Thursday, 26 May 2016

Question. Reply. Question. Reply....Question...

Agggghhhhhh morning....

Okaasan has a bee in her bonnet - and excellent phrase for dementia - about the prepaid card for elderly subway users.

For some reasonTHAT is her worry of the moment. Yesterday. And again this morning.

Driving us nuts.

She worries that the pass is out of date or can't be used. That she must buy a ticket.
Doesn't matter how often we say: "No, the card is fine. Just put it in the ticket gate. Don't buy a ticket. You never need to buy a ticket".

On and on and on and on.

Finally we wrote out the above phrase and taped it and the prepaid card together. Gave her both and closed the door of her room. She is there now - looking at the Tv- and then glancing back at the card/handwritten note in her hand...and away again - on a 1 minute or less cycle.

Aghhh....he has escaped to work. I will shortly. Okaasan may start asking the cats for their advice when we are gone.

Oh the stress. For all of us.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Family day out

There we are - happy family. Mum and son.
Down the Lilac Festival, with beer, oysters, tempura, snacks and sunshine.
Perfect day out.

We took Okaasan downtown by subway - having the whole "buy a ticket/how to use this electronic pass?" conversation and noticing how weak she is climbing the subway steps. each footstep ALMOST catching its toe on every single step.
Then  walking thru the park in the crowds and sunshine, hand in hand. 
Settling her in a nice shady place while we got food, then sitting watching the world go by.

I think Okaasan enjoyed it. She ate lots and commented on things around her.

We included carefully timed stops at toilets along the way. Sit down points. And came home by streetcar and taxi. All done by 2 pm.

The noisy apartment breaking work was I closed Okaasan's windows and put a fan in her room. Not enough.

By 3.15 pm she was saying:"Can I go out? Did I go out this morning?"

We managed to dissuade her with cups of tea and encouraging chat. She IS amazingly strong for 85, but two outings in hot sunshine is probably enough.

Anyway. Happy day out.

* Have to see if the clothes repair shop can shorten Okaasan's trousers. She now wears the waistband under her armpits and the bottom of the legs are dangerously on the ground. She must have shrunk....

* Cat and Mouse hell - that season has started again. Popo bringing home live presents. I had one mouse climbing onto the printer while I was sitting her on the computer, I found a 2nd dead in the shoe box when I took out my work shoes and this morning we had a 3rd alive in the bedroom at 2 am. I decamped to the sofa to sleep (with the cat who thought he'd done enough) - and I left Dear Son/Boyfriend sleeping in the bedroom with the window-escape route hopefully open. 
Didn't work - at 7 am we had to take all the rubbish out of the bedroom (it will make us clean it) and DS caught the mouse in the laundry basket.

Life. Full of joy.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Broken routines

Okaasan lives a daily routine.
Wake, doze, open curtains, toilet, doze, TV, doze....Tv....doze.....lunch.....doze, sleep...TV....late afternoon walk....shops.....home....TV...dinner.....TV.....doze...sleep.

Not this past week.

The old apartment building across the road is being knocked down. 8 am to 5 pm the whole street is shuddering with the digger, the breaker, the truck etc And even in the one hour lunch break, when quiet might come - the truck driver keeps the engine running for his essential air con.

So, it's noisy.
Gives us all stress.
Okaasan complains about it, in her usual strange round-about-way. It isn't that: "I don't like that noise" - but "Dear Son doesn't like that noise and he went to work early!", "the woman next door said "We shouldn't put our laundry outside because of the dust!" (this is actually Okaasan's opinion about ME and MY laundry...which I have reassured her about countless times this week).

So she goes out earlier in the afternoon. To escape the crash and bash of deconstruction.

And yesterday: left the house at 9.30 am!!! I went downstairs to check the money in her wallet before I left for work. And she'd gone.

Caused us a few troubles because it was a lunch box delivery day, so I contacted Dear Son, he contacted the delivery guy...and the box was left in the fairly cool hallway. Okaasan still out.

I came home at 6 pm to find Okaasan surrounded by empty and full food boxes. The ones she had bought outside, the delivered one. All scattered around on the carpet and table around her. She was eating a rice ball. The shopping receipts (ALWAYS my main source of info about her day!!!) showed that she was round our local shops buying stuff at 11 am...and THEN went downtown by subway and around 3 pm DS met her while he was bike taxi working.

So she was out for hours - 6 hours or more! All to escape the noise.

Not surprisingly, at dinner she didn't want to eat much. Didn't decide that until the food started to be served (why why is that?) - and then sat at the table watching us eat. But she was lively. Chatty. Unusual. Usually, recently, she sits silent at dinner and I'm afraid he and I chat to eachother about our working English...which isn't inclusive. But she just sits and eats, eyes down. Unconnected....

Yesterday - all the activity in Okaasan's day - forced out by the noise - was actually good for her. Made her go out and walk more. Instead of hours of sleep and TV. It activated her brain much more and in the evening - instead of being exhausted after 6 hours out of the house - she was connected and chatty

Activity is so important. I wish we could get her into day service or a  club for the elderly. But she won't. She would need to be organised into it every week, and picked up from home and delivered - she isn't able to follow an appointment. And she and Dear Son aren't doing that. Only the winter care.

When I am old I will make sure to live in a situation where I am almost forced to have daily activity, physical and mental. Sitting by the Tv for hours is so bad. Sleeping in front of the TV in a lit room also bad.
There was a report recently that scientists believe lack of deep sleep over a long time is bad for the brain and allows the buildup of the substances which start blocking the brain connections and end up in dementia. Deep sleep - sooooo important. I think Okaasan has spent years falling asleep in front of the TV, and then waking throughout the night in a fully lit room with the flickering screen.

Too late for Okaasan now. Not too late for me.
We need them!

Monday, 9 May 2016


Something happened to Okaasan last night. But, with this dementia-thingy it is impossible to know WHAT.
I ask in a very general way and get a vague answer. Which may hold a clue. Or not.

But she sits at the dinner table, obviously exhausted and stressed. Refuses food, and then eats it when it is put within reach. Needs three prompts to get up and start the tea-making process. Looks confused. Exhausted.


She went out late afternoon. Sunny, not so windy. Good walking conditions.
By 6.45 pm it was dark and dinner was almost ready. DS is working evenings at the moment, so I am the Provider, Decider etc
GPS shows me that she is down near our local station. So, heading home. 
I finish the dinner preps. Wait. wait.
7.20 pm she still hasn't arrived. It usually takes her about 15-20 mins to walk from the station. Check GPS again. She is STILL in the same a shop? Sitting by the side of the road tired? Lost?
I went and got her in the car. Found her on one of the roads heading home. Walking shakily home, with a heavy magazine and a brain training word puzzle (!!!!) game book in a bag. But so, so tired.

"I walked all that way..." is the only information I can get. Did she get lost and walk up and down the station area street, instead of coming home?

I was extra kind and sweet at the dinner table. Gave her some chat about my Couch Surfers who were going all the way to Tokyo by bus, chatted about the cats, cherry blossoms - chat chat chat. She brightened a little. Ate something. Made herself tea after a lot of prompting.

But. Hmm.. I wonder what happened?
I grumble about my life with Okaasan a lot. Hell, I have a whole blog about it! But I DO care and worry. I don't want her to feel scared or stressed, and when she is down I worry and wonder.

Anyway. Big public holiday time - known as Golden Week - is finished here. I had a wonderful time and here are some pictures to celebrate that. Cherry blossoms, spring, hikes, kayaking, Couch Surf guests, friends, movies.....OH! and auditioned for a job on TV and didn't get it....probably best really, I don't have the time to be a star too ;-)