Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Winter afternoons

First snow here last weekend!
Felt a little early to have the swirling white stuff outside while we are still enjoying fall colors. 
My God, I'm English and I just wrote "fall", not "autumn". Have obviously been in Japan too long.

Okaasan isn't dealing with the changing season well.
Many days she fails to get out for a walk in good weather...leaving it till 5 or 5.30 pm, usually when one of us comes home bustling noisily into the kitchen - THEN she decides to go out for a walk.
Such a waste of good, sunny weather. By 5 pm here in October it's dark and cold. A few times I've tried telephoning her mid-afternoon and reminding her to go out. It sometimes works. But, if the TV catches her attention again then she settles down to slump and doze.

So we have an 85 year old tottering around the local streets at dusk as people are hurrying home. Not downtown, she only goes to the local supermarket. Buys yet another magazine to go with the identical one at home (or identical two!), and then home she comes.

But at least she is getting out and walking a few days a week. As the weather gets worse those chances get less and our responsibility to take her somewhere for a walk increases.

Only new thing we've noticed about her recently: green tea making. She is getting confused about that very, very familiar task. Something she has done all her life, probably as the girl child in her father's home business, as a young working office woman, as a wife, as a housewife. 70 years of tea making.
First put a few shakes of tea powder in the cup, then add hot, but not boiling water and whisk or stir it.

That order of doing things is getting mixed up.
The other night she poured hot water in a tea cup. Then picked up the teabox, took a spoonful...and put it in the water tumbler. Then started to pour more hot water into the glass. :-(

Ahh!!! no...not a good idea! The glass might break, it will be hot for you to pick

We rescued the situation and helped her get tea powder and water in the same place.

Other days she puts the water in first. Then the powder, so of course it doesn't dissolve, and the expensive tea ($40 a box) floats in balls round and round...then she drinks a bit of the hot water and leaves it all on the table....

So. A common action she has done all her life...losing the ability little by little.

Next week is November and our big trip to Okaasan's hometown is approaching.
About a week before I will take some of her better clothes for dry cleaning, and get her to the hair salon. And then tell her we are going....

And then the adventure will begin.

Thursday, 15 October 2015


Almost forgot I HAD a blog here....bad blogger.

Life ongoing. No big (interesting) dramas. Just the weeks are rolling by and suddenly I realize I've forgotten my oldest friend's birthday this year AND that I haven't blogged since 3 weeks ago.

Okaasan all good.
Days of strange actions and comments, then days of clarity and surprising awareness.

Take the grapes. Recently we've had a lot of grapes on the kitchen table.

I was surprised that Okaasan asked DS about how they could be "seedless" grapes as a fruit of a plant. It is good cos it shows she is capable of that kind of interest and reasoning.

Two days later she peered across at my plate: "don't you eat the seeds? Look, I ate the seeds!"????????????
Japanese people may be the only grape-eaters who in the 21st century peel their grapes. I'm pretty sure nobody in Japan eats the seeds though :-)
And she had eaten the seeds, was very curious why I hadn't done the same thing...

Another day: do I eat the skin of the grapes? (Repeated 3 times in about 3 minutes)

Anyway. She loves the grapes and stuffs them down. I hide some of them so they won't all disappear in one day.

The food she loves she will eat and eat, and eat. One day I hope to be the same with chocolate and hope some carer will say: "ahh well, she IS 85 years old...let's let her eat chocolate all day!"

Apart from that?
Family drive to a supermarket complex and a soba noodle lunch in the food court. Okaasan ate her way thru a huge bowl of stuff. She was more passive in the shopping afterwards. Just followed us round and round the shop - only chose a pack of expensive dry seaweed - and didn't notice at all when I sneaked it OUT of the cart a few minutes later and back on the shelf.

I cleaned her room another time - major throw out of rubbish. Found the nail clippers under a mountain. Her nails are long, she HAS clippers...but is really getting beyond noticing a personal care thing and taking steps to address brushing, nail clipping, tooth brushing.

One day the newspaper delivery man came and Okaasan wanted to cancel the newspaper delivery from December. Fine, of course. Until she  forgets this decision and wonders why her delivery isn't coming......maybe we could just give her old newspapers to read...or would she notice the date on the top of the page?

Anyway. Still here. Not very interesting or articulate - THIS writer is much more so! Reader L recommended this story by a person who lived with a man who has dementia. SO many things in this story resonated with me. It's a great piece. Enjoy :-)

Hope is the Enemy