Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Role reversal

Sooooo lucky to be part of a team: the Carers.

Now is a public holiday time in Japan, Golden Week...several public holidays all near eachother, and if you are lucky you get a whole 9 days of holiday! This year - I am. Amazing.

But he is now working. Bike taxi. Special customer. Afternoons and evenings. For the next 26 days.

So our roles have reversed. After all the home care he has done for me and my knee - now is his turn to be out in the world. And I am keeping Okaasan and home, cats and life ticking over.

I'm happy to have a quiet week close to home. Gentle exercise with the knee. A lot of house cleaning, garden prepping, Breaking Bad seasons on Netflix....cherry blossoms...time with friends.

Okaasan is good. She's gone walking alone. Another trip on the subway and home again safely. Will this continue? Last summer shuddered to a halt, with location confusion and a major loss of confidence. WE never knew why. So we started taking her out ourselves. But this spring, she appears to be ok again.

26 days on Okaasan duty.....26 nights of lunches or dinners.....with Okaasan. Isn't a great prospect. She is so silent at meals now. But anyway....

She appears fine. A little more confused about whether it is morning or evening, a little more confused about taking our post into her room - I found her sorting thru packets of free cat food the other day (!!!) and a little more repetition of action - the endless window checks, bag checks, bits of paper checks...

But fine. I think.

The treasure trove of photo albums are here upstairs. I so want to give them to her and start chatting about their contents. But I do understand that this has to wait until the brother moved/house sold story is active. We hope the house will sell soon, the agent seems to think it will - and then once that is happening and she knows about it - we can give her the albums.

Role Reversal.
Looking at those Okaasan and Dear Son photographs of a long time ago, made me think.
In those days she was planning his food, entertainment, money management, clothes, personal safety.
And now - 50 years later....he is doing it all for her.
Even down to the toilet accidents and diapers.

Nobody wants to depend on their children to look after them. But it is the safety net that anyone with a child has - hopefully.

I have no children.

It makes me think of MY safety net. Now I am 56. When I am 86, who will be taking care of me? I have a vague plan that I will be back in England by then - Dear Son having passed to the big football game with beer in the sky - and I will be in a care home....

I guess.


  1. My husband comes from a long-lived family and I come from a short-lived one, so he expects to have to care for me in the end. He already does so much for me, since I am disabled in my legs. But the unexpected often happens. That's life. And I often wonder if I can be a worthy caregiver for him if it should become necessary.

    1. Yes, the life trundles along with everyone in their usual roles...but events can change all of that. For some reason in mind I have the movie poster of Diane Keaton as a business woman grasping a baby on her hip - some movie years ago about a woman who ends up with a baby after the death of her sister? If Dear Son dies suddenly I'd be left grasping Okaasan to my hip....!!!! On a more serious note - don't worry yourself too much about being a "worthy" caregiver - love is the most important thing you can give him - more physically able people (professional/volunteer/friends/family) can take care of the practicalities of life!

  2. I have three kids, whom I love very much, and who love me in return -- but that's no guarantee of anything. I used to do a lot of volunteer work in nursing homes in several cities in the US, and most of the elderly residents had kids, too. Families scatter -- even loving families. So the best that any of us can do is guess!

    1. Very Japan there are so many scattered families with no contact..I think there is now a system where a non family member can become a Guardian, and next week I am going to a meeting with a local lawyer to ask about that! More in the blog to come....