I came home yesterday to find Okaasan's slippers.
So. I knew she was out. Gone. Not at home in her room raging at the curtains, us, the ceiling, the Tv, the blanket, the water.....
The house was empty and quiet. I changed into my home clothes, opened a beer, fed the cats and cut the lawn.
Dear Son came home soon after, looking exhausted and emotional.
Okaasan is now in a mental health hospital. In a locked room. With a restraint on the bed, so she doesn't get up and fall in the night. On drugs to try and level out the anger at us and the world.
And we feel awful about this. Guilt.
What have we done to Okaasan? Is this the best thing to do? Really?
Apparently, an elderly care home won't accept her at the moment because of the anger issues. Consideration for other residents and staff. If she calms down enough to be with other people then admission to a care home is possible - probably a private room with staff looking after her. Or home? Maybe.
But this was the next stage advice from social worker, day service manager and the doctor at the orthopedic hospital - that Okaasan's fury needs medication, and then once she is manageable another stage of care home or real home can be considered.
Dear Son took his mum yesterday. They had a short joint interview with the doctor, in which Okaasan denied ever being in the orthopedic hospital for 3 weeks etc and waffled on about going downtown alone every day. Then a nurse took Okaasan gently away and Dear Son talked to the doctor alone about their suggested program. To keep her at the hospital, try some dementia drugs to find a good level for her.....a level which will let her be easier to care for.
Finally, after years of ignoring the drugs options. Dear Son is accepting that drugs may help his mum.
He was shocked to be in a mental health hospital. However new and bright it was. Many many locked doors. Warnings about not bringing sharp objects, outside food...restricted visiting hours, questions about who was allowed to visit. All of that. Me too - I have images of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
We went and ate soup curry near home. We went to a local bar. We drank and talked quietly. Both just shocked, and feeling sad and guilty.
"It's like a pet that people throw away. That's how I feel. I think I should have done better for her" said Dear Son.
And I agreed. I tried to gently soothe his feelings by saying how much we have done for Okaasan over the past 10 years. So many things we HAVE done right. To make her happy here with us. How we have taken the right decisions along the way...and in the past 3-4 weeks.
She needed to go to hospital for the back.
She needed to stay quiet in a corset in bed.
The hospital has no mental health care for patients.
We tried to have her at home.
We tried to protect her physically, and mentally.
We have tried to look after her at home. It isn't possible now. That isn't our fault. It's the sickness of dementia that has taken over her mind. If someone is injured or sick, you try to get help - professional help. And that's what we are doing.
We tell ourselves this. But we don't feel it.