Month: March 2013

Let’s Get This Party Started! Silly Janet. #TSJ

Janet awoke with a nice smile this morning and got through the morning routine nicely, eating some fruit and yogurt by nine ish. We had all agreed to have pancakes with sausages and bacon this morning as this was our only morning with Raj and Laurel where we could take our time with breakfast. I’d forgotten how long it takes to make all that stuff and thought I could shower while Janet was eating her yogurt then whip everything up. Not quite. It was 10:15 by the time the rest of us could join Janet but it was all good and fun.

Laurel was a big help to me this morning as she went through the last of Janet’s clothes with her and filled another garbage bag for donation and created another pile of try on before deciding stuff. That’s pretty much it for purging the main floor and there’s just a little bit left downstairs which of course means the garage is a disaster area but that was the plan all along and I’m sure I can deal with that over a couple of days sometime.

It was another beautiful Spring day here so Raj, Laurel, Janet and Nash went for a walk to the beach while I did a little yard work and cleaned the inside of the car which hadn’t been done since the end of last summer. We all sat outside for a while when they got back and had a nice Skype chat with Heather. That lead into a well timed late lunch which set up nap time for Janet in preparation for going out for dinner tonight. I had to work pretty hard to get her calmed down enough to sleep which she did for forty five minutes only. Not sure what woke her that first time but the next three times in one and a half hours was Nash barking for no legitimate reason. Even Janet was upset the last couple of times.

Despite the inconsistent sleep Janet had lots of energy and was quite bright as we headed off to The Minstrel Cafe for dinner and some live music. We sat at the same table as when we were there for Jon and Lisa’s wedding a little while ago and Janet seemed quite happy the whole time. She had done really well drinking her water today so wine was allowed with dinner and apparently not enough of it for Janet as she tried to get more out of the empty carafe.

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Janet had a nice long play time with Nash when we got home and did a good job getting his treat then letting him outside by herself with only a little coaching along the way. Sleep came fast to her tonight after a pretty busy and fun day.

Praying for lots of energy tomorrow as we get to celebrate the Resurrection and through video be a part of the message at Trinity. I pray that Janet’s declaration of hope will inspire others.

Button Race. A nice family day for Janet. #TSJ

Laurel and Raj went out to Connect to pick Janet up just before lunch today. Janet told me she was surprised to see them but didn’t cry. She was showered and had been to the gym so was off to a good start. Lunch was at Joey’s where Janet enjoyed some fish tacos and was quite alert and responsive throughout the meal. Once home it was pretty much nap time and for once she didn’t need much convincing.

After a good nap Laurel and I took Janet and Nash for a sunny and warm walk around the neighborhood then settled in for some March Madness and a good sushi dinner. Janet ate a lot, I was surprised by the amount, and even enjoyed a little wine with the meal. Her water intake for the day was the barely the minimum but I didn’t have to nag her quite so much. She seems to give in easier when others are around.

Overall Janet seemed pretty quiet again today with some really good moments thrown in just to let us know she’s still doing OK. Laurel and Raj showed us some pictures of their trip to the BVI and Janet enjoyed seeing the beautiful beaches and colorful water and insists that we move there. Oh no, that was me ten years ago. Still would be nice to visit but I don’t know about doing such a long trip with Janet like that. It took Laurel and Raj 28 hours door to door from Calgary, not sure Janet could tolerate that. She faded pretty fast tonight and agreed to get ready for bed at 8:45. One of our bedtime rituals is to have a race doing up buttons on Janet’s PJ tops. I start at the bottom and she starts at the top. Whoever does up theirs up the fastest wins. Tonight, for the first time, she beat me! Praying for a restful night that brings lots of energy for an active and fun day tomorrow.

Wet but not Wild. Janet’s 2nd dip in the pool. #TSJ

Jess had Janet pretty much set to go when I arrived at Connect this morning. Like Garrett, she is very good with Janet and I think they get along pretty well. Janet got a little upset about being put on the toilet before we left but that’s the rule, try and go before you go.

On the drive to KGH Janet was reasonably talkative but a little on the quiet side and seemed concerned about something. She said she was fine but she just seemed a little off to me. Thanks to Jess’s foresight we were at the pool with lots of time to spare. This session was not as good as the first one as Janet just didn’t seem to have the energy she’s capable of having. I found it hard to get her positioned well enough to float on her own as she kept listing to the right pretty severely. With that in mind I tried some standing exercises with her first and that went really well especially with the left leg. Eventually Janet warmed up and loosened up enough to make her own way one length of the pool floating on her back. Definitely not in Olympic record time but a first is a first. That was the highlight for sure and we’ll just have to keep working on the other stuff. The good news is Janet was approved to use the pool twice a week now. Mondays and Thursdays starting April 8th. The Monday session is at 10am so I’ll just keep Janet home Sunday nights now, go to the pool then be at Connect by lunchtime. Although her performance wasn’t as strong today she still had fun and that’s something we can build from. We had a nice chat with Moira and Rob on the way in and Janet got a nice hug from Rehab nurse Jason on the way out. Made her smile big.

We did a little grocery shop on the way home and it was nice to have Janet in the store with me and have her be able to help and she likes to contribute. At home and after lunch she protested quite vigorously about having a nap but I’m bigger than her so I won and she slept loudly for an hour and a half and said she felt good afterwards. She certainly has no shortage of an appetite as she polished off the dinner that was waiting for her at Connect even after eating a big lunch. Bob and Fred joined us for an evening of March Madness before Janet finally tired out just before nine.

Today was a good day but noticeably quieter than the last few. Janet’s speech was good as far as the words spoken but her volume level was low all day. Hopefully a good night of rest will recharge her for the weekend. Laurel and Raj are here and will pick Janet up tomorrow and take her out for lunch before bringing her home for the weekend. Janet is really looking forward to that.

Praying for lots of rest, healing and recharging for a fun weekend.

Music to My Ears. More singing for Janet. #TSJ

Today, Janet, Mary Lou and I met with a music therapist, Stephanie. I’ve long been searching for an accredited MTA that could work with Janet and thanks to Brian and friends we found a possibility. The timing as far as Janet goes could not be better as she seems to have fully rebounded from her Dilantin overdose and is offering much more in the way of starting conversations and expressing her opinions. Stephanie outlined how she would work with Janet and although similar to what John does she has a more clinical approach and will aim for the same goals Mary Lou has for Janet. Namely, increasing the volume of Janet’s voice and improving her ability to find and use appropriate words. The meeting went well and Janet seemed to like Stephanie so dependent on what exactly she proposes I think we’ll give it a go. Janet will still do the sing along stuff with John as every little bit helps and Janet has fun with him.

I convinced Janet to have a nap after the meeting and she did so for over an hour and a half giving her good energy for the rest of the day. She had a good Skype chat with Leslie and is excited about the possibility of her and Gavin coming out for a visit at the end of June. In fact she could hardly stop talking about it every time she was asked a question about her family which seemed to happen a lot today. I grilled her after she woke up from her nap then Garrett and Connie started in on her after her nighttime gym session.Janet is much more confident in her answers now and needs less prompting to get them correct.

We sat outside for happy hour again and Janet was very chatty and maybe even a little restless as she kept working her left leg to move her chair back and forth. Once she moved ahead while drinking her water, hit the patio railing and spilled a bunch of water all over herself. She thought that was very funny and it was. Connie was in the house this evening after her trip to England. We had a nice chat with her about her trip and Janet was really glad to have her back and enjoyed hearing about her trip.

It took a lot of convincing to get Janet to go to the gym with Garrett tonight but eventually she relented and of course came back all smiles and somewhat accepting that it was good for her. Garrett is very good with Janet and we are blessed to have him working with her. He reported that Janet did well with her stretches tonight even getting onto her tummy herself and staying there for three minutes or so with no discomfort. Previously it was a huge struggle to get her onto her tummy and she always seemed in a little pain while she was there. This is a nice improvement that Janet credits to “doing it lots of times”. High five!

To help her wind down and enjoy the rest of the evening I got her a cup of tea and we watched some Ellen on YouTube. Janet laughed out loud at a couple of the clips and was genuinely touched by one of the sappy ones we watched. That’s the most reaction I’ve gotten from her watching YouTube and speaks to her continued rise in brightness.

This was another encouraging day with Janet. She was strong on all her transfers today, she talked well 90% of the time I was with her, participated well in the meeting with Stephanie and Mary Lou excitedly reported that “Janet is back and then some” in regards to her speech therapy. It had been a tough few weeks for Mary Lou when Janet was going through the Dilantin overdose so it was nice to see her all fired up again today.

Praying for a night of deep rest and healing that brings lots of energy for tomorrow.

How Could You Not Smile? A sunny day for Janet. #TSJ

When I arrived at Connect this afternoon Jess reported that Janet was having a good day. It started with a shower, included a trip to the gym with Tez and also had more of the ongoing water battle. Janet was apparently in her room listening to music so I carefully opened the door in case she was sleeping but there she was with a huge smile on her face saying “I knew it was you”. Apparently I’m the only one that opens the door that way so she knew it was me. She may have napped a little prior to my arrival and was very bright and chatty. More so than I’ve experienced in a few weeks. Her voice was clear and fairly loud and she was talking in plain and proper English. It was very refreshing and encouraging. We talked about her day so far and mine with her interjecting some well thought out comments. When given the choice of getting up or napping a little more she chose napping which lasted about a half hour when I got a wrong number call on my phone that woke her up. It turned out to be a good time to get up as Cam called shortly after that and after concluding business with me he had a nice chat with his mom who mumbled a few times but mostly spoke very well and again said some really intelligent things. She seemed really happy to be talking to Cam and smiled the whole time as did I.

The sun was shining brightly as Janet and I sat out on the patio for a pre-dinner drink and appetizer. A very juicy grapefruit and the requisite water of course. We stayed out there for a good forty five minutes with Janet continuing to talk really well and clearly enjoying the sun on her face. That was one of many blessings received today and makes me a little anxious for summer and being able to take Janet for walks to the beach etc. I think the sun was making her a little tired after that time and she chose to go in and read from the iPad for a bit. As long as I could make the words large enough she did quite well. Improving the more we did. Janet ate a good dinner then agreed to try some herbal tea in place of her after dinner water. She enjoyed it but could only manage half of what she needed to drink and made up the difference with water. We did a little more reading then watched some YouTube that made her laugh a few times. I then read some of Slow Dance to her stopping after a very sad chapter about the ladies dog dying. To cheer her up I read the children’s story that she had written years ago about a witch that didn’t want to be a witch. She accused me of reading it wrong, implying that I got the story wrong but I’m not sure how I could. I’ll take that as another sign of some more memory coming back. Earlier in the evening I saw more of old Janet as she leaned over and whispered to me that us guys had been talking too long about soccer. Gary was working with Bob tonight and he is originally from England so naturally we talked soccer. Janet thought we were crazy.

By the time the bedtime prayers came around Janet had lost all the energy she had when I arrived and agreed it had been a good day and smiled as I recounted the positive things that had occurred. On my way out the door she volunteered a wave goodbye which is something I usually initiate. I really hope there is no step back from where she was cognitively today it was very refreshing.

Praying for a night of rest and healing and more steps forward tomorrow.

Green Thumb. Janet does some gardening. #TSJ

For some reason both of us slept in this morning so it was pretty much a mad scramble to get to church on time. I woke up just after nine and Janet was still sound asleep but wasn’t angry when I woke her up, in fact she was surprised it was so late. She did very well with her morning routine and was eating breakfast sooner than I anticipated.

Church was thought provoking with Janet staying awake for the entire service for once. When discussing it afterwards she said she enjoyed the music, I did see her singing along, and found Tim’s message interesting. He was quite animated today and I think that helped keep Janet’s attention. We thought about going to do a little shopping afterward but vetoed that in favor of BBQ’d hotdogs and a chance to get outside at home. Today was another one of those days that looks like summer but feels like Fall. It was still nice enough to get out in the yard for an hour or so and see some of the neighbors you don’t really see during the winter. We had a nice Skype chat with Laurel from our outside set and are excited to see her and Raj this coming weekend. Janet wanted to help with some gardening so I had her help cut back one plant that I should’ve done in the Fall and then we pruned a rose bush together.

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As if on cue, Janet asked to go to the bathroom which was a nice transition into nap time. I allowed nap time to happen later than normal so we could maximize our outside time and I think that was a good call as Janet really enjoyed being out there. I did have to wake her again though as she would have slept through dinner time otherwise. She cleaned her plate but made sure she had room for ice cream before the drive back to Connect.

Janet continues to struggle with the water drinking thing although there has been an improvement. One time today when I was hurrying her up she said she couldn’t because it was too cold. I felt like a real dummy for not considering that before. She always used to drink water with ice in it but would sip it over a long period of time. I’ll try less ice next time. That was a good comment from her and I’m seeing more of those. Another example came as we were leaving tonight and admiring the moon. I asked her which she liked better the moon or the sun. She said the sun because its warmer. I can’t recall her putting two and two together like that since this all started. Good sign.

Thanking Jesus for being able to have Janet home this weekend and for the enjoyable time we had. Praying for a restful night that brings healing to her legs, right arm and hand and gives her lots of energy for an active day tomorrow.

Just Hanging Out. A nice sunny Saturday. #TSJ

Janet and I awoke to the sun streaming into the bedroom and just after Nash barked needlessly at some dog a block away. It was still nice to see the sun and the smile on Janet’s face as she is not as bothered by the dog as I am. She ordered bacon and eggs for breakfast and started with a bowl of yogurt and fresh strawberries and even drank her water without fussing. Without definite plans for the morning the choice was hers as to what we would do. A walk was tempting but it was too cold outside despite it looking like summer. Janet somehow remembered me mentioning cleaning out the rest of her closet and that’s what she chose to do. To make it more fun I hauled things out to the family room where we could enjoy the sun and have the basketball games on in the background. Janet made some good decisions and laughed at a few of the clothes we found. Lots went into donation bags and the last step we have is to try on pants and such to see if they fit her still. Most women seem to have shoe collections, Janet is definitely a shirt person, we even found some with the tags still on them.

At lunch Janet ate the neatest and cleanest I’ve seen yet. I had to help her with he last bit of soup only and I don’t think she dropped more than one crumb of her sandwich. Impressive. All day she did very well in the toileting department, and just before finishing her session before nap time she totally broke down. It was the fastest crash I’ve seen from her and I had to console her like a baby once she was in bed. Within ten minutes she was asleep and woke up almost two hours later bright and ready to go.

My former boss, Gordon, from CedarCreek, popped by for a glass of wine and a little visit and although Janet didn’t really know him well she enjoyed the chat. It could’ve been the 2011 Platinum Viognier we opened but I think it was just nice to sit in the sun and talk to another adult.

Dinner was kept simple tonight so we could watch basketball. Janet did a good job chopping onion and tried really hard to grate cheese but doesn’t seem able or to want to push down hard on things. She’s got the strength to do it just not the technique. Something to work on. My favorite basketball team lost their game tonight so I was sad but a nice ice cream dessert with Janet fixed that and I tucked her into bed shortly before ten after a pretty good day of just hanging out at home.

Praying for rest and healing, especially for the spasticity in her legs to go away.

Lights, Camera,… Janet’s first video shoot. #TSJ

A showered and smiling Janet greeted me as I walked into Connect this morning. She knew we were going out to do something and guessed it was watch basketball. A good guess as that was in the plan for later but first up was a video shoot for the Easter service at Trinity. Lorne said she was off to a good start, drinking her water before and after breakfast but had a little cry during her shower. She said she forgot to ask about the bath so I reminded her to try that next time.

We arrived at Trinity and Jody, Kiko and Rebecca were just finishing setting up for the shoot. The idea behind this is for Janet and I to give about a ninety second glimpse at our story so far as Wayne teaches on three “walls” or “barriers” we can all hit in life. There are two other video stories in the sermon, one on Finances, one on Grief and then ours on Health. The underlying theme in each is the fact that there is still hope.

The first part of the shoot was for some cut away shots so no talking needed and that was a nice way to ease into things. All Janet had to do was sit under the lights and look cute.

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After a quick location change it was time for the talking bits. Thankfully for me Kiko set up a TelePrompTer which made my part much easier. Janet had trouble reading it though so I fed her the lines one at a time until she could say each one on her own. She wasn’t as loud as I had hoped but Jody said he could work with it and may add subtitles for the sake of clarity. The whole shoot was done in an hour and a half and Jody will now work his magic to make it all look and sound good.

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Janet had fun doing the video today and held her energy very well. As with all stars the groupies are always hovering nearby. Twyla and Wendy came out to see Janet in between shots and with a little prompting Janet remembered their names. She was genuinely pleased to see them and that added to the positive experience this was. I’m a little surprised at how well Janet is talking about what happened to her and I don’t think it’s because she doesn’t get it. I’m hoping by talking about it she’ll gain confidence to keep working hard at getting better.

Stars also hang out in restaurants so rather than go home for lunch we headed back to Original Joe’s, this time with Kiko and Rebecca. Janet enjoyed that as well and was very ready for a nap when we got home. Because nap time was later than normal, dinner was a little late. I had wanted her to help make pizzas but to save time I did most of it while she drank her water and watched basketball. Janet did build her own pizza after I had all the toppings ready and this was probably her best one yet. Looked better than mine!

Janet kept insisting she didn’t want to get ready for bed as the clock ticked past nine so I let her stay up to watch the end of the basketball game. That made it after ten before the lights went out so hopefully she doesn’t sleep too long tomorrow and we can get a few things done in the morning. Praying for rest and healing and for lots of energy tomorrow.

Just Floating Along. Janet goes “swimming”. #TSJ

What an exciting day! I knew today had potential and I couldn’t be more happy with how Janet was from start to finish. It wasn’t all ups but there were enough of them to make this a stellar day and judging by the big grin on Janet’s face as I said goodnight she is satisfied with what she did too.

I arrived in time to get her ready to go to KGH Rehab for her session in the pool. She was waiting for me in the living room with a big smile and I could sense she was a little nervous about the swimming thing. Excited but nervous. She took a while on the toilet before we left so instead of being all pool ready underneath her clothes we would have to get changed there. I should have expected the next delays as the hallway to the pool goes right by the rehab gym so Moira and Rob both came running over as soon as they saw Janet and the reunion was on. Janet kept saying she didn’t remember any of the area or the hospital as we approached but as soon as she saw Moira her face lit right up as it did for Rob. I think that gave her a nice confidence boost for the task at hand and she didn’t seem nervous about the pool at all after that. Moira guided us to a bathroom we could change in but it was locked then I remembered one in the other hall so we went there and donned the swimming attire. There are change rooms in the pool area but the only private one was in use and pool guy, Jim, was nowhere to be seen. He saw fit to chastise me for using the washroom we did and told me to make sure we stay in the pool area to change afterwards. He seemed nice when we talked on the phone but after encountering him in person today I think he’s a bored man that needs to find something more challenging to do. I transferred Janet into a waterproof wheelchair and we walked out onto what would become the water. There’s a biblical joke there somewhere. Anyone? Jim gave us a small inner tube so Janet could float and then lowered the floor. Janet started floating long before the floor maxed out and it was very exciting to see. She was smiling and laughing at the sensation and was very relaxed and “at home” the whole time.

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I only knew what Tez wanted me to do with Janet as far as exercise goes and Jim just said “float around, get used to it”. Janet was used to it in two minutes so I had her try kicking her legs. That was tough at first especially as her right leg was drifting over her left one which was bent back at the knee quite dramatically. The more time we spent in the pool the more Janet loosened up and for the last ten minutes she was kicking and propelling herself through the water. She instinctively started using her left arm to paddle as well and looked totally at home doing it. I tried standing with Janet a few times. Each attempt was better than the previous and involved her touching bottom with her left foot and me guiding her right to where I could step on both feet and hold her down. I then straightened her lower back slowly and could feel her hips and pelvis move in a way I’d not noticed before. Everything felt more relaxed and Janet said she felt good, no pain.

Our thirty minute session was over super fast and Jim showed us the correct change room to use. Janet was cold as soon as we were out of the pool so good thing I brought her large beach towel to wrap her in. On our way out we went through rehab and stopped at the nurses station where a gaggle of nurses marveled at how good Janet looks. One nurse who worked with Janet on 4b actually started crying when Janet smiled and loudly said hi to her. Awesome moment.

The pool experience deserved a reward and Janet agreed ” it would be nice” to go out for lunch so we went to Original Joe’s and had a very civilized long lunch date. That cut into Janet’s nap time which she protested all the way into bed but was snoring three minutes later. Unfortunately I had to wake her forty five minutes after so we could get to her doctor’s appointment. We made some minor changes to the Dilantin dosage, capsule form instead of liquid, and she has sent a referral into the neurologist. The constipation issue has obviously been resolved but I asked her to instruct us as to how much fluid Janet should be drinking in a day. She pointedly said to Janet, one cup before and after each meal at least. Try to get two more in there somewhere but at least those. I hope hearing it from her doctor will help motivate Janet a little more.

It was just us for dinner by the time we got back to Connect but Garrett and Bob hung around to chat a little then Jess and her little niece came by to encourage Janet to come up to ladies night. Bad timing today but hopefully next week. Janet happily put her laundry away and helped me make her bed after watching a little March Madness. She very contentedly lay down in bed a little earlier than the last few nights after a busy and fun day. This was the Janet of three weeks ago that had Mary Lou all excited about her speech potential. I think as long as the Dilantin levels don’t rise Janet has a good chance of really advancing from here. Praying for a good nights rest and an equally bright and energetic day tomorrow.

Angry Janet. The fighting spirit returns. #TSJ

Janet was laying in bed listening to music and starting to nod off when I arrived this afternoon. Jess and Lorne excitedly reported that she produced a “massive” bowel movement earlier in the day and she found it both relieving and humorous. I share this only in light of how good for Janet it is that she finally is getting things moving out of there. She smiled large when I asked her about it.

After her nap we picked out what to wear to the pool tomorrow. She wanted no part of her actual bathing suits as they’re all bikini style and Janet has retained her modesty throughout this journey. I found my favorite pair of shorts she used to wear and we settled on those with a t shirt overtop of a bathing suit top. Not the most styling but easy for me to put on her and she seems fine with it. I checked with Leanne and Jen who were upstairs at the time just to make sure.

Chris made a yummy pasta dish for dinner tonight that was served quite early and judging by the speed with which Janet ate I’d say it was good he served it then. I had picked up some macaron from Sandrine in honor of Macaron Day and shared them with everyone for dessert. They were a huge hit. As expected. Janet had laundry duty after dinner then Garrett would take her to the gym and while she was wheeling to the laundry room she started to tell me how angry she was about all this. This apparently is how she has to do all these different things and everyone telling her to do them. She seemed to understand that she is actually given choices whenever she’s asked to do anything and all the things she’s asked to do are geared towards making her better. This is the first time in a while I’ve seen that fight and anger in her. It’s good I think and this was a much brighter Janet than I’ve seen in a few weeks.

She did a good job putting her laundry away only needing a few gentle reminders to read the labels on the drawers. Her workout with Garrett went well. He had Janet and Fred in there at the same time and doesn’t know why but they both broke out into laughter at him at the same time at one point. As they were all coming back down the hall I could hear Janet very loudly saying “Larry Dieno is my husband”. Garrett was getting her to talk about her family but not sure why she was so loud all of a sudden. Hopefully that continues.

Our before bed activity tonight was to work on the script for our little video to be shown during the Easter service at Trinity. It is a very brief snap shot of our story and for the first time I didn’t hesitate at all in talking to Janet about the details of what she’s been through. I’ve previously been cautious about it but this time just went right into it and she was fine. As we went deeper into each item she did get some tears going but overall I am pleased with how she is relating to her situation. She still has no memory of any of it but knows there was a big change in her life and that she is getting better. That part we need to keep reinforcing but its there.

I finally said goodnight to a Janet anticipating a busy and exciting day tomorrow. Praying for a restful night so she has lots of energy to enjoy and learn.