Saturday, August 29, 2020

Ambiguous Loss, Wash Day, Supper, River Dance,

Sue from Elephant's Child sent me a link to an article about grief in dementia. In North America this is known as Ambiguous Loss. It is an interesting article and one I wish you would read. It would enable you to understand anyone you might know who is struggling through this situation. It is, in my mind, so very important that more people reach out to families in this situation. It does appear, from reading the article, that we are luckier in Canada because the health services are co-ordinated under the LHIN umbrella, i.e. the Local Health Integrated Network. This is why I - and others - am able to get PSWs to come and help Matt to wash and dress in the mornings and why they will allow me another PSW on Monday afternoons to be with him whilst I go bowling in order to give me some respite. Mind you, I bought a new mattress cover and tried to get a PSW for half an hour to come at the same time as one of the regulars so that they could put the cover on the mattress. No go. However, I talked to the PSW who will be here on Monday as will my cleaner and I am hoping we can manage to do the job between us (not that I will be much help).

Tomorrow is wash day. I have such fun trotting up and down the corridor and then resting in considerable pain until the it wears off then doing it again when the next part needs doing. Three journeys there and back. It is not actually that far, but for my legs, more than enough. When I bowl, I don't have to be moving for very long and if I get a strike, I have no problem at all. A spare not bad, the problem begins when I have to bowl a third ball (maybe I should take up 10 pin, you only get two balls).

Of course, my next problem is "what shall I cook for supper?". I like to cook something special for Saturdays although lately I haven't been worrying about that as I don't think Matt notices any more, he enjoys whatever I cook, I'm pleased to say, but certainly doesn't know if it's anything out of the ordinary. If I am feeling up to it, I might pop up to VSM and buy a sirloin steak.

We just watched River Dance Celebrating 25 Years, think that's what it was called. Matt was thrilled with it so I have joined the PBS station in order to get a copy of it. I enjoyed it too of course. For those of you who remember the original River Dance, the star was Michael Flatley and he held a record for the speed of his feet. I was wondering what the current lead dancer clocked in at. He seemed to be able to dance very fast. I just Googled and found that the fastest feet, at the moment, belong to a young  man named James Devine who was clocked at 38 taps per second.

A Kevin Lynch dish I posted some time ago which is something I would really enjoy but haven't made yet. Simple enough. Not sure about the chicken thighs with skin on and boneless. Never seen those for sale. Guess one would have to do the boning oneself. Otherwise, simple enough to make.

Oyakodon (Japanese Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl)

A Japanese style rice bowl with tender chicken and egg in a sweet and savoury onion broth!

1 Tbs oil
4 chicken thighs, skin-on and boneless
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups dashi or chicken broth
2 onions, sliced
4 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
4 Tbs mirin
4 tsp sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups cooked short grain rice
2 green onions, sliced

1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper, skin side down, and cook until the skin is browned and crispy, flip and cook the other side before setting aside.

2. Add the broth, onions, soy sauce, mirin and sugar to the pan and simmer until the onions are tender.

3. Pour the eggs over the onions and broth, top with the chicken, and let sit until the eggs are just cooked, about 1-2 minutes.

4. Divide the rice between four bowls, top with the chicken and egg mixture and sprinkle on the green onions before enjoying!

Servings: 4

Tips: Add some extras like sliced shiitake mushrooms!

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Kitchen

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.


  1. Hi Jo - that was kind of Sue and I'm glad the article is useful. I found out so much when my mother was in her Nursing Centre for those 5.5 years and also my uncle had cancer at the same time ... both fortunately could comprehend ... but I had to adjust for them both and cope for me.

    I hope the cover can get put on for you ... and that you can get the washing done reasonably easily today - thank goodness the washers are on your floor.

    Enjoy your supper - whatever you decide to cook ... thank goodness Matt doesn't seem to mind - at least that's not a challenge you can cook what you feel like.
    Take care - and all the best - Hilary

    1. It was Hilary. I am finding out more and more too.

      I hope so, should be OK on Monday. Already worn out with one trip to the laundry LOL.

      Yes, that is a good thing, a picky eater would really drive me up the wall at this stage. thanks.

  2. It is a fascinating article about too many people's heartrending reality isn't it?
    Some times co-ordination can be achieved here, but not often. And residential care has significant problems of its own even if it is appropriate.
    I am still wrestling with the term Ambiguous Loss. From my perspective there is nothing ambiguous about it.
    Rest up as much as you can over the weekend.

    1. It is Sue. But I feel for people in Oz who can't get much help at all. At least here we get the PSWs. They are referring to the fact that the dementia patient is neither here nor gone.

      I try, but doesn't always work.

    2. I think I would say that they are both here AND gone. And that there are losses to both.

    3. I just looked up the definition of ambiguous and one meaning was: unclear or inexact because a choice between alternatives has not been made. Which I think fits the bill here. I assume that's what the Alzheimer Society means, something along those lines.

  3. I am sure at one point we cooked special dishes on Saturdays because when we worked all week that was the night we entertained and people came for dinner. Of course, it happened in reverse too, and often we didn't cook at all since we were invited out. Prior to COVID we still did a lot of reciprocal visiting, but on random evenings, and often for lunch too. Last evening for dinner we had corn on the cob, purchased only a couple of hours earlier straight from a Mennonite farmer's field, schnitzel with gypsy sauce, and oven-roasted sweet potato fries. It was all delicious. Then we sat on the patio and had decaf coffee and let the juice from Ontario peaches dribble down our chins. Wonderful!

    1. We stopped entertaining and being entertained a while ago. I miss it. Fresh corn is delicious isn't it. Ladydog picks it up from a Mennonite farm on her way here. Gypsy sauce? Never heard of that one.

    2. Gypsy sauce is common in eastern European regions - Serbia, Croatia, Hungary etc. We really enjoy it.

    3. Odd I never heard of it, I was in Yugoslavia.

    4. There is an excellent little restaurant in Kitchener called Veslo's and they make a gresy gypsy schnitzel. The shopska salad there is very well done too. We go there a couple of times a year with friends. They also have a terrific combo plate to share but better be hungry for that one.

    5. Looks like it's not too far from us.

  4. Sounds like you need someone to come and help just you.

    1. You are so right Alex. Don't think they would do it though.

  5. A very good article. My mother had vascular dementia so I have some idea of the toll it takes but I'm sure it's a very different thing when it's your partner. Seeing the person you knew slip away does lead to grief and it's something that's often not understood. My mother and I were very close and the sense of loss as she declined to the point that she didn't even know me was truly horrible.

    1. You should read the book Loving "Someone with Dementia" Helen, you would find it interesting as you have gone through it all. Luckily Matt still knows me. He keeps telling me, a lot, how much he loves me and so on, I wonder if he knows one day he might not know who I am.