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Janet, A Success Story. December 22. #TSJ

Seems like forever since I’ve been here and I must admit the break has been nice. It was getting hard to find things to talk about on a daily basis for sure and now that Janet being at home is “normal” I have to dig deep for a weekly talking point. I think “normal” will be it for this one.

We are definitely into a routine around the house, not the most productive routine but one that has Janet responsible for some basic duties and helping out with others. She is improving with her abilities in the kitchen and has taken easily to building her own sandwich for lunch, all the steps, unassisted, with the exception of needing help to open the mustard sometimes. Janet is happy to put things away and do light duty cleaning but is reluctant to try the big things like vacuuming. Soon, I hope.

The exercise routine is ok and I hope will get better in the new year. Janet is doing really well in the pool, already graduating to walking forwards and backwards without the pool noodle. Today I took her into the River Run for the first time and she handled it better than I thought she would. The Botox has completely worn off now and I notice Janet losing some control of her right leg even out of the water. We didn’t make it all the way around the river as it got too deep for Janet at one point and she was not wanting to swim. Next time. Her attitude about going to H2O hasn’t improved much but once there she does good things and comes away telling herself she did good so hopefully with some more time and recognizable improvements for her she’ll be more willing to get out the door.

The best part of Janet’s new normal is the relaxing evenings she’s been enjoying. We’ve watched movies, The Voice and of course our beloved Seahawks. Janet looks forward to those couple of hours to be entertained and is far more engaged in what she’s watching than ever before. I will still pause and explain things to her periodically only now she actually gets what I explain and I love her reaction at the end of a good movie or game. It’s totally appropriate to what happened and often includes her patented fist pump.

The fist was pumping tonight after the Christmas Eve service at Trinity. Janet really really enjoyed it, more than any event I’ve taken her to lately minus the Seahawks game. The music was great and the drama portion easy for her to understand and see. We went tonight as we are off to San Diego for eight days tomorrow. Janet is super excited about this trip and the very un-normal Christmas this will be. Stay tuned for pics and other things.

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your love and support. Peace.

Janet, A Success Story. December 10. #TSJ #Independence

Its still too early to nail down any sort of routine for Janet living at home full time. Each week brings different appointments and responsibilities so in that regard Janet has been kept busy in various ways. Since the craziness of her homecoming weekend there hasn’t been a day without something significant going on.

I’ve backed off on taking Janet to H2O as often as I’d like as there is already some resistance developing and I want Janet to want to go. It’s not always fun working out but I hope to get her to the point where she sees the benefit and is willing to go without hesitation. The times we have been have taught us it takes a lot longer for her to go through every element than we thought. If Janet does everything on her list, it’s a good two and half hour outing, which is fine, we just have to figure out how to fit things into the rest of the day.

A friend of ours recently asked if we would meet with the mother of a young lady in KGH who is going through a similar situation that Janet did. Janet was all over the opportunity to share and encourage and has twice been to the young lady’s room to read to her or just hang out. It has been very cool to watch Janet in that hospital room knowing she was there two and a half years ago. She’s handling it very well and wants to go regularly, each time we are there also provides an encounter with someone who cared for Janet back then. She has received lots of “wow, look at you” and “you look great” and “I’m so happy to see you”. So much so that I think she’s actually starting to believe those compliments. Janet laughs each time we meet someone as it happens all over the hospital and she repeatedly comments that “we can’t go anywhere without being recognized”. Celeb.

Continuing in the spirit of sharing and encouraging, Janet went back to Connect today to sing with Debra. She dreaded the drive out there even though she was only visiting. Too many bad memories still. When she arrived though, it was all smiles. We spent a half hour with Debra singing Christmas songs and Debra would like to do it again next week and Janet is happy about that. Singing was an amazing tool for Janet and I can see the benefits to Debra already as she smiled and laughed a lot.

Christmas Sing Along with Janet

Christmas Sing Along with Janet


A major goal for Janet being at home is to be as independent as possible and she took a huge step in that direction today. I’ve left her home alone a few times so far for various lengths of time and with different projects to attempt. Tonight, at her request, she was to make chocolate haystacks while I worked at the church for a few hours. Never before have I even considered leaving Janet to cook anything unattended but she was really wanting to try this, so after dinner, a reading of the recipe and a walkthrough of the procedures, I left. To fill out the time I would be away Janet chose to watch a movie then do her baking. I fully expected a phone call anytime the whole time I was away and was tempted to call her myself but didn’t. When I got home three hours later Janet was standing at the sink with a huge grin on her face washing the pot she’d used for the haystacks. The house smelled like chocolate and a nice collection of tasty treats were cooling on the island.
MMMMM

MMMMM


She did it! She followed the recipe, except for the coconut, operated the cooktop and cleaned up after herself, all by herself! Amazing! So happy!
Success!

Success!


With all that said, things are going well at home so far. Our Christmas vacation to San Diego is approaching and that will become the focus next week I’m sure. Alyssa and I hope to get Janet in the pool Friday as well as find a way to make exercise more fun for her. Praying for Janet’s confidence to keep growing.

Janet, A Success Story. November 29. #TSJ #Baptism

I’m happy to finally be able to share the video of Janet’s baptism with you. She just watched it today for the first time and got all excited in doing so. It was a very special moment that we’ll never forget and we hope you enjoy it.

The audio is a little out of sync, I apologize.

Janet, A Success Story. November 19. #TSJ #homesweethome

Nine hundred eighteen days ago Janet suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm that kept her in hospital then a rehab facility until today.
IMG_0448 That was then. August 2012

This is now!

This is now!

Janet is home!

I asked Janet if she was thinking of today as a day of lasts or a day of firsts and she quickly responded lasts. She couldn’t wait to get out of Connect and reminded me throughout the day that we don’t have to do this anymore and don’t have to do that anymore. There were lots of fist pumps, whoo hoo’s and huge smiles. Goodbyes are difficult for me so I was glad that Janet handled those today. I’ll be better at it next week when we go back for a farewell lunch. Janet gave everyone a nice hug and thank you as we departed this afternoon with the only emotion being happiness although she did admit in the car that it was a little sad to say goodbye as “they are good people”. Indeed.

This was not the start of any vacation for Janet, we had an appointment with Alyssa at H2O right after a quick lunch and she put Janet through a little fitness assessment so she can start building a program for her. Janet seems impressed with the facility and likes Alyssa so for the time being it looks like working out there a few times a week will be fine and may even include some pool time. Janet has agreed to try that once.

Tuckered out after the emotion of her last day at Connect followed by the fitness assessment Janet enjoyed a good nap before dinner then we took off for the church and the last SheLife session until the new year. Janet is grateful for the love and support she gets from her table mates and took a lot of compliments about her baptism testimonial tonight. She came away from the evening feeling pretty good and was quick to remind me that we were going home not back to Connect. Deserving of a treat, Janet stayed up a little late to watch The Voice and have some ice cream. Now she is snuggled up in her own bed in her own home ready to begin a new chapter.

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

Janet, A Success Story. November 13. #TSJ Goaal! #5

I know I said I wasn’t posting on Thursdays anymore but this one is special. Janet has officially achieved her laundry goal! Brian watched the video of Janet that was recorded Wednesday and enthusiastically credited her with goal number five. Janet is very happy and realizes she is one small step from being home full time. Here is the video, not the most exciting one I’ve ever posted but I hope you can appreciate the multiple tasks Janet had to string together to accomplish what most of us consider a pretty mundane chore. Happy!

We had our last team meeting at Connect this afternoon with the theme being move out planning. Janet is clear to go on the 28th or sooner and with the exception of a few minor details to cover off, its now a waiting game. The team is in agreement that Janet is not waiting very patiently and has been somewhat uncooperative a couple of days this week. With her out of the room I asked if there was a way that without rewarding bad behaviour Janet could come home sooner. It was always our intention that Janet finish strong at Connect by achieving goals before coming home. She’s done that except for the walking one which will have to be excused as her progress is too slow. In that light it was agreed that if Janet is willing to try hard at learning to pick up things from the floor and get to where she can do that consistently and without assistance, she can come home. Janet accepted the challenge and we will practice this weekend knowing she can do it and just needs to build the confidence to do it consistently. Brian will give her one more six minute walking test Tuesday so we have an up to date result for the next phase of physio. If all goes well, Janet could be home full time after SheLife on Wednesday!

Praying for Janet to sleep well tonight and enjoy a productive and fun Friday.

PS: Janet’s baptism is Saturday at 5:30 Trinity Church. She would love it if you could be there.

Janet, A Success Story. November 12. #TSJ

No trouble for Janet today! Her morning went well, she never complained about anything and even ate some leftover fish for lunch. It was “yucky” of course but she kept that to herself. Gym time was good as was a brief session with Mary Lou.

I half expected Janet to be ready and waiting for me when I went to pick her up. Waiting she was but laying in bed no where near ready. I assured her she could nap at home and helped her get up. We stopped to vote on the way and were pleased the polling station was busy. It didn’t take too long and Janet was glad she participated. We use the type of ballot where you fill in a box beside the candidates name instead of writing an X and I helped Janet with that so she didn’t spoil her ballot. She was happy to read the names of who she was voting for from the list we made so didn’t feel left out.

Before nap time Janet agreed to try and pass the laundry test. I think she made it but we’ll let Brian rule on it tomorrow. Her nap went a little long so she wasn’t able to help too much with dinner as we had to get out the door for SheLife. Once in the church I let Janet make her own way to her table. Standing back and watching her I was really impressed by how independent she’s becoming. Her walk through the room was confident and as people said hi to her along the way I could see her genuinely smile and greet them back. It wasn’t long ago I’d have to prompt her to acknowledge someone. Janet even excused herself from the table to take a bathroom break all on her own again tonight. Nice! I waited a short distance away at the end and watched Janet not be in any hurry to leave. She chatted with people and was quite smiley. I didn’t offer any assistance in getting out of the building and Janet walked slow but steady, even choosing steps instead of the ramp to get down one part. That’s a first!

Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and is willing to fully participate in whatever she’s asked to do tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. November 9. #TSJ

Only two more Sundays of taking Janet back to Connect, thank goodness. She handled tonight’s return well as her weekend was relaxing and entertaining and there was no time for a nap today so she was too tired to complain. A couple from our Small Group joined us today to watch the Seahawks game and that made for an enjoyable Sunday. Janet enjoyed the mixture of football talk and family talk and contributed well with both.

Neither day at home this weekend was too structured. Saturday night was different from the usual in that Courtney was home for dinner after church and we watched a movie together too. We are enjoying having her around and Janet is benefiting from having someone else to talk to. Friday we stopped by the church to do a walk through of the baptism tank. Janet did a great job walking up the steps, down into the tank then back out again. I’m confident she can handle it for real on Saturday and we thank Dave for taking the time to let Janet try that in advance. She was pretty pleased with herself for being able to do it. Our Small Group met Friday night and Janet participated well and even asked the group a question on her own for the first time. She wanted to hear everyone’s take on the Brittany Maynard and Lauren Hill stories and was rewarded with some good conversation. That was a good demonstration of Janet’s memory improving along with her confidence to initiate conversation.

Thursday night Janet recorded her baptism testimonial video. It was understood that she’d be able to use a teleprompter but it wasn’t ready when her time to shoot arrived so we tried feeding her two or three sentences at a time. That was a struggle for Janet but she made it through for the most part. By the time the teleprompter was ready Janet was tired of the whole thing so struggled reading from it too. Jody, the videographer, will work his magic and Janet’s story will come out loud and clear. There’s no magic needed to make Janet look good though.

Under the lights again.

Under the lights again.


Janet was a big help around the house this weekend as is becoming the norm. We didn’t take any formal time for exercise so all of Janet’s walking came associated with practical tasks. Talking with her tonight, she was happy about that but admitted she wasn’t moving around as easily. She disagreed that it was a result of a more relaxing weekend but resigned herself to the idea of using the indoor track at CNC sooner rather than later. Winter is supposed to arrive this week so the days of walking outside seem to be done and Janet needs to keep moving. I think she’ll be OK with it as long as we don’t overdo it.

Praying for a week of progress.

Janet, A Success Story. November 3. #TSJ

Well, that was a marathon weekend for Janet. She got to stay home an extra night as my mom is visiting and she sat through the entire three days of Skate Canada International. Eight hours Friday, Nine hours Saturday and two hours Sunday. Janet made it through all that without a nap and kept a smile on her face the entire time minus a little bit during the Ladies Long Program Saturday, it was a long day.

Never having seen live figure skating before we didn’t know what to expect and Janet came away feeling happy she’d gone and with greater respect for those athletes. If you looked on a seating chart to where we sat, you’d think our seats weren’t very good. We think we had the best seats in the house. The venue was not designed for an event like this and the backstage area is too small to provide a warm up area for the skaters so they used the concourse right behind our seats. Meaning, we were up close and personal with everyone before they made their way down to the ice. It was as interesting to watch them prepare as it was perform and every time I brought some skaters to Janet’s attention she’d react with surprise at how they were right there in front of her. She chickened out on her chance at a picture with Scott Moir though, rightly saying “its kind of dumb having a picture with someone you don’t really know”. Janet gave me permission to have mine taken with Tessa Virtue but I declined for the same reason. All of the skaters were incredibly accommodating to the fans and anyone that asked for a photo or autograph got one. Janet and I were both impressed by that. Janet loved the Ice Dance competition the best, saying the music is better and the couples interact and depend on each other more. We became fans of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, chatting extensively with Piper’s mom and watching them go through their entire program right behind our seats, seeing how focused and connected they are, then watching them execute on the ice earning their best score of the season by far. Very cool.

Skating dominated the weekend but we did manage a nice Sunday dinner with Courtney and Mike. Thank goodness mom was here to cook it and we had a pretty chill day today. The little bit of time we were at home, Janet walked and helped out well. She walked a little with her cane at the arena as well and bravely called a bathroom break during church on Sunday. A first and a welcome change from the “I didn’t want to interrupt anything” phase. Lets hope that continues.

The unpleasantness of returning to Connect tonight was tempered by the realization that Janet only has to do it three more times and that tomorrow is her only full day there this week. Things just keep getting better. Some sing along music in the care helped too. Amazing how powerful that is still.

Praying for a restful night of sleep and a positive Tuesday.

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.