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.