Janet could not have been more excited this past week leading up to Laurel and Raj’s Christian wedding ceremony on Saturday. That excitement enabled Janet to accomplish a lot as she was almost forced to be on a high level of alert all day everyday. She sometimes found it hard to let go and calm down at night with Thursday being especially difficult as she hardly slept at all. To be able to not only witness but also contribute to the wedding was huge for Janet and it was very exciting for me to watch her take it all in.
Thursday started with a phone call from Janet just after noon wondering when I was going to be at Connect to pick her up. I reminded her I said I’d be there at two but she said that was too late. I managed to get there by 1:30 just as she and Jess were finishing making her bed. It had been a busy morning with good reports from the gym and an outstanding report from Mary Lou regarding Janet’s speech. Jess said she was out on the patio while Mary Lou and Janet were working in the Den, a good twenty meters away, and she could hear Janet from there. Impressive. After running an errand downtown, Andrew, Laurel, Heather and my mom joined us for a trip to The Flower Farm for a few decorative features for the wedding. We all were a little dissapointed with the selection and service but were very surprised and impressed by the lemon trees.
So ended a very bright day for Janet, or so I thought. Her mind must have been working overtime as she was very restless all Thursday night, waking frequently to tell me she couldn’t sleep or was uncomfortable. It all peaked at 3am when she insisted on going for a walk. Noting that she wasn’t kidding and was half way out of bed I decided to go along with her crazy idea and got out of bed to assist. Once up, she very confidently took a good step with her left leg then followed nicely moving her right leg forward. That was not a step, more like a drag, but it was impressive none the less and she repeated it three or four times down the side of the bed. I held probably ninety percent of her weight but all the movement was her. When she’d had enough we got back to where she started from and she managed a little bit of sleep for what remained of the night. After regaling the household with her story over breakfast it was time for some wedding baking. Laurel and Heather allowed Janet to help them make some desserts for the big event and Janet loved being helpful and hanging out with her daughters. The house was buzzing all day and Janet really fed off that energy. We got into the pool for a good long swim where Janet did her best ever take off for swimming on her tummy and also took a breath while swimming. As long as the water is warm she continues to improve in the pool.
The big day finally arrived and after the prerequisite good morning, the first words out of Janet’s smiling mouth Saturday morning were, “Laurel and Raj are getting married today”. She was up and going by 8:30 and you could tell this is what she’d been waiting for. Again, the house was buzzing as Cam arrived then Mary/Gaga and Keith after their massively delayed flight from Toronto. The last bit of decorating involved cutting out some foam hearts to lay on the pool and Janet was happy to help with that before Heather and Laurel took her behind closed doors to get dressed. After I don’t know how many mimosas the ladies emerged looking stunningly beautiful.
It must have been water proof makeup the girls put on Janet because as soon we sat down for the ceremony, the tears started flowing but her face stayed radiant. The ceremony was blessedly short due to the heat but very truthful, practical and personal. Thanks Roger and Carrie for being such special people to our family. Laurel and Raj each did a terrific job delivering their vows to each other and I can’t think of any better way for Janet to witness their “second” marriage. Janet’s short term memory is showing signs of improvement and I’m sure she’ll remember this day for a long long time. The “reception” part of the day was very casual with everyone invited to jump in the pool, play bocce or just hang out. Janet happily went for a swim and loved being in the water with a bunch of others especially Laurel and Raj’s niece and nephews. A few years ago Laurel and Raj dressed up as mustard and ketchup for Halloween so in preparation for their first wedding Janet made bride and groom mustard and ketchup bottles that were to be placed near the cake in fun. She finally got to present them this time and got a good laugh for doing so.
Up early again, the goodbyes started early Sunday morning with Cam running out the door first with Heather and Allan scheduled to follow after breakfast. Note that I said Heather and when you are talking about her and flying you can bank on a delay. Sure enough, they were able to stay for lunch before heading to the airport for a trip that ended up being four hours longer than planned and minus a set of luggage too. I don’t have to tell you who’s do I. It was nice to be able to chill and visit during their delay so that was the silver lining. As expected there were lots of tears when the time finally came but those were cleared up when Janet was reminded of all the fun things that happened over the last few days. Having only active seniors left to entertain we headed up to the Myra Canyon trestles for a nice walk. Unfortunately I turned too soon and we ended up at the wrong end of the park where the road is very bumpy and the trail to the trestles not exactly wheelchair friendly. It was still a nice outing and a good break from the heat for those that wanted it. After a nice swim and hot tub we all went to dinner at The Rotten Grape. Janet was a little uncomfortable in the backless bar stool this time so we switched to a tall stool with a back and that seemed to work much better. We said goodnight and goodbye to Mary/Gaga and Keith before winding down with a little TV and the lights going out at 11:15.
I think by this time Janet was starting to feel relieved that the craziness was over. She slept very well Sunday night and woke up happy and ready to start Monday at 8am. My mom joined her in watching Pick a Puppy and Janet picked the right one again and is now 4/5 all time. After a brief walk around the KGH neighborhood Janet had two very strong swimming sessions which included a first ever walk using the parallel bars. We had attempted this before but Janet’s strength and balance just weren’t there, now they are. Fun to watch. We had a nice chat with Moira on the way out and Janet was beaming as she told of Laurel’s wedding. We are so blessed to have so many caring people involved in Janet’s rehab and even though Moira is no longer directly involved she still makes time to connect with Janet each time we see her and the more that happens the more Janet connects back. Good stuff. My mom loves soup and sandwich places so we hit The Marmalade Cafe for lunch before dropping her at the airport for her on time flight to Nanaimo. Mom, we are grateful you could be part of this weekend and thank you for the turkey dinner, the huge amount of yard work and everything else you did for us. By the time we got to the Connect parking lot Janet was in tears and not wanting to go back. We worked it out, she had a nap then a really good dinner followed by a solid workout on the Shuttle. We couldn’t let a beautiful evening go to waste so we walked over and watched Karl and Humberto play soccer.
Janet really enjoyed that and was in a good enough mood to do forty five minutes in the Standing Frame before bed. She timed her workout really well and drank an entire bottle of water during it with no nagging from me. A first!
Janet is getting to be more and more like the former Janet all the time now and when she called me Tuesday afternoon I heard her true voice for the first time since this all started. It was exciting and a little creepy at the same time. When I arrived she was very chatty and we talked in her room for a long while before going for a walk. Along the way we practiced the months of the year stating the special days that occur in each. Janet got most family birthdays right and shocked me by getting the first day of Spring in March. I hadn’t even thought of that one before she said it. With a very busy Wednesday looming Janet went to bed after her evening workout a little unsure of what to expect.
Jess brought Janet to KGH this morning where I met them for a chat with Dr. Miller. He reinforced the need for Janet to be at Connect for the forseable future and as long as she is improving. He noted a huge improvement in Janet’s cognition since he saw her a month ago and gave validity to my suggestion that the Baclofen was having a negative effect on her. Janet impressed him so much this morning that he told her “with your brain injury, you should not be talking to me the way you are now”. Janet accepted his compliments and praise almost completely today saying she “feels more alive”. Awesome meeting. On our way out Janet’s celebrity status took over as a bunch of nurses stopped to say hi. Janet spoke very clearly and smiled a lot this time showing her growing confidence. While she was in the bathroom over near the OT department, Erika, the head nurse came looking for us. She was about to interview Emma for a position on the Rehab Unit and knew we’d like to see her and vice versa. It was great to see Emma again, in my opinion the best nurse Janet’s had during this ordeal, unfortunately all Janet got was a peak through the bathroom door. I’m sure we’ll see more of Emma soon as I told Erika there’s no need to interview her, just hire her, and she agreed. Our next appointment was the hand clinic to see about a splint to assist with positioning of Janet’s right wrist and hand. Julie took a good look at Janet and fashioned a splint right before our eyes that is already helping. When I took it off at bedtime tonight Janet’s hand was very relaxed and I was able to open her hand with her wrist fully in a neutral position, something I haven’t been able to do since this started. For now Janet will wear the splint two hours on and one hour off with a follow up with Julie scheduled for next Friday. We rushed back to Connect for our team meeting and had a very productive session with the Connect team. Everyone is pleased with Janet’s progress with Mary Lou describing the difference in Janet’s speech like “night and day” over the last seven to ten days. I am very thankful for the hardworking and supportive group of professionals working on Janet’s behalf. Automatically thinking Janet would need a nap after a day like that I proceeded to get her ready to do so. She allowed me to lay her down but as soon as she realized what was going on she got quite upset and got herself right back up insisting she do the Standing Frame now because she hates doing it late at night. She did a full hour in it followed by a really good gym workout with Garrett.That left the evening free for a nice walk and an attempt at doing some video for this blog update. I wasn’t happy with it so you are stuck reading my words again. Maybe next time.
As long as Janet continues to improve she will stay at Connect and I’m grateful we have that resource. There will now be an effort made to get Janet busier around there and we will explore some volunteer opportunities in the community as well. It feels like another door to Janet’s recovery has opened and I pray we can take full advantage of that to push her to the next level. Thank you readers for all your support and thank you to our Lord and Savior for His Love, Mercy and Grace.