Friday, 28 October 2016

Monthly drop in....

Once upon a time this blog was an hourly affair....then a daily you're lucky if I call in once a month.

I've been busy: being a TV star! Yes - my blog got scooped out by Japanese Tv and now I am in hot demand as a dementia X international family life X chocolate commentator on sofas across all channels.


But my activities for Hokkaido on Trip Advisor do get me into tourism monitoring. writing, advising work sometimes and this month has been full on. I will be a 4-minute guest reporter next month on "J-Trip Plan", a program by NHK World - made for Internet and foreign viewing.
It involved lots and lots and lots of technical checks, visiting a fish market and eating everything I could find and filming it...writing and more technical stress. And finally, last Friday a computer to studio piece to camera with the presenters. It'll be aired next month.
And I did a weekend trip to a rural region hoping to open up farm visits for foreigners, with wine tasting (my kinda work!!!), and there is another date for my Japanese speech at a tourism seminar in November.

So, last weekend it was wonderful to finally have an ordinary weekend at home. Preparing the garden for winter, doing laundry, arranging cat toys, catching Pokemon...

Dear Son too was working nights for 2 weeks and that finished. So we actually had conversations of more than two sentences.

Sunday I sent him and Okaasan out for Mother/Son lunch. She hadn't been out for days. And I needed to get into her room and do a monthly clean.

Put away her summer clothes, put winter clothes where she can see them, and threw out some of the multiple magazines, hid away the shopping bag gifts she gets from magazines and folded up pairs and pairs of her socks - it is braining training for ME to re-pair 40 pairs of little pink and brown ankle-length obviously impossible for Okaasan. I put them all in a basket on the floor where her sock pile is.

Makes me think: how long ago did her clothes shopping become repetitive? We all buy a color or style we like, of course. But from Okaasan's clothes evidence it's clear that for years she has been buying almost the same thing over and over again. The wine red shortーsleeved sweaters and T-shirts, the pink and brown socks, the flowery-pattern towels. Somebody should do a study on this - at what point shopping preferences slide into early-dementia repetitive buying.

So. End of October.
Trying to get her to go out. But she doesn't. We have to take her much more. I can see a winter of walking round shopping malls ahead of me...

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Gradual decline... blog writing......

No, actually Okaasan.
But yes I know - this is probably the longest gap in blog writing ever. The Summer of Cat sleep, work, two friend visits from the Uk, more no sleep, stress, work....then a holiday in America and the last night of Queen and Adam Lambert in Tokyo.....
All of those excuses.

Really not great recently.
A summer of decline for her.
Even Dear Son has noticed it - which says a lot, because he doesn't notice anything that isn't football, beer or cat related.

Okaasan seems to have lost her going out mojo. She even said to Dear Son: "Am I going out alone? It's not so fun. I don't feel like going out" and there have been many days when she stays home in front of the TV, with strange reasoning like: "The workmen in the apartment site across the road can see me going out...."

It's a change. She has always loved going out for a walk. Never wanted us to go with her. Proud and happy to go out independently. We wonder what happened. No fall, apparently. Maybe she got lost or felt disorientated? She has lost confidence in going out for a walk.
Not a great sign - if this means we have to walk with her more....just when I have escaped walking the cat on-a-lead duties, maybe Walking Okaasan will replace it.

Activity-wise she has declined too. The handwashing of underwear, small room cleaning activities....towel folding...has all declined this summer.

More toilet accidents and clothes soiling....

Conversation has diminished and got odder too. I visited Nihonbashi, an old area of Tokyo and thought that might be a nice memory trip for Okaasan as conversation.

A few years ago, if you gave her the jump off word "Nihonbashi" - she would set sail with the story: "Ahh, Nihonbashi, I used to go there. My husband's office was near there and sometimes if he forgot some important documents at home he would call me up and I would go to Nihonbashi to deliver the documents. And he gave me money and I'd go shopping in the big department store there, so actually I was happy to go all the way to the center of Tokyo....."

Last week I told her I'd been to Nihonbashi.
"Nihonbashi. My husband worked there. I went there......but the war there wasn't gasoline for cars, so my father couldn't work, no gasoline. I didn't have school lessons in the war. I worked....."

The husband/father mix up, and "work" went from husband/work to father/work and then to me/work and wartime within one or two sentences. Wartime Japan and childhood. The years of being a mother and wife are fading.

Many times now at family mealtime she hardly enters our conversation unless we directly talk to her. We chat - even in Japanese - but she concentrates on the food and dropping bits and looking for them. And at the end of mealtime sits and waits for whatever happens next.

But there have been some happy things too: we did a trip to a shopping mall and she and I sat together in foot massage machines with the shop staff praising Okaasan's amazing leg muscles.
I came back from America and gave her a flowery scarf, which she obviously liked so much that she put it on immediately and sat in her pajamas all day wearing it :-)

Today we are doing a family outing to the last day of the autumn food festival in the park. Hope she enjoys it.