Month: February 2014

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

The Olympics has done something strange to Janet. Today was the second day in a row she watched hockey and as she told me about today’s game she had a big smile on her face. Hockey? Seriously? At least she was happy. Not as happy as she was from getting a phone call from Laurel this morning as she called to announce where her internship will be. Janet had been anticipating the call and I left her my old cell phone for that reason. She was able to answer the call herself and seems far more receptive to the idea of having a phone than an iPad.

In bed and sort of sleeping when I got to Connect I convinced her to go pants shopping on the way home. Because of the AFO, only one pair of Janet’s decent pants fit her now. In a very un woman like manner she didn’t want to go shopping and I probably should have held back as the expedition really did tire her out. So much so that when we got home at 6pm she decided all on her own to have a little nap. She wasn’t too tired to get out of the wheelchair and onto the bed all by herself though. High five!

The rest did Janet good and we ate dinner while watching our recorded version of the Women’s Figure Skating. No surprise, Janet really enjoyed it and looks forward to finishing it off tomorrow. She is soundly sleeping as I write this and I pray that continues through the night and that she has lots of energy for a productive Saturday. We continue to pray for John as well as Barb and Gary who are battling the flu. Get better kids!

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

Once again Janet was in bed and wide awake when I got to Connect. This time she was awake not because she wasn’t tired but I think because she was upset. Tez had worked with her at the parallel bars this afternoon and according to Janet it had not gone well and it wasn’t the usual “it was terrible” this was legit “it was bad”. Since she clearly wasn’t going to sleep I suggested she get up and we go find Tez and see if we can help her feel better about it. She agreed and we found Tez in his office. He was really good towards Janet who was awesome in stating her feelings about the workout and it all boiled down to Janet’s lack of confidence preventing her from doing the things she needs to do in order to reach her goal. That goal remains, walking by June, and is totally realistic but Janet needs to buckle down and do lots of difficult and un-fun work. Each time Tez praised her on something she asked him “really?” or would look at me and I would affirm what Tez said. I don’t understand the self doubt, I know it was in her pre aneurysm, but why is it so prominent now and why when she has so much evidence showing her how well she’s doing does she lack confidence to such a degree that she gives a half hearted effort or worse. Tez laid it out on the table for Janet today, work hard or stay in the wheelchair. Janet says she doesn’t want to stay in the wheelchair and it remains to be seen how hard she’s willing to work. If any of you have suggestions as to how to build her confidence and or can spend some time to encourage her please let us know.

Janet felt better after talking to Tez and was able to have a good Skype chat with Heather just before dinner. I had to prompt her occasionally but it was a much better conversation than last time. Based on the Tez talk Janet agreed to a Shuttle session after dinner and did quite well. There was good effort there along with some whining which I don’t think will go away ever and that’s fine as long as the work gets done.

Chelsea invited Janet to help her make chocolate cupcakes this evening and Janet was all over that idea. It was hard and messy work with Janet doing a lot of mixing and reading instructions out loud. It took all evening, right up until bedtime, and was well worth it.

JanetChelseaCupcakes

ChelseaJanetIcing

ChelseJanetEatingCupcakes

We read some Long Walk to Freedom before Janet fell asleep. She was even asleep as she mumbled goodnight to me. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep that allows Janet to have a productive and confidence building Friday. We are also praying for John the sing along man as we found out tonight he is in hospital and not doing “particularly well”. We pray for a speedy return to health.

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

Wednesday started out fairly routine for Janet with a Speech session with Mary Lou after breakfast. They looked at the worksheets Janet had completed and Mary Lou decided it’s time for some harder ones. The rest of the session was spent talking and Janet described some of the things we went through as we moved houses. When she relayed that to me it was evident that she remembers a lot of it and can recall it too. Her visit to the gym included a bike ride and Standing Frame and maybe some walking but she couldn’t remember exactly.

In bed but wide awake when I arrived, Janet and I had a long chat before getting up to get ready for SheLife. During our chat I asked Janet if she had checked her emails today and she said no. I told her she has some so she should check more often. When she got up a half hour later she remembered to check them without prompting from me and only needed help unlocking the iPad screen on her way to her inbox. Progress.

Janet complained to me on the way to SheLife that someone has been helping her stand for the worship segment and she wants to do it herself. I suggested she practice when we get there. After dinner and a bathroom break we got to her table with only minutes to spare but Janet wanted to practice anyways. I did not intend for it to be a show but everyone seemed to be watching and they burst into applause as Janet stood all by herself. The former Janet would’ve been totally embarrassed at that point and there was a hint of that below a big smile and some nervous laughter. I believe that moment did a lot to encourage Janet and on the way back to Connect all she could talk about was how many people came up and hugged her and told her how happy they are to have her there and how they can’t wait to see her walk. Janet may not be learning much from the material being studied this session but tonight especially she received a whole lot of encouragement. Thank you ladies!!

By the time we returned to Connect it was bedtime with one of Janet’s last duties of the day being to straighten out her legs once she’s nice and flat on her back. Recently she’s been gaining enough control of her right leg to push it out after I give it a little kick start. Tonight I didn’t have to help at all. High five! After reading for twenty minutes or so Janet had drifted off having just enough energy to say she is enjoying the book more and more now. Thanking Jesus for all the kind people in our lives and praying for a confident and strong Janet.

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

Jess and Janet were waiting outside Dr. Miller’s office when I got to KGH this morning. Janet was very bright and chatty and that continued throughout the appointment. Dr. Miller can’t seem to stop himself from telling Janet how much she has progressed overall but more importantly how her improvement increases even from the time between each visit. Janet accepted most of the feedback with only the occasional “I don’t believe it” and the odd “I’m glad you think so”. Dr. Miller is not just feeding lines to Janet and is truly amazed at where she’s gotten to especially in light of how far post injury she is. He mentioned, I think only half joking, that “we should do a case study on you”. There is a theory out there that people only recover for three to six months after a brain injury such as this and Janet has proven that theory false as most of her cognitive gains are being made 15 to 21 months later. It wouldn’t surprise me if Janet gets an opportunity to share her story to the medical community somehow soon.

Following the Dr. Miller session Janet wheeled herself over to the physio department to say hi to Moira whom we haven’t seen since Janet stopped using the Rehab Pool. Surprisingly, Moira spent half an hour catching up with Janet and even had her demonstrate her walking abilities. The visit was full of praise and encouragement for Janet but she started to fade near the end as throughout the chat with Moira, there was a pretty steady stream of people saying hi to Janet as they passed by and she found that to be a little overwhelming. After lunch at home she reluctantly went for a nap from which I had to wake her in time for her next appointment.

Janet’s AFO has been causing a small abrasion on her ankle bone so we went to ask Birgit if she would remedy that today and she did. We were back at Connect in time for a bike ride which a now tired Janet did fairly well on. We spoke to Tez prior to hitting the gym and he said not to focus too much on the one legged pedalling and let Janet do her thing to get some cardio benefit and insert the one legged method at the beginning and end of each ride. There is no strength building benefit to pedalling with one leg but it is crucial for teaching the brain to communicate with her right leg and get it working better. Tez worked a lot with Janet last week and said she can put way more weight through her right leg than she’s allowing and through repetition we need to get her using it more. Janet complained of being too tired at the start of her ride and still did 2.5 miles in thirty minutes. I was glad she powered through that so I didn’t have her try the one legged thing. Next time.

The Botox is having an amazing effect on Janet’s right arm. I can’t remember the last time I was able to get her arm in this position with no pain. Very cool.
Janet Right arm position
After dinner Janet dutifully got into the Standing Frame while watching Olympic highlights then replied to a couple of emails. She, for the first time, was able to use the speech function of Gmail without assistance from me and produced a couple of authentic Janet emails. She even stayed awake for a good forty five minutes while I read to her in bed saying, “the book is getting better, I like it”. Today was a great day for Janet with a lot of reasons to feel better about herself.

Praying that Janet’s confidence in herself increases and she continues to prove the theorists wrong.

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

As I arrived at Connect this afternoon Curtis told me Janet had been lying down for almost an hour. I tried sneaking into her room but she was wide awake and spent the next forty five minutes chatting up a storm. We laughed about the pets we used to own and she couldn’t understand why my childhood dog lived outside all the time. That’s what real dogs do I told her but she wasn’t buying it. We both fail to understand why anyone would own a cat.

With all of her exercises done in the first part of the day I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do all evening. There were no emails to reply to, hint hint, and Janet, as chatty as she was wasn’t into doing any speech exercises so we just talked until dinner time. Janet had seen some of the Ice Dancing competition this morning but really wanted to watch it tonight so we fired up the iPad and started watching in her room. I gave Janet the option of watching on one of the actual tv’s at Connect but she was happy to hang in her room. Just so she didn’t get too complacent I asked Janet to stand for a while which she did using her dresser for balance and putting weight through her right leg until she said it was sore. Brian stopped by for a nice chat and invited us to an Acquired Brain Injury stakeholder meeting at Connect that Interior Health is hosting in a week or so. I’m looking forward to reporting on our experience in the health care system. Soon after Brian’s visit one of the residents asked to talk to us as he was wanting some spiritual help. Janet was very welcoming to him and disconnected herself from the skating immediately and focused on her neighbour. We spent a nice half hour listening, praying and sharing with this man and I believe it not only helped him tonight but also Janet. She offered some insight into her world that I haven’t heard her share with anyone before. I was questioning the decision to just watch tv tonight but if we weren’t doing that in Janet’s room we wouldn’t have had the chance to help someone a little. God at work.

After watching and judging the Ice Dancing competition it was time for bed so we could read Long Walk to Freedom. The book is getting more interesting but we are both having trouble with the African names and words. Janet stayed awake for almost half an hours worth tonight. Her longest run so far.

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and for Janet’s neighbour to find peace and strength and Love.

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

Janet’s day started off with a bath, something she says “is almost fun here” as opposed to at Connect. Since she was a little cold afterwards I got her breakfast for her as she readied herself for the weekly chat with her mom. I thought Janet was quiet during their Skype time but she felt good about it afterwards and said “it’s always good talking to my mom”.

I find myself allowing Janet to set the agenda a lot while she’s at home and lately there’s been a lot of “let’s watch the Olympics”. That’s fine, but it means a lot of sitting around so today I decided to have Janet do some athletics herself whenever there was an opportunity. First chance was right after the chat with mom and with no hesitation at all Janet walked from her spot at the table to the couch, almost twenty five feet. I held her hand and acted as a cane of course and I notice she’s not using me quite as much as she was a few weeks ago. Her steps with her left foot are much improved and she knows she needs to put more weight through her right leg. For a few steps I actually pushed her upper body back to the right so she was more centred. Janet felt like she was going to fall when I did that which is interesting because she was actually standing very straight then. We did similar walking trips throughout the day and I noticed that the longer Janet went the less she was able to control her right leg, especially moving it backwards before sitting down. Overall I was pleased with her efforts today.

We have now watched all the figure skating events to date and agree that the Pairs competition was by far the best so far. Janet was very excited watching that today and it was fun seeing her so into it.

Even after a short nap this afternoon Janet faded quite rapidly tonight, partly I think caused by the dread of going back to Connect. She was eager to read when we got there but fell asleep within minutes then woke up and wanted me to keep reading. We carried on like that for half an hour before she was clearly out for the night. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep that provides Janet with lots of energy and a positive attitude for tomorrow.

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

Janet woke up at a good time this morning and with lots of energy. She got her own breakfast and I helped her check her emails during that time. Janet is getting less resistant towards replying to emails provided she can dictate rather than type. As soon as breakfast was done it was time for a Skype chat with Janet’s dad and Joan. Janet was quite animated during the conversation and carried it quite well, laughing lots and talking clearly. That’s the most fun I’ve seen her have chatting with anyone in a long time and it really showed a connection between dad and daughter.

During that call it was mentioned that Janet’s dad had started making notes on his life story a few years ago. Joan kindly sent them to us and we spent the rest of the afternoon reading about the childhood of Janet’s dad up until his first year of university. It was a lot of reading and except for a lunch break Janet insisted I keep going as she wanted to know what happens. She says she learned a lot about her dad and hopes he finds a way to write more, especially about when her and her siblings were born.

All that reading took us through nap time and right up to church time. Janet asked me to help her push her wheelchair more which I refused to do of course. She says she wants me doing more of that for her because it isn’t fair that she has to because it’s hard. No sympathy from me and she wheeled herself from the car to her seat at church in record time. The service was great and brought out a lot of “why me” questions from Janet which we discussed during the car ride home. She was not getting upset at all and asked legitimate questions that I tried my best to answer. There is no absolute answer to those questions but it was good to have the conversation, it had been awhile.

Janet helped make dinner and we watched more recorded figure skating before a tired Janet went to bed early for begin at home. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a productive tomorrow.