Sunday, 29 June 2014


Hardly seen her.
Hardly seen him either.
Or the cats.

Or anything, really.

Just a lot of work. Some of it must-finish-before-holiday stuff and some just regular stuff, with intensity.
Days and days of early morning football on the TV, then work till 8 or 9 pm...home to grabbed, unhealthy food and bed.
He's been doing the home duties.
I got away for one night to see Cutest Baby in the World and his mum, now relocated to Tochigi. And I caught up at a cake buffet with a friend visiting from the UK. And did some gardening.
But. Really?
I don't remember much else.

The football has been great - although watching some games on fast forward on the TV, so we can cram in two games before work-time - THAT does bad stuff to your eyes. Getting more and more excited about our holiday. 10 days from now.

Okaasan bought fuki, a kind of large, wild celery. She buys it about once a year.
I make her cook it. The cooking is just long boiling and soaking, but the cutting, and ripping off the tough bits etc takes for ever. She buys it - she can do it. I organised her into it and kept popping into the kitchen to show enough interest and make interested sounds. She does so little kitchen-work - it is good for her hands and brain to be doing it.
Today is hair salon day. Again, I suggested it to her and gave her a large paper with the name and phone numbers of the two salons; downtown or local. She chose local again and I called. I'll take her along there today.

I am sorry. This blog is hardly interesting now. My life is whirling on, and with Dear Son on summer work - Okaasan is hardly in my care.
But we are going away soon: the longest she has been left since she came to live with us. The longest holiday we've had as a couple too. Hell hotel for two cats.
We'll see how that goes...

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Dropping in...

Like a frog in hot water...I'm obviously adapting to my lot in life ....10 days since the last posting.

Life with Okaasan trundling along. No huge exciting, and blogworthy, dramas.

The weather has been awful, rain rain rain - kept her inside for days. I was also working a lot - got a whole rush of new and returning students recently - so not home for many evening family dinner-time. Dear Son did his duty. Planning, shopping and cooking for his mother. He is a good man - I am so lucky in this - that he is rare breed in this country of Men Who Do Stuff in Kitchens.

And coming up?
Our trip to Brazil for the final weekend of the World Cup.
We started getting into the mood for it all - with a 5 am Viewing Party in a Latin music bar on Tv again - met various Brazilians and crazy fellow-fans.

Japanese newspapers are full of horror stories about crime in Brazil, I'm trying to balance that image (for both of us) with plenty of TV images of happy, friendly Brazilian street scenes.

Starting the preparations for escaping.

He's contacted day service minders for Okaasan's care. It'll be 3 people, who will take turns to come late every afternoon and stay for about two hours.
They will come the day before we leave for a meeting....and he isn't planning on telling Okaasan that we are going away until then....
Poor woman. Suddenly she will hear that a big change is about to happen and THREE women will come and sit in the kitchen for a meeting about looking after her. I think they should have a meeting away from home - at the city office maybe - and not in front of Okaasan. Although I understand they all need to meet her. But still, it seems it'll be stressful for her to be the subject of a meeting with 3 people.
We have to make a list of info about Okaasan and her routines and what we want the carers to do.
Basically: shop, cook, serve, chat and clean a bit. Help her to have a bath once or twice. Keep the laundry under control.
But we have to give a map of where Okaasan goes walking and her routines. Easy to do as she is always at the same places.

This is the longest time we have left her. Before this it was 2 nights. This time it will be 9 nights.

And cats: have booked them into animal hospital for cat hotel hell. ;-( 10 nights...poor little buggers. But, it WILL be air conditioned....which is better than home.

And. A big, scary AND.
A friend sent me a UK newspaper link last week - there is a massive passport office crisis now unfolding, with the governemnt admitting that recent changes in the system have led to a long backlog of unprocessed passport applications.
My passport is somewhere there: in a box in the passport office.
It went 6 weeks ago for renewal. And nothing has come.
3 1/2 weeks till we leave.....
The British Embassy in Tokyo told me "keep checking our website, and we are waiting to hear from London ourselves, but there is a chance of an emergency passport 48 hours before travel...."

Just adding to the pre-trip nervous excitement :-)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

AND...okay again....

Okaasan back up and in action again.
Mystery pain forgotten and gone.
Yesterday she ate lunch, washed a few underpants, went out at 5 pm and came home at 7 pm - after a long walk all the way to MacDonald's and back. Ate huge dinner. 
After 2 days laying on the carpet moaning and gasping.

We think that maybe the sharp pain in the ribs/side was just that she'd been sleeping in a bad position and had muscle pain. She sleeps on the carpet, usually on her side, facing the TV (Yes, we know this is bad...but she won't do anything different).

These mystery pains that come and go in Okaasan's life.
Of course old people gets aches and pains - that's normal.
But, I do feel the dementia changes how she reacts to it: everything is always a BIG drama. It's a huge pain, right now! Don't know what! Don't remember why ( of course)....

It's the same with pets. They have a physical problem. They can't tell you how or why, or really how much. And it is NOW!

In a way it is good that Okaasan has such anti-hospitals/doctors opinions, because we don't - or really can't - take her to have anything checked out. Every time she stops eating and just lays around on the carpet, sipping water....and we wait...and eventually whatever it was passes...and she goes back to her routines.
Of course, if there IS something that needs outside help she will only let us get it very late, probably when she is unable to fight us off - but these fleeting problems come and go - without us knowing any more. If there is something bad happening in her body we won't know. That is her choice.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The old lady at Table 4...

Bet every cafe/restaurant has one: the old person who comes in and orders one coffee. And sits there for ages, glancing at a newspaper and looking around. Just being. Taking up the table space, but not showing any signs of moving soon.
Waiters probably hover at the kitchen door, wondering how to shift the long stay - one coffee customer.

Okaasan has found two new places to go and have a coffee at.
Recently she isn't so strong at all on walking. She staggers along, touching the walls or parked cars, or shop signs. So her walking is often closer to home. The Seicomart coffee counter or MacDonald's are increasingly too far.
Last week we found her (GPS) in the little curry restaurant 100 meters from home. At 7.20 pm. She'd left the house about 6 pm, so she'd been there for an hour with one coffee. Wasn't really aware that it was after 7 pm and that family dinner might be waiting....
It isn't a popular restaurant, so there was no pressure for tables - but I guess the guy maybe wanted to shut up shop and call it a night. He looked very relieved when we appeared to take Okaasan home.
Next night ( probably because we'd chatted about it), Okaasan had coffee in the far more popular curry restaurant about 200 m from home. But she didn't stay long. It's always got a line of customers and I expect the waiters are good at moving the tables along.

There's been a lot in the Japanese media recently about dementia sufferers wandering from home and getting lost or causing accidents with trains and trucks. One poor woman was missing for SEVEN years, before she was featured in an NHK program about dementia and someone recognised her!!!! 
I feel a little reassured that we live in a friendly, safe area where Okaasan can wander and not get into trouble...maybe. People are kind. If it takes a village to raise a certainly takes a village to look out for the elderly.

We cared for Okaasan on Saturday with a day out family style. Went to a fishing lake with tickets for a cheap curry lunch.

The walk in thru the ponds was uneven ground, but with DS's help Okaasan managed it. Lunch took some time coming to the table, but Okaasan happily looked at the fishing groups and told us about her father and fishing, and why river fish is inferior to sea fish etc.
She looks at menus many times in restaurants, maybe not sure if we've ordered yet or not - and commenting on the foods.

Dear Son and Okaasan...hand in hand ;-))

This week hasn't got off to a good start.
Okaasan went walking Sunday - maybe a long stagger down to the MacDonald's.
DS and I were both out when she came home, so she ate the dinner I'd left out for her on the table.
Monday morning she was in agony with a pain in her right rib area.
"This isn't my stomach, is it? But I shouldn't eat anything..."
She's been on the carpet now for two days - getting up to get to the bathroom and get yogurts from the fridge...
We don't know what happened. Did she fall on Sunday? Something else? There is no cut or bruise on her skin. We don't know. But it's only 2 days....wait and see ...wait and see.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

An away from home activity for me...

Started kayaking today!
More boring stuff about Okaasan and Me another time.....just enjoy kayaking for today.

Hokkaido Kayaking.