Janet, A Success Story. July 24. #TSJ

Janet and I met with her team at Connect early this morning and found it to be a productive time. Everyone is supportive of the idea of Janet setting goals to reach before leaving Connect as opposed to choosing a specific date and there was good discussion around what to set as goals in each area. The outcome is as follows;

– Walking- Janet wants to walk “like a regular person”. When asked to define that she said “being able to walk without standing there not knowing what to do”. Tez will use the 6 Minute Walking Test to measure Janet’s progress. The low end of “normal” for that test is 700 meters in 6 minutes. Today Janet did 27 meters. She likely will be tested a couple more times before setting a specific target to reach before leaving Connect.Tez recommends Janet use her cane to gain speed and confidence in walking. She is reluctant but was encouraged to hear that its a temporary thing. Janet used the cane for her last two walking trips at home tonight and although it didn’t speed her up she felt OK with using it.
– Steps- Janet would like to be able to climb and descend three steps on her own using only a handrail. Tez agreed she can likely do that very soon and will have the staff take Janet on the stairs at Connect next week.
– Reading- Janet wants to be able to read to three and four year olds with expression. Mary Lou says she’s making good progress and that is an achievable goal.
– Writing- Brian and I would like to see Janet be able to write her name, address and phone number on a form and be able to leave hand-written notes for people. Janet sees the value in that and will work with Mary Lou to get there.
– Home Chores- Janet would like to be able to load and operate the washer, drier and dishwasher as well as be able to operate the cooktop. Brian will come to the house one day soon to assess Janet and coach her on how to improve with those tasks.
– Toileting- Janet would like to be independent in her toileting routine. The staff have been training Janet and will coach me so I can help Janet at home.

Like I said, it was a productive meeting. The day only got better as Janet was able to come home for the weekend before lunch. We took advantage of the cool weather to stop and get Janet a couple new bathing suits and I think we did pretty well. You may see them this weekend. Janet napped while I went to the grocery store with the list she helped create then in the spirit of going after those goals I put Janet to work. We pitted two pounds of cherries for freezing, she pulled the stems off all of them and pitted some. She ordered quesadillas for dinner and chopped peppers, onion and mushrooms then built each quesadilla for us. After dinner she rinsed the dishes while I washed. She did all of this with no wheelchair in sight and standing for some of it.

Our neighbour, Bonnie came over for a post dinner glass of wine and a chat. She told us she had just baked three cherry pies and Janet got all excited saying that is her favourite pie. It must have been from her childhood because I don’t remember liking pie at all. Bonnie kindly agreed to bake one more. Smooth move Janet.

I’m looking forward to a fun weekend of involving Janet in as many household tasks as possible and walking a lot. Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and giving thanks for all we have been blessed with.

Janet, A Success Story. July 14. #TSJ

There were no Monday blahs for Janet today as she bounced right back into her rehab routine. All her exercises were done by lunchtime and she was up from her nap by the time I arrived at 3:30. Not what I was expecting but nice to see.

After catching up on the day’s activities Janet knew it was her turn to set the dinner table so off she walked to the kitchen. I was really impressed with her walking today, the confidence level seems to be growing daily and I think she’s speeding up a little too. Her table setting session was excellent as she needed to physical assistance and minimal coaching on what she had to put out and where it all went. With that chore completed Janet had time to sit in the living room and chat with Wes who just returned from two weeks in Saskatchewan. She was quite excited to see Wes and hear about his trip. It was a good conversation.

Independence is creeping up on Janet whether she likes it or not. She verbalizes a desire for help with a lot of things but increasingly is becoming more assertive, like refusing to go swimming, and tonight not wanting to read to me. I thought she’d be open to reading The Hallo Wiener to me since its her goal to read it to some kids in October. No way. And not in a whiny pouty way, she just didn’t want to read it to me saying she practices it on her own and that is fine. I did kind of trick her into reading a paragraph from another book and she did extremely well with that. She read even the far right hand side of each line, something she often neglects. More improvement.

Part of Janet’s duties for the evening was to do a little laundry and that enabled her to get lots of walking in without it seeming like I was making her walk for no reason. She uses anything and everything she can hold onto along the way but like I said before it seems to be really building her confidence and abilities. I left her alone for more than half of her trip to the med room tonight and she had no problems at all and once again got all her med questions right with no hints. Janet also gave me another awesome recap of her day after getting into bed in addition to telling me whats on her schedule tomorrow. Brilliant!

Praying for an excellent night of sleep and a productive Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 9. #TSJ Video, Speed Walking

Janet’s day was pretty routine for the first half. She reported to me that she “did everything and it was all good”. Her pendant alarm rang as soon as I got to Connect so I went straight to her room where she was getting up from her nap and needed to go to the bathroom. Without her AFO and shoes on it’s not possible for her to walk on her own so she needs help and is really good at asking for it now. Once dressed, Janet walked well all the way to the patio where we stayed through dinner as the A/C was too cold inside. I will admit I turned the A/C on at our house today for the first time, as by 11 o’clock this morning it was over 28 degrees inside and that’s too warm even for me.

I thought with the heat I’d be able to convince Janet to go for a swim in the lake but she wasn’t having anything to do with that. It was all I could do just to get her feet in the water. It’s a start.
We spent a lot of time planning things tonight. One thing I try to involve Janet in each week is the meal planning at home. She helps decide what the dinners will be and helps create a shopping list with me. Doing that could be a chore but thankfully Janet seems to enjoy begin involved in the decision making and appreciates each meal more when it happens as she had some input into it. We also try to plan some of our activities for when she is home and I think tomorrow evening we are finally going to get to try Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. MMMM.

You haven’t gotten to see Janet walk for a while so I thought I’d give you a quick peak. Last night she flat out refused to go get her meds without me, tonight she never even asked me, she just got up and walked away. This is her making the return trip in record time.

Impressive huh? For reference, that walk really took just under three minutes.

Janet asked to go to bed a little early tonight so we’d have more time to read Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret. We did and she laughed a lot and continues to really enjoy it which is maybe why she remembers it so well. Each night before I read I ask her to tell me what happened the previous night and since we started this book she’s been bang on.

Praying for a good night of sleep and an energetic Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 7. #TSJ

Getting back into her routine at Connect seemed easy for Janet today. She completed her exercises by lunchtime except for the Standing Frame and got some sun tanning time in before nap time. Yesterday I had asked her to check and see if Jess could drive her to the Dr. Miller appointment tomorrow and Janet remembered to do that. Her memory is steadily improving as is her walking ability. After helping her up from nap time I had her walk to the kitchen to set the table and she did so quicker and more confidently than ever. She did use the wall for security purposes a few times but it seems that letting her do that is actually building her confidence rather than making her dependant on that “crutch”. Janet got the table set in record time and made some really nice 180 degree turns in the process, something she has long struggled with.

Escaping to the warmth of the patio after her chore was done Janet and I hid out there until dinner was ready and Karl and Chelsea agreed to back off on the damn A/C. Janet continued her excellent walking after dinner before getting in the Standing Frame. After properly repairing her wheelchair we were able to go for a nice sunset walk around the neighbourhood. To end the day, Janet had one more round trip of walking to do to get her meds and even though she was getting tired she did very well. No signs of falling and a good steady pace. She was sweating by the time she got back to her room but I think happy with her accomplishments, especially naming the meds correctly with only minor hints.

We are reading a Judy Blume book now called Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I’m not sure where we got the recommendation but its working out much better than the Toni Braxton story. This one is funny and fast paced and full of young girl things that Janet easily relates to. She had lots of good giggles tonight and that always makes it a little easier to say goodnight. Praying for a good rest tonight and for a good visit with Dr. Miller tomorrow.