Month: November 2012


Update from Laurel:

I returned this afternoon to a very chatty Mom. Chatting quite loud and quite clear, in fact. She was lying in bed but when I asked her if she had been able to have a nap she did a little eye roll and quickly assured me she that she “never” does. (Very typical Mom.) I let her know that Storm would likely be coming by to visit soon, and she very quickly assured me that “he already came by.” I was quite impressed that she not only remembered that but that she was also able to correct me. We used a new “sliding board” to transfer Mom from the bed to her wheelchair, and she caught on very quickly and we were quite easily able to get her into her wheelchair with almost no help from me. Nice new gadget.

We spent the afternoon chatting a lot, and I am so impressed with how much louder and clearer her speech is, as compared to when I visited three weeks ago. We went for a walk and she appeared to enjoy looking through the gift shop. We joined Nina, Barb, and Mary for dinner, and Mom did a good job eating all of her soup and a good portion of her pureed fruit. Nina innocently commented on how she would have enjoyed a pudding after her meal, and when Barb offered Nina her own pudding it looked as if Nina was about to cry. Life’s simple pleasures I suppose…

After dinner the nurses got Mom into her gown and snuggled very cozily into her bed. Too cozy, I suppose, as her eyes very quickly started to close. I asked Mom if it would be better if I left so that she could sleep or if I could just stay and chat to her for a little, and she responded “stay and chat” and just rested and smiled as I told her some stories. Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.

Breakfast with Mary

Janet was dressed and sitting at the breakfast table all bright and cheery as I dropped Mary/Gaga off for the morning shift today. The usual gang was soon to join her but somewhere along the way Janet got sad, had a little cry and did not eat very much breakfast. I’d like to think it was because I left but I’m sure there is more to it than that.

The morning therapy sessions went off with mixed reviews. Moira and Robyn worked on Janet’s right arm and shoulder then had her doing some leg exercises on the table mat after that. Janet did not want to go to Speech this morning and when Mary/Gaga informed Connie of this she correctly made a change in the plan to make it more fun for Janet. By the time she got to OT with Jessica she was getting tired so that session was simplified as well. Getting a brief second wind, Janet ate a good lunch and was excited to see Laurel (and me I think).

Laurel and I went for a tour of Connect and came away with a pretty positive impression of the place. Our host was the only RN on staff, Jen, and she seemed nice and knowledgeable. The facility is very homey and clean and had a nice feel to it with lots of open areas and modern decor. I feel Janet would be comfortable there and would be able to progress in her recovery. I still want to ensure she moves there only when the time is right for her.

The three of us followed Janet back to her room after lunch with hopes we could test her on using a sliding board to transfer herself from bed to chair but she was worn out from the morning so we left her alone for a little rest time. Laurel will get her going again for the afternoon shift.

Mommy Time

Mary/Gaga spent the morning with Janet taking her to her various therapy sessions and helping with lunch. Moira got Janet up on the tilt table and Robyn and Janet played catch while Janet sat on a balancing cushion. Kind of a training wheels version of a stability ball. Janet got a little frustrated in Speech with Connie but also managed some good out loud talking. OT was expanded today as Jessica Arjo’d Janet onto the toilet before their session started. It’s nice that she is willing to spend some extra time with Janet. The actual session was held in Janet’s room and involved flash cards and writing the day and date on the whiteboard. Seems like Janet did fairly well with all of that.

I arrived just before one to find Janet still eating lunch with the gang. I have not been around for lunch much but have heard Janet usually eats fairly well but she did not today. Too excited to have her mom there I guess. We got Janet onto her bed for a little rest time and took a break ourselves.

Jessica and I had a chat later on about the wheelchair situation. She would like to get something going for Janet while she is still in rehab as Connect doesn’t have the same resources. I’m waiting for instructions from my extended healthcare plan then we will go shopping. Janet and I had a nice chat followed by an emotional outburst that seemed like she was trying to figure out why she was in hospital again. I couldn’t understand her exactly so I didn’t get into the story as I want her to realize she can’t be understood when she is whispering and crying at the same time. She dried up her tears pretty quick and got up to have a little ankle stretch, a good right arm workout and a little standing. She did better with finding the gym during our game of follow my leader but still crashes into some walls and gets a little disoriented sometimes. I left her as first one at the dinner table to go bring Mary/Gaga back for the evening shift. Janet’s table mates were confused as to who Mary/Gaga is so she wore a name sign when she got back so they would all know without asking. That got a real good laugh and if Mary/Gaga wasn’t accepted into the group before she sure is now.

Janet ate well at dinner and enjoyed hanging with her mom. She was still quite bright when I arrived at 7:30 and it wasn’t until 8:15 that we said goodnight. Praying for a restful and healing night and an exciting day tomorrow.

Mary Gaga

Mary/Gaga and I arrived at Janet’s room this morning to find Janet still in the shower and that gave us a good opportunity to surprise Janet. I showed Mary/Gaga around the unit a little bit then asked her to sit in the dining area and I would guide Janet out when she is ready and they could have a “surprise” greeting. Janet was all smiles as her nurses finished getting her dressed after her shower and despite her saying it was “terrible” she was nice and clean and looking pretty bright. After priming her up Jason style I let her Bam Bam out to the dining area. When she saw her mom her eyes lit right up and a huge smile came to her face and she wrapped her left arm around Mary/Gaga for a nice hug.

With Janet’s shower being so late it actually worked out for the best as Sharon was done her breakfast and opened up her spot at the table for Janet. Mary, Edna (whose middle name is Mary), Bea, Nina and Joan were all there and Janet ate all her yogurt and Ensure along with a few bites of apple sauce. I think she was particularly obedient this morning with her mom feeding her. She may have eaten more of the apple sauce but it was time to get to Physio and with a little guidance from her mom and I she made to the gym on time. Rob got a big smile and Moira got a very important statement that we couldn’t quite hear but after a throat clearing and a swallow Janet managed to say out loud “it’s good to be in control”. That was a shortened version of her original statement that we never got the details of. I left the ladies to the morning routine so I could catch up on things around the house and am looking forward to hearing how it all went.

Do Re Me Fa

Sorry about that earlier post, Brightness. For some reason it didn’t publish. Here is tonight’s.

I returned to a very smiley and chatty Janet this afternoon and she talked using her loud voice for quite a while. I finally got a chance to tell her I got her some funky colors of nail polish when I went shopping today. She was quite excited to have me paint hers yellow right away. I really should be wearing my glasses for such endeavors but I think they turned out alright. Bright for sure.

Once the nails were dry we headed out for a game of Follow My Leader. We met Moira and Robyn in the hallway and they asked if I had heard about Janet singing this morning. Apparently Rob started singing Do Re Me Fa from The Sound of Music and Janet joined right in in full voice. I can totally see her doing that as she loves that movie and sang along each time we watched it. Moira also told me about a bandage on Janet’s knee. I had noticed it earlier and asked Janet about it but she said something about a ball so I thought she was rambling. I was wrong. Moira puts a ball between Janet’s knees while she’s on the NuStep and I guess it chaffed her skin a little bit. Janet telling me that is probably the first time she’s pulled something out of the memory bank like that. Cool.

Our game ended back in Janet’s room and I’ll call it reasonably successful. Janet sure does try and figure things out as she goes along but is still quite neglectful of the right side. We watched some YouTube before dinner and I managed to find a clip from the Sound of Music and to my amazement Janet started singing and smiling and moving her head to the music as soon as it started. She even knew the words in advance. Very cool.

Dinner was with all the usual suspects plus Mary’s granddaughter and her two sons so it was a little squishy but Janet all of everything except the Ensure. Afterwards she had a lot more energy than usual and headed away from the table on her own. First stop was the nurses station window where someone asked her if she needed help. She looked so cute sitting there all by herself “talking” to someone. She quickly moved on and reached the outside doors. I said to Edna, “she won’t go outside it’s too cold”. Wrong again. The automatic doors opened and out she went. There is a manual door before you actually get outside and Janet stared at the handicap button to open it but didn’t try and when the inside doors opened she came back inside. I let her roam around a little more before asking her where she was going. She smiled and laughed when she saw me and said “I’m trying to find my library place”. I thought for sure she meant the desk in her room where all her books are so I pointed her towards her room and coached her up to the desk but she said that wasn’t it. Never did figure out what she was after but we had a fun time with her late night energy including a little wheelchair dancing.

Janet finally started to wear out and I helped her through the going to bed routine then said goodnight. Praying for a restful night and an aware and loud Janet for tomorrow.


Jen had gotten Janet dressed and out for breakfast by the time I arrived this morning and she greeted me with a massive smile when I got to her table. She truly seems like a different person these last few days. Way brighter and chattier. Breakfast was with Mary, Edna, Bea, Sharon, Wade and Nina. Janet didn’t contribute to the conversation but once I put her glasses on her she seemed to tune in more, acknowledging she could see Edna across the table now. I asked her if she was hungry and instead of the customary no, she said “maybe”. It was more like definitely as she ate everything except for one quarter of the strawberry Ensure and she took a little less time to do it too.

We had time for a little chat and some arm stretching before heading to the gym where we played catch while waiting for Moira and Robyn. Their plan was to work on Janet’s legs and Moira even commented on how much brighter Janet looks. Janet was all smiles and talking in a loud voice as I left to run some errands.

Looking forward to a bright afternoon.


When I got back to Janet’s room this afternoon she was all snuggled up in bed with a big grin on her face. She noticed I was wearing my cycling gear and said “you ride your bike”. That led into a pretty reasonable conversation as Janet continues to improve her speech dramatically. She still needs to work on the volume but the quality of words being put together is getting better and better. Our talk led to her having a little melt down about her vision. I had asked her who she sat with at breakfast and lunch today then listed all the names. She acknowledged them all but then started crying saying “I can’t see anybody”. I decided to test that theory and gave her a series of sight tests which resulted in me believing her vision is actually getting better and her glasses do help her to see anything that’s more than ten feet away from her. She seemed pleased that we “solved” that problem and I promised to mention it to Dr. McCann. I did a little stretching on her legs to give her brain a rest then got her hair, makeup (face wash) and wardrobe done so she could Skype her mom.

Looking intelligently gorgeous Janet had by far the most conversational Skype call I’ve witnessed giving her mom out loud answers to questions and even commenting a few times all on her own. She was totally engaged the entire time and in a way not seen by me before. Much more aware. She assured Mary/Gaga that I will pick her up from the airport tomorrow night as “he’s done it many times before and knows the way.” After the Skype session I asked Janet if she needed to go to the bathroom and she said “probably.” Jason and Faith Arjo’d her in and Janet was successful again!

Our walk took the form of another game of follow my leader but Janet must have been tiring as she did not go nearly as fast and by the time we left the gym she was hitting more walls than air so I took over and we went for a short inside walk. Dr. McCann saw us in the hall just before that and Janet gave him a nice smile as she Bam Bam’d along. I mentioned the vision thing to him and he still thinks it’s too soon for an actual eye exam but will give it some thought. We also saw Amy from 4B and she was very excited to see Janet and has “heard nothing but good things” about her. Jacquie gives frequent updates on Janet in her morning meeting with all the nurses so everyone is following Janet’s progress. Janet didn’t seem to remember Amy but was pleased by the attention.

For dinner we tried something different and sat with Nick and Steve at the other end of the room. Seemed to work just fine as Janet ate all her soup, all her pureed peaches, all her whipped prunes, half her strawberry Ensure and a little of the vanilla Ensure and even a little banana cream pudding. All in record time. Nick and Steve aren’t as chatty as the women Janet usually sits with and they are very good eaters so she may have been inspired by that or just really hungry. We may try a similar tactic tomorrow to see.

I read some of Anne 2 to Janet at the desk in her room after she had a little after dinner cruise around the unit. I asked her a few times during the read if she needed to go to the bathroom and about fifteen minutes in got a yes. Success again! We finished the chapter in bed and had another nice conversation with Janet staying surprisingly smiley and bright until after 7:30. She faded rapidly after that even saying “I’d rather go to sleep” when I asked if she wanted to sleep or watch videos.

Praying for restoration of the use of Janet’s right arm and full healing of her legs and thanking Jesus for Janet’s amazing recovery so far.


Jason and Jen were still getting Janet ready as I arrived this morning so once again I gave Jason space to do his thing. He was unimpressed that I left the same clothes out for Janet to wear that she had on yesterday. I know that rule but he’s not the one doing laundry. Jason left the hair for me to do and the challenge was on, good thing I found that spray bottle. Janet looked very bright and smiley this morning and when we wheeled out to the breakfast table I had her ask Jason “how is my hair?” I passed the test. Phew!

We sat with Mary, Edna, Bea, Sharon and Nina this morning and all were quite chatty. Janet was very smiley and looking like she wanted to join the conversation a lot. She ate all her yogurt, most of the pureed peaches, half the strawberry Ensure and even some thickened orange juice. She was raring to go by 9:10 so I set her free and said we needed to go to her room then to the gym. She was a little confused trying to get back to her room but laughed about it then did quite well getting down to the gym once she got started. I knew Moira and Robyn would be late from Rounds so I had Janet lift some weights. In a nice pro active move Moira and Robyn came in and got Janet on the NuStep (elliptical bike machine) so she could do something while she waited. They went back to the meeting and I watched Janet workout. She was very determined as she pedaled and pumped away for fifteen minutes. Rob came over and teased her about her frowney face and she changed it to a smile pretty quick. When Rounds were done Moira and Robyn got Janet onto a table to do some sitting and scooching exercises.

Janet sure does get a lot of celebrity type attention when she is out and about. So many people make a fuss over her and she really seems to enjoy it. Some call her a princess and I hope she doesn’t start believing that. Looking forward to an active afternoon.

Mr. Hankey

Janet was very much awake when I returned this afternoon and thought she was pretty funny “mooning” the window as she lay on her side with her pants pulled down. After a little sitting workout we played “follow my leader”. She was the leader and I asked her to take me to various spots around the unit. She did really well driving Bam Bam style and even made a spectacular hard brake application with her foot as she sped down a little hill towards a guy in his wheelchair. She found the gym on the second try, Connie’s office right away and OT with a little help. The dining room was easy but she shot way past her room again.

After a little break and a failed attempt to get her to do some vocal exercises we headed out for a walk but just as we were leaving, Faith came into the room to ask if Janet needed changing. I said no but asked if she would put Janet on the toilet to see if she needed to go. Apparently I need to ask as we can’t “order” the nurses to use the Arjo. Surprisingly Faith agreed without hesitation. Jason came to help and they used the Arjo to get Janet from her wheelchair to the toilet and left her in some privacy for a bit with the tap running. It worked! Janet peed and everyone was happy. We went on our walk with me driving just to give her a break and change of scenery. She seemed to enjoy the few Christmas decorations we saw and there is a very nice painting in the Cancer Centre lobby that we both liked.

Dinner was early tonight for some reason and Mary had two spots saved for Janet so she could choose which one she wanted. Barb, Bea, Sharon and Nina also were at the table and the conversation was quite lively and I could tell Janet enjoyed it all. She enjoyed her dinner too, eating all the large portion of soup, most of her yogurt and Ensure and a little pudding and apple sauce. When she was done she headed out on her own as we all watched where she would go. She stopped and looked at the phone book on a little desk outside the nurses station. She always did like historical artifacts. She then turned back and looked at me like “aren’t you coming?” I got up to her and asked where she was going and she just smiled and headed off and for the very first time she Bam Bam’d directly into her room with no assistance from me at all. High five!

I offered her a few choices of activities for the evening and Janet chose to read but wanted to do so at her desk and after five minutes or so she was getting a little uncomfortable. I asked her if she would be more comfortable in bed and she said “probably not”. I got a sense she maybe needed to go to the bathroom so asked her that. She said “maybe so”. I asked Faith and Jason if they would Arjo her again and they came right in. I checked on Janet after a few minutes and she got upset, saying “I can’t go”. It was said in a way that meant I want to and have to but can’t so I got Jason and Faith and they checked Janet and I could hear Jason coaching Janet like she was giving birth. And then the big announcement from Jason. “Congratulations! Twins!” Janet came out of the bathroom with a big smile on her face and a much more relaxed demeanor as we all praised her accomplishment. It’s not just the fact she went that is cool it’s more that she was able to communicate the need to go. Massive step forward.

After finishing the chapter of Anne 2 we had started before the bio break we had a really nice talk with Janet using lots of loud voice and saying things totally on her own. Very thoughtful and insightful things too. I told her how happy I am with her progress and she seemed genuinely pleased herself. Praying for a good rest tonight and lots more learning and excitement tomorrow.

Royal Treatment

I was not allowed into Janet’s room when I arrived this morning as Jason was all in a tizzy that “she’s not quite ready yet”. “He” and Faith were still getting her dressed and I know Jason has so much fun dolling Janet up I stayed out of the way to allow him to play. When Jason gave the all clear Janet was in her wheelchair with the neatest hairdo since Chelsea last cut it and gave me a huge smile while shooting Jason a look of thanks. I asked him later what his secret for taming Janet’s hair is and he said “water”. I found a spray bottle at home and will be trying my luck this afternoon.

Breakfast was a success this morning sitting with Mary, Edna and Sylvia. Janet once again said she wasn’t hungry but ate all her yogurt, most of the vanilla Ensure and half the apple sauce. She ate very slowly but she is starting to swallow better on command. She did have a few things to say out loud this morning and even more in a whisper and I told Connie to expect some improvement today as Janet has been talking more and more the last few days. Janet drove Bam Bam style to the gym and found it much easier this time. As soon as I asked her if the big gym she first went to was the one she goes to she back out and headed for the correct hallway. I told Moira and Robyn about Janet’s resurgent interest in standing and the increased mobility of her right leg. The plan was to have Janet walk using the ceiling lift and parallel bars.

Cathryn met with me this morning to discuss Connect and has arranged for a meeting and tour out there on Friday. She tried to assure me that although Janet would not be seeing a licensed therapist on a daily basis like she is now, Care Aids would be working with her daily to execute the plan as laid out by each therapist. It all sounds fine but I want to see it myself before I give any consent. Cathryn feels it’s best to start the application process sooner rather than later so that when it is the right time to move Janet there everything is ready to go. Makes sense but I made it clear I am not interested in sending Janet anywhere until she is no longer benefiting fully from the care she is getting at KGH. Cathryn agreed.

Looking forward to lots of talking this afternoon.