What a difference going to the pool in summer weather. So much easier as Janet isn’t wearing fifteen layers of clothes to change out of and into and she’s not already cold before getting near the water. There were even bigger differences in her abilities today as opposed to a few months ago when she last went, such as, walking down the ramp into the kiddie pool with me leading then walking up it on her own using the handrail all the way to seating herself in a wheelchair. Walking down the stairs into the hot tub and up again using the handrail with me supporting at the hips. I used to have to carry her into the hot tub. High five!
Today’s agreement was for kiddie pool and hot tub only and I stuck to that as the whole point was to give Janet a safe environment to walk on her own in. It took a little while to get loosened up and confident but after a few attempts and some coaching from Tez Janet walked on her own for five or six steps at a time. She fell a few times and didn’t seem to mind at all and I think that eased her fear a little. For the most part she did a good job of pushing down with her right leg. The experience was good and in talking afterwards Janet was receptive to trying the sling once to compare.
That opportunity came sooner than Janet expected when she walked from her room to the kitchen after a nap to ask Curtis if he would help her before he left for the day. To Janet’s dismay, Curtis agreed. The difference in Janet’s walking in the water and using the sling is night and day so I had to rescind my offer of her choosing one or the other as the sling is just a million times better for her. She is scared and pouted a lot the first attempt but persevered and turned in an excellent walk around the ten foot square the sling allows her to travel in. Janet stood on her own for over five minutes arguing for us to take the sling off not even realizing she was standing on her own. She thinks that somehow it is holding her up and affecting what she does but its all her and on the last lap I think she started to realize that. She put good combinations of steps together, made really nice turns and corrected her balance well a few times. She lost it a few times too and I think started to understand how the sling prevents her from falling and nothing else. After a lot of sweat and hard work Janet completed what will now be a daily routine at Connect for her and should help her to make significant gains in walking on her own.
Having worked so hard today I gave Janet a pass for good behaviour and brought her home tonight. Along the way we stopped at the mall to do some shoe shopping. The lady that built Janet’s AFO stopped by Connect this afternoon and gave some advice as to the types of shoes Janet can wear with the biggest rule being no heals. For casual shoes, pretty much anything that fits will be fine and for the wedding it’s a lot more complicated. Janet is wanting a dressy shoe for that but is restricted by needing pretty much the whole shoe to open up in order to get it on her AFO. We found some that were close, one pair actually went on but just weren’t stylish enough for her. We may try more tomorrow.
Praying for strengthening of Janet’s right leg and confidence to keep working hard.