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Janet, A Success Story. April 6. #TSJ

Sunday started out well and ended really strong. Janet has bounced back from whatever was bothering her the last few days and by tonight was at her brightest ever it seemed.

I let her sleep in a little this morning then she got her water, meds and coffee all by herself while I showered. Usually I’m watching as she gets her breakfast but today I let her go on her own and she did fine. Our plan was to have pancakes and Janet helped me make the batter but the egg we used was from a carton that expired in February and we added too much milk so it was back to toast and peanut butter. Janet took part in the weekly Skype session with her mom and enjoyed that conversation.

The first walking attempt of the day was a good one and I continue to see improvement, especially in Janet’s ability to step with her right leg. The weather was nice enough to walk around and hangout outside for a little bit this afternoon and Janet helped me with some landscaping ideas before her nap. A half hour is better than nothing and Janet got up feeling pretty good and executed a really good walk from the bathroom to the dining table. She seems to be even gaining some speed although I’m not timing her yet.

Janet helped build a salad and we enjoyed a nice dinner with pretty amazing conversation lasting well into return to Connect time. After Janet’s surprise announcement yesterday that she wanted to share her story at SheLife I thought that would be it for amazing announcements for a while. Wrong. I helped Janet take some notes on what she wants to talk about and that lead to some very interesting comments and questions from Janet centred around what happened to her, why, how amazing it is that so many people have supported her along the way and how much she has improved. She’s finally accepting that truth and I was able to reinforce it today by showing her some old video of her 4B and Rehab days. Janet took it all in and really processed it well, asking very poignant questions without getting too emotional. A couple of hours later and Janet had a very clear picture of where she’s been and how she’s gotten to where she is today and I think it’ll stick with her now. She wants to meet Dr. Redekop and thank him for performing the surgery that gave her a chance and was intrigued by my stories of the incredible nurses at VGH ICU and would like to meet them too. I’m not sure if any of this is possible but we’ll try to make it happen. The hardest part of this journey for Janet to understand is why so many people stepped up and did so much to support her. She’s still lacking confidence but is immensely grateful to all of you for all you’ve done and I believe you’ll be hearing more about that from Janet herself soon.

Praying that Janet has a most excellent sleep and a productive Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. April 5. #TSJ

A much better day for Janet today in all areas. Only one toileting accident, some really good walking and good participation in the things we did today. I am somewhat relieved, especially in regards to the toileting thing and am still keeping an eye on her right leg. Janet didn’t complain of pain as much as yesterday and when I put her to bed tonight she said it felt fine. Cautious optimism.

Her walking was borderline exciting today as there were moments when she was pushing down nicely with the lower part of her right leg. A lot of the time she more or less drags it into position but a few times today there were strong and deliberate steps taken.

We managed a visit with John today finally. He has moved to a care home and is not too happy about it. This is a temporary stop while he waits for a room at the facility he’d like to be in. We pray that happens soon. Janet had a nice little chat with him at his dinner table and also with his table mate, a former pre school teacher from Ontario.

The highlight of the day in my opinion was when Janet “woke” from her afternoon nap, that was just a rest. She said that someone at SheLife said they would be having some of the ladies share their stories to the whole room and Janet “…would really like to tell my story”. She said a little of what she’d like to talk about and it was very sweet and insightful. I’ve prayed lots for her to be willing to share and am excited she may get an opportunity soon. The first step was to clarify what was said at SheLife so Janet emailed Heidi to find out. Who knows, maybe she’ll be writing this blog soon instead of me.

Praying that Janet has another great night of sleep so that she has energy and strength to keep on improving tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. April 4. #TSJ

Surprisingly, Janet was in bed when I got to Connect to take her to her eye doctor appointment just after lunch today. Her morning was busy but not overly so with a light workout in the gym that included stretching of her right leg. A good sign that the pain there may be subsiding. The rest of the time was routine except for a couple of toileting errors that Janet is upset about. She went pee a lot today which is unusual for her but isn’t to the abnormal range yet and there’s no indication of any other symptoms suggesting a problem anywhere. Hopefully tomorrow is drier. Despite falling asleep as soon as she hit the pillow last night, Janet feels like she woke up in the middle of the night and didn’t sleep well after that which is why she was trying to nap at 1pm today. There was no time for such nonsense then so up she got and off we went.

Our Optometrist gave Janet a very thorough exam and noted some improvement in Janet’s vision from a year ago. We agreed that most of the improvement is from Janet compensating for her right side impairment better and just being way more aware over all. Her eyes remain healthy with some physical improvement and the doctor noted Janet’s vastly improved reading skills. To help with that some more Janet is getting a pair of reading glasses so she hopefully won’t get frustrated as fast as she does now.

Janet was deserving of a nap when we got home and took advantage of the opportunity for two hours. We had planned on a date night tonight but I sensed that Janet wasn’t in top form and after some discussion we agreed to get some take out and stay home. She was worried about having to go to the bathroom a lot and her energy level could have been a lot higher. We both really enjoyed our meal from Hector’s Casa, our neighbourhood Mexican restaurant, and along with watching The Voice it made for an enjoyable evening. Janet got the place to herself for an hour as I had to run out to Connect to get her new meds that arrived late in the afternoon and she handled that just fine. At the end of the night Janet agreed to walk from the couch to the bathroom but got a few steps in then had to pee so that ended that. Tomorrow will be different.

Praying for Janet to regain control of her toileting, for the pain to leave her right leg and for her to be able to do lots of walking this weekend.

Janet, A Success Story. April 3. #TSJ

Today was a bit of a roller coaster for Janet, starting with a down hill bit as Jess took her to the lab for another test of her Dilantin levels. They are still low so her doctor has ordered an increase back to the dosage she was on before. There is no obvious reason for the fluctuation and hopefully we can get it stabilized soon so Janet doesn’t have to get stabbed so often. Still going downhill as far as Janet is concerned, she went to the gym for a bike ride. The upper part of her right leg has been sore for a couple days according to Janet so the workouts have been light. She equates it with the stretching session she had earlier in the week and she may be right. If not, it might be off to the doctor, Janet’s favourite thing to do.

I think lunch started a bit of an uphill ride for Janet as she seems to be enjoying everyone’s company around the table and does like the new lady, Angie. When I spoke to Janet on the phone I got a little feeling I was interrupting something she was enjoying and she’d rather be doing that. First time for everything I guess.

The downhill part started again when I arrived and Janet was ringing her pendant to get up from a nap she never had. She was in good spirits and very chatty but you could tell she hadn’t slept and needed to. It wasn’t going to happen though so up she got and I had her walk to the bathroom and back. No real change there although she is using her right leg less now because of the soreness. To avoid more walking Janet asked to help Angie get dinner ready and she eagerly made a salad for everyone. This was the first dinner in a long time where the table was full and Janet enjoyed the banter. Things were looking up.

Facing the prospect of a long walk after dinner Janet elected to practice some hand writing first. Mary Lou has given her a lined workbook to practice individual letters in and Janet can do most, reasonably well. I have no idea how to teach her proper technique so I just point out where she’s consistently good and where she changed the appearance of the same letter and for now that seems fine. Writing seemed to ease her fears of going for a walk and after a little pep talk from Chelsea she set out for the living room and made it a little more than two thirds the way there, over fifty feet, before insisting she was “exhausted”. I believe she could have made it as I saw saw continued improvement in her steps but the drive just wasn’t there tonight.

The roller coaster went downhill fast after that and Janet was sleeping within minutes of hitting the pillow before nine thirty. She couldn’t even get her prayers out she crashed so fast. I’m praying that tonight she enjoys a deep and healing sleep so that tomorrow is a day of nothing but ups.

Janet, A Success Story. April 2. #TSJ

For the first time since Janet moved into Connect there is another lady in the house! We had heard this might be happening and Janet was getting excited about it and when I called her at lunchtime it was the first thing she told me. She said she’s kind of quiet but that’s to be expected first day in.

The female theme continued tonight as another session of SheLife began at Trinity. Janet had a good nap this afternoon and walked from her room to the Den on our way out for dinner. To warm up I had her walk from her bed to the bathroom and back when she woke up. Those trips were a little shaky but the later one down the hall was solid. I timed things wrong as far as Janet’s walking went and so dinner was a little rushed and we arrived at the church just in the knick of time. I had hoped Janet would try and walk to her table from the lobby but she wasn’t interested and we didn’t have time anyways. Janet was at a much higher state of awareness when I met her after the session and she clearly enjoyed being back with her ladies. She was talking with a couple of them as I came to get her and each time I thought there was an opportunity to say let’s go, Janet through out another nugget that kept the conversation going. She was very good and in the car she volunteered that she might try and walk in next week. Yay! I can’t say enough about how positive it is for Janet to participate in SheLife. Her table mates are so supportive and encouraging it really builds Janet up.

Without prompting Janet asked for her meds as soon as we got back to Connect. She’s getting pretty good about this now and probably doesn’t need the reminder on her phone anymore. Brian was working a night shift tonight and stopped by for a chat on his way out. Janet got his name right without assistance and told him she’d like more opportunities to walk so he will consult the staff on that. I’ve been encouraging Janet to ask for walking practice but her nervousness about walking has kept her from taking the initiative. I think the experience at SheLife tonight fired her up enough to ask Brian. Yay again!

Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and that she maintains a positive attitude and is able to fully participate in tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. April 1. #TSJ

It was all serious business for Janet this morning, no April Fools jokes and a trip to the lab for some routine blood work. It was a good thing she went to the lab as it was learned that the levels for her anti seizure medication are on the low side. Her doctor agreed with my suggestion that we re test before changing the dosage again, so Janet gets to get stabbed again tomorrow.

One thing went in her favour this morning as Tez was not at Connect today so the usual Tuesday hard core workout never happened. Janet did go to the gym and got some stuff done so all was not lost. When I arrived this afternoon Janet was wide awake in bed and looking really tired. She couldn’t sleep and since we were going to a concert tonight I really wanted her to be rested so we just hung out and chatted in her room with me hoping she’d drift off but it never happened. A little happy hour time in the sun seemed to do as much good as a sleep would have and after a little walking session and dinner we took off for the concert.

Janet has never been much of a concert goer but she had a lot of fun at the Levite Summit a few weeks ago and said she’d like to go to a concert so I held her to it. We went to see The City Harmonic at Willow Park Church, a smaller version of Trinity. I had no idea what to expect or how Janet would react. The show was quite good and Janet enjoyed it although it was “really loud”. There were not a lot of sing along songs as this band is not too well known by us but they are excellent musicians and Janet was into it most of the time, especially when a three year old girl was dancing in the aisle beside her and looking at Janet like, “come dance with me”. Big smiles from Janet. Here’s a little clip to give you an idea of how cool Janet is.

We were back at Connect with minutes to spare before curfew and I said goodnight to a smily Janet, praying for a good night of sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. March 31. #TSJ

When I checked in with Janet around lunchtime she answered her phone on the second attempt and was very bright in talking to me. She reported that Humberto’s brother was visiting and everyone had enjoyed meeting and talking to him this morning. Janet said her bike ride was OK and that was all she had done and she knew that meant work when I arrived. She’s catching on.

Curtis did a little walking with Janet before nap time and when I got to Connect she was ready to get up and enjoy the sunshine before “going to work”. She chose the Shuttle first and did an admirable job with some slight improvement in keeping her right knee close to the left one. Janet of course hated every minute of it but persevered. That was the theme for walking today as well. She finished counting and rolling our jar of pennies before attempting a walk to the living room. That idea turned out to be too ambitious as fifteen feet into the walk Janet was complaining of being exhausted and wanted to quit. Perseverance prevailed however and she made it to the Den which is a little more than half way to the living room and about fifty feet from her bedside starting point. Her sit down onto the couch manoeuvre was one of the most controlled sit downs I’ve ever seen her do. High five!

After another big dinner and a little digestion time it was into the Standing Frame for Janet. I can sure tell when she’s done this exercise when I stretch her legs at the end of the night. They are so much more flexible after getting that good stretch that only the Standing Frame can provide. Another thing that is so good for Janet that she dislikes. She persevered.

When I left Janet last night she was sleeping and I thought headed for a good night. She said she woke up around four and was awake most of the time until Jess got her up. Nap time this afternoon didn’t include much sleep so Janet faded rapidly tonight and I’m actually impressed with what she accomplished considering that lack of rest. Praying for a solid night of sleep tonight and lots of strength and energy for tomorrow.