When this is all over...yes, when Okaasan dies....I imagine what we'll do.
What I ACTUALLY imagine for the day she dies is a lot of confusion...specially if I am alone here and find her under the kotatsu, with the TV blaring and gone. If Dear Son is away in the mountains I guess I'll just have to leave Okaasan in situ and call him to come start the whole process of police? funeral company? whatever whatever (he is having a practice run with that now after his brother's death).
And cheese fondue.
I actually imagine that our first dinner without Okaasan will be cheese fondue.
Yes. I'm that bad.
In my mind cheese fondue represents our lives Before Okaasan. What we could eat when she wasn't living with us. Of course, we could eat it now and across the table give her something healthy - but my fondue daydreams represent so much more than cheese, flour and wine. It represents our old days. Freedom from responsibility. What we could enjoy at home before we had to consider an elderly Japanese lady and her needs.
After that...I imagine we'll have to decide what to do with the next stage of our lives. Stay here in this house? Move? Move to a ski resort? Open a guest house?
Become a professional carer?
This is actually the point of this blog. Not cheese fondue on the night an old lady dies.
Caring skills. I'm getting pretty good at this - I DO say so myself. I could do this and get paid for it. :-)
I'm basking in Carer Confidence after this weekend's Bath time.
It really all went well, with a few minus points, but I'm really getting the hang of this. And Okaasan followed directions and was happy and didn't slap me. Progress.
Start the bath running. Heat up the changing area. Set out a chair, pink towels (not the frayed at the seams one, otherwise she'll fuss about sewing it).
Tell Okaasan it's bathtime.
Encourage her to switch off the TV and go to the bathroom.
She undresses herself.
Check water temperature.
Leave her for a bit.
Check the water temperature.
Go in about 4 more times under different pretexts - now I am SO much better at just walking into her bathroom. Bright smile, chat. Most normal thing in the world to be standing with you next to the bathtub.
While she is bathing - do a quick clean of her room. Grab laundry.
After 45 mins start encouraging her to get out.
Keep at it.
Finally start talking about "lunch is ready" and gently tapping her hands and then the bath rail to show her HOW to pull herself up out of the bath.
Direct her with gentle finger taps to move her bum around so she is in the correct position to stand.
Start draining water from the bath.
Finally, put my hand under her armpits and lift her up to start her standing.
Let her get out of the bath.
Sit her on the bath-stool. Wash her hair. Chat.
Help with towels etc, back to her room.
Toe nail clipping.....and under toe nail scraping (wow! 86 year old body still growing!)
Hair drying....encourage her to use the dryer.
Give her water to drink. Time to cool down.
Start cooking lunch.
All of that between 9.30 and 11.30 am.
She was mainly happy and smiley. Didn't get stressed or angry. Didn't slap my hands or shout. Only screamed once - I give myself minus points for forgetting to warm my hands before touching her body in the bath.
A year ago I still wasn't confident about even going into the bathroom with her.
Now? Old pro!
So. Should I forget the daydreams of owning a guest house in a ski resort and welcoming guests from around the world? Should I think about opening a care home for seniors?!!
It's one thing to do it for someone out of love for their son. Family duty. Easing the guilt I feel because I didn't do much caring for my own parents in the UK. It would be a whole other level to do this day in and day out for strangers....I admire people who do that SO MUCH.
Pat on the back - with warm hands - for carers everywhere. We are doing a great job. :-)