Month: September 2012

Royal Wave

After a nice sunny drive to Peachland and back I arrived to find Janet sound asleep. Emma says she nodded off around 11:15 and I noticed her starting to stir around 2:30 so I helped her wake up by climbing onto the bed with her. She always thinks this is funny. Not sure how to take that but I got her woken up at least. My reason for helping her get going is Monday’s Speech appointment is at 2:30 so I don’t want her in the habit of sleeping all afternoon.

We did a little stretching then went outside in the sun to video Skype her sister Leslie. Janet smiled a couple times and definitely knew it was her sister as when Leslie said goodbye, with no prompting from me at all, Janet waved goodbye to her. It was quite an emotional moment and further proof Janet is gaining more awareness everyday.

The beach was gorgeous today and we sat there for a good half hour with Janet at one point trying to lift her shirt a little as she was getting warm. A nice lady brought her Golden Retriever over to say hi after she went for a swim. Janet seemed pleased to pet the dog, more so than with previous dogs. I talked to Emma after our walk and she would love to see me bring Nash in to visit Janet. That is technically against the rules but Emma is working Wednesday and thinks the staff on with her then are cool enough to allow an attempt. We will see how the day shapes up and maybe give it a go. We left the beach and walked south on Abbott to stay in the sun as long as possible. When we returned Janet was still looking pretty alert so I parked her in the dining area and went got her feed pump and started her dinner for her out with everyone else. We sat near one of the TV’s and she was trying to watch for a while but was more interested in the people moving about the place. After an hour or so it was time to head to her room so the nurses could get her changed and dressed for bed. We had a little chat after that, prayed and said goodnight with lots of smiles, an arm around my shoulders and kisses.

I am very grateful for the amazing care and attention Janet has been shown these first few days in rehab. There could not have been a better nurse for this time than Emma nor could there have been a better roommate than Linda. God is definitely looking after us huge.

Praying for a bright and alert Janet tomorrow at all her appointments and for restoration of her ability to talk.

Tiny Bubbles

Mom and I arrived at eight to find Janet happily sitting in her wheelchair out in the dining area. She gave us a big smile when she saw us and we sat out there for about an hour with her. Emma gave her meds to her table side and she seemed to really enjoy looking around at all the goings on. Apparently she was awake a little after seven and helped get herself dressed and didn’t mind getting into the chair to go out that early.

As things quieted down around nine we took Janet for a drive around KGH. There is a card I can borrow to operate the elevator that gets us out of the rehab area with the wheelchair and into the regular parts of the hospital. Janet drove down to the cafeteria and I took over after that.

Back in her room around ten I was looking forward to seeing how well she would stretch out and I was pleasantly surprised. The right arm took quite bit of gentle work to get going but it ended up just fine as did the legs. I got another strong attempt to say something during stretching again, this time with no sign of any pain. Quite a big smile and a little frustration. Speech is just bubbling under the surface and I think is going to burst out anytime now. Thanks for your continued prayers on this.

After the stretch it was time for a little Speech Language Therapy. Connie had tried to get Janet to blow through her mouth and didn’t get much of a result. I got an attempt from Janet with Laurel’s pin wheel but you have to hit that at just the right angle to get it to spin. I got a toy whistle and some bubbles from the dollar store to try and Janet blew the whistle right away. Unfortunately it is a dollar store piece of crap and hardly whistles so after that first attempt she wasn’t interested. She took to the bubble blowing much better as you can see in this video clip. My apologies for the Tiny Tim track but it is just too funny to pass up.

I dropped mom off in Peachland for her ride home with Maureen and Shannon. Thanks for the visit mom! And thanks again for the goodies Mo!

Praying for an active afternoon in the sun.

Flexibility

Janet was sound asleep when mom and I returned this afternoon and she stayed that way till 3:10. Her sleep mode is pretty peaceful therefore I believe there is healing going on. After she woke and we got her changed she stretched out pretty good. I tried the same move with her right arm that I got that reaction from this morning and got no reaction at all which leads me to believe it was just a coincidence this morning and her display of emotion was more an attempt to talk and realizing she couldn’t than a response to any pain.

Janet drove her wheelchair from her room to the outside door and we headed for the beach. It was breezy so we didn’t stay long but had a nice stroll along Abbott St. where we showed mom some of the nice lake front homes. Back inside Janet made it all the way down the Centennial Building hallway and gave a strong effort at getting over that nasty bump but was put out of her rhythm by a passing stretcher so didn’t quite get there. Her goal today was to make it to the Royal Building elevators but about ten meters away she stopped and looked at her left hand a couple times, I figured something was bugging her so high five for the effort and back to her room we went.

Mom took Janet’s sneakers off while I got her bed ready and when I turned around Janet had crossed her left leg completely over her right leg above the knee.

This is a new move and an impressive one considering how darn stiff she was on Friday. She did not seem to be in real pain and was not in a hurry to get into bed so that makes the move even more cool. We did get her into bed and I stretched her out nicely before we headed off to church. Upon our return around 7:20 she had been fed and was sound asleep so I said a quick goodnight and look forward to seeing her in the morning.

Feeling very blessed to be part of an outstanding faith community at Trinity and praying for healing of Janet’s legs and right arm and restoration of her ability to talk.

Sleep is Good for You

Mom and I arrived to find Janet about to fly into her wheelchair this morning. Emma had decided to get her up to join the others for breakfast. She was cleaned and dressed and looking pretty awake. Mom and I took her out to a table in the dining area and for about forty five minutes Janet sat looking around and listening to all the activity. She seemed happy to be taking it all in and showed no signs of nodding off. I was a little concerned about not having stretched her first but she seemed quite comfy and I think the stimulus of being in that busy environment was better than stretching at that time. Emma said Janet slept well last night and she noticed an increased level of brightness this morning. I did too.

Since Janet wasn’t fading rapidly we let her take us on a tour of the rehab unit with her driving most of the way around. We finally got around to getting Janet back to bed for a stretch and I was pleased with the results. I was quite worried about all that last night but things went much much better this morning. Emma helped get Janet’s socks on earlier and said she helped with the left foot, no surprise, and she also helped with the right. Big surprise! She described it as Janet making an attempt, she couldn’t actually move the leg but Emma sensed an effort being made and the leg started shaking. Huge. Another huge event this morning came as I was stretching Janet’s right arm. I had it high and straight up, holding it for a minute or so. It was really relaxed and seemed good then I let it down slowly and Janet started getting a pained look on her face. The look escalated to a full on cry (no tears, but watery eyes) and I really thought I hurt her. I asked her to show me where it hurt and all she would do is reach out for my shoulder or the top of her head. I sensed a real strong attempt to say something. By far the strongest one yet and she almost got a sound out. Mom and I both feel there may have been some initial discomfort in that right shoulder but the rest of the emotion was frustration, perhaps a realization as to what was going on and maybe that she can’t talk. She was like that for about ten minutes and as she calmed, initiated a hug and a kiss for me. I told Emma and she will make sure it’s noted in the chart.

We went out for another inside stroll but Janet nodded off for fifteen minutes in the TV area, golf was on so no surprise there. When she woke we did a little more driving then some more stretching before starting her lunch feed and heading home for ours.

Very thankful for the good nights sleep Janet had and the increased awareness she showed this morning. Praying for an active afternoon.

Rain Delay

Janet was awake when I got back and seemed much brighter than she was in the morning. I still found it quite challenging to stretch her legs out. Her right arm was very stiff at first but loosened up fine with a little effort. I had a chat with Emma about how the nurses can better relate to Janet and she wanted to know how they can help me. Apparently they were told to “help me out” as somebody is worried I will burn out. We agreed to discuss this in more detail after the team meeting on Tuesday when it will be more clear what Janet’s schedule will be. I then plunked Janet in the wheelchair and we sped off to Speech.

The first thing Connie asked her was to identify a cup amongst an assortment of other items. She nailed it. The second question was to do the same with a book of matches, she chose the comb that was just to the left of them. I think that was her vision affecting that one as she often misses to the left. The rest of the questions in that game got no response at all. I went to get her glasses to see if she wanted them, she put them on and seemed to brighten up a little more. She was given a book of picture questions and she happily turned through each page but refused to stop and answer any questions. Connie then gave her two pictures and two cards with the names of the pictures and Janet was to match them. She clearly wasn’t getting it so Connie simplified it by telling Janet what each picture was then asking her to point or touch a certain one. With some help she managed to get it right a couple times but never on her own and never repeated. Work in progress. Connie finished the session with a swallow test. So glad I got to see this for once. She uses this thickened clear liquid that has the consistency of melted Jello, if that makes sense. It wasn’t runny but it wasn’t jiggly either. Janet very willingly took the first spoonful of lemon flavored goo and swallowed it in about five seconds. Not bad. She clearly hated the taste as she puckered up and grimaced instantly but she got it down. Connie tried an apple flavored goo next to see if Janet liked that any better. There was a little less puckering and grimacing and she swallowed it in about six seconds. I was pleasantly surprised that she took more of the goo based on her reaction to the first taste but she never hesitated at all. In all she took four or five spoons full of goo and her average for swallowing was around five seconds. Connie says ideally she’d like to see her at two seconds and will try a cranberry flavor on Monday and maybe some thickened herbal tea as well. We want to find a taste Janet likes so there will be less hesitation in swallowing. A pretty solid first performance and I think Connie was a little surprised at some of the things Janet can do. Lots to practice on over the weekend.

I had Janet drive the hallways for a little bit for some exercise then we attempted a walk to the beach. I put her jacket on knowing it wasn’t that nice out today but half way to the beach she wanted it unzipped so at least she wasn’t cold. We felt our first rain drops in a very long time as we hit the sand so we didn’t stay long and the rest of our outing was spent in the various KGH hallways. Janet drove well today but not with the same determination or power she has before. Overall this was a sleepy day and I think maybe she has a cold or her allergies are acting up.

Emma thought it would be cool if Janet came out to the dining area to “eat” with some of the other patients and we were all set to do that but as we didn’t want to bring Janet into the chaos of the start of dinner by the time things had calmed down enough Janet was asleep. Hopefully for a long and restful night. I came home to my mom’s lasagna baking in the oven and a nice pour of scotch with a chance to sit and chill for a while. She came up with Maureen and Shannon from Nanaimo who are on an Okanagan fruit run and will take mom back on Sunday. Maureen sent along lots of goodies for our freezer (my tummy) and mom brought her famous sausage rolls too. Sorry Cam, they won’t keep. Thanks so much Mo!

Thankful for the things Janet accomplished today and praying for healing in her legs and right arm and for an active day tomorrow.

Slow Start

Janet was awake when I arrived this morning but only because she was getting dressed as she went right back to sleep as soon as her nurse was done. I woke her at 8:40 as I needed to get her stretched and ready for physio at 9:30. Her right arm loosened up nicely but I had difficulty with both legs probably because she is curling them up to sleep. The report overnight is that she was quite restless and of course we don’t know why. It could be the new environment or discomfort with her legs or hips, not sure. Not cool.

I got her down to physio to meet with Moira her therapist. We had to wait a little while as things were behind schedule so I had Janet wheel around the rehab centre a little. She fell asleep five minutes into that but woke up as Moria was about ready for her. I handed Janet a one pound dumbbell while we were waiting and all she did was look at it. I handed her a two pounder and she started doing bicep curls right away. Today was an exploratory session so Moira could see for herself where Janet is at and where we can realistically try and get her to. She was impressed with Janet’s sitting ability and despite the sleepiness you could see where Janet will be cooperative and try to participate. She was in and out of sleep the whole hour we were with Moira but I think it was a reasonable start and if we can get Janet to sleep well at night she will perform well for Moira. None of the exercises today were anything new to Janet and she seemed comfortable in the environment. Maybe too comfortable and that’s why she was sleeping?

From physio we went directly to see Connie at Speech Therapy. Janet was sound asleep by this time so Connie agreed to see her at 2:30 this afternoon in hopes that Janet is awake. Connie plans on trying to get Janet to answer yes or no in some way and will test and work on the swallowing ability as well. I think Janet will do well in Speech provided she is awake.

I got Janet into bed and right away she rolled onto her right side, tucked her legs up a little and went to sleep. Meeting with the nursing staff at 1:45 then it’s off to Speech to for take two.

Weekends will be open for visitors as will evenings, still unsure of weekdays. The team will meet with Dr. McCann Monday or Tuesday to work out a plan. Praying for a bright afternoon.

Let the Fun Begin

Today started with a sleepy Janet until about 9:15. Her nurses said she was up pretty early and they had her dressed and ready to go but she was out like a light when I walked in. Sean from Physio dropped by as he was playing the role of Tom today. I suggested he try again around eleven. Once Janet was awake we started stretching. Her legs were bent a lot this morning and it seemed as though I’d never get them straight, same thing with her right arm but things actually loosened up quite well. I spent a long time stretching her then sat her up to do some standing as it was after eleven and there was no sign of Sean. As soon as Janet did one stand up Sean came in. By this time we had been told the move to rehab would happen today and that was good news to Sean. In light of that he elected to let me keep doing my thing with Janet as the move would be a big enough event for her today. He did talk to her for a while and worked her right shoulder a little bit. Janet did not like that at all but still touched her nose when Sean asked her to and gave him the first completely unassisted and on command wave goodbye that I’ve seen. He even got a few smiles too. Big high five! Sean was very impressed with Janet’s progress especially her sitting ability and response to commands. Huge improvement since he last worked with her.

I negotiated a deal with the nurses that allowed me to ride home for a quick break after packing Janet up, with them promising not to move Janet till I got back. The deal was honored but just barely as they called as I was arriving at the parking lot to say Janet was all ready to go. The porter had arrived in the room seconds before me and with that it was so long to 4B.

Janet has a roommate in rehab, her name is Linda, she is a little older than Janet and seems very nice. Her son and his two little kids came in around six tonight and Janet smiled when she saw and heard them. It would be cool if they are regular visitors. Janet’s nurse, Emma, had me brief her on the latest Janet medical info and explained a little of how things work in rehab from a nursing perspective. No major changes. Emma is the RN today and tomorrow and there are two LPN’s working with her. I had no trouble getting help when I needed it tonight. They had heard that I have been doing a lot of Janet’s care and that is actually part of the program in rehab. As most patients are on their way home they want the family as involved as possible. Emma was impressed I knew how to feed Janet and take care of the Nystatin etc. She was especially impressed with the bowl of candy she referred to as “nurse bait”.

Before our usual walk to the beach I had Janet drive around the rehab centre to familiarize herself. It’s not that new to her really but it’s a different perspective when you are living there. She seemed a little wide eyed and nervous about it but did a good job of driving. We went down to the beach then for a walk. I had her little zip up on to start as the wind is cool but fifteen minutes in and she was motioning to take it off so she could tan her arms a little more. She seemed a little uncomfortable in the wheelchair and I couldn’t figure out why but then I remembered she had been in it since 1:20 and it was now approaching five. That’s a long time so back to the room we went and she was pretty happy to be there as she undid her seat belt the second I parked her chair.

I let her rest for a little bit then gave her a stretch and she held her legs out nice and straight for a good forty five minutes after but was getting a little squirmy after that. I promised her that question number one for the Physiotherapist will be how can we fix the pain in that leg. She seemed good with that and as I said goodnight she gave some nice kisses and smiles and seemed just fine being in her new room and understanding the opportunity that lies ahead. I have a really good feeling about the care she will receive there and look forward to seeing her in the morning.


Janet’s new room.

As far as visits go, I don’t have details of Janet’s schedule yet but have been told she will be up way more than she was on 4B. She definitely has physio at 9:30 tomorrow and Speech at 11. Not sure about the afternoon but it looks like there could be another physio session. I would ask potential visitors to hold back for a bit until I have a clearer picture of her routine. I expect weekends to be free of therapy sessions so Team Save Janet can go full speed then as well as in the evenings.

When appropriate you can find Janet in room 110 of the rehab ward. Enter from the west end of the KGH complex. There is a large entrance labelled Rehab Centre. Ignore that and use the smaller entrance to the right labelled Rehab Unit. Turn right, walk through the dining area and Janet is first room on the right. Please text me before you head over.

Thanking Jesus for this opportunity for Janet and for her apparent understanding of what she is facing. Praying for a big sleep tonight and an alert tomorrow.