Thursday, 27 January 2022

Zoom "visit"



What do you think? Was this a good choice of Zoom filter for our online visit to Okaasan's bedside this week? I waas going for a cheerful, bright vibe...

Actually we just did a No Filter start to the visit, so it was just our smiling faces and waving hands. And then used this for a few minutes to (hopefully) entertain Okaasan and the nurses.

We spent about 10 mins online with Okaasan. She was on her side in bed. She knew it was us, nodded a response and appeared to smile - looked from the screen to the nurse etc.

We noisily prattled on about stuff - as you do with the very old or young/speech incapacitated. Lots of waving and laughs and big gestures. 

Okaasan looked as well as we hoped. Good color in her face. Reactions to the visit.

What more can be said? Strange times.

Omicron is all over us here in Japan now. National new case numbers topped 70,000 yesterday. Here is in Hokkaido daily case numbers were in double digits at the start of the month, and topped 2,000 yesterday. We are going into a Sorta-but-not-quite State of Emergency, which mainly means places serving alcohol have to close early and big events are cancelled.

Next week should be the start of the famous Sapporo Snow Festival, but it's cancelled again and there are just a few statues in the central city park. Two years ago we had the event - but were hearing news about some mystery virus in China and we were happy because the big Chinese tour groups didn't come to the festival - it was slightly easier to get around.

What a strange two years!

Friday, 21 January 2022

Zooming to a family visit...


Never mind Zuckerberg's virtual world ambitions - many of us are already in it.

The care home have offered us an online meet and greet with Okaasan. We'll be Zooming our love.
In this strange time, so much of what we do is online - work, play, ceremonies and visits. Last year I "attended" the funeral service of my my oldest friend's dad in the UK, via a camera link at the back of the chapel - beamed into my computer in Japan at 11 pm. Sat here and watched it in my pajamas.

So. We are going to have family visit time with Okaasan via Zoom. I use it for work and play, and Dear Son doesn't - so I'm the Tech Support for this event.

I'm already wondering what cute filters would be best. Maybe the one with a doggy nose and flowers around the screen? Or shall I go with the rabbit one? My usual background for English classes is a shot of blue sky and Big Ben in London. One of my students is always on a lovely beach with rolling waves and palm trees fluttering in the tropical winds.

On a more serious note: maybe we can screen share some family photographs with her? That's an idea.

As she can't talk, this is going to be a few minutes of us making cheerful conversation as we smile and wave. Maybe Dear Son should wander thru the back of the scene in his underpants. That's always good for an online event laugh...

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Visits off the table...again...

 AND....Covid derails our visit plans again.๐Ÿ˜‘

Care home called and said all family visits are cancelled while Omicron rampages around our community.

Since the winter holidays and all the travelling that so many people did to finally see families - and a really ridiculous spike in cases connected to US military bases in Japan (arriving personnel and their families faced very relaxed testing and quarantining) - Covid is up and running here again.

Our area went from under 10 new cases a day in December to 300-400 a day this week. Tokyo had 900 a week ago, and over 4,000 yesterday.

And so. We won't get to see Okaasan for another...month? Two months???

I REALLY hope they give family's like us priority reservations when they reopen, because when we entered that care home in mid-December the earliest reservation slot was February 2. So we should be given priority when it all starts again.

Meanwhile we are battling a massive winter storm that's hung around for 4 days now. So much snow. So much wind. People killed under roof snowfalls, Car crashes. Famous trees crashing under the weight of snow. Endless. We are all so tired of the snow.  Below is the neighbor's house....

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Happy? New Year


Is it? Really? A Happy New Year?
Really, you have to wonder...for Okaasan.

Yesterday we drove to the hospital thru a snow storm and delivered our New Year card and this small flower display. Of course, not TO Okaasan herself. But via the hospital side door, and the security guard called up to the ward. Handed it over to the nurse who came downstairs.
We hope it will give Okaasan some happiness. Give the staff something to chat to her about, when they come bedside to change tubes.

I believe Okaasan will understand what this is. What time of year this is. Will it bring back memories of her mammoth New Year cooking for husband's office staff 60 plus years ago? Or, my not so gorgeous attempts in recent years? My Facebook feed reminded me of the latter, with photos of my creations and shop-bought celebration food in the years when Dear Son was away skiing and Okaasan and I were Home Alone together.

I hope this small arrangement and the card with a picture of her dearest son will bring some happy memories to her. We can't see her until February, because of Covid visit limits. About two weeks ago I took in a small photo album of memories too - handed it over to the nurse. More hoping.

Dear Son and I are having a very low key holidays, at home with the TV and food and alcohol. Skiing and snow shoeing. Attending to the digestion problems of one of the cats. Putting off the diet plans...until later....

2022 has GOT to be better. Hasn't it! Is Omicron this viruses last hurrah? Japan is very strictly limiting access, still - and I have several friends who ventured out to see family abroad for the holidays - when they return it'll be thru a slew of tests, retests and quarantine. The government is running out of space to put the quarantining people, so passengers arriving in Tokyo have even been bussed or FLOWN to hotels in other cities around the country. Actually flown! Come off a long international flight, go thru all the checks etc at the airport and then herded onto another flight and taken off somewhere else.
If you live within taxi or private car reach of Tokyo or Osaka's airports, you might be able to get home to quarantine. But for thousands it has meant a 3 to 14 day stay in a hotel. At least you don't have to pay....the government is funding it. 
And if someone on your international flight later tests positive - you are called up at home and asked to go back into a hotel...

So relieved I don't have any pressing family need to go to the UK now. Maybe this year? Will travel become easier? Hope so.

And HOPE visiting an old lady at the end of her life in a hospital bed 10 mins away from here will become easier. Of course.