Tuesday, 8 September 2020

My body?

 We had a family visit to the toilet yesterday.

First time in a while - when we are only meeting Okaasan for 15 mins a week, the chance that we'll be heading to the toilet together is less. Yesterday Okaasan actually said the word: "Toilet"....so off we went.

The three of us, plus wheelchair, were doing the dance of : chair/body/handbar/pull down pants/turn/sit...wait...and reverse everything again.

Okaasan could stand and hold the handbars, and with our big encouragement and physical support, she could turn and slump onto the toilet seat.

But slump was the word. If a sack of potatoes needed to go to the toilet. This is what it would be like. Very little independent movement or muscle use. Shocking. And sad.

In the past, if you ripped off some toilet paper and gave it to Okaasan, she did something with it - folding it politely..or rubbing it on the correct part of her body. This time, her hand held the paper....and did nothing at all.

Gently, taking the paper back, Dear Son wiped his mother's body. Returning the favor for all those nappy changes 60 years ago...

Returned to the wheelchair she just slumped. No attempt to push herself back in to the seat or sit upright. We hauled her into a sitting position.

But she made eye contact with us and smiled and did the goldfish pouting gesture with her mouth. A few minutes later, in her room, we washed her hands at the sink and when given the hand towel she made the motions of drying her fingers with it. And we praised her.


But I just feel sad.

This disease, it reduces you so very much. This lively, smart woman - a whole life time of experiences - and now her brain doesn't give her the information of "I need to sit in a better position and should move my legs and arms".

Doesn't give her the information about what this paper is used for.


September. Still hot this week. Two huge typhoons skirted round south Japan. Up here it's been hot and sunny. Our COVID-19 lives go on and on.

I work - but not so much. I meet a friend or two. Spend days out with the kayak. The Achilles tendon damage is getting better...a little. I can do ordinary day-to-day walking, but I still don't set out to do a big walk.

Garden time. Cats time. Watching Game of Thrones...now on Season 6...we recorded and are watching all the Bond films, in order. I do social media posts for the tour company. I am reading books.

My life feels like semi-retirement!

Covid-19 in Hokkaido has settled into about 5-10 new cases a day. Mostly here in the big city of Sapporo, and often among younger people connected to the nightlife area businesses. Or, a call center, or a hospital. There were more domestic visitors here for school holidays last month, now it is quiet again. Maybe foreign students are allowed to come back into Japan this month. Business visitors from some countries.

Next week we are having a 3 day local trip in a camping car, just sea and onsens, good local foods. In October we have another trip (hopefully), to the mountains of central Japan...THIS is the year to visit these places without all the foreign visitors, and the domestic bus tour crowds. We got good discounts on the hotel stays.

But if infection rates increase again, and government advice is to stop inter-region travel, we will cancel.

Such a strange time. 

Economically this isn't a good year for me - but with pretty generous government support money I will be ok. I am lucky. Hopefully, next year, foreign visitors will be allowed to come back to Japan and tour guide work will start again...for now I will just enjoy this quiet, stay home, spend quiet times.

I hope you are well, whatever you are doing in autumn 2020. What a year it has been...and as characters in Game of Thrones keep saying: "Winter is Coming!" and we wonder what Covid will do then.

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