Sunday, 4 June 2017

On watch. In turns.

One hour each in the kitchen - at hand to make sure Okaasan doesn't fall off the sofa, stand up...throw a tantrum. On watch to respond to her ever-changing needs and anger level.

Yesterday morning was definitely worse. Late afternoon she was mixing querulous with bursts of anger. Occasional laughs. Then stressy hand flapping and shouting.

And I am emerging as the focus of negative feeling.

"That English woman..." - who doesn't wipe things down properly, doesn't know Japanese way...doesn't...

And one very odd conversation about "Japanese people don't wear aprons at mealtimes"...from a woman who comes from a culture and generation where women certainly DO wear an apron at mealtimes. Okaasan's absolute routine ever since she has lived here, and back into the mists of time, has been to put on her apron when sitting down to eat.
But now? What is that? Why do you want me to wear it? Japanese people don't do this!

It all has started to come out. Paranoia.
Hate cats
Is this water safe to drink?
Maybe somebody pushed me? Did I fall naturally?

And place confusion.
Where is this? Where are we going to eat?  Do we live here? Are those my clothes? Are we going home soon?

Dear Son is keeping his patience so far.

He and I have had long conversations about options and what-is-best. I think the best option is that she stays at home and he and day care support try to manage this situation into the coming week. Second option is to get her into a short stay unit. Third option is go back to hospital.

Apparently the short stay option isn't that easy right away. Okaasan's Welfare Care level is too low to be able to activate that option immediately. She is Level 1. That's the level based on the interview with the psychologist and home appraisal by day care manager. Obviously her dementia level has shot up (down?) several levels this week, and if she was appraised now it would be different.

Dear Son is for the back-to-hospital option. Even though he recognises it won't be good for her mentally, at all. Physically she isn't so great. This morning she seems to have more back pain. Wheelchair to the toilet again.
Meanwhile HIS back pain is increasing because he is hauling her around....

We are taking turns to be on watch.
Sitting in the kitchen within sight and shout range of Okaasan.
I sit and read a book. Look at my smartphone. He relaxes upstairs with TV.
Then an hour later we swap - he sits in the kitchen watching football on his smartphone and I sit upstairs with Netflix.

He slept again on the floor of her room and took her to the toilet in the night.

We'll try to do lunch...aiming for a friendly, family feeling at the kitchen table. Which is nearly impossible with Okaasan complaining about the food size/type/arrangement. I keep my head down and just eat. let Dear Son do all the soothing agreeing and gentle explaining.

After lunch.....the major task of getting her BACK to hospital.
Special wheel chair taxi will come at 2 pm.
We've agreed to try and tell Okaasan "oh, let's go out together, let's use the wheelchair...let's take this taxi..." and NOT, initially make it Return to Hospital. Until that is inevitable.

I fear an actual physical situation with her resisting him trying to get her into a wheelchair and shouting and anger.

He feels he must follow the hospital system. Return her there. Talk to the nursing staff etc Then day care manager to tomorrow.

It's the Japanese way. To accept system and authority. Of course, it wouldn't be my way as an English woman....if this was my parent I'd be calling the hospital and TELLING them that my parent was going to stay here at home. Then hassling the care manager Monday morning to give me a) full care worker support for home care or b) get a short stay place ASP.

But it isn't England. It isn't my parent. I try to imagine what it would be like if this was Mum or Dad, or my wonderful step-mum shouting and attacking verbally like this. How I would feel. It must be so hard for Dear Son.

I have a protective non-family coat. I react as a human to the anger and rudeness. But without the emotion.

So. Okaasan will - maybe - go back to hospital this afternoon.

And yes. We are planning to let out our whole loada stress with beer and meat/soup curry for dinner. Looong weekend. It's rained and been cold too.....going to work next week looks like happiness on the horizon...


  1. Oh, I am soooo sorry. Maybe the hospital in the short term and possibilty of dementia unit??? I wish I could offer more than encouragement. Please take care of yourself and husband. Care giving is not for the faint of heart. Laura

    1. Thankyou. It certainly isn't. And I am worried that Dear Son is just doing too much. He walks in and out of her room endlesly asking her if she is ok. He won't settle. I don't connect with her unless she is calling out. He just exhutsing to watch. Maybe it's better she gos to hospital so HE has a break.

  2. To manage to care and to keep your distance is not an easy task but I think you are doing a wonderful job. As you said it is his mother after all.