Month: September 2014

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.

Janet, A Success Story. September 16. #TSJ

Rumour has it that Janet cooperated with Tez and Jess this morning and when she actually did what they asked she did it well. The exercise Tez is working Janet on is a step routine up and down on a four inch block. That’s less than any steps at home and Janet is easily capable of doing it, she still lacks the confidence to really attack it. I did manage to get her to walk down both flights of stairs this afternoon and she did really well with them even saying at the end that it felt good to have done it.

There was lots of walking the balance of the day for Janet and she probably put on more than a kilometre by the time she was done. All the trips were purposeful as opposed to exercise oriented and she walked beside me holding my hand most of the time. I can’t tell if she’s improved her pace much yet but she certainly hasn’t slowed down.

Janet went into Games Night convinced she wasn’t going to say much then ended up participating nicely. Same old story. Each week the group is charged with remembering “the word of the week”. Last week’s word was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Of course that was easy to remember and the whole group sang the song repeatedly to prove it. This week the word is a favourite of Janet’s, sunshine. Naturally everyone started singing You Are My Sunshine. Yikes.

Once again Janet didn’t really nap and paid for that as the evening wore on and come reading time she was asleep. Praying for a solid night of sleep and a happy Janet on Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 15. #TSJ Wet

Monday, that dreaded first day back at Connect. Janet must have been really worked up about being back there today. How else to explain the three accidents she had this morning in not making it to the bathroom in time. She called me out of frustration after the worst of it seemed to have past and she was headed out to the sunshine in hopes that would make her feel better. I had a chat with Jess when I arrived later on and she was at a loss to try and explain it. I think Janet gets so anxious about being at Connect and having to do so many therapy type things that she loses some control. Maybe not, but she was fine all afternoon and evening.

On the bright side, Jess was really excited to tell me that Janet had dressed herself this morning. That’s not one of Janet’s goals but certainly would be nice for her to be able to do. All she needed help with was her bra and her AFO and splint. Janet thought Jess was being “crabby” in making her do that but she very matter of factly undressed herself tonight and put her PJ’s on so I think a sense of independence was breaking through and I saw a glimpse of satisfaction on her face when she was done.

The 400 meter walk tonight was Janet’s fastest yet. I’ve switched to holding her hand full time and having her walk beside me. I find this method to be as close to her walking completely on her own as possible as I’m not pulling nor is she gripping and pushing down. Instead of pulling her to walk faster I simply ask her to match my pace and within reason she does. Janet actually put on a lot of mileage tonight as she climbed the stairs and walked back and forth from her room to the patio multiple times.

The day started out with frustration and ended with satisfaction. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and a successful Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 14. #TSJ

As promised, this was a busy weekend and Janet handled it all very well. There was limited time for napping but lately it seems as long as she gets some sort of chance to rest a little she can recharge and function fine for the remainder of the day.

My mom arrived for a weekend visit Friday afternoon having hitched a ride from Nanaimo with her good friends Mo and Betty Ann. It was fun having them here for dinner and Janet really enjoyed the conversation.

Betty Ann, Mo, Janet, my mom.

Betty Ann, Mo, Janet, my mom.


It proved a good set up for our wine club gathering that immediately followed. Janet continues to show a minimum of interest in learning about wine but really enjoys the house full of people and the energy that brings. Saturday we took my mom to the Farmer’s Market and enjoyed roaming around in the sunshine for an hour before bumping into nurse Arlene from Janet’s KGH days seconds after doing the same with Kiko. Arlene reminded us as Dr. Miller has, how meaningful it is for them to see the progress their former patients make. It’s a real motivator for them and hearing positive things from folks like Arlene impacts Janet differently than hearing it from those of us around her every day.

Brian came to the house Saturday afternoon to assess Janet’s abilities with some key activities there and to provide suggestions on how to improve her situation around the house. Our new deck is pretty much finished so there is now just one step from the living area to the deck and Janet is able to negotiate it with a minimum of help. Brian recommends a railing to aid Janet on the way out and some sort of grab bar for the way in. Our handyman will do the railing soon and I’ll scope out a grab bar. Being able to come and go from the deck all by herself will be huge for Janet, providing her with more independence. Coming into and out of the garage is going pretty well right now and only needs one additional grab bar plus some minor adjustments to Janet’s positioning which we practiced with success today. I mentioned Saturday that the goal of loading and unloading the dishwasher has been achieved and operating the cooktop could happen next weekend. The washer and dryer will take a little more practice and maybe something to sit on while Janet transfers clothes from one to the other. Not her wheelchair.

The only long walk Janet got in on Saturday was at church and that went well. I have to remember she’s walking way faster than before so we don’t need to leave the house so early as we end up waiting too long for the service to start. Good problem to have. The evening was rounded out with dinner at home with my mom and Courtney. Janet for some reason got all upset about the idea of going to Menchie’s after, saying she doesn’t like it anymore. Not sure where all the negativity came from and it reminded me of her episode with Tez last week. As soon as she was half way finished her bowl of froyo, the smiles were back.

We drove my mom to Peachland this morning to meet up with her ride back to Nanaimo and enjoyed a nice chat with the ladies in the sun at Bliss Bakery before getting back to the house for the Seahawks game. It was way too nice to sit inside and watch football so we rigged things so we could sit on the deck and watch the game through the windows. Worked fine and also allowed Janet to sit outside to Skype with a bunch of family gathered at Leslie and Gavin’s today. It was cool for her to be able to connect with them all in one shot like that.

There was finally time for a 400 meter walk today and it came when Janet would’ve been better off napping. She pushed through like a pro and went for a nap right after. The rest of the evening seemed rather sombre as Janet knew she was headed back to Connect again. By the time I said goodnight she was virtually asleep and accepting of being there and thankful the week ahead has a routine schedule. Praying for a solid night of sleep that provides lots of energy for Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 13. #TSJ Goaaal #2

This is just a quick update to announce that Janet has achieved another of her “get out of Connect goals”!

Brian came over this afternoon to do an assessment with Janet around the house and gave Janet credit for being able to load and unload the dishwasher. She hasn’t quite got the controls mastered but I can’t think of when it would be necessary for her to use them so goal achieved!

The weekend is going well and I’ll post a full update tomorrow night. Go ‘Hawks!