Month: November 2012

Ethan

When I got back to pick Janet up she had both feet over the edge of the bed and was looking at me like “I’m ready, let’s go”. So after bundling her up we got into the car and sped off for home. To take advantage of the sunshine the first activity was a walk around the neighborhood and while we waited for Heather and Brittney to get ready to join us I brought Ethan out to meet his Step Grandmother (long story). Janet had a massive smile on her face and instinctively reached out to hold Ethan as I approached and being the easy going little guy that he is he welcomed her touch and was quiet happy standing then sitting on Janet’s lap while she continually smiled at him and me. Janet spoke a few words of hello and could not take her eyes or hands off of Ethan for the more than five minutes they had alone. The only distraction was a slightly jealous Nash.

Heather and Brittney joined us for a nice sunny walk around the block with Janet driving Nash very strictly. There were a couple of times when she had to pull him back onto the correct path and she did so without hesitating. We ended our walk with a stop at Barb and Gary’s so Janet could say hi and they could meet Ethan. Smiles all around. Inside the house Janet sat on the couch most of the time and visited with Ethan and jealous Nash. Ethan definitely got the most attention this afternoon and I even noticed myself watching and playing with him more than looking after Janet. She still seemed happy with the outing and Heather and I took her back in time for dinner.

Dinner was Heather’s last mom time for this visit and she reported that Janet ate pretty much all her soup and decent amounts of the other items on the tray save for the Ensure. I think she’s getting a little bored with that one. I arrived around seven and Janet was in her gown and all snuggled into bed smiling at me with rosy red cheeks. Heather was reading to her but it was time for the goodbye so after confirming her flight status I said goodnight to Janet and left Heather to do the same knowing it would be teary.

Thank you Heather for making a difficult few days easier for me by looking after your mom. I know the time spent with you helped her and I can see an increase in her awareness since I returned. Praying for a safe flight home and hoping you can stay awake for your workday tomorrow! Praying for a restful and healing night for Janet and a day full of excitement and talking tomorrow.

Excitement

It’s so nice to be back and be able to be with Janet again. She greeted me with a big smile this morning and was in her chair, dressed and ready to go to breakfast. I got some loud voice from her right away and she was looking really nice and bright. We sat with Mary, Edna and Sylvia for breakfast and despite saying she was not hungry Janet ate all her yogurt, half the Ensure and half the apple sauce. She was very smiley with her table mates and even spoke out loud a couple times. After breakfast I let her wander around the unit a little before we went back to her room for a stretching session. I was quite impressed with the results we got and very happy to see significant movement from her right leg. I noticed it last night as she pulled it closer to her to untie her shoe then today’s moves were just as strong. Nice improvement.

After the stretch we had time to do a little exploring before lunch and we visited Barb who is staying in Janet’s old room so we got to sit in the sun window for a few minutes. Barb and her husband Cliff both commented on Janet’s progress and also on how helpful and caring people are at KGH rehab, patients and staff. They have been humbled and impressed by peoples’ love for one another and agree that Leo is a true Angel.

Lunch was at the same table as breakfast with the addition of Nick and a very smiley Janet ate all her soup, half the pureed apricots and to Nick’s disappointment all of her chocolate pudding. We agreed afterwards that I would ride home and get the car and take Janet back there to visit more with Heather and also see Brittney and Ethan.

It’s been a very exciting day so far as Janet seems so much brighter to me and I don’t think it’s just because I was away for a day. Looking forward to having her at home to meet Ethan.

Larry

This post brought to you by Heather

Mom woke up this afternoon after a short nap in order to talk to Aunt Leslie. Mom was pretty quiet but managed to tell Leslie she loved her.

After her chat with her sister, Mom and I did some sitting. Mom tried to stand and I told her she couldn’t, at which point she started to cry and said “Why does it matter if I stand” After that it took her a while to calm down, but eventually we read a bit more about Narnia and then Mom rested a little more.

Off to dinner we went and Mom ate all of a big bowl of what looked like cream of broccoli soup and then had half of her pureed apricots. After dinner Mom and I watched some youtube clips, chatted and waited around for Larry. When Larry showed up Mom broke into the biggest grin I have ever seen from her. She gave him a big hug and managed to use her loud voice to answer most of his questions. Larry helped her stretch and did a bit of standing exercises before we tucked her and headed home for some sushi and a visit with Ethan.

I have to say I was so moved watching Mom and Larry interact. Mom’s whole demeanor changed when Larry came in and I was so reassured seeing how much they loved each other. For those of you who knew my Mom before the aneurysm, you know she wasn’t the most emotive person; one of the blessings that has come with the injury is seeing Mom being so much more expressive, and that is most true when it comes to her with Larry.

I am sad that tomorrow will be my last day with Mom until late December. I am looking forward to an expressive day with Mom, and know that I am leaving her in the best possible care with Larry.

Love

This post brought to you by Heather

Mom awoke from the nap she was having during our last update and I thought it might be a good time to chat. Mom wasn’t talking much, be she was grinning a lot and had some pretty tell tale facial expressions; the best was when I asked her if she’d come to my wedding one day – the look clearly said that I should hurry up and get on it! Classic. At one point, she started smiling really widely at me and tucking some of my hair behind my ear. She then half-rubbed, half-patted by back in a hug and I could tell she was really trying to say I love you. That moment alone made this whole trip worth it!

Mom and I chatted until it was time for her to go to dinner. Mom sat with Mary, Edna, and our new friend in all leopard print. She was the envy of the table as she got what looked like a butternut squash soup that smelled really good while everyone else got pretty gross looking broccoli and “perogie casserole.” Yuck! Mom ate all her soup and almost all her apple sauce. She was thoroughly repulsed by the Ensure pudding, but she stomached a bite mixed with her meds.

After dinner we went for a quick stroll and Mom got to see Barb’s adorable grandson. That was fun. After we went to the room, watched some Ellen and then I got bored so Mom and I played catch with the fairy bunny on her dresser. Mom had a lot of fun and was laughing and grinning the whole time. I strongly encourage others visiting Mom to play some serious fairy bunny catch.

The nurses came and put Mom to bed so I read her some Lion, Witch and Wardrobe as Mom closed her eyes. Then it was off home for me, where I was treated with an absolutely delicious lemony fruit cake care of Barb and Gary. Thanks so much to you!

I know Mom is missing Larry and I am excited to see him tomorrow. I am grateful for the great laughs and meaningful time spent with my Mom this weekend. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

Quiet

This post brought to you by Heather

Mom was still asleep when I showed up at KGH this morning. I woke her up and then the nurses came to get her ready after 8. Once Mom was in her chair we went out for breakky with Leo, Mary, Edna (who I had mistakenly thought was named Denise). Mom fed herself a couple of bites of porridge and then I took over. Mom had a few bites of ensure, one quarter of her porridge and all of her yogurt. She also had several spoonfuls of thickened orange juice.

We had some time after breakfast and I could tell Mom was upset by the nurse giving her her meds so we went back in the room and she had a little cry. After a while nothing was helping her stop so I panicked and told her, jokingly, that if she didn’t stop I was going to fart in her face. That got a good chuckle out of mMom, and with her spirits lifted we did her hair, brushed her teeth and headed off to Physio.

Mom got lots of compliments at Physio on her newly styled hair and her scarf… Larry I am going to have to teach you a thing or two when you get back about women’s fashion…. as Mom did some core exercises. Then Mom got on the tilt table and we talked about family. She gravely told Moira and Robyn about Larry’s trip to the island and noted that Andrew was the most challenging kid to raise ( though then she later said he was the easiest, which we all know is not true.) when I suggested Laurel was probably the easiest, she agreed. After Physio we went to speech, had a little break, and on our way to OT Mom had another little meltdown during which she kept saying nobody, and when Jessica came by she said “Not my friend” so I think she was feeling alone. She had an ok OT but seemed grumpy.

Lunch brought our goodbye to Leo. Mom gave him a smiley face Purdue chocolate and when we headed off and I told Mom to say bye because Leo was leaving, she smiled very beautifully and roled over to him to give him a hug with her one good arm. Leo gave her a kiss and we exchanged numbers (Larry I gave him yours) with a promise to be in touch. The world could use more men like Leo.

After lunch we outside for a bit, then Mom said it was bad idea so we toured inside, but Mom seemed wiped some got her into bed, had a quick, groggy Skype with Laurel, and I read Mom a couple of chapters of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Now Mom is grabbing some shut eye while I do a bit of work.

Excited to see what the evening brings.

Heather

This post is brought to you by Heather.

When I finally arrived (more than 12 hours later than expected), Mom was in OT. I didn’t want to intrude, so I waited in Mom’s room until it was time to head to meet Mom in the dining area for lunch. Mom sat beside Leo, who held her hand when he thought she looked stressed, and with Mary, Mike, and some woman who I believe was called Denise but I actually have no idea. Mom ate half of her mushroom soup, a couple of bites of yogurt, and had an uninspired taste of everything else. After lunch we headed back to her room and I gave her a hug. Immediately Mom started crying but couldn’t articulate why she was upset. She would cry for a minute or two, calm down for thirty seconds, and then cry again. This went on for around five minutes, until I mentioned that we were going to have a lot of fun this weekend and could dance around to Christmas music. To that Mom responded “Then why aren’t we doing that?” Since I didn’t have a good answer to that, I found NSYNC’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” and danced with Mom in her room – we even managed a wheelchair twirl – and got some big smiles during the dance. We listed to a couple more songs and then Mom said she wanted to go for a walk so we toured the pool and the physio area, doing four laps before I realized that Mom really only turns left and wasn’t (I don’t believe) intentionally going in circles.

After our laps I got Mom into bed and read her a chapter of Anne. She was getting really tired and had just had such a long work out as she Bam-Bamed all four laps without any help from me, that I let her have a little nap. She woke up 20 minutes later and we had a quick Skype with Allan (during which I got a big smile out of Mom for calling Allan an idiot when he didn’t know how to use the video call on his Skype). Mom said “hi” and “bye” to Allan with a bit of Klingon in between.

After our call with Al, Ranjan came by and put Mom back in her chair. Once she was settled, we skyped with Cam and Cam got a few whispers from Mom and a lot of smiles. Then it was off to dinner with Leo, Mary, “Denise,” and Barb and her entourage. Mom gave Leo many more smiles (Larry, you’d better hurry back as I think you have some serious competition) and we were all amused as Mary yelled at her daughter for bringing her a present. Mom ate almost all of her mushroom soup, feeding herself for most of it, but not much of anything else aside from a few bites of strawberry ensure. The nurse had mixed Mom’s meds in with the Ensure pudding, which I think was a bad idea given the pudding’s colour, texture and smell. We really had to force Mom to eat the couple of spoonfuls mixed with medication, and I can’t blame her. The pudding bore far too strong of a resemblance to human waste.

Mom was getting uncomfortable near the end of dinner so we went back into her room and eventually I was able to track down Ranjan to get Mom changed and into bed. Once she was settled I read her some Chicken Soup, Picture Book Bible and Anne 2. Mom was closing her eyes a lot so at 7:00 I started to head out, but then Mom was looking as though she was getting into Houdieno mode. I was beat from a long flight, early morning, and lack of food, so I headed out anyways, but not for before I got a few mischievous smiles out of Mom as I explained the alarm was on and now was no time for acrobatics.

Thanks so much to Carrie, who brought Mom a beautiful Christmas tree to light up Mom’s room. Not only was it the talk of all the nurses, but Mom really enjoyed looking at it. I read her the note Carrie had left on the whiteboard and Mom took the whiteboard and placed it very carefully on the chair with the tree, obviously very much appreciating the gesture.

I am looking forward to getting to spend more time with my Mom tomorrow and hoping I can keep it together when I say bye to Leo as its his last day tomorrow. It was very obvious from the brief time I saw them interacting that he has been a true to friend Mom while they have been together at rehab, and our family will be forever grateful for the kindness he has shown Mom.

Clean & Shiny

Bath day again for Janet and Amy and Diane had just finished dressing her when I arrived. She seemed pretty calm and content and warm this time. I helped her up and into the wheelchair then we headed off to breakfast and sat with Leo, Mary and Edna.

Janet ate at her usual slow pace but managed to get through the yogurt and a little Ensure. She was pretty smiley as people talked to her but wasn’t talking back at all. Right at the end of the meal she burst into tears for no obvious reason. It didn’t last long then we made a quick stop at her room before heading to the gym.

Moira and Robyn were all set for a serious stretching routine and I made a difficult exit saying farewell to Leo on my way out.

Heather arrived at 11:45, in time for lunch and hopefully is having a good time with her mom and will be composing the updates for the next few days.

Praying for continued healing and more happy days.

Andrew

I was a little surprised to find Janet having some shut eye time when I got back this afternoon but by the time I got changed and tidied up her room a little she was ready to go. The sun was shining so out we went for the first time in what seems like a couple weeks and it sure felt good. Janet was more than happy to soak it up rather than walk so we spent most of our outing just enjoying the brightness at the beach. Back in her room we made a Skype call to Andrew and for the first time ever Janet talked out loud right from the start of the call without any prompting whatsoever. Shocked me as she had been quiet all afternoon but as soon as Andrew said hi mom she got her pipes going. It was so cool and so funny at times as well. She asked Andrew questions and answered some of his as well. Towards the end of the call she did start to fade and the level of Klingon increased but overall a stellar performance and fitting the oldest “child” was the recipient.

I asked her if she wanted to watch some videos after that and her response was “I want to go for dinner”. Another pleasant surprise but it was still a little early and I remembered she needed to be weighed today so I got Jason to help me and I’m happy to report another significant gain for Janet. Dietary wants her weighed each week now to see how she’s doing with only the one tube feed. They have changed the formula to an even higher calorie one and added an afternoon snack of Ensure to her plan. Also new on the menu is Ensure pudding which is high in calories and will be alternated with yogurt at dinner time.

We sat with Leo, Mary, Nick and Sharon for dinner and Janet ate all her soup and Ensure pudding as well as a little pureed apricot. Leo announced he is going home on Friday which is sad for us but great for him. He has been a real friend to Janet from day one in rehab. After her marathon dinner session Janet went for a cruise around the unit. I think trying to find her room but she wasn’t making that too clear so I just let her explore and when she did finally get into her room she wanted to get into bed. She wouldn’t answer my question about reading or watching videos so I got her dressed for bed, stretched her legs and watched her eyes close before I was even close to finishing. It’s amazing how fast she crashes and then gets going again. From napping to being all smiley in the sunshine to conversing with Andrew to zoning out a little towards the end of dinner to getting a second wind and roaming all over rehab to eyes closed twenty minutes after hitting the pillow. She still appears to be on a roller coaster but the ups and downs aren’t as severe now and she is definitely heading mostly up.

Heather was supposed to have been arriving in Kelowna right about now but some stupid snowstorm in Calgary changed her plans and she will not make it till noonish tomorrow. Praying for a safe trip for her, for a restful and healing night for Janet and for a safe drive for me, Courtney, Mike, Brittney and Ethan as we head to Nanaimo.

Mary

Jason had Janet all dressed and in her wheelchair when I arrived this morning. She was quite smiley and talkative in whispers and I think she likes Jason and the way he teases and pampers her. I had her drive out to breakfast and sit wherever she wanted but like yesterday she took a big loop around the north end of the room and then started heading for the east hallway. I reminded her to choose a table for breakfast and she took the closest one to her which made Mary and Edna quite happy.

Breakfast is turning into a bit of a marathon but Janet is eating more and more each time it seems. Today she ate all her yogurt and all her pureed peaches as well as half the vanilla Ensure. It took till 9:15 which meant no time for stretching again but I feel the eating is more important plus she really enjoys the attention she gets at each table and just listening to the chatter and watching all the hub bub is good for her too. Janet was quite bright this morning and smiley until she took her last bite of peaches. She burst into tears. This episode lasted three or four minutes and she would not say why she was crying. She stopped a little then started again a couple times and it wasn’t until her tablemate Mary, wheeled herself over to Janet, grabbed her arm and with tears in her eyes started to console Janet that she stopped for good. Not sure if she was freaked out by Mary doing that or genuinely felt the love coming from her. It was a very touching moment and I hope Janet remembers it.

We went back to her room to brush teeth and have her post meal drink of water. I noticed some discoloration in the syringe and in her tube and went and asked Nicole about it. She figured it was from the late night tube feed and when someone flushed the line they didn’t kink it first. Makes sense, I was concerned there was an incorrect med given or something. I wheeled Janet down to the gym as we were a little late for Physio. Janet told Moira and Robyn, “I’m ready”, in a loud voice with a little prompting from me. Moira was excited to hear it and told Janet that Jessica was still excited about hearing her talk yesterday. Positive reinforcement. The plan was to do some leg stretching on the mat and use the elliptical step machine. Janet seemed happy to be there. For some reason there is no Speech today for anyone so I asked Nicole if she could get Janet on the toilet after Physio. She said she would. Can’t wait to hear about it.

Looking forward to a happy afternoon.

Lucid

I returned to a smiley Janet then moments later a crying Janet. These episodes seem to be frustration but on one occasion today she grabbed her right shoulder to say it was sore. Jessica worked on it in OT this morning so it may have been sore from that as I could range it pretty good this afternoon. Once Janet stopped crying she became quite chatty, in her loud voice, and was answering questions and repeating things to me like crazy. I got her into the wheelchair and we headed off on a mission to try and take advantage of this lucid moment. One of the armrests on her wheelchair has been missing a screw for a while now and we keep forgetting to get it fixed so Janet’s mission was to go to OT, find Jessica and say to her, “will you please fix my wheelchair”, in a loud voice. Traveling to OT went well as Janet only needed help turning at their door as it’s on her right side and is kind of small. I pointed her to the office where Jessica was and she got there all by herself. Jessica saw her coming and met us at the office door and I cued Janet to say her line. She did! And in a pretty loud voice too. Jessica was very excited and took Janet over to the repair shop where Nathan fixed the armrest right away. Janet seemed quite proud of herself for getting that done and after an out loud goodbye was off to her room to Skype her mom.

Janet’s moments of brightness come and go quite quickly and although she was excited to see and hear her mom she only managed a few gurgley comments during the call. She is looking forward to seeing Mary/Gaga in person next week. I asked Janet what she wanted to do after Skyping and all she would do is try moving her chair so I released the brake and let her go. We ended up with her Bam Bam’ing all the way to the Royal Building elevators then I drove to six west so we (I) could see how the demolition of the oldest part of the hospital was going. Looks like fun as they have finally started smashing things. Back in her room I read Tim’s column to her before dinner then we joined Sharon, Leo, Barb, Alice and Bea for a long and leisurely dinner. Janet ate a fair bit but was quite slow and seemed a little out of it although she would smile and nod her head when people tried talking to her.

After dinner we watched a little YouTube then Janet elected to have me read some of Anne 2 to her in bed. Once she was settled in the lights came on again and she got all chatty saying some very funny things and laughing at things I would say back to her. This is a family blog so I’m not going into detail. This moment of lucidity lasted for an hour at a time when she has often been eyes shut and a lot of what she said was coming right from her. They weren’t repeats or answers to anything. It was fun and I got to read two chapters of Anne 2 instead of the usual one. Just as fast as they came on, her lights went out again, and I said goodnight to a sleepy but still smiley Janet.

Praying for complete healing really really soon.