Month: October 2014

Janet, A Success Story. October 30. #TSJ

I mentioned a while ago that I would stop posting blog updates on days when Janet was home and even though she’s been starting her weekends on Thursdays for quite a bit, I kept on blogging. Well, this is the last one of those and once Janet is home full time the daily updates will cease. Every once in a while there is something cool worth sharing but it certainly isn’t every day any longer.

Janet had a good stretching session in the gym with Curtis this morning then I picked her up for the weekend and we hung out at home with my mom who baked up a storm and made the place smell real nice. After Janet’s nap she helped make dinner again and amongst other things is showing an increased ability to stand for long periods. She moved around the house well without her cane and enjoyed just chilling in her comfy home.

We have a busy weekend full of figure skating ahead of us as we attend the Skate Canada International competition. Janet will not have a chance for a nap all weekend so a sleep in is planned for tomorrow. Since my mom is here I’ve told Janet she can stay home until Monday evening and she is very excited about that.

Praying that Janet sleeps well each night this weekend and has the energy to keep up with all we have planned.

Janet, A Success Story. October 29. #TSJ

After picking my mom up at the airport today we went to Connect to get Janet and found her holding court in her room with Debra and Big Country. She had gone across to Debra’s room to see if she wanted to chat and Debra immediately turned off her TV and went back over with Janet. Big Country saw and heard the two women talking and didn’t want to be left out so he wheeled into the room as well and they played a guess the animal game together. Janet was pretty wound up about leading that group, it was almost like she was teaching again. High five for taking the initiative to approach Debra. Janet agreed that this could be something she could volunteer to do somewhere, post Connect.

Today was our first chance to have a birthday lunch with Courtney and Janet’s first wheelchair free visit to Joey Kelowna. I took her hand to speed things up a little as soon as we were being seated and encouraged her to try the bathroom on her own after lunch but she chickened out on that one. She’s slow but fairly sure of herself using her cane and this seems to be the right way for her to get around for now.

There was no hesitation in going for a nap once we got home then chef Janet was at it again helping with dinner. Janet said SheLife was fine tonight and included a solo trip to the bathroom. I had assured Heidi ahead of time that Janet was cleared to go on her own and she told me after that when Janet went, the whole table was watching to make sure she got out of the room ok. I understand their concern and remember how I would never let Janet out of my sight. It feels really good to be able to do that more and more.

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

Janet, A Success Story. October 28. #TSJ

The positive momentum continues for Janet. As soon as I got to Connect this afternoon Jess informed me that Janet had a good morning and they had worked her hard. Janet was sitting in the living room having just had her nails painted and she actually agreed or at least didn’t respond with the all too common, “it was terrible”. She knew I was there to take her away for the rest of the day and that contributed to the good mood for sure.

With her baptism fast approaching it was time to meet with Susan from the church to go over Janet’s testimonial and chat about it all. Janet likes Susan and their scheduled twenty minute meeting went at least double that and if Janet didn’t need to go to the bathroom they might still be talking. I sat in for the last ten minutes and Susan said a lot of positive things about Janet that I could tell made an impression. It’s been so good for Janet to meet people like Susan along the way as she buys into their comments more than she does people who’ve known her a long time. Kiko joined us for the walk to the car and also got to witness Janet’s first solo public washroom break. She had been in that washroom at Trinity before so I was confident she could get to where she needed to go and the grab bar is on the left of the toilet which is where Janet needs it. Kiko and I waited outside in case there was any yelling for help but a few short minutes later a smiling Janet reappeared to a couple of high fives. It may not seem like much to some of you but being able to do that completely solo is huge for Janet and a big plus for me too.

We got home in time for Janet to have a much deserved nap before dinner then she did a great job sautéing some veggies for us. The confidence around the cooktop is growing and her cooking skills are improving. I can see her cooking complete meals on her own one day.

Our evening was relaxed after dinner as Janet sang herself through an episode of The Voice before a reasonably positive drive back to Connect. She’s still not happy about being there but with lots to look forward to this week I think she’ll be fine and can put in a couple of good mornings Wednesday and Thursday.

Praying for continued growth in Janet’s confidence and understanding of how she’s recovered so well.

Janet, A Success Story. October 27. #TSJ

The goal today for everyone was to take some pressure to perform off of Janet and let her do her thing. It seems to have worked. Jess reported that the day was good in that Janet participated well in her therapies. When Janet called me she seemed satisfied with her day so far but unsure of how things would play out the rest of the day. She wanted me to hurry up and get there but I needed time today to step back a little and prepare myself for a new approach.

Janet was up from her nap when I arrived and met briefly with the new Communications Assistant for Connect who is doing a story on Janet’s visit to Okanagan College for a newsletter. Once a star always a star I guess. I didn’t “push” Janet for anything at all this evening. We chatted and responded to emails before dinner. Janet interacted really well at the dinner table and then amazingly agreed to walk the stairs with Chelsea afterwards. Her neighbour Debra is struggling with her Speech Therapy and Janet really wants to help her so we talked about that with Chelsea and I think Janet will approach Debra tomorrow to see if she’s willing to work with her. Janet is quite aware of her previous struggles and wants to give back. We showed Chelsea some of the Speech apps that Janet used to use and even played a few of them. Janet found it amusing that she was unable to correctly do a lot of them only a year ago. The evening was rounded out watching the fourth quarter of an entertaining football game with Wes, Brad and a new volunteer, Hannah who remembered me from being at a friends house a couple weeks ago, went to UBCO with a friend of ours and probably played basketball against Laurel years ago. She will be helping in Janet’s house Monday evenings for a while and seems like a great addition.

Janet walked using her cane all evening and I allowed that in hopes she feels more in charge of herself. Chelsea and I did encourage her to take longer strides if she’s going to use the cane and that was the extent of any nagging. Since was on think for yourself mode, it was pleasing when she remembered her meds all on her own.

As I was saying goodnight to Janet tonight she was very happy about how her day had been, especially the evening with me. She was relieved that I didn’t make her “do all sorts of things” and she promised to keep trying to get better. That clearly can only happen on her terms and my new role may have become clearer tonight. I believe Cam called it “husband”.

Praying for another good night of sleep for Janet and the confidence to have a productive Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. October 26. #TSJ

I’ve always tried to focus on the positives when writing this blog and most days there are many to report. There are today too but the negatives outweigh them unfortunately so I’m going to be honest about that rather than sugar coating things.

Janet is not happy and neither am I. She seems to be at her wits end as far as Connect is concerned and maybe about rehab in general. Her attitude is wearing on me and as a result this was the least fun weekend we’ve had in a long time. There were a few fun times, church was good, we watched a couple of good movies and we enjoyed visiting with Cam. Janet also did a great 200 meter walk on Saturday but despite the congrats from Cam and I, didn’t really accept the fact she’d done well and was very resistant to doing it today. When she did, she kept saying “I can’t”, “I’m exhausted”, “my legs are tired”, “I hate this”, the whole way through so of course her time was way off.

We didn’t really do much this weekend and that may be part of the issue. There was a lot of down time where I had no idea what to suggest and neither did Janet and the things I did suggest were dismissed abruptly. These are the times I dread for when she comes home full time as she can’t think of anything to do and I’m tired of being the booking agent for her. I don’t want her to be over scheduled but maybe spontaneity isn’t realistic either.

To cap it off, Janet scared the heck out of Cam and I at dinner tonight by choking on a piece of sweet and sour pork. She’d put a monstrous sized piece in her mouth, unbeknownst to us, then I heard her gurgling. Janet has “choked” on things before and has always been able to cough it out reasonably quickly. Tonight as I asked her to do the same she motioned repeatedly that she couldn’t. I did some mini Heimlich manoeuvres on her and she soon brought the chunk up. Cam was on the phone with 911 as Janet cleared herself and she was fine instantly. A very scary moment that I don’t wish to repeat and Janet has already blocked from her memory. During her bedtime recap of the day she correctly identified every activity of the day except that one and I didn’t bother to remind her of it.

Where this leaves or takes us I’m not sure. It may be that Janet comes home before the end of November if she’s not going to make an effort at Connect. Maybe spending this next week at home while my mom visits and we go to the Skate Canada International competition would be enough of a respite to get her through that last month. Maybe there’s not enough to be gained by keeping her at Connect another five weeks even with a good effort. Maybe my role needs to change. I don’t know but it does seem that something has to change real soon.

Praying that tomorrow brings lots of positive energy to Janet and me.

Janet, A Success Story. October 23. #TSJ

Today was pretty quiet but productive for Janet. She completed her workout by just after eleven this morning then called me in hopes I was on my way to get her. Not quite, but soon after that I found her lying on her bed “not sleeping” waiting for me. She didn’t know what to pack to take home with her and I was a little upset that she hadn’t made an effort. Then I realized there was nothing but her meds to take since we have duplicates of most things at home now. She’s smarter than I think sometimes.

Brian stopped by to hitch a ride home with us and he watched some video of Janet doing some laundry. She was hopeful he would approve her for that goal but her familiarity with the controls isn’t quite there yet. Something to work on this weekend.

Janet was happy to have a nap when we got home then after doing some planning for her homecoming she did another stellar job helping make dinner. One goal this weekend is to not have late nights followed by late mornings so Janet will be lights out at her Connect bedtime so we can have a productive Friday.

Praying for restorative sleep, an increase in confidence and no fear about walking fast.

Janet, A Success Story. October 22. #TSJ

Today was the big reading day for Janet and she got herself pretty wound up about it. She called me before lunch sounding really anxious and wondering when I was coming to get her. I calmed her down and explained how the day would unfold and she agreed to try and rest a little before I got there. That’s where I found her an hour later and I helped her get ready to go. She was excited but nervous.

When we got to the preschool Janet met her first challenge, a flight of twenty stairs. Pretty steep too but Janet gathered her energy and using my hand as a railing because the real one was too low, she made it all the way up just fine. Inside, it was all very familiar territory for Janet. So much so that she didn’t really even want to look around saying, “its the same old stuff”. It wasn’t, but it was familiar. About twenty, three and four year olds were gathered at Janet’s feet, and with a teacher holding the book, Janet dove right in. She started off great! Nice and loud, engaging with the kids, then something happened that threw Janet off and she never really recovered. It wasn’t a case of going to fast or making it up as she went along, she just seemed to loose focus enough to take her out of her rhythm. She made it through the book and the kids were very well behaved the whole time so based on that I think she passed. We’ll let Mary Lou watch the video and decide officially.

Janet was very relieved when it was over and not too happy with the way she read but agreed that she did it and the kids didn’t tune out so that was good. The experience did take a lot out of her though and once we got home she called nap time and slept for a good hour.

Once up I put her to work in the kitchen where she did a great job chopping and stir frying stuff for chicken fajitas. I never thought it would feel as cool as it does to stand at the kitchen sink with Janet and wash dishes but it does and I told her so tonight. That got the predictable self doubt response but hopefully inside it told her how well she’s doing. Janet got to relax and watch The Voice with some ice cream before driving back to Connect tonight and didn’t even complain about that. A successful day for Janet and one she can build on for the future. She worked hard to get ready for that reading gig and can be happy with her accomplishment.

Praying for a restful night and a confident and energetic Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. October 21. #TSJ

Let’s start with the big news. Janet is coming home for good November 28th! It is becoming more and more obvious each day that Janet is losing her willingness to participate at Connect. She simply doesn’t want to be there anymore and is putting in the bare minimum of effort. After an earlier than usual phone call from Janet this morning, during which she sounded kinda down, I texted Brian and asked him if he thought that was a good date to bring her home. He concurred and Janet and I met with him and Tez this afternoon to make it official. They both had received reports from the staff that Janet was less cooperative lately and Tez says that her physical progress has slowed to the point where coming home a month “early” isn’t going to make much difference. He is confident that Janet will continue to improve, at a slow pace, and as long as we stay on top of the tone in her right hamstring she has a good chance of doing some decent walking. Janet is relieved to know there is now a firm date in place and will be counting down each day I’m sure. 37 as of Wednesday.

Nothing could overshadow that news of course but today was good for Janet in other ways too. She participated well at Games Night this evening and walked up and down the stairs in the process. I was able to convince her to do that knowing she’ll have to do similar at the preschool tomorrow. Chelsea invited Janet to read The Hallo-Wiener to her for practice and she started off great then had a really difficult time for the last half of the book. Hopefully that’s the bad read before the great one tomorrow. Janet’s dressing and undressing skills continue to improve and tonight I only had to help with her bra and lining up her PJ shorts so that she got her legs in the correct sides. The rest she did unassisted and quite quickly.

A lot is going to change over the next five weeks and I’m excited to get on with it. Janet is too and I pray she uses her remaining time at Connect to her fullest advantage.

Janet, A Success Story. October 20. #TSJ

Grumpy Janet made a brief appearance this afternoon as she helped out with dinner prep. Apparently its good to help out at home because “that’s for us” but she shouldn’t have to help at Connect “because no one else does”. For some reason Janet thinks Connect is a hotel sometimes but I find the more she actually contributes the better she feels about it. Case in point, tonight, after insulting the smell of Karl’s dinner and pouting about making a salad, the compliments she received about her salad and the great taste of Karl’s dinner flipped her mood entirely. Janet admits she gets grumpy sometimes and doesn’t know why and it was interesting to see others at the table not admit to getting grumpy when we all know they do. Janet was praised for her honesty and used that to motivate her to put in a little walking practice later on.

Fear of “speed” is still holding Janet back but I watched her walk down the hall freestyle tonight at a very good clip for her so maybe things are starting to change. I pulled her to the gym quite quickly, then we learned that neither of us can do a proper sit up, so we quickly went back to her room. Her other walking adventures tonight were done while clinging onto whatever was nearby and Janet for sure does that more when she’s tired.

The bulk of her free time tonight was spent writing. Me typing, her dictating. Janet is now able to string four or five words together and with help staying on track with a particular thought she can actually tell a decent story. I’m seriously considering having her contribute to this blog once she’s home full time. She’s not totally opposed to the idea. Janet has decided to get baptized November 15th and tonight’s project was to write a testimonial that she will record to a video that could be played during a service or two. With some prodding along the way I think she ended up with a very good draft tonight and it’s nice to read something that is mostly her words.

Praying for a great night of sleep that brings lots of energy and confidence for Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. October 19. #TSJ

Each weekend gets more and more comfortable at home for Janet and like she belongs here. She does and soon she will be.

Friday started off with a little haircut from Chelsea then some grocery shopping. Janet was quite chatty with Chelsea and walked from the front door of the salon to her chair all by herself. I stayed back the entire time and let Janet explain what she wanted then watched her talk more than at any previous appointment. Coincidently, Courtney was Chelsea’s next appointment so we got to say a quick hello to her as we left. Thankfully the stores weren’t too busy so Janet was able to help a fair bit with the shopping and doesn’t seem to mind it much as long as we don’t spent too much time in the cold sections. In the evening we hosted our Small Group meeting and welcomed a new person to the group so we are now six and Janet enjoyed the conversation a lot. She wasn’t as assertive as the first meeting but contributed nicely from time to time.

Saturday had Janet practicing her laundry skills. She’s getting pretty good at it and we shot some video of her today that we’ll try and show Brian this week. I can see ways he could pass her and ways not too. Hopefully Janet can check that goal off this week. We got word today that her reading to the pre-schoolers will happen on Wednesday instead of Friday. Janet is a little nervous about it now but I’m confident that when the time comes she’ll do great. I was planning on taking Janet with me to a little wine tasting event at a friends house Saturday night but access to the house was too challenging so we turned it into a Janet staying home alone experience. She was more than happy to hang out at home and I was only gone for an hour and a half while she watched a recorded episode of So You Think You Can Dance.

There was walking practice every day this weekend and Janet improved her time on the 200 meter walk each day, breaking the eight minute mark today. These walks are with me pulling her along so they don’t count towards anything Tez will grade her on. I don’t see any changes in her freestyle walking around the house though, in fact Janet might be clinging to furniture even more now.

Tonight saw the usual resistance to going back to Connect but it was eased by a small understanding that soon she’ll be done there. Praying for rest, confidence and strength.