hydrotherapy

Janet, A Success Story. July 27. #TSJ

Another summer weekend comes to a close and it was a good one. Not a lot of activity as far as going out or having people over, just quality time together in the sun. Janet said the highlight for her was the salmon dinner we had tonight. It was yummy but I think the highlight for me was taking Janet out to see John today and having her lead the conversation after we stopped at a store and Janet walked with her cane the whole time there. It felt like she was more independent to me and I hope she’s feeling the same way. Janet is at least very willing to use the cane now and realizes it will help her become a faster walker and her memory has improved to the point where one tiny prompt from me can set her story telling for a couple of minutes.

Speed wasn’t really present all weekend as Janet is still nervous about walking. Her stair climbing improved each day and this is the least she’s used her wheelchair by far. It is still very much needed for walks to Menchie’s and such but not around the house at all. Janet cane walked into church but I had to lead her the last bit as she was going so slow we risked not being seated before the service started. We had lots of time as we left the building and Janet made that trip completely on her own. Slowly but she made it.

I pretty much dragged Janet to the pool today for a swim and she whined and complained until she got used to the water then I could hardly convince her to leave. Getting in and out was a little better today as she went with no AFO or shoes. The in part still needs work but getting out has been mastered.

Janet practiced her reading a fair bit this weekend and says she’s getting better and from what I heard I’d agree. There was even a little practicing of her handwriting which was nice to see, its getting better too.

The weekend ended up having lots of ways of suggesting to Janet that the goals she set last week are very achievable and I pray she has the attitude and ability to work hard at them all this week.

Janet, A Success Story. July 17. #TSJ Smoke and Fire

The big “Fun Day” Connect had planned for today was cancelled at the last minute as Interior Health issued an air quality advisory due to a lot of smoke in the area. There are a number of forest fires burning in the province and we’ve had smoky skies for a few days but no fires in the Kelowna area until this afternoon.

Fire across the lake to the west of us.

Fire across the lake to the west of us.


Janet and I clearly could see this one on the other side of the lake from us as it started during our drive home. As I write, over 2500 homes have been evacuated and Janet and I have offered the spare room we have to anyone that may need it.

Janet was not at all upset with the cancellation of Fun Day and thought she might be able to come home sooner but I convinced her to stay and get her exercises done and Garrett said she did great at all of them. When we got home we took the dog for a walk and that must’ve convinced Janet it was hot enough to go swimming because she accepted my suggestion with no argument. It also helped that we met Bonnie on her way to the pool and Janet always feels more confident when friends are around. Getting into and out of the pool was OK, a couple of slips but that’s why I’m there. After the initial shock of the 30 degree water Janet got comfortable and swam really well both on her back and tummy. I’m the one that needs to regain confidence so that she can swim more freely.

First time in the pool!

First time in the pool!


Initially we left the AFO and water shoes on but I think next time we’ll go without to prevent the slipping and make it easier to swim. Janet really enjoyed the swim and it set her up for a nice cool nap before dinner.

Our evening was quiet as we monitored the fire situation and watched So You Think You Can Dance. Both of our contestants are safe and Janet’s continues to be a stand out.

Praying for a safe night for those in the fire zone and for restful sleep for Janet leading to a productive Friday.

Janet, A Success Story. June 1. #TSJ

This morning was more mellow than Saturday morning and Janet was able to get through breakfast well before the weekly Skype chat with her mom. In fact, we were able to watch Genie Bouchard win her fourth round match at the French Open before the mom call and Janet was pleased to be able to do so. She’s a fan.

From what I heard of the conversation with Mary/Gaga it went well and Janet even ended the call properly on her iPad, something I’ve been trying to teach her for a long time. After some suntanning time we drove out to see John and go for a walk with him. Janet noted he seemed a little down compared to last time so we left him with a promise to take him for lunch next Saturday in hopes that gives him something to look forward to. We were then able to eat our lunch outside before Janet’s nap time. Have to get her tanned up for the wedding you know.

After her nap we walked up to check out the pool. I wasn’t able to convince Janet to swim but she was all over going for a hot tub. As you can see in the picture the first step in is a doozy with the four others not much better. Janet made it in OK but getting out was no fun at all. I was over confident in what Janet is able to do and attempted to assist her in walking out. She just doesn’t have the strength to tackle large steps like that and if one of our neighbours wasn’t there to help me get Janet out, we might still be there. I’ll be carrying her out from now on. The pool steps are not as large so hopefully Janet can manage those ones better.
Janet Hot Tub

Janet’s conversation skills are certainly improving as evidenced by her striking up a chat with the lady in the hot tub (the one that ended up helping us) and then by having an excellent Skype chat with Andrew. Her speech and recall were outstanding today. There weren’t too many walking opportunities but she did make it up and down our ramp a few times.

Our arrival back at Connect tonight was later than usual as we lingered over dinner, America’s Got Talent, and ice cream before making the trek. Janet says she doesn’t mind it when she gets there its more the thought of having to go back that bugs her. This is a short week for her though as she gets to come home Thursday and stay for the weekend on account of a few appointments Thursday and Friday. She’s happy about that.

Praying for a restful night of sleep, lots of energy all week and a willingness to work hard.

LarryJanet Hot Tub

Janet, A Success Story. May 1. #TSJ

What a difference going to the pool in summer weather. So much easier as Janet isn’t wearing fifteen layers of clothes to change out of and into and she’s not already cold before getting near the water. There were even bigger differences in her abilities today as opposed to a few months ago when she last went, such as, walking down the ramp into the kiddie pool with me leading then walking up it on her own using the handrail all the way to seating herself in a wheelchair. Walking down the stairs into the hot tub and up again using the handrail with me supporting at the hips. I used to have to carry her into the hot tub. High five!

Today’s agreement was for kiddie pool and hot tub only and I stuck to that as the whole point was to give Janet a safe environment to walk on her own in. It took a little while to get loosened up and confident but after a few attempts and some coaching from Tez Janet walked on her own for five or six steps at a time. She fell a few times and didn’t seem to mind at all and I think that eased her fear a little. For the most part she did a good job of pushing down with her right leg. The experience was good and in talking afterwards Janet was receptive to trying the sling once to compare.

That opportunity came sooner than Janet expected when she walked from her room to the kitchen after a nap to ask Curtis if he would help her before he left for the day. To Janet’s dismay, Curtis agreed. The difference in Janet’s walking in the water and using the sling is night and day so I had to rescind my offer of her choosing one or the other as the sling is just a million times better for her. She is scared and pouted a lot the first attempt but persevered and turned in an excellent walk around the ten foot square the sling allows her to travel in. Janet stood on her own for over five minutes arguing for us to take the sling off not even realizing she was standing on her own. She thinks that somehow it is holding her up and affecting what she does but its all her and on the last lap I think she started to realize that. She put good combinations of steps together, made really nice turns and corrected her balance well a few times. She lost it a few times too and I think started to understand how the sling prevents her from falling and nothing else. After a lot of sweat and hard work Janet completed what will now be a daily routine at Connect for her and should help her to make significant gains in walking on her own.

Having worked so hard today I gave Janet a pass for good behaviour and brought her home tonight. Along the way we stopped at the mall to do some shoe shopping. The lady that built Janet’s AFO stopped by Connect this afternoon and gave some advice as to the types of shoes Janet can wear with the biggest rule being no heals. For casual shoes, pretty much anything that fits will be fine and for the wedding it’s a lot more complicated. Janet is wanting a dressy shoe for that but is restricted by needing pretty much the whole shoe to open up in order to get it on her AFO. We found some that were close, one pair actually went on but just weren’t stylish enough for her. We may try more tomorrow.

Praying for strengthening of Janet’s right leg and confidence to keep working hard.

Janet, A Success Story. April 30. #TSJ

When I checked in with Janet at lunchtime today she was sounding quite cheery and energetic. Her morning had been good and included a long walk, Janet said to the gym, Jess corrected it was to the living room. The fact that Janet was excited about it is great and she continued to act positively when I got to Connect to take her to SheLife.

I arrived early thinking we’d go bathing suit shopping but an old pair of shorts and one top still barely fits Janet and will do for tomorrow so the shopping can wait for some rainy day. Tez wants Janet to wear her AFO in the pool with some water shoes on her feet and I forgot to take them to Connect so we went home to see if any fit and decided to stay for our first outside dinner of the year.

Al fresco dining in April. #whywelivehere

Al fresco dining in April. #whywelivehere


The water shoes will do for tomorrow. I mentioned Janet was in a pretty positive mood and one example was her eagerness to walk from her room to the car. It was if she expected to do that and never even mentioned her wheelchair. It was fun walking out in the sun with her and we did it again at church as Janet walked from the car to her table at SheLife, a distance I later stepped out as 215 feet. By far her longest yet and it included going up two ramps, one about 30 feet long. Her steps were strong and deliberate most of the time with a little more wobbliness than I’d like but that will change. The fact she had the energy to go that far is impressive.

With a big smile on her face Janet excitedly told me how she “actually contributed tonight”. She managed to talk about patience and how she could be really angry or sad about what’s happened to her but she’s not. It was a fun car ride back to Connect as Janet talked about the positive things in her life.

My time with Janet today was very refreshing and uplifting and a great antidote to what had happened earlier. My cousin and second cousin both work at the mill in Nanaimo where the shooting took place this morning and there were some anxious moments in waiting to hear if they were OK. They are but were shaken by what took place. We also received word that our friend Wendy in Nanaimo is in ICU after a botched procedure to remove kidney stones. Janet’s table prayed for her tonight and I ask you to do the same.

Janet, A Success Story. April 29. #TSJ

Another busy walking day for Janet with lots of time to warm up for it though. Jess took her and Angie to a nursery to buy some plants and herbs for the patio at Connect. Janet says it wasn’t fun but I’m sure it was better than being in the gym and it was sunny outside.

Tez had agreed to meet with Janet and I late this afternoon and Janet called me to confirm that appointment. I asked her to be rested up for that and when I got to her room she actually was asleep. Our meeting with Tez was quite helpful and insightful and hopefully gave Janet some confidence to keep working at this walking thing. She demonstrated walking with the cane, using me as the cane with me leading her and walking beside her. There was also a reluctant attempt at free walking so Tez could see first hand Janet’s entire repertoire. He was impressed and lamented that the sling at the parallel bars would be the best tool for Janet to use right now but she “hates” it and I don’t think we’ll get her in it but will try. In the meantime, Janet has agreed, quite readily, to meet Tez at the pool Thursday morning to do some walking in the warm water of the kiddie pool. A big part of Janet’s challenge is fear/confidence and Tez feels that a few falls with no risk of injury could help. Should be fun.

The few times Janet has used the Tilt Table she’s complained quite vociferously that it hurts and she’s not going on it again. I suggested she ask Tez if she needs to be doing it during today’s meeting and she did. Fortunately Tez had time to respond with “lets see you in it and we’ll go from there”. Janet walked to the Den with me leading and stepped onto the table reasonably well and Tez tried a few different positions to maximize the benefit for Janet. The end result is, yes, she needs to be doing it but now in a different manner than previous. Janet will be at ninety degrees with a safety strap at chest height and no support at her legs at all. In addition to no leg support she is to do some foot raises and side stepping while standing and stay in the thing for as long as possible. Tez wants to tire her right out with everything she does now, including walking. What was going to be a short let’s see what you look like session turned into a twenty minute workout for Janet and a good learning session for me and Jess. Janet rather smugly ended the session herself by undoing the velcro strap and stepping forward right to the edge of the table before grabbing me for her step down to the floor. She then impressed us all with a nice unassisted step to and turn to sit on the couch.

A tired Janet walked out to the lobby with me leading, got in her wheelchair and went to the gym for a Shuttle workout. I agreed to shorten the session based on all the walking and standing she’d just done and focussed on the right leg. Janet did well and never complained. After a toilet break we walked down to the dining area for dinner. Janet did complain a little along the way but persevered. With the sun still shining after dinner, Janet took a well deserved break in it’s warmth.

Ahhh

Ahhh


Games Night always produces a pouting session with tonight’s being much less than previous and Janet did very well with a lot of the questions given to her. She still came away saying “it’s stupid” but she’ll be back next week “just to watch”.

I meant to have Janet walk down to get her meds but she preempted me and arrived in her wheelchair struggling to find that word, meds, in her head. There has been an increase in her inability to find key words when speaking and it may have something to do with a high level of Dilantin in her system. Jess took her for a blood test this morning and Janet’s levels are very near the top of the therapeutic range for the second week in a row. I asked her doctor to seek the opinion of Janet’s neurologist, Dr. Adams and she agreed. No change in dosage until we hear from him.

While Curtis was getting Janet’s meds I had her get ready to walk back to her room and left her standing at the door to the med room while I parked her wheelchair. On her own, loosely hanging onto some shelving, Janet walked six feet into the room to get her meds from Curtis who was as surprised as me. Maybe she’s gaining confidence? Holding my hand to turn around to come back out of the room she forgot to step once and came very close to falling. A good lesson learned I hope. The walk to her room was very good considering how tired she was. Not tired enough to miss out on some Easter chocolate, some reading then ready for bed. It all caught up to her once she was tucked in and she was sleeping minutes later.

Praying for a night of healing sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. April 10. #TSJ

I’m not sure how to start this post as Janet and I along with a few other Connect folks saw the movie Noah tonight and I’m still rather consumed by it. I didn’t meet up with Janet today until she and the others got to the movie theatre but I did call her at lunch time and she was quite excited to be outside at Beasley Park having a picnic with a bunch of Connect people. She also was excited to tell me she had done some walking from the breakfast table to somewhere she couldn’t name, I’m thinking the Den but it may have been further. Point is, she was excited to have done it.

Janet expressed all emotions except laughter during Noah and overall thought it was a good movie with a lot of parts she didn’t understand. I would concur and Janet and I had a good talk about it in the car and right up until bedtime and would love to hear from any of you as to what you thought of it. It was exciting to be able to take Janet to a movie and for her to sit through a long one like that. Her sitting was made more comfortable in that she was able to sit in a theatre seat after a difficult transfer that included negotiating a three inch step down to get to her seat. Popcorn and pop helped too of course.

Praying for a restful night of sleep tonight and for an energetic Janet tomorrow and also for Heather to arrive safely and on time.