On the Road Again

When I arrived this morning Janet was hanging out at a table in the dining area with her former roommate Trish and some other chatty ladies. They made Janet feel very welcome as she greeted me with a smile and seemed happy to be there. She was in no hurry to go anywhere, especially for a stretch, and luckily for her her bed was getting changed so we couldn’t go back there. I had her drive around the unit for a warm up and she was happy to do so. We got to the end of the west hallway and bumped into the glass emergency exit. I like taking her down there for the view out to the lake. She reached for the bar and wanted to go out but I told her we couldn’t as it’s for emergencies only. She said “open the door”. I love how she is talking more but she better not try giving me orders.

We arrived at Physio in time to warm up with some bicep curls. Janet easily did ten reps of three, four and five pound weights, I think I will up things a little tomorrow. Janet greeted Moira with a smile and a Hi. I gave Moira the run down on Janet’s tightness and soreness and she elected to get Janet onto the tilt table to stretch the legs and get some weight on the feet. As for Janet’s right shoulder and arm, she will discuss that with Dr. McCann at tomorrow’s weekly meeting. Janet seemed comfortable at seventy five degrees today for about twenty minutes. Moira had her reaching with her left arm and trying to grab playing cards and colored bean bags. Still trying to figure out Janet’s vision challenges and it is very obvious she has some.

Connie had chocolate pudding ready for Janet’s Speech session this morning and it was interesting to watch Janet chew it a little before swallowing. She was still around four to seven seconds with each swallow but Connie was pleased with that as it is much thicker than what she had tried before. The Speech session went really well with Janet counting to ten on her own, naming the days of the week after one practice run and naming the months of the year after one practice run. Connie asked her how she was doing and Janet answered “fine”. Connie was very excited about that as it came totally from Janet. I asked about Janet speaking in Klingon and Connie said to be patient, praise her for speaking and ask her to slow down, speak up, say one or two words only and try and guess what she’s saying. All things I’ve been doing. She also said to keep her talking as much as possible by asking her to name things etc. A good session.

As we headed back to the sun window for a break Dr. Miller stopped us to see how things are going. He could see a big difference in Janet and I told him my concern about the emotional outbursts. He agreed that as Janet becomes more aware she will get frustrated and that is something we all have to watch as we don’t want it to go to a depression situation. He believes she is in the right place now (rehab) and was pleased to hear of the progress I reported to him. He will be in the weekly meeting with the rest of the team tomorrow and they will try and get a collective sense as to how long Janet can be there. His feeling is as long as she is progressing, she stays. It was a good conversation and I will try and build that relationship as I think he’s going to be an important factor down the road.

Jessica is back as Janet’s OT today after a few sick days. She was very excited to hear about Janet moving her right leg and talking more. I asked her to look at Janet’s mattress to see if it’s really doing what it’s intended and she will do so this week. I think it’s too soft but I’m not the expert. One goal Jessica has for Janet is increased mobility in the wheelchair so today she tried having Janet use her left leg to propel and steer herself a bit. The chair needs to be lower so Jessica is looking for a replacement for her. Janet seemed to understand what she was supposed to do and Jessica commented that Janet is following commands much better than even a week ago.

As I was heading to pick Janet up from OT I noticed the nurses changing names around on the two big white boards that display everyone’s therapy schedules. I asked why Janet’s name had been moved and Naomi told me Janet is being moved to a private room. A few weeks ago I would have been thrilled about that but I’m not sure it really is better for Janet or not now. Most of her roommates so far have been a positive experience and the activity I think is good for Janet. I think the current roommate is not a good fit and may be keeping Janet awake a little so we will try the private room and see how it goes. Naomi and another nurse and I had that discussion and they said if it’s not good for Janet she can be moved to semi private again with no big problem.

Janet’s new room is 130. As you enter the rehab unit from the outside, turn right and it is the first room on the right.

Thankful for a busy and successful morning and looking forward to some fun in the sun this afternoon.

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