Okaasan and Me
Home life with an elderly Japanese lady (Okaasan) who has to live with a not-so-sweet foreign daughter-in-law (Oyomesan).
Wednesday, 26 April 2023
Another month. Another online meet and greet.
Sunday, 19 March 2023
Good bye little furball
We've lost a furry family member. One of our dear cats has died.
It seems strange to report it here, on a very...VERY occasional blog about shared life of a Japanese lady and a foreign daughter-in-law.
But the puss cat was one of our family. I know some old friends and old students read this blog, so it's a way to share the news.
Yesterday afternoon our cancer kitty lost the fight with the disease that was first diagnosed only in December. Just 4 months ago he was a fat, over-eating ball of cat joyfulness, when I first took him to the vets a little concerned about yet more fat "lumps" in his neck.
Chemo treatments, CT scans, radiotherapy...visits to our vets...the university teaching animal hospital...even another vet that offered slightly alternative Vitamin C serum shots...for him and for us it's been an increasingly sad winter - all the ups and downs of this disease.
Towards the end Dear Son and I were slightly at odds about how "the end" was going to be. I was ready to accept the end and ask the vet to ease the suffering about a week ago. Dear Son wanted to try the Vitamin C treatment he'd read about online. I agreed, grudgingly. But understanding he needed one-more-try.
That failed to have any impact. By midweek I was sleeping on the living room floor. Furball had stopped eating.
Our own vet wasn't keen to step in and put Furball to sleep earlier this week - when he was still able to stagger to the water bowl and into my futon. It was a bit frustrating for me, but not a surprise - many vets in Japan are not supportive of pet euthanizing until there is clear suffering.
But when he'd stopped reaching the water bowl himself, they set us up with subcutaneous injection shot kit. We did this for our old cat and his failing kidneys - years ago back at the start of this blog - so it was doable.
Toilet accidents. No food. Shots of water to ease dehydration, then the real physical signs of "end". Yesterday we took him to the vet and let him pass on to the great grassy field of cat heaven.
Very hard. Our home is full of memories of him. His brother has seen the body twice - looked, sniffed and turned away. He is a bit needy and clingy. We are exhausted and sad. Tonight a mobile cremation service will come and do the cremation in our parking space. And we'll keep Furball's ashes to scatter when the snows have melted and the house is surrounded by the wild grassy areas he loved.
5 days now to comfort eachother. 5 days for me to get my head ready for a trip to England. I haven't travelled outside Japan for 5 years? With all of this I haven't time to think of it. But now I must.
Thankyou Furball for the love of 13 years. He often sat in my arms here at the computer.
Everywhere there are memories of you.
Sunday, 5 February 2023
Hoping for a downgrade
Another 10 mins waving at Okaasan thru a computer screen.
She was on her side, face slightly swollen, the tubes in place, blinking at the screen. When the nurse moved her face tubes Okaasan moaned...a cheerful doctor told us all is well...as well as it can be.
The Japanese government is getting detailed about downgrading Covid to seasonal flu level this April or May, and along with that (we hope!) many things in life could change. Mask wearing outside should become more the norm, events will be at full capacity, more hospitals can treat Covid-like symptoms.
And care homes and hospitals? Will they open up for family visits?
It will, of course, be totally up to the facility management and my guess is that they won't. They'll leave current systems in place thru May and June...and IF things look ok they may consider relaxing visiting rules in the summer? Will we get to see Okaasan this summer?
If I was betting. I'd say no.
In other news: I am going to the UK for the first time in 5 or 6 years. End of March I'm flying for hours and hours to avoid Russia, and will blow a lot of my savings on air tickets and care rental. But it will be good to eat carrot cake, cheese, roast meat...and see friends again.
The cat is still fighting the lymph cancer. 5 lots of chemo now. He's lost weight and is subdued. But we try to make his days happy, somehow. It's been a crazy cold winter - minus 12 here in the city at night and electricity bills have gone up by 30%. But the cancer kitty must be warm and comfortable. More savings gone.
Thursday, 29 December 2022
Ending 2022...as we started...
So this is ChristmasAnd what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear