Month: October 2013

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #Botox

Renovation Day 24. A big day of mudding, sanding and preparing for painting. We also had the electrician come by to install LED pot lights in both bathrooms as we were unable to find suitable fixtures that weren’t stupidly expensive. One week from today our new appliances are scheduled for delivery. The end is near.

I met Janet and the gang at the Kelowna Family Y this morning for a swimming session. Donning the wetsuit is getting easier but it’s not getting easier for Janet to warm up in the water. The pool was particularly cold today even though the staff tried telling us it was twenty eight degrees. No way, I was clod so I can imagine Janet, even with the wetsuit. Eventually she warmed up and impressed the others by swimming lengths on her back, switching from back to tummy and kicking her legs pretty well. Walking was a bit of a lost cause today and I’ll blame it on the cold water combined with the increased spasticity in her right leg. The hot tub was welcome relief for the last twenty minutes and allowed for a good stretch.

We cleared the pool, grabbed a quick lunch at our local Wrap Zone and ate it outside at our house so we could let the dog out for a bit. We met our first grumpy neighbour while Nash did his thing on the lawn. An old guy thought I should be taking Nash “out of the compound” to go to the bathroom. Aint going to happen pops.

From there it was over to KGH for some Botox with Dr. McCann. The original plan was to do Janet’s subscapularis this time around but I felt it way more important to hit her finger flexors, wrist flexors and especially her right leg again. In particular, I hoped there was a way to help Janet gain more ability to push her right foot to the floor and Dr. McCann felt there was and treated her that way. Here’s hoping.

Janet was tired by the time we got back to Connect but wanted to get her bike ride over with before having a nap. Her performance was solid but not record breaking as she was visibly tired half way through the ride. Good effort though and no complaints. She slept for a good hour then wolfed down dinner so we could get to Barb and Gary’s to hand out Halloween candy for a while.
That was a lot of fun but we were all disappointed at the small turn out of maybe forty kids. The neighbourhood usual is in the eighty range. None the less Janet enjoyed seeing all the costumes and did a great job handing out candy and the leftovers certainly won’t go to waste.

We got back to Connect in time to see most of Charlie Brown’s It’s The Great Pumpkin which Janet loved and correctly named all of the characters except Woodstaock.

Praying for an uninterrupted night of deep and healing sleep and lots of energy for an active day tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #SHElife

Renovation Day 23. Randy accomplished a lot today mudding and taping the new closets and the area where the washer used to be. I did more prep for painting. It’s coming along.

When I got to Connect this afternoon Jess told me Janet went down for a nap half an hour earlier so I left her be for a while in hopes she would sleep. When I finally went into her room she was laying there with a big smile on her face as she knew it was me trying to sneak in. She said she didn’t sleep at all and wished I was there earlier. I used that as an opportunity to tell her if she knew hoe to use her iPad she could’ve messaged me that she was awake. She saw some value in that but wasn’t ready to start learning just yet.

Janet’s day up until that point seems to have been one of refusal as she refused lunch and refused a shower but she agreed to a bike ride before leaving for dinner and SHElife. Once again she beat her personal best easily, even after saying “I don’t think I’m going to do well this time” as she started. She looked very confident and has good technique on the bike and I dare say looks as though she’s enjoying herself.

Having not eaten very much for lunch I made sure we ordered lots of sushi tonight for Janet and she certainly didn’t refuse any of that. All fuelled up I dropped her off at SHElife with a few ideas of what to talk about if given the chance. Two hours later she was still engaged in conversation with Heidi and smiling. Janet says she enjoyed the evening and managed to contribute although not all of what we talked about ahead of time. I’m very glad Janet has the opportunity to attend this program and connect with other ladies. Good stuff.

It was nine thirty by the time we rolled into Connect so Janet got right onto her meds then got ready for bed. Praying for a night of deep sleep and healing that provides tons of energy for a busy and fun day tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #Pumpkin

Renovation Day 22. Closets framed in both bedrooms, countertops installed and preparation for painting is underway.

I arrived at Connect just after three to be told Janet had just gone down for a nap. Jess had taken her to KGH this morning where I met them for our regular meeting with Dr. Miller. Janet was bright and cheery and Dr. Miller continues to be “amazed” with her progress. She was praised for her ability to enunciate, stay on topic, recall from short term memory and for her sense of humour. The meeting was very positive and Janet finds Dr. Miller easy to talk to. Swimming with the group at the Y, attending SHElife and Singing With John were noted as very positive things to be doing and Janet actually admitted to liking the bike riding she’s been doing lately. Dr. Miller emphasized the usefulness of the iPad and encouraged Janet to become more proficient with it as a means to gaining more independence. He suggested taking notes on it to help her remember things and liked my suggestion of Janet learning to use the communication tools available, even the camera. I of course am all over Janet stepping up her iPad use but she is balking right now as she thinks she can’t do it. Baby steps.

After a good chat with Brian I went into Janet’s room and she was awake so we had our post nap chat in which she told me that singing with John was fun but she was unable to tell me any of the songs they sang. She knew of the plan to carve pumpkins after dinner and agreed to a bike ride beforehand. It was another record setting performance and this time Janet was actually a little winded afterwards. High Five!

We were late for dinner due to the late nap then bike ride so it was pretty much just us and Big Country at the start then Danielle got Wes carving his pumpkin which was quite entertaining. Here’s the resulting masterpiece. WesDaniellePumpkin

Janet cleaned hers out and I traced the image we decided to try and create. It turned out pretty good with some serious help from Danielle. SeahawksPumpkin


With SHElife coming up tomorrow I wanted to read some Not a Fan with Janet so she had it fresh in her head to discuss. The result was an awesome discussion on do we know about Jesus or do we know Jesus. Makes me kind of want to be at their table tomorrow night, Janet was really into it. I asked her to make notes on the iPad so she’d remember for tomorrow but she chose the old fashioned pen and paper routine. She wrote down four sentences then realized she couldn’t read her writing and stopped. Instead of switching to the iPad she insisted on watching The Voice so that was that. Half an hour into our TV time Janet was starting to fade and sat there for quite a while with a mouth full of water. She was out of it enough to have an almost scary choking episode. Since it was only water she was able to clear it but it took some effort and I cautioned her seriously to stop holding water so long in her mouth before swallowing. She didn’t seem phased by it at all and thinks I’m silly for being so concerned.

Paying for a great night of sleep and an active day of learning tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #Bright

Renovation Day 21. Things are really taking shape now as Randy has begun work on the countertops and almost completed the crown moulding. I put in a couple of vents for the wine cabinet and cut out some drywall where the washer used to be and removed the supply lines etc. Three weeks from today our stuff gets moved in!

Jess reports that Janet had a very busy morning and Janet confirmed that during our post nap time chat. She was very bright and chatty and once I got her tuned into the start of the day she was off and running. Breakfast, she was very proud that she had coffee, the gym, no comment, helping Jess bake cookies, fun and they look really yummy but they are for Halloween, grocery shopping with Jess and one of the other residents, lunch, she helped Big Country to eat his, once a mom, always a mom. Janet was asked to use the Standing Frame while helping with the cookies but refused so I told her she was doing that with me like it or not. Willie apparently came to the lunch table with his shirt saver on backwards and Janet found that to be very funny, still laughing about it as she told me.

After that great chat it was time for a bike ride and Janet did her best ever, making a mile in twenty five minutes. She actually smiled at the end and when I reminded her of that at bedtime she smiled again and said “I know”. There was no argument about doing the Standing Frame after the bike and part way through she pointed out to me that she was putting weight through her right leg. She was and again she smiled about it. Who is this woman?

The dinner table tonight was very lively as Kieran was talking up a storm about this that and everything. The rest of the table was playing along for the most part but clearly getting tired of it when Big Country in his very soft calm voice said “Kieran, shut up”. I’ve never heard such loud laughter from everyone and it lasted a long time, in fact Janet and I laughed about it again at bedtime. That shot earned Big Country a happy face lollypop.

Janet and I spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching “the worst football game” we’ve ever seen. Thankfully Seattle won but it was so ugly we switched to The Voice at eight o’clock and just checked the game from time to time. Janet clearly likes The Voice better than football and sang along to a couple of the songs. Kieran and Wes joined us for a bit and that was fun.

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and for today’s brightness to continue forever.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #birthday

Renovation Day 20. A well deserved day off for Randy and a full day with Janet for me.

The plan going into today was for a group outing to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch this morning but the weather didn’t cooperate so Jess had Janet helping her in the kitchen. When I arrived, Janet was mixing the ingredients for some sugar cookies after already helping to make soup. Grating carrots is not easy for anyone and Janet got a real good arm workout doing that. Having reached her limit we went off and had a Skype chat with Mary/Gaga and that perked Janet back up. We were excited to learn that Mary/Gaga and Keith are going on a mini cruise to the Bahamas next week. Bon Voyage!

In an effort to get Janet’s energy level up a little I convinced her to go to the gym for a little Shuttle exercise. Not expecting much from her Botox-less legs she shocked me by getting thirteen inches of extension on her first set. That’s the most ever and I’ve no idea where it came from. Suzanne surprised us with a visit towards the end of the session and was able to see Janet in action. Quite a change since the summer when we last saw Suzanne. It was nice to chat and get caught up with her.

After lunch Janet agreed to Skype with Heather and for some reason thought something was wrong with Heather as soon as she saw her. All is well and we aren’t sure what Janet saw or felt there. Our evening plan was to meet Courtney for a belated birthday dinner so Janet had a little rest time before we left Connect for that. While she rested I watched a little football and later noted that with Janet picking all the games this week she so far only has two wrong. Nice work!

We met Courtney at Smack Dab and enjoyed a very nice dinner and conversation with her. Janet impressed us by how much she ate and shocked us by how much she drank. We shared a nice bottle of La Frenz Viognier and Janet had almost two whole glasses, chugging the last ounce in fear that I would take it from her. Funny and a little scary. Janet said afterwards that the evening with Courtney was fun and the highlight of the day.

It was kind of late again when we got back to Connect so it was pretty much take the meds and get ready for bed. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep that brings lots of energy and strength for tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #TrinityKelowna

Renovation Day 19 was a short one as I did some shopping at Home Depot and Randy left early to take his daughter to the airport for her mission trip to Haiti. We wish her well and will be interested to find out later if she gets to the town where our two sponsor children are. That would be cool.

Yesterday I told the story of nurse Arlene buying our washer and dryer and my hopes that Janet could meet her, so when Arlene said she was coming by around three I made sure I had Janet here by then. She had just finished a Standing Frame session and was ready to go feeling a little unsure of what to expect from Arlene. We got to the house and I tested Janet on the placement of key kitchen items and had her move herself around as much as possible in between the piles of sawdust and tools. She did well and I didn’t notice any areas that will be too tight for her.

Arlene arrived on time and was overwhelmed to see Janet who greeted her with a big big smile that only Janet can show. They had a nice chat while Arlene’s friend and I loaded the machines onto his truck. ArleneJanet
I’m really glad Janet got to meet Arlene and see what a kind, caring and positive person she is and to recognize that people like her played a huge role in her recovery.

With some time to use before church we headed out to One Board Shop to see if there was a good winter Jacket for Janet. Already she is complaining about being cold even with her winter coat on so it was time to at least have a look. Janet spotted one she liked right away and it turned out to be the warmest one in the store. The only negative to it is I can’t get it on her with her splint on right now. It’ll be fine once the splint is shaped back to a more flat profile but right now it doesn’t work. Being warm is more important though.

Janet agreed to sit in a pew at church tonight for the first time and that enabled her to stand on her own for almost all of the first two songs as she could easily grab the back of the pew in front to help her get up. Very cool. Wayne’s message was thought provoking and Janet and I had a good discussion about prayer afterwards. Dinner was at a very noisy Red Robin as we just wanted something fast and cheep tonight. I think we’ll leave that place now until the patio opens again.

Jess has been dressing Janet with a t shirt under her regular shirt in hopes that would be warmer for Janet and it has been so tonight we stopped at Superstore to get some cheep t shirts for that purpose. As soon as Janet saw the Halloween candy she got all emotional and upset that we weren’t going to get to hand out candy this year. Barb and Gary kindly came to our rescue and we will be taking some candy over to their house so we can help them treat the little monsters Thursday night. Should be fun.We bought some candy and I made sure to get some Tootsie Rolls for Janet and showing no will power at all she ate three of them tonight. She did share though and I’ve taken the rest for Halloween.

We got back to Connect kind of late so we just watched a little TV while Janet took her meds then it was bedtime. Praying for lots of rest tonight and an energetic day tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #smallworld

Renovation Day 18. I wasn’t much help to Randy today as I had a lot of running around to do. He continued to make the kitchen look more and more like a kitchen and plumber Frank came by to move things across the hall for the washing machine.

I picked Janet up at nine this morning to go to her appointment at the KGH Hand Clinic. Julie met with us as soon as we got there and spent an hour manipulating Janet’s splint so that it is comfortable for her and still doing some therapeutic good. Even though the Botox has worn off, Janet’s hand and wrist are doing fine with no retraction from the fingers at all. We are to keep stretching fingers and wrist as much as possible and hopefully the next round of Botox will have as good an impact as last time.

We made it back to Connect in time for Janet’s lunch and I left her with instructions to get to the gym as well. She did, and when I returned just before dinner time she was getting herself onto the toilet. Nice try, but not quite ready to do that all by herself yet. Since she’d done the Shuttle and Standing frame the bike was the only thing left and Janet had a good pre dinner pedal, going for twenty five minutes and making almost a mile.

There was a full table for dinner including Wes’s wife Roz and the chatter was really good. Janet commented after that Wes and Roz are nice people. They are. Wes can’t get over the fact that Janet eats more than him. She had seconds tonight as did Big Country whom Janet congratulated for doing so.

The evening was quiet again with the highlight being Janet opening a piece of mail from her mom and finding some old fashioned printed photographs taken at a recent family reunion in Ontario. Janet was able to read the enclosed hand written note and identify a lot of the people in the pictures. I was impressed and it was fun to share that with her. My highlight of the day came when a lady responded to my ad for the old washer and dryer. We talked on the phone a couple of times before she came to the house and I kept thinking I knew that voice. I never clued in when she said her name but I sure did when she got out of her car. She pointed at me saying “I know you…”. It was Arlene, one of Janet’s nurses from the 4B days and she was so excited to hear and see from pictures how well Janet is doing that we both had tears in our eyes. Janet of course doesn’t remember her at all but thought it was nice she cared so much. Arlene will be coming back to pick up the washer and dryer tomorrow and I hope it’s late enough in the day so I can have Janet here to meet her.

Praying for continued building of strength and a productive day tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #WorldSeries

Renovation Day 17. I bought some lights and Randy got ready to build drawers. The place is looking great!

I was a little surprised to see Janet up when I got to Connect today. Often after swimming she’s pretty wiped but today she was quite cheery and energetic. Last night she was arguing a little about going swimming so I’m really glad she went today. Jess reported that there was some emotion on display at the pool but Janet didn’t relay anything about it to me and said that overall it was good. Just before I arrived she had asked Jess to get her into the Standing Frame so she “could get it over with”. I had her make “our” NFL picks for the week while she stood and we chatted with Jess for most of the rest of the time.

After a little break Janet agreed to get the Shuttle over with as well and she put in a very good performance. Her extension on each push is just over eleven inches now on both legs and her last set was using both legs to push five bands of tension which I think is close to eighty pounds. She’s getting there. Since Janet was in a good mood after the Shuttle I had her try some free standing and putting some weight on her right leg. She had a really good attitude about trying and overcame some of her confidence deficit to try taking a few steps forward. She was hanging on to me for that part of course and managed a couple of attempts without having a death grip on me. Baby steps.

Brian stopped by for a little chat as we left the gym and it was good to catch up with him. He seems pleased with Janet’s progress and will join us at the Botox appointment next week. That brought us to dinner time that started with just Janet and I and ended with Wes, Humberto and the new guy, Curtis. To avoid confusion with staff member Curtis I will refer to resident Curtis as Big Country as he is a twin of Bryant Reeves. I started calling him that as soon as we met and showed him a picture of Reeves in his Vancouver Grizzlies days. He thought it was funny for a few days but yesterday asked me to not call him that. I’m taking literary license and doing it here though and consider it a compliment anyways. The reason I mention all this is because Janet showed something tonight I’ve not seen since she got sick. Big Country has a very soft voice and had to call for assistance a number of times before he was heard. After he got the assistance he needed Janet wasn’t convinced he was OK so instead of leaving the table like we were about to she insisted on asking Big Country if he was OK. She asked him repeatedly in a very motherly tone with a smile on her face that showed genuine caring. It was beautiful.

With her exercises complete Janet chose to watch the World Series knowing we have to cheer for both teams so we were guaranteed a win. She made an excellent 180 degree transfer from her wheelchair to the couch barely hanging onto me and repeated it when the game was over. She also drank her entire bottle of water during the two hours we watched the game without me nagging her once. I found an easy to see Tic Tac Toe app for the iPad and Janet played that without assistance for a little while. She chose to get ready for bed then have me read to her. This time she stayed awake while I read and was able to dissect what she heard reasonably well.

Praying for a big sleep tonight and a day of learning and progress tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #shopping

Renovation Day 16. Randy continued work on the fireplace area cabinets and started some finishing touches on the kitchen island. We made decisions on location and size of drawers, cut out vents for the wine cabinet, prepared for the new floors and arranged for some plumbing work to be done. I also decided to not sand any more ceilings. Dirty job and too expensive to have someone else do it.

I managed to sneak up on Janet while she watched TV in the living room at Connect this afternoon. She’d had a busy day in the gym and around the house so was ready to go “look at something” with me. The something was a dining room light fixture and some glass for cabinets at the new house. I’ve never shopped for glass before and was expecting it to be complicated but it went very smoothly and we were out of the store in fifteen minutes after making a good choice. Light fixtures are always difficult but we got some good help and Janet narrowed the field really well and we went to the new house armed with a couple possibilities, one of which, I think we’ll buy. Janet was quite surprised by what she saw at the house. There’s been a lot of progress since she was last there and she’s quite excited. Not excited enough to give you a video tour yet but I’m working on her.

Before we left Connect I listed the things we were going to do and Janet was most excited about going out for dinner, so, with the shopping complete and the house inspected, off we went. We decided to go to Cactus Club as we hadn’t been there in a long time and wanted to use the gift card Joel and Kiko got us a long time ago. Thanks guys! I love taking Janet out even more now as she sits in regular chairs, doesn’t need a shirt saver and tries really hard to order her own food. I asked Janet which she liked best, the appy, the entrĂ©e, the wine or dessert. She quickly said dessert. No real surprise.

By the time we got back to Connect the wine had hit Janet and she was quite tired. I would’ve liked to have gotten her on the bike but there was no way that was happening and I think the outing and conversation we had was good therapy anyways. Praying for lots of rest tonight and a fun day tomorrow especially swimming.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #tictactoe

Renovation Day 15. Randy is fighting a cold and working hard while I spend money. Bathroom sinks and faucets, washer and dryer, deposit on the flooring. I did recoup a little by selling two over the toilet cabinets. Yippee!

Nash and I arrived at Connect to find Janet just waking up from her nap. He’s starting to get a little too comfortable there as he wanders around without us now and tonight I had to shoo him off the bed so we could go home. He would’ve been quite happy to spend the night. In fairness, his days at home aren’t very fun with all the banging and crashing and dust flying. It’s tough being a dog.

Janet was very chatty this afternoon and we hung out on the bed talking for a good half hour. She’s getting pretty good at recapping her day to me, I still try and confirm with the staff but the instances of Janet being way off base are far less now. Today, according to her, she did the Shuttle, stretching, and Standing Frame before lunch in addition to going to the lab for some routine blood work. No wonder she napped.

I like it when Janet agrees to go to the gym before dinner like she did today. Her bike ride was, in her words, “easier than yesterday”. The stats were about the same so I’m glad she felt better about it and she now knows the time will be increased until she’s riding for thirty minutes comfortably before we make it harder to pedal. Her Standing Fame session this morning was quite long and there was too big a mess in the kitchen for her to do dishes so she got the evening off from physical things. That left the door open for some brain exercise. Curtis played tic tac toe and hangman with Janet the other day and was impressed with her skills claiming she beat him twice at tic tac toe. It didn’t take her long to beat me tonight and I love the enthusiasm with which she plays. Hangman was a little harder but still fun and combined with some reading made for a productive night.

The Voice concluded the battle rounds part of the show tonight and while watching we decided to make bets on who might win once the final teams are chosen. At stake is a DQ Blizzard so if anyone wants in on the action let me know. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.