Sunday 23 June 2024

In the mood?

 Playlist for bedside visits...

In the mood by Glenn Miller...Dionne Warwick...Herb Alpert...kind of unusual sounds for a Japanese hospital room!

But, finally we can get in to see Okaasan and sit bedside playing her music from our smartphones. We THINK she likes it, there is head movement/shaking and not too many grimaces and tooth grinding. The occasional open eye and look.

It may be pleasure. It doesn't look like distaste or anger.

But, hard to know.

We went last week and again this week. Stayed about 20-25 mins. The dopamine drips in, the sounds waft around...and so another visit goes. Occasionally she opens her eyes and appears to look at us - and know who we are? Maybe.

But Summer of 2024 we are doing these regular visits.

Saturday 8 June 2024

FINALLY!!! Visits!!!


We are here!!!
Anytime (well, almost) we want!
The care home has relaxed the family visit rules and from June we can go any afternoon, apart from bath-time on Fridays, we can stay up to half an hour and we can be a maximum of a 3-person group.

All great. Finally. A chance to do more quality visits. Once a week. Try to catch Okaasan when she is awake. Play some music via the smart phone. Take in flowers to show her. Prattle on about stuff.

30 mins is more than enough time. The care home is 10 mins drive from home, so once a week is very doable...or more times, if we chose.

This week we had bedside time. Okaasan sometime opening her eyes to look at us, and then drifting away into a gently snoring sleep. The nurses said we can quietly play music from our smartphone - Dear Son says Glenn Miller would be Okaasan's choice.

More regular visits can resume :-)

Thursday 23 May 2024

May Visit

 Gonna be struck off the Care Home Visit List soon!

This time we actually got the time wrong and almost missed our 15 mins of valuable communication time (heavy sarcasm intended...)

He wrote it down as 3:30 pm. I had it at 3 pm.

3.01 pm the care home called to remind us we had a dearly loved relative in its care. So we rushed to go visit, grabbing the little pot of fake flowers that were a sad offering for Mother's Day.

Made it in time and sat bedside.

Okaasan was peaceful/doped up. She opened her eyes a little, shook her head a bit. Didn't make any of the awful sounds of before. We sat and tried to fill in the silence with our voices talking about the weather, flowers, recent news...

Then a nurse came up with a large plastic bag of stuff! "We found this, maybe you should take it home?" - "this" was Okaasan's old red cardigan (one of several), a T shirt, socks, underwear, hospital slippers...

It was probably transferred with her when she came to this care home 2? years ago, stashed away in the bedside closet and forgotten. Okaasan doesn't and will never again wear these clothes because now she is in pajamas and with pillows to prop her up in the best position for the tubes in and out.

So it all came home for the trash bin. We still have some of her clothes here, just because it actually feels somehow wrong to completely throw them away...I've kept the good stuff. I kind of think she might wear them in her coffin? Or, do bodies in Japan get dressed in special white clothing? My Dad went out wearing his brightest shirt and socks. I feel Okaasan might prefer to go out wearing her favorite blouse and scarf.

Thursday 16 May 2024

A little life update

 Not that my life itself is "little", you understand!

More like the update will be "little".

Thankyou for some of the comments saying you miss us/this blog. Yes, I'm afraid it's become very much an intermittent blog. It was originally about the joys and stresses of living with my Japanese mother-in-law as dementia grabbed her brain.

And along the way it was about cats, gardens, life in north Japan.

But Okaasan has been in a care home for the past 5-6 years, thru Covid times and now her home/hospital limits family visits to once a month for FIFTEEEN minutes each time - so that doesn't give much material for a blog about her.

We are going to see her next week - taking in a small bunch of fake flowers, because the hospital doesn't allow real flowers to mark Mother's Day. 

Apart from that, our life trundles on. We bought a 2nd hand camping car in March and enjoyed our first 2 night trip to the coast - sake tasting, cherry blossoms and delicious fish eating. The cat had to stay at the dreaded vets because he isn't relaxed enough yet about vanlife. We are training him gradually in all of that - a harness, hanging out in the van with snacks etc.

I dream of being one of those uber-cool bloggers who posts sunsets and coffee photos, while a handsome feline lounges beside me. I fear the reality will be a rowdy cat standing next to my pillow at 4 am demanding to be given toilet trip outside.

Other stuff? I'm working as an English teacher. Not such a busy schedule these days, kind of coasting down to retirement. A community center class I took over from another teacher a year ago mushroomed into 7 classes at three different centers in the group - which helps pay for the cat's food.
Dear Son is completely retired. He does 90% of the planning/shopping/cooking for us, and fixes things around the house when there is a break in the TV baseball or soccer. Our health is pretty good, which is a relief.

Oh - and THIS is exciting - I did a tree walking course and zip line! Big challenge for my fear of heights, but very fun. The "high" feeling of the success stayed with me all week. I can see how people get addicted to that feeling and chase the next thrill.

Travel plans this year will probably be something in the RV, and a lot of friends are planning visits here this summer - travel to Japan is cheap right now. So I imagine many BBQs, festivals and beers.

So, there we are. a little life update.