It's been a whole year: Okaasan living in the care home.
Facebook kindly reminded me, along with pictures of snow and Dear Son birthday parties of the past years, that in November 2017 Okaasan started her new life.
As did we.
And the cats finally claimed the room with the oh-so-soft carpet and heater.
It took her over two months to settle into life there. But she has done. And that is still surprising because she is/was such an independent person. But now she chats with other old ladies and the staff, enjoys the entertainments they have in the lounge, takes her meds and walks around with a stroller (not strongly, but walking).
Last weekend we took her by car to the department store and wheeled her around the Christmas displays and sat in the food court to eat snacks and coffee.
She was mainly silent and smiley. But once, when I talked about the herb used to make the traditional snacks - she became very animated and told me clearly about the little white flowers on the herb.
It is a reminder that talking doesn't indicate intelligence or understanding. She may be quiet most of the time, while we prattle on - but she IS understanding. I read the blog of a woman in the UK who has dementia and she writes eloquently about the days when she can form the words in her brain, but can't speak them.
So. Snow is falling and ski season is about to start.
Dear Son will head off for his first 10 days of work this weekend. I wil head into the month of parties and special classes...and skiing....and hopefully more tour guide work.
Okaasan visiting duties fall to me. Once a week for sure...but since my very sick friend is still hanging on in alive in a hospital bed my attention is divided. She has been sick since January, with a disease where the life expectancy is 7 to 10 months. I never thought she would survive the summer...
Tuesday, 13 November 2018
It was fun and gave us many ideas for our future life. Camping car in Europe and driving and living at many different ski areas....a life after Okaasan and cats in Japan...you only live once and gotta follow the dreams!
We spent a week exploring central Japan - some machine-snow ski areas in Shizuoka and Nagano (to look, not ski), and a wonderful day on rented bikes in stylish, autumnal Karuisawa...and then to Tochigi to see the Oya Stone quarry caves and the oldest stone Buddah in Japan...and finally a long boozy night with one of his friends in Yokohama.
I came back at the weekend to start work. The cats survived animal hospital stay - a little clingy and very hoarse voices. But fine, and (disappointingly) didn't lose as much weight as I'd hoped.
Dear Son is carousing with old friends in the Tokyo suburbs still - so I did the Okaasan visit on Sunday.
Now ski season is arriving it will be me more and more going to the care home - so this was the start of OUR season - Okaasan and Me at the Care Home!
This time I took in some sweetend rice drink and snacks. We sat in her room eating. Then I bundled her up in a coat and took her by wheelchair round the streets - all the way to a local department store ground floor.
She was happy and positive - had an obsession with pointing out each and every Lawson's convenience store and saying: "you can get any kind of shopping in there...".
I told her Dear Son was working at a ski resort with rich Chinese. She was happy enough with this familiar story.
Then back to the home...she had a toilet trip with one of the staff and I showed the floor manager the new pajamas I'd bought Okaasan and marked with her name. After 90 mins I left...had a delicious ramen late lunch on the way home.
Monday, 5 November 2018
Okaasan enjoys autumn. :-)
What could be more perfect? A seat in the sunshine with this view, a cup of coffee, loving family members and leaves/dogs/babies/happy people?
One of our city parks yesterday was glorious. Everyone was out to enjoy the day - which may be the last warm day of the year. We walked with the wheelchair around it and saw two of our friends (Okaasan had no idea who they were, but enjoyed the feeling of meeting someone). Okaasan was happy and smiley..very little conversation - apart from observations about sunshine and leaves...and cute dogs.
It was a lovely day.
And now? It's 4.30 am Monday...and HE and I are going on a couple holiday!!!!! Camping car trip in mainland Japan....here we come!!!