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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Talkative Janet was going strong again today. I went out to Connect for what I thought would be the end of lunchtime but Janet and the others were just getting going on their meals. Janet was excited to see me, knowing she was going home for the afternoon, but instead of rushing through her meal she kept jabbering away with Wes and Brad. She was having fun and was in good form, nice to see.
During the ride home Janet was able to accurately tell me about her day so far and in a voice I could hear easily over the car noise. She sure has come a long way. She braved a cool walk with the dog before calling her own nap time at home. After helping me make a salad we enjoyed an early dinner discussing SheLife and our Christmas trip to San Diego. I’m trying to get her to stop agreeing with every suggestion I have for activities there so she can pick some herself but I think its a little too far away yet for her to really focus on it.
SheLife was good tonight according to Janet. The most impressive part for me was her calling a bathroom break in the middle of it. Maybe she is making progress on that reluctance to interrupt something. Back at Connect Janet learned that it is not a hotel after all as even though her laundry was being done when we left this afternoon, it was not put away and her bed wasn’t made when we got back. She actually expected it would be but did a good job putting her clothes away and helping me make the bed. Dare I say, a little more confident on her feet?
Praying for a long night of sleep and a confident Thursday.
Through most of her stay at Connect Janet has never been that outspoken. She’s mostly waited her turn to say anything and often feels like a bother if she asks for something. Not today. When she called me after lunch she couldn’t wait to tell me how she’d worked most of the morning with a girl “that wants to get a job here” and they talked a ton and she read The Hallo-Wiener to her and it was good. Janet was speaking confidently and intentionally and it was clear she was on another level.
The increased brightness continued after I got to Connect, particularly as dinner was wrapping up. Big Country had just consumed a worthy meal and noticed Janet eating grapes, his favourite. To prevent him from becoming bigger the staff regulate what he eats closely and said he’d had enough. Janet, acting more like a grandmother, attempted to sneak some grapes to Big Country when no one was looking. He persisted in asking and Janet persisted in advocating for him, not understanding why he couldn’t have any. When it became apparent she and he had lost the battle, Janet defiantly told Curtis and Chelsea, “you guys are crazy”. It was an impressive display of Janet speaking her mind and standing up for someone she cares about.
Academics were the theme for most of my visit with Janet today. I helped her prep for SheLife tomorrow, Big Country even joined us for part of that, and the evening was taken up with Games Night. For various reasons Janet hadn’t been to Games Night for a few weeks so I was expecting her to be a little rusty. I was wrong. She was quite enthusiastic about it and participated well, in part I think because of the absence of one person who likes to blurt out answers inappropriately. One element of Games Night is a challenge to everyone to remember “the word of the week”. One of the residents suggested this week’s word be “morgen”, German for morning. That changed into “guten morgen”, which Janet took great pleasure in teaching everyone to say with her high school German accent. She’s still got it. Janet actually admitted afterward that Games Night was fun and told Curtis that she liked it better without “so and so there”.
With Janet being in a good mood after Games Night I got her to walk down the stairs on the way back to her room. She did great, as she did with all her walking tonight which was mostly speed walking with me.