Month: September 2014

Janet, A Success Story. September 30. #TSJ

Disappointingly, today’s appointment with Dr. Miller was postponed until next Thursday. Apparently there’s someone out there more important than Janet? That meant Janet could do her full workout this morning which she was actually ok about. Jess showed me a trick she’s been using to get Janet to walk faster. She puts her hands on both sides of Janet’s hips and gently pushes and without any resistance Janet speeds up dramatically. I’m not that good at it yet and Janet will only tolerate it for so long but I feel its better than me dragging her along.

Tez and I had a chat and agree that fear is Janet’s biggest obstacle right now and no one has any new tools to offer. He will assess her six minute walking test on Thursday then set a new walking goal for Janet to reach before leaving Connect. 400 meters just isn’t realistic in the time remaining. Janet is aware of all this and seems relieved there will be an easier goal set. Maybe that will lessen the fear?

After a couple of days delay, Cam made an appearance today and I brought Janet home this afternoon so we could have dinner with him. This was a cane and wheelchair free trip for Janet and she managed just fine. She was a big help prepping dinner again enjoyed the energy Cam brings to the house. There was a little complaining about going back to Connect tonight but that was tempered by knowing she gets dinner out and SheLife tomorrow then a quick trip to the coast and home for the weekend starting Thursday. Praying for a good sleep and an energetic Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 29. #TSJ Goaal #3!

It’s a rare occasion when Janet recounts her morning activities without a complaint so I really enjoyed her phone call early this afternoon where she told me all about the stuff she had done with the only negative being her review of her step exercises as being “terrible”. She seemed pleased with everyone else and sounded quite upbeat. When I got out to Connect a little later Janet was awake in bed after napping briefly, something she hasn’t really been doing much of lately.

Janet’s attitude shift enabled her to take the initiative and walk down to the kitchen to find out what her duties for the evening were. As Chelsea had her help with making stuffed baked potatoes I showed Brian the video from Janet’s attempt at boiling water on the cooktop at home. He approved and when Janet arrived on the scene congratulated her on achieving another goal! Janet seemed genuinely pleased with that news and wasn’t too upset about not passing the laundry test yet. She needs a little more practice in familiarizing herself with the controls on both washer and drier. She’s close.

For her post dinner stroll tonight I pulled Janet around the insides of Connect including up the stairs. Janet handled those well but was feigning exhaustion part way up in such a way that I think she’s mentally giving up at the first sign of exertion. In the end she completed the routine well and maybe realizes a little better just how long of a stride she is able to take.

Praying for a night of restful sleep and a productive meeting with Dr. Miller tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. September 28. #TSJ

Another weekend at home that seemed to go by all too quickly. Friday was the fullest day of the three Janet had away from Connect. We attended the TEDx conference here and were treated to an afternoon of inspiring and thought provoking speakers.

Cheryl Bernard

Cheryl Bernard


TEDx Kelowna was held at the Kelowna Community Theatre, a venue we’d been to many times with Janet in her wheelchair. This time we braved it without. We lucked out and got VIP parking right at the front door so all Janet had to do was step up a curb then walk with me inside. I let her use the cane in case she wanted to roam on her own a little. That never happened of course so she could’ve free styled the whole day. For the first time, we sat in regular seats, on the aisle just a few rows down from the exit to the bathroom which was needed only once. Janet enjoyed most of the speakers as well as the hundreds of students from the Canadian Student Leadership Conference that brought great energy to the room.

Saturday started with the usual Skype chat with Mary/Gaga before practicing some household duties that are on Janet’s goal list. A nervous high speed walk outside followed with Janet complaining of being exhausted halfway through. I’m very hopeful Dr. Miller has some tricks up his sleeve to help motivate Janet or her walking just isn’t going to improve much. The trend throughout the weekend was one of nervousness and doubt even though Janet often did very well at times. For some reason she won’t accept that fact.

On today’s walk I let Janet set the pace a little more and got the same result. Her confidence level should have been reasonably high as prior to the walk she may have reached her goal of operating the cooktop and doing laundry and she read The Hallo-Wiener better than ever. Still scared, still doubting herself. I say may have reached those goals. Her attempts were recorded so Brian can see them as he is the judge for this category so we’ll have to wait for the official decision.

Janet was a great help in the kitchen this weekend, even tonight after going without a nap all day. She was able to enjoy some nice chats with neighbours on our walks outside, something that is really making it seem more like home for Janet instead of a nice place to escape to. There was only one small complaint about returning to Connect tonight and Janet was so tired when we got there she didn’t have the energy to complain anymore.

Praying for an awesome sleep and a confidence building week.

Janet, A Success Story. September 25. #TSJ

With a fist pump and a “yay, we’re outa here!” I brought Janet home early this afternoon. She had done her usual Thursday morning stuff with Jess and ate her lunch as soon as she could, in anticipation of my arrival and her exit.

Tez stopped me in the hall as Janet was getting ready, to express his concern over Janet’s attitude. He was pleased to hear of the upcoming appointment with Dr. Miller and Brian’s heads up to him. Tez knows Janet can do much more than she’s letting herself do and its frustrating him a little.

We had no big plans today other than watching The Voice. There was a stop at the grocery store where I tried to involve Janet as much as possible. She is a willing participant if she’s sees the relevance to doing something. The same goes for helping out at home. She did great in the kitchen tonight and deserved the few hours off to watch and sing along to The Voice. Janet correctly guessed which coach most of the artists would pick tonight. It was crazy how many she got right.

Praying for a good night of sleep and a fun day of learning tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. September 24. #TSJ

I picked Janet up today just as she was finishing her lunch and brought her home for the afternoon as we were going to the church this evening. Janet’s morning had been pretty routine and she was as eager as ever to get out of Connect.

To take advantage of our time at home and before she got too tired I asked Janet to get a pot of water boiling on the cooktop to see if she could do it without coaching. If I was grading her out of ten I’d give her an eight on this attempt. I’m not quite ready to give her credit for achieving that goal yet, she’d need a ten out of ten, but expect to this weekend. Next up was a 400 meter walk and although she did it, the speed is still slow and the nervousness continues to control Janet. I’m really pleased she agreed to do it and she didn’t argue about being cane-less in the house either. In fact she was also wheelchair-less for this entire outing. Pretty cool.

The coolness continued when we got to the church. The event was a Small Group info night and we hoped to recruit a few people into ours. Instead, it turned into a bit of a SheLife reunion for Janet as most of her table mates were there and hadn’t seen her all summer. Nor had they seen her walking around on her own. Very cool. SheLife starts again next week so this was a good teaser for Janet in what’s to come.

Back at Connect we got to meet the newest resident in Janet’s house, Brad, who just arrived from West Vancouver a few minutes ahead of us. Seems like a nice guy with a good support team around him. Should liven up the dinner table nicely.

Praying that Janet has a sound night of sleep and has lots of confidence to work hard tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. September 23. #TSJ

The dreaded day of Tez was upon Janet this morning but much to her relief Tez assigned his student to her and that lessened her complaining and she put in a reasonable effort. Janet’s attitude is becoming an issue however so Brian is sending an email to Dr. Miller ahead of Janet’s appointment with him next week to outline the four outstanding goals she is to achieve before coming home and asking for some strategies to help Janet through this final push at Connect.

Once again Janet didn’t nap today and therefore wasn’t that energetic this evening. Games Night was fun and Janet participated well for the most part. The best part of that was her agreeing to walk up the stairs on the way there and surprisingly back down them afterwards. I would have no problem allowing her to navigate the stairwell unsupervised now in either direction and I think Janet would do so going up but she’s still too nervous about the downhill trip. Today wasn’t filled with her best walking ever as she really seemed to be lacking confidence except that by the end of the night she willingly went cane free to get her meds.

In preparation for riding the Handydart one day I had Janet start to fill out the application form. After practicing on some scrap paper a little bit, Janet filled in her name, address and a few other basics in reasonably legible printing. There are some questions we weren’t sure how to answer so will talk to Brian before filling out the rest. I’m glad Janet is willing to try and do some printing now, it wasn’t long ago when her response was, “no, I can’t”.

Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and a Wednesday full of confidence.

Janet, A Success Story. September 22. #TSJ

This Monday went quite well for Janet. Chelsea kept her very busy during the morning, exercising in the gym, walking all over Connect including up the stairs, and even making lunch. When Janet called me she didn’t complain about stuff like she often does, she did acknowledge a mistake with making lunch that she laughed about. Instead of pouring soup into a saucepan to warm it up she dumped it into a steamer pot, the part with the holes, you know what happened next. Thankfully Janet was laughing and she even seemed pleased with her physical therapies, at least pleased they were over with.

Chelsea had just finished painting Janet’s nails when I arrived on the scene. I could tell it would be an early night as Janet hadn’t napped and was not considering it then either. Knowing she’d done a lot already I let her set the pace for the run up to dinner. She checked her email, I read a newspaper column to her, she read The Hallo- Wiener to me then she walked cane free to the kitchen to set the table and grate some cheese. Her reading today was pretty good especially the first and last thirds of the book. There was a lot of ad libbing in the middle for some reason. Janet resisted the idea of walking cane free but was happy to help in the kitchen which was a nice change. Her reward was some time in the sun before dinner.

After a good after dinner walk up the stairs and through the hallways all Janet wanted to do was watch the football game. Thankfully Jess and Karl hung out with us for a while so there was good conversation to be had. As much as I love Janet’s interest in football, this game meant nothing to either of us and I don’t want her relying on TV to get her through her free time. We talked about things to do in the evening when Janet comes home and she agreed with Jess’s suggestion of a cooking or baking class once a week and Karl suggested getting involved as a Big Brother and Big Sister to spend some time out in the community with a kid. Good ideas and if any of you have other suggestions we are all ears, and eyes.

Janet enjoyed an extended phone call from Cam tonight that made her laugh and gave her a nice boost of energy and a lift of confidence before walking off to get her meds. She’s gaining more and more independence with her nighttime routine but doesn’t seem too motivated by it. We talked about Janet trying the Handydart to go from Connect to SheLife or to her Dr. Miller appointment at KGH. I know she could do it but she was very resistant to the idea tonight and didn’t buy into the argument for doing things on her own. We’ll keep working on it.

Praying that Janet rests well tonight and dismisses her fear of working with Tez so she can try her best at whatever she’s asked to do.

Janet, A Success Story. September 21. #TSJ

For a weekend with nothing much scheduled, it sure was busy, or at least seemed so.

Janet’s weekend was cane free. She is doing well enough without it that we even left it at home when we went to church Saturday night. There is still a fair amount of grabbing onto furniture and walls when possible, especially when Janet is tired. At her best she will go quite a distance completely free. Speaking of distance, I decided to push Janet this weekend with her 400 meter walk. I haven’t noticed much improvement in her speed and there is still a lot of complaining about being exhausted 200 meters in, so to try and increase her conditioning and to keep her walk interesting, I challenged Janet to do a complete lap of the complex. That worked out to 560 meters on Saturday which was completed in 32 minutes. Janet held my hand the whole way but I did not pull her along at all. Today the lap measured out at 510 meters and lasted 27 minutes. A nice little improvement. I’m not sure this is the right plan of attack and will hopefully consult Tez this week. At least it was something different to do on a nice sunny day and Janet knows now she can walk around the whole neighbourhood. High Five!

The one scheduled event was a visit Saturday morning from Janet’s former pre school boss, Carolyn. One of Janet’s “get out of Connect” goals is to read The Hallo-Wiener to a pre school class and we wanted to meet with Carolyn so she could get an idea of how Janet is doing and make sure its appropriate for Janet to pursue this goal. Carolyn was impressed with Janet’s reading skills and how well Janet is doing overall despite the read not being anywhere near Janet’s best. She was nervous all morning before the visit even to the point that her mom sensed something was wrong during their Skype chat. Janet passed the test though and is scheduled to appear at Carolyn’s pre school October 24th.

One goal may have been achieved this weekend and is awaiting Brian’s approval. To test Janet on the operation of the cooktop I asked Janet to make me a grilled cheese sandwich Saturday afternoon. I recorded it so we can show Brian and he can assess Janet on it. Janet still needs some prompting as to which buttons to press so I’m thinking she may need one more weekend of practice. Same goes with the laundry. We are still developing a good system for Janet to be able to load and unload the washer and drier but she’s learning the controls quite quickly. It could be a double gold medal weekend coming up.

We spent as much time out in the sun as possible this weekend as the forecast shows this to be the last of the sun tanning weather for the year. That included watching the first half of the Seahawks game outside today but I wasn’t able to convince Janet to go for a swim. It was more than warm enough and would have been fun to do on the first day of Fall but she was only interested in the game. Not that that’s a bad thing.

This was a weekend that saw Janet moving around the house and helping out more than ever before and I’m happy she is willing to do so. Her confidence is growing in household activities, we need to foster that same growth in her walking and she’ll be all set.

Praying for a deep and restful sleep and a productive and happy week.

Janet, A Success Story. September 18. #TSJ Padding

Jess put Janet through her paces this morning, doing lots of step exercises and walking. Of course Janet cooperated well knowing she’d be going home this afternoon. She called me to say she had “just wiped out” but was ok. While in her room folding and putting away laundry Janet lost her balance and fell onto her butt then onto her back. There are no signs of damage and I think the fall could do her good as far as lessening the fear of falling. It’s a good thing Janet fell on her padded butt now instead of the boney one she used to have.

Before we left Connect we went on a Tez hunt but were unsuccessful in finding him although Janet got to climb the stairs and do some more walking and that was successful. On the way home Janet indicated she feels that once she’s at home full time her job will be to clean things. That may be so and to start her off she emptied the dishwasher while I biked to the store for some corn. Later on Janet helped prep dinner including putting veggies on skewers to be grilled. She then rinsed dishes while I washed. Nice to have good help in the house.

Treating this like her Friday night that was enough work for Janet and we settled in to watch the finale of America’s Got Talent. I did make Janet get up to test all the ice cream flavours before deciding which one to eat. That was one walking trip she did not protest.

Janet continues to improve at dressing and undressing herself and will likely achieve her goal of operating the cooktop this weekend. No pressure.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and a productive Friday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 17. #TSJ Strolling Along

Janet and the other residents from her house at Connect spent the morning in downtown Kelowna today, walking around to the various parks and of course a coffee shop. The purpose was partly to break up the routine of life at Connect and also to gain some experience walking around in the real world. Jess said Janet walked the most ever, probably a kilometre, and did really well at it. Janet said it was fun, especially the stop at the coffee shop and she was still buzzing from that when I got to Connect this afternoon. There was one interesting moment crossing a street where the light changed really fast catching Janet, Jess and Garrett half way across and Wes barely off the curb. Thankfully the drivers were patient but we may need to talk to the city about the short walk signal.

Since she did so much walking earlier in the day it would not be fair to have Janet do any of her gym exercises today so we kept the walking to purpose driven stuff. I did take away her cane for any time she moved about her room and for one walk with me to the kitchen during which she grabbed a wall whenever she could but also did a fair bit on her own. I think there’s been some progress and maybe we’ll time her 400 meters tomorrow.

Every once in a while Chelsea likes to plan a movie night with Janet and tonight they (we) watched The Fault In Our Stars. It was supposed to be a real tear jerker and Chelsea had lots of Kleenex ready but she was the only one that needed it. Janet enjoyed the story though as well as the chance to chill before facing Tez tomorrow morning.

Praying for a night of sound sleep and a productive Thursday.