marriage

Janet, A Success Story. November 11. #TSJ

Janet admitted to being grumpy at Connect again this morning. Apparently Jess had her doing something in the gym that Janet didn’t like so she wasn’t making much of an effort. Jess ended the session and Janet went to her room. She took advantage of the free time though to call her dad. They haven’t talked for quite a while so it was nice Janet took the initiative to do that. She said the conversation went well and she’ll try and call more often.

“Napping” when I got to her room, Janet gave me the run down of her day in a somewhat muddled manner. At the end of it one thing was clear, she hadn’t ridden the bike, so off we went. It was fun to watch Janet ride again and with the music playing she set a personal best for distance at a harder level than she normally rides at. She even said, “I’m getting better aren’t I”. Yes Janet you are. Her walking was good this evening as well, I did a little pulling with her and found her able to go at a good pace with very little pulling from me. More proof of improvement and Janet acknowledged that too. Another positive on the physical side came to light later on when Janet informed me that she was successful in picking something up off the floor with Jess this morning. She wasn’t sure what she picked up or how she did it when she couldn’t yesterday but was happy with the win.

Rude Janet made a brief appearance at dinner today and may have shown whats getting her into trouble during the day. Karl and Curtis worked hard making some pretty good fish and chips from scratch and Janet, before even trying it, loudly complained that it was “terrible” and “yucky”. I could see the disappointment on Curtis’s face and was a little embarrassed myself. Janet showed no remorse until long after when we were able to talk on our own. She eventually tried a couple bites then ate my dinner and I ate hers. Later on she promised to try really hard not to get into trouble tomorrow including being careful when and how she says things to people. There is a silver lining to this in that Janet used to just sit passively and take whatever came her way. Now she’s asserting herself more which is great, she just needs to watch the timing and the wording.

Games night was alright tonight but Janet is glad she only has a couple more to go to. We spent some time figuring out who to vote for in the municipal election and Janet agreed with me all the way, as she should. Kidding.

Praying for Janet to have a good night of rest and a positive, confident and cooperative Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. November 10. #TSJ

After what I believe was a good morning in the gym, grumpy Janet showed up at lunchtime today. On the menu was a pasta salad that Janet wouldn’t stop complaining about, its made with mayo you know, so much so that she got sent to her room. That’s where I found her later in the afternoon ready to get up from a restless nap. She was sticking to her story that it was the staff that was grumpy, not her, but with new staff on for the evening Janet was happy to go help with dinner prep especially since she could eat an apple while doing so.

Whatever had happened during the day was not evidenced this evening at all. We did some moving home planning, happily of course, Janet was a lively conversant at dinner and she agreed to go for a freestyle walk with me. That one surprised me, she even went up and down the stairs. There were minimal attempts at grabbing onto walls and furniture and the stretch down the hall to the living room was some of her fastest walking yet. Another surprise came when Janet accepted Chelsea’s invitation to practice picking something up from the floor. Janet can do this but is quite scared still so needs a lot of coaching. She wasn’t successful this time but Chelsea and others will keep working with her. Part of the plan is to watch Legally Blonde where there is apparently a scene that demonstrates how a lady is supposed to pick something up. Whatever works.

Praying for Janet to have a good night of sleep and to enjoy a positive Tuesday.

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 5. #TSJ Goaal! #4

Finally, there was a chance for Mary Lou to watch the video of Janet reading The Hallo-Wiener to the kids at Stepping Stones Preschool. She approved of Janet’s effort and officially credited her with achieving that goal!

Here is a video clip of Janet reading. I wasn’t able to upload the entire eleven minute story but this will give you an idea of how Janet did. The beginning was very strong then she struggled for the last two thirds of the book, keeping a smile on her face most of the way through and managing to keep the kids attention. Well done!

That was the biggest excitement of the day. Janet enjoyed SheLife tonight and was happy to be home this afternoon where she did a great job operating the cooktop and stirring our stir fry for dinner. Janet did have a little scare first thing this morning as she fell coming out of the bathroom. According to her, “I just lost it”, and there are no marks or real pain resulting from it. She is complaining of a sore back when she steps up or down a step though so we will monitor that. Janet told me she didn’t call for help or try and get up, she just lay there waiting. Garrett suggested that for the rest of Janet’s time at Connect they teach her how to recover from a fall and or call for help. Great idea.

The staff have been working on Janet picking things up from the floor and that paid off tonight. Janet tosses her PJs from the armoire to her bed each night and tonight she missed. That meant doing a serious squat to pick them up and she did! Janet was nervous of course and unsure of the technique so it took a little prompting from me for her to get down low enough. She was quite happy afterwards and should be.

Praying for the soreness in Janet’s back to stop after a good night of sleep and for a successful video shoot of her baptism testimonial tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. November 4. #TSJ

Janet settled into her one full day at Connect just fine, working in the gym with Curtis and Tez this morning. She did a six minute walking test and was unhappy with her result. I don’t know the official result but Janet told me 90 something, which means little or no improvement over the last time. She recognized she hasn’t been working at it and said she does want to walk faster. Maybe this will spur her on a little, I doubt it though, at least not until she’s settled in at home. Tez had Janet walk up and down the stairs and Janet was very happy he didn’t get her to put her right foot first when going down them. It is the proper technique to use the weakest first in a downhill situation but Janet truly can’t do that yet so has to go with whatever works.

Overall Janet was OK with her workout and after a nap joined me in opening some snail mail and chatting with Jess and Chelsea. Games night was cancelled tonight due to a staffing switch. Janet was pleased with that and was more than happy to work on her SheLife workbook and watch some YouTube. We had some emotional conversation about two young ladies with inoperable brain tumours and the different approaches they are taking (took) to their diagnosis. The stories of Lauren Hill and Brittany Maynard brought a lot of questions to Janet’s mind and I think it was good to watch them and allow those questions to come out. I could feel Janet forcing her thoughts away after a while but I think the time we spent on that may have helped her realize her position a little better. I made sure we ended the YouTube session with lots of laughs courtesy of the Whose Line Is It Anyway gang.

Praying for a solid night of sleep for Janet and a positive and energetic Wednesday.

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 30. #TSJ

I mentioned a while ago that I would stop posting blog updates on days when Janet was home and even though she’s been starting her weekends on Thursdays for quite a bit, I kept on blogging. Well, this is the last one of those and once Janet is home full time the daily updates will cease. Every once in a while there is something cool worth sharing but it certainly isn’t every day any longer.

Janet had a good stretching session in the gym with Curtis this morning then I picked her up for the weekend and we hung out at home with my mom who baked up a storm and made the place smell real nice. After Janet’s nap she helped make dinner again and amongst other things is showing an increased ability to stand for long periods. She moved around the house well without her cane and enjoyed just chilling in her comfy home.

We have a busy weekend full of figure skating ahead of us as we attend the Skate Canada International competition. Janet will not have a chance for a nap all weekend so a sleep in is planned for tomorrow. Since my mom is here I’ve told Janet she can stay home until Monday evening and she is very excited about that.

Praying that Janet sleeps well each night this weekend and has the energy to keep up with all we have planned.

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.

Janet, A Success Story. October 27. #TSJ

The goal today for everyone was to take some pressure to perform off of Janet and let her do her thing. It seems to have worked. Jess reported that the day was good in that Janet participated well in her therapies. When Janet called me she seemed satisfied with her day so far but unsure of how things would play out the rest of the day. She wanted me to hurry up and get there but I needed time today to step back a little and prepare myself for a new approach.

Janet was up from her nap when I arrived and met briefly with the new Communications Assistant for Connect who is doing a story on Janet’s visit to Okanagan College for a newsletter. Once a star always a star I guess. I didn’t “push” Janet for anything at all this evening. We chatted and responded to emails before dinner. Janet interacted really well at the dinner table and then amazingly agreed to walk the stairs with Chelsea afterwards. Her neighbour Debra is struggling with her Speech Therapy and Janet really wants to help her so we talked about that with Chelsea and I think Janet will approach Debra tomorrow to see if she’s willing to work with her. Janet is quite aware of her previous struggles and wants to give back. We showed Chelsea some of the Speech apps that Janet used to use and even played a few of them. Janet found it amusing that she was unable to correctly do a lot of them only a year ago. The evening was rounded out watching the fourth quarter of an entertaining football game with Wes, Brad and a new volunteer, Hannah who remembered me from being at a friends house a couple weeks ago, went to UBCO with a friend of ours and probably played basketball against Laurel years ago. She will be helping in Janet’s house Monday evenings for a while and seems like a great addition.

Janet walked using her cane all evening and I allowed that in hopes she feels more in charge of herself. Chelsea and I did encourage her to take longer strides if she’s going to use the cane and that was the extent of any nagging. Since was on think for yourself mode, it was pleasing when she remembered her meds all on her own.

As I was saying goodnight to Janet tonight she was very happy about how her day had been, especially the evening with me. She was relieved that I didn’t make her “do all sorts of things” and she promised to keep trying to get better. That clearly can only happen on her terms and my new role may have become clearer tonight. I believe Cam called it “husband”.

Praying for another good night of sleep for Janet and the confidence to have a productive Tuesday.