Hey! It's us!
Okaasan and Me.
Happy Christmas to readers and lurkers everywhere (specially the Russian spam-bots that I fear may be boosting this blog's viewing numbers).
Yesterday, a picture of happiness. Ladies having lunch together, downtown at Christmas.
I had a rare morning free on a weekday and took Okaasan out to avoid the weekend crowds, and to go near the center of a city with a small chance of finding a parking space in late December.
We drove downtown together chatting about this and that, and then this and that again...and again. FOUND a parking space near the department store and held hands to negotiate the icy streets and reach Okaasan's favorite soba noddle restaurant at 11.30 am for an early lunch.
After lunch we walked a few floors of the department store, and then outside to walk one block to Okaasan's favorite coffee shop, where the young staff actually remembered what she always orders (because she didn't!), and I settled her down with coffee, cake and a magazine at a window seat.
Then, I could escape to do some Christmas shopping for an hour.
Back at 2 pm to get her and she came happily. A little tired in the legs to get back to the parking area and endless "where are we going questions?" indicated that she was mentally tired too. But, back to the car and drove home.
All a success. Including a nice guilt-inducing photo of the lunch to Dear Son saying "Look. it's take YOUR mother to lunch day....dear...." He owes me. Always.
At home Okaasan seemed nicely animated again and even offered to wash up dirty dishes in the sink for me. She put on her apron and I thought she was going to do it...but 15 mins later when I passed thru the kitchen on my way to work....dirty plates in a pile and Okaasan in her apron settled in by the TV.
Oh well. Never mind. The lunch was a success.
I had lessons 3 pm to 9.30 pm.
Left food for Okaasan and cats. Did a long slog and at 9.50 pm came home with a bottle of Chardonnay crying my name from the upstairs fridge...exhausted.
Okaasan was in her room waving official looking papers at me and looking over-active....
My heart sank.
"What's this? Day service? It says here day service people come, something to do with me? They come? Dear Son pays money for this? Why? I don't need this. I go to Doutor coffee shop on my own. I went to Doutor coffee shop. I go out. The old lady across the road, she doesn't go out. But I go out. What is this? Day service. Why???????"
Oh god help me.
I kept it together. Just. Level voice. Calm. Not angry.
Explained. Many times:
Winter. You can't go out. Dangerous. Dear Son working and away. Me working Monday to Friday. Sitting here for 5 days without exercise or meeting anyone is bad for your health. So day service come - you go with them to Seiyu for shopping. It's FUN! It's good for your health. December to March.
Well, almost calmly. I confess I had us both standing in the entrance hall with the front door open to the cold and snowy night to demonstrate: LOOK! Snow! Winter! Dangerous!
But. Mainly calmly and kindly.
We stood in front of the calender too where "DS" is marked on every Tuesday and Friday in December. "They came? here? This week? Last week? Here?" She had no memory of that.
So hard. She can't get it. Can't hold onto the ideas of "winter" - "danger" - "exercise" "health" - "go with someone" "we are working" - "day service lady".
Just can't. Trying to explain is so hard as she can't hold the ideas long enough to connect them.
Dear Son doesn't even try to explain. He just tells her: you do it. I decided.
It was lucky that she didn't start saying "Why do I need to go with day service? I can call a taxi myself and go!" - as she did last year, because that of course gets us into the tricky topic of her dementia-state and the fact that she doesn't have the self-motivation and drive to MAKE a decision like that anymore, to decide to do it and then carry out the necessary steps to order a taxi and be ready when it comes.
Dear Son's simple diktat is better?
I should probably do the same. But I try to be kind and explain.
After 10 minutes of round and round, I managed to get the papers out of her hand and ended the conversation with : "Dear Son in home next week, talk to him about it".
And ran to my Chardonnay.
Not sure where she got the papers from. Did they arrive in the mail and she opened it? It is the January schedule etc
I actually found myself wishing I hadn't taken her out at lunchtime and to her favorite coffee shop. It over-activated her, made her think about the coffee shop and downtown. Made her wonder WHY she needs day service. I know that is bad of me - should be happy that she enjoyed the trip out and got mentally stimulated.
But a calm, docile Okaasan in front of the TV and coming to the kitchen table for feeding is easier to manage.
Anyway. I've got the day service papers away from her now. Hoping that today she has forgotten all of that. Hoping. day service will come tomorrow.