exercise in winter when the roads are bad". The problem is that this week the roads aren't bad at all and she can't remember/imagine what it is like when it is snowy...which it will be in 4 days from now. We have the brochure about bath fittings etc, Dear Son needs to look at it when he is home for 2 days and order something quick...

  2. I'm sorry. That sounds like a really stressful situation. I've been reading your blog for years, and I have always admired your patience and endurance. Even now, when it sounds like you are feeling frustrated at yourself and her, I think that you are doing great. You have been trying so hard, day in and day out, without much support for yourself (it sounds like). E-hugs, if you want them.

    1. e hugs are lovelY!!!!! Thankyou!!!! Her anger is scary...and it suddenly emerges - very hard to listen to angry words and gestures without reacting...we will get the bath sorted out, and the day helper will have to deal with the negativity today....

    2. I wonder if mentioning the more frequent outbursts of anger and physicality might be a useful conversation, both with your husband and with the daycare staff. It seems like your husband isn't as aware of his mom's condition, and maybe the daycare staff might have some strategies, or should at least be prepared for the possibility.

  3. Hi, been reading your blog for a while and this is my first comment. Honestly, I read here that you sacrifice so much for your MIL. You are doing a wonderful job! I know it's hard but try not to beat yourself up about days like this. Dementia is hard. My grandfather had dementia. My mom has it to some degree and although I don't see her often, when I do go to the states for a visit the three or four weeks can be so stressful and gut I've saved so long for the trip and looked forward to it and then mother's dementia does something to start a fight or whatever. I just have to let it go. It can't be helped. My mother also has angry outbursts that can be terribly mean and hurtful-like when my father died and I cried...she said "what are you crying for he was MY husband". I just had to let that go...that's dementia. But I know-it's easier said than done. I'm sure blogging helps you. hugs and support to you.

    1. Hello Mrs N! Thankyou for reading. Just "let it go/let it be"....yes, those are the guiding mottoes of carers. Past on the happy face and soldier on. What is so odd, is that within minutes of an outburst Okaasan is all smiley again. Basically she is a happy, polite person - which of course makes the anger all the more shocking.

  4. All this anger is a new symptom, isn't it? I remember you mentioning complaints and the "I don't need" speech last Winter, but I do not remember the occurrence of physical reactions such as pushing you aside, screaming at you or picking up fights.

    You handled the bath thing very well. Stop beating yourself up. It is hard work.

    This link may interest you and give you more tools to deal with her -



    1. Yes, two outbursts of anger in one day...of course the result is that I try to avoid her, so she then has less human contact than before...will check out the link, thankyou!