Commitment

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 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 15. #TSJ

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.

Janet, A Success Story. October 14. #TSJ

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.

Praying for a restful night and a fun Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. October 12. #TSJ

Janet was not at all thankful for going back to Connect tonight. She was the most upset about it that she’s been in a long time but once there and settled in all was as good as could be and we’ll pray for a productive week.

The weekend was enjoyable for Janet, not a lot of crazy activities but enough action to keep things interesting. Friday night, eleven of us from our wine club attended a dinner put on by the culinary students at Okanagan College. We live close enough that we were able to walk there with some of our neighbours and it was warm enough that Janet only needed a light sweater. Of the five courses presented, Janet liked the salad served first the best. Surprise! The wines were not as adventurous as I was hoping for and they proved a little too much for Janet but I’m always willing to help her out. Saturday, Courtney joined us at church and was surprised at how well and how far Janet is walking. Today, Courtney spent the afternoon with us on an unofficial Thanksgiving Day visit. She gave Janet a much needed manicure and having her around made coping with the Seahawks loss much easier.

There was lots of practicing the laundry machines and cooktop this weekend for Janet and she’s getting better at both. Passing her laundry test just seems to be a matter of getting enough repetitions in. As far as walking goes, there’s no noticeable decline in the fear level but left on her own Janet seems happy to make her way around wherever she wants to go. She just needs to do it at Janet speed.

Praying that Janet has an enjoyable week and that she stays focused on the positives.