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.