Month: May 2014

Janet, A Success Story. May 31. #TSJ

Being up late last night didn’t deter Janet from getting up early this morning which was surprising to me but I’m glad she did. Mostly because the landscaping committee rang the doorbell at 9:30 and Janet got a say in where some new plants went. Shortly after that we got a call about something we are selling then we walked over to the pool to help clean and set up the furniture and stuff for it as today was opening day. Janet helped me put some stuff away from Wine Club when we got home and by the time noon rolled around it had been a very productive day which meant we could spend the afternoon in the sun.

I tried to convince Janet to go for a swim but she wasn’t buying it despite the air and water temps being right in her range. Hopefully tomorrow. She did do good work on her tan before nap time though.

Our outing to church this evening was Janet’s first without her wheelchair which meant she even walked down the ramp in our garage for the first time. She was a little scared at first but handled it very well. Guess its time for a hand rail.

Pizza, a movie and ice cream rounded out the night and Janet was in bed snoring at a much more reasonable hour. Praying for a long night of sleep that gives Janet lots of energy for a fun Sunday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 30. #TSJ

Friday is Janet’s favourite day of the week. She was excited about it Thursday night and after a brief greeting this afternoon at Connect, her first words to me were “can we go now?” Since all her therapies were done for the day it was only a matter of packing a few things and we were gone.

Tonight was another meeting of our wine club and Janet helped me start to get ready for that when we got home then went for a good long nap. She took a while to fully wake up afterwards and I left her home alone while I went to pick up sushi for dinner. When I got back fifteen minutes later she was sipping on her water and singing along to the music I left on for her. Janet enjoyed what I think was her cleanest sushi dinner ever. That can be a messy meal but not tonight. By the time our guests arrived Janet seemed ready for a fun night.

I don’t spend much time with Janet at these gatherings. It’s a nice chance for her to talk with other people. I did notice she got a little quiet after a hour or so as there was a large group tonight which can be a little overwhelming but in the end Janet really enjoyed the evening.

Knowing Janet would want ice cream before bed I asked, and she quickly agreed and also asked if we could watch So You Think You Can Dance. We did, and stayed up too late but isn’t that what Fridays are for? Because of the party atmosphere there wasn’t a lot of walking going on but what Janet did was good and I noticed her memory was very sharp tonight as was her overall awareness, she knew the day, date and year without hesitation twice tonight.

Praying Janet sleeps well tonight and is ready for some fun in the sun tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 29. #TSJ

Janet is getting too smart for me. As we returned from an evening walk outside she remembered it was time for her meds and as we passed the med room, Chelsea was in it, and got her meds for her, so Janet got out of her last freestyle walking trip of the day. I’m happy she remembered the meds without prompting and am OK without the walk as she had done a lot today as it was.

Earlier in the day Janet had worked with a student, Sara, whom she obviously liked because she introduced me as we walked down the hall to go do dinner prep. Janet rarely remembers to introduce me to anyone and almost always forgets their name, not this time. Lasagne was on the menu tonight and Janet did a great job helping Chelsea with it. By far her best cheese grating and veggie chopping she’s done yet. Getting stronger.

In the spirit of getting stronger Janet agreed to a Shuttle session before dinner to complete her daily physio work. I wasn’t expecting much after walking her all the way to the gym but to finish off her session she pushed a set with the most weight ever for her. High five!

Since the physical part of her day was done we spent the evening on cognitive stuff again. Counting and rolling quarters first, which showed me that Janet’s math skills and her dexterity are not lacking in any way. I wanted her to practice some writing and we looked at the daily schedule she had written out this morning. It was definitely not her best effort and she couldn’t even read most of it tonight. Her explanation was that she was eating breakfast and was called away to go and write it out so she didn’t want to do it. Looked like it too.

The book we are reading, Unbreak My Heart, is much more Janet’s style and she is enjoying it so far, even giving me a good summary before reading tonight. Its nice to hear her laugh and comment as I read instead of snore. Praying for a solid night of sleep for Janet that prepares her well for a fun weekend.

Janet, A Success Story. May 28. #TSJ

Another wheelchair free night for Janet even though she was pretty tired. I woke her up when I arrived then she went right back to sleep for twenty minutes before I had to wake her so we could get ready for a chat with Brian. She was sleeping really warm as for some strange reason, she was in bed with all her clothes on. Of course she was then cold once she got up. Silly.

Brian hasn’t been in the picture much lately and I wanted to touch base with him on a few things ahead of next week’s team meeting. The better Janet gets the less involved Brian is. That’s good but we miss having him around more. He covertly watched Janet walk from her room to the Den freestyle and was genuinely impressed. We had a good talk and I’ll fill you in on details after the team meeting.

In order to help plan out the rest of the evening Janet walked to the kitchen area to see what house chore she was to perform today. It was her turn to empty the sanitizer and put the dishes from it away. She bravely started doing so without even asking for her wheelchair and confidently used the counters to support herself as she manoeuvred around the kitchen. I stood by in case she misjudged a turn or a step but I was not needed. High five!

That task took a lot of energy out of Janet and she was happy to sit in the living room for a few minutes waiting for dinner to be ready. She got there completely on her own and I sense a real spike in her confidence and there seems to be an expectation on her part to do things like walk to a chair and sit down without help. Awesome.

Janet’s day of exercises was heavy on stretching and light on strength and conditioning but with her feeling tired tonight I let her pick one of the three things she should have done and she chose bike. When I suggested the Standing Frame would be easier she stuck with the bike as she at least likes it a little bit. Her ride was solid as was all of her walking tonight especially the trip to get her meds. She was stepping nice and straight and I noticed for the first time her right footed steps were sometimes heel first as opposed to the ball of her foot. I think that is a significant sign of improvement and I’ll watch for it more.

To complete her wheelchair free night Janet performed her night routine walking and standing on her own. It’s really cool to see her standing at the sink brushing her teeth after so many months of her sitting in her wheelchair like a little kid. Love it.

Praying for a long night of restful sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 27. #TSJ

More history was made today! Janet achieved a wheelchair free afternoon and evening! I’m more excited than she is of course and had to take time to explain the significance of it to her. I don’t anticipate ever being totally without the wheelchair but hope Janet can now see her way to being able to get around the house on her own without it. The amount of walking she did today was comparable to yesterday and Janet was quite worn out by bedtime, physically at least. The only complaining she did was towards the amount of freestyle walking she was asked to do. There were a few “tantrums” which she quickly passed off and got on with the walking and actually did some of her strongest yet.

There was more good news. Janet’s doctor called to say her Dilantin level is right where we want it to be and she therefore doesn’t need a blood test next week. Janet is relieved by that and I think if we can keep her hydrated her levels should stay good.

Dare I say there’s even more good news? Janet admitted that Games Night was “alright” tonight! There was the usual protest leading up to it then for some reason Janet participated her most ever, giving good answers to Family Feud questions, correctly guessing Spiderman in a name the celebrity questioning game then getting right into the Heads Up version of Act It Out. Janet always liked Charades and this was a simple version of that. She even smiled while playing.

Today, like most days, was full of good news. Janet told me that a student took her to the gym this morning and “used” her to practice some physio therapy techniques he is learning. They worked on stretching Janet’s right arm then had her do some step up exercises which she was quite excited about. Tez is hopeful this will increase Janet’s use of her right leg with which I’ve noticed an improvement this week.

This all sounds pretty rosy and that’s the way it was today. Praying for more of the same tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 26. #TSJ

I considered having Janet attempt a wheelchair free night tonight and she was off to a great start until I suggested we go for a walk in the sun to watch some soccer. She’s not ready to actually walk long distances like that and is a little uncomfortable with uneven surfaces still. It was nice to sit in the sun with her for a bit after she put in a hard days work. JanetSoccer

Walking was the theme of the day today and Jess had Janet walk to the gym and back this morning. Janet is less resistant to longer walks like that as long as somebody is helping her and her conditioning has improved to the point where a walk that far no longer exhausts her. For me this afternoon and evening, Janet walked everywhere except the soccer field and that included two trips to the gym as well as back and forth to dinner. All those were with assistance because of the frequency and the fact she was going to workout in the gym but her trip to get her meds at the end of the night was done freestyle and in record time.

Her cognitive work of the day came in the form of reading an email then counting out and rolling up two rolls of nickels. I am enjoying reading One Hundred Years of Solitude but Janet just isn’t getting it so we are switching books again. We are going to try the newly released memoir of Toni Braxton called Unbreak My Heart. Janet really likes Toni Braxton’s music and is excited to read her story.

Praying for a night of rejuvenating sleep and a productive Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 25. #TSJ

Mornings are becoming pretty routine around the house as Janet gets more familiar with things. She’s doing more of her dressing and personal grooming and I didn’t have to coach her on breakfast at all today. At lunch she turned the oven on with no assistance. The cooktop is still a challenge as its hard for Janet to see the controls while sitting in her wheelchair so as soon as she’s more confident with standing and walking we’ll get her working that more.

Janet eagerly practiced her reading this morning and read out loud to me using a bit of expression. Nice to hear! The Skype chat with Mary/Gaga seemed fine and brought the good news that Keith is home from the hospital and “doing well”. We seem to have sent our nice weather out to them for the day so Janet and I had to come up with inside activities today and she chose scanning old photos. That was a good call on her part as we are a long ways from being done and hadn’t worked on it for a while. Its not a lot of fun but we are both glad we are making progress and can see it will be cool when we are finished.

After a long and late nap Janet re hydrated herself while I made dinner. She was in no mood to return to Connect and took me up on every offer that kept her home a little while longer. Including watching the second half of a basketball game and then a little French Open tennis. I made sure the music was playing as we drove to Connect so at least the ride was happy and by freestyle walking all the way to her room Janet was too tired to be sad at being back.

Walking attempts were few today but of high quality and there was no mention of the sore right foot. Praying Janet gets lots of sleep tonight and is willing and able to fully participate in tomorrow’s activities.

Janet, A Success Story. May 24. #TSJ

During breakfast this morning Janet remembered that Mary Lou had asked her to bring in a children’s book to practice reading with. Janet was excited to look through our collection and wasn’t at all upset by the thought of reading a kids book, until she tried reading one. She is still figuring out how to compensate for her right side impairment so when she reads a long line of text she misses the last three or four words. Being able to read a children’s book well enough to present it to a Pre School class is Janet’s goal and the book she has chosen is The Hallo-wiener. We will try and find a Pre School that will let Janet come in and read and with five months before Halloween she should have enough time to get to that level. I love that she set that goal.

Not wanting to hog all the sun to ourselves today we drove out to see John and as soon as he saw us he asked if we were going outside, even before he said hello. He seems much more with it today and we enjoyed a long leisurely stroll where he was able to tell us a bit of his life story. John has always been a great talker and he got on a roll with us today.

We arrived at church with enough time to allow Janet to walk freestyle most of the way through the lobby. She tired out close to the door we enter the auditorium by and that’s where I was going to start helping her anyways as the floor slopes from there. I noticed Janet’s pace was slower during this walk partly because she was distracted by the other people milling about. Solid effort though.

Planning seemed to be the theme of the day as we set tentative dates for a number of activities we hope to do this summer. Janet agreed that there’s no point in having an idea if you don’t take any action on it, so we did and the calendar is filling up fast.

Praying for a happy Sunday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 23. #TSJ

Garrett knew Janet wanted to leave for home as soon as possible today so he had her working hard in the gym all morning long and even into the afternoon. Janet was really happy to get everything done and was in a great mood while finishing off the Standing Frame as I got to Connect. Its great to have the kind of help Garrett provides as he always seems to keep Janet talking while exercising which distracts her from the drudgery of some of the things she needs to do.

We made our escape and got home so Janet could nap before our Small Group meeting tonight. After helping make dinner she had a quick chat with Heather about some wedding thats coming up soon. The excitement is building.

Our Small Group was very small tonight with only one other couple showing up but we had a good conversation and Janet likes how honest and real they are. We had both been waiting all week to watch the finale of The Voice and Janet insisted we stay up and do so tonight, hence the lateness of this post. Janet really enjoyed and sang along to a lot of the last performance show but was too tired to really enjoy any of the results show so we pretty much skipped right to the results and were in agreement on the winner. No Blizzards owed by anyone this time but So You Think You Can Dance starts soon and the bet will be on.

There was a lot of sitting going on tonight but Janet did get in a few freestyle walking trips and did very well. She even transferred herself from wheelchair to sitting on the bed twice all by herself which I think is pretty big as that involves a lot of turning and backing up. Her confidence continues to grow and I can see her walking around the house soon without me hovering near, maybe Sunday?

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a positive attitude for tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 22. #TSJ

A rare thing occurred today. I snuck into Janet’s room this afternoon and for once she was sound asleep and she never even woke up as I entered so I snuck back out to let her rest. She rang her pendant about twenty minutes later as she needed to go to the bathroom. Apparently she called for help a short while after I left last night for the same reason and that is an encouraging sign.

The day up to that point was once again busy for Janet as she completed all her therapy sessions with the exception of the Shuttle. After a freestyle walk to the patio for some sunshine and then setting the dinner table it was off to the gym to complete that task. I intentionally made it quite hard for Janet wanting to really workout her right leg. She did well but happily pedalled away when done.

Our evening together was quiet with Janet checking emails, reading in preparation for our Small Group session tomorrow night and standing on one leg for as long as she could. I’m looking for ways to get her to trust her right leg more and figured if she stands on it alone she’ll recognize more what it can do. Janet surprised herself in begin able to lift it high to stand on her left leg and also to stand on the right one for a few seconds. She was hanging onto the transfer pole for support while doing this so not all her weight is going through her legs but some confidence was definitely gained. More was built near the end of the night when she walked from the bed to the bathroom without me hovering over her. She also never once argued about walking today.

Praying for continued strengthening physically and mentally.