Music Therapy

Janet, A Success Story. November 18. #TSJ

Homeward Bound!

This morning, Janet successfully picked up Garrett’s phone from the floor thereby earning herself an early exit from Connect. Tomorrow Janet is moving home!

Needless to say she is very excited, as am I, and most of our time together today was spent getting ready for her departure. Brian stopped by right after nap time and Janet attempted to show him her picking up technique but wasn’t quite able to get it so she will make another attempt in the morning at making it official. The result won’t affect her coming home as that’s already been awarded to her so there’s no pressure.

While we were packing we had a surprise visit from our friend John. He finally got into the care facility he was hoping for just down the road from Connect and seems really happy about it. His move plays into Janet’s plan to help Debra with her Speech quite well as now we can come out and visit John at the same time. Janet asked Debra this morning if she’d like to do a little singing with her and she though that was a great idea. I don’t think Janet will want to start going back to Connect for that too soon but she is quite excited about helping Debra out.

Earlier in the day Tez had Janet do two six minute walking tests. The first one was using her cane and Janet went 95 meters. The second was freestyle and Janet made it 101 meters that time. She is very pleased to have made it over a hundred and that is a nice result to take to H2O for the next phase of her physio therapy.

Packing her stuff and removing decorations from Janet’s room was a bigger project than anticipated but she was very happy to help and excitedly told Heather on the phone that everything was off the walls. She did a great job separating things and even managed to donate a couple of items instead of throwing them out.

We studied a little of Janet’s SheLife materiel before Games Night where Janet engaged more than usual knowing this was her last one. When I mentioned that it will be hard for me to say goodbye to the staff Janet instructed me to “just go, bye bye” waving your hand as you say it. I know she appreciates them all and will say proper thank you’s soon but all Janet can see right now is getting out of there. As I said goodnight tonight she was like a little kid on Christmas Eve, super excited that it was her last sleep there, so much so, I’m not sure if she’ll actually sleep.

Tomorrow is the day we’ve long been working for and Janet deserves it to be happening now. I pray that she rests well tonight and enjoys her last visit to the Connect gym in the morning and that her homecoming is as special as she believes it will be.

Janet, A Success Story. September 16. #TSJ

Rumour has it that Janet cooperated with Tez and Jess this morning and when she actually did what they asked she did it well. The exercise Tez is working Janet on is a step routine up and down on a four inch block. That’s less than any steps at home and Janet is easily capable of doing it, she still lacks the confidence to really attack it. I did manage to get her to walk down both flights of stairs this afternoon and she did really well with them even saying at the end that it felt good to have done it.

There was lots of walking the balance of the day for Janet and she probably put on more than a kilometre by the time she was done. All the trips were purposeful as opposed to exercise oriented and she walked beside me holding my hand most of the time. I can’t tell if she’s improved her pace much yet but she certainly hasn’t slowed down.

Janet went into Games Night convinced she wasn’t going to say much then ended up participating nicely. Same old story. Each week the group is charged with remembering “the word of the week”. Last week’s word was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Of course that was easy to remember and the whole group sang the song repeatedly to prove it. This week the word is a favourite of Janet’s, sunshine. Naturally everyone started singing You Are My Sunshine. Yikes.

Once again Janet didn’t really nap and paid for that as the evening wore on and come reading time she was asleep. Praying for a solid night of sleep and a happy Janet on Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 23. #TSJ

You all know about Janet and little kids, well apparently she has the same effect on little animals. Everyone in the house went to Kangaroo Creek Farm this morning and Janet quickly made a friend.

Cute. The baby 'roo is too.

Cute. The baby ‘roo is too.


They all seemed to really enjoy the outing with Janet being just as excited about stopping for coffee afterwards as seeing the kangaroos. The biggest laugh apparently came when they were told this Emu’s name is Larry.
I can see the resemblance. Can you?

I can see the resemblance. Can you?


I got two phone calls from Janet today, one to tell me about the kangaroos and the other later on when she had completed her exercises. She used that opportunity to tell me I could come out to see her anytime. Janet has really been focused on my visits and her time at home lately which is one reason we are having a mini team meeting tomorrow. I want Janet to set some goals to be reached before coming home so she has clear targets instead of an arbitrary date to shoot for.

Curtis asked Janet to set the table for dinner tonight but she declined based on it was her turn to do the clean up after dinner. Fair enough, Curtis and I made sure she followed through with that and to her credit Janet did great. Her ability to stand and work at something has vastly improved in the last couple of months.

Right where she belongs.

Right where she belongs.


Her freestyle walking tonight was solid but I notice a little difference when I helped her to walk fast. I think she’s so used to reaching for a wall or something that her upper body is now angled towards that support instead of where she’s headed. Minor but worth correcting.

Today was a bright day for Janet, she was talkative and “on” the whole time I was with her and she even did some singing as her and Angie attempted the Oscar Mayer Wiener Song. They got some laughs at least.

Praying for a dry night of sleep for Janet and a productive Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. June 15. #TSJ Singing in the Sun Video

Today was very relaxing for Janet and I as we continue to prepare for Ottawa. There was no problem waking up at 9am Eastern Time although it was a little weird to actually be up before others in the neighbourhood. I let Janet use her wheelchair a lot this morning so she could get around and help with things easier and also so I could get my bike ride in. She happily listened to a Stuart McLean story while I was gone and gave me a good recap of it when I got back.

In trying to stay on Eastern Time, dinner was real early for us tonight but one big benefit was our patio table was still soaked in sunshine when we were ready to eat and that made the meal even more enjoyable. The fun continued after as we relaxed in the sun. I can’t describe how positive that is for Janet, she literally soaks up the warmth and is fuelled by it. I sneak shot this video as she sang along to The Swon Brothers version of Danny’s Song. It may not mean much to all of you but if you watch closely, especially at the end where Janet closes her eyes and drinks in the sun, you may get a sense of why I love her so much.

Feeling totally blessed.

Janet, A Success Story. June 2. #TSJ

Janet was back to “work” in a hurry today. She had all of her physical therapies completed by lunchtime and seemed OK with it all. Usually when that happens I’ll hear some complaint about how “terrible” or “hard” it all was but when I called her today she was all giggly sitting out in the sunshine after lunch.

It was obvious to me when I got out to Connect that Janet had worked hard her first part of the day as she never woke when I went into her room and stayed sleeping for another twenty minutes. Still no complaining when she woke up and with a hint of eagerness she walked down to the dining area to set the table. The complaining started soon after. I’ve been having Janet do as much without her wheelchair as possible and there is a lot of walking involved in setting a table. As she got tired, the whining started, but she persevered and was rewarded with a bit of Happy Hour in the sun that included a Skype chat with Heather. The conversation went well considering all Janet wants to talk about is the wedding.

We hung out in Janet’s room most of the rest of the night with Janet practicing reading, writing an email and listening to some music. Heather had shared the song she will be walking down the aisle to and Janet asked if I remembered what songs we used at our wedding. I was confident I knew the walk in song, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, but not the first dance one, Only Know I Do. Thankfully Laurel was on the ball and gave us that one. Janet still likes them both and sang along knowing a lot of the words.

The walking Janet did tonight was of mixed quality with the really good stuff happening at the end, which is a relief as some of her earlier stuff was not pretty. I think maybe she was a little tired from the morning and took a while to warm up. Wearing her sandals, I can see her toes and am a little concerned how the right ones curl up when she’s walking. Janet can’t move them herself much so we may need to find a way of keeping them stretched out if Tez thinks its a problem.

Janet’s speech and memory were outstanding tonight and she gave me probably her best summary of her day ever, nailing everything up to and including dinner. Interesting how the most recent stuff she couldn’t come up with. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a bright Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 23. #TSJ

Garrett knew Janet wanted to leave for home as soon as possible today so he had her working hard in the gym all morning long and even into the afternoon. Janet was really happy to get everything done and was in a great mood while finishing off the Standing Frame as I got to Connect. Its great to have the kind of help Garrett provides as he always seems to keep Janet talking while exercising which distracts her from the drudgery of some of the things she needs to do.

We made our escape and got home so Janet could nap before our Small Group meeting tonight. After helping make dinner she had a quick chat with Heather about some wedding thats coming up soon. The excitement is building.

Our Small Group was very small tonight with only one other couple showing up but we had a good conversation and Janet likes how honest and real they are. We had both been waiting all week to watch the finale of The Voice and Janet insisted we stay up and do so tonight, hence the lateness of this post. Janet really enjoyed and sang along to a lot of the last performance show but was too tired to really enjoy any of the results show so we pretty much skipped right to the results and were in agreement on the winner. No Blizzards owed by anyone this time but So You Think You Can Dance starts soon and the bet will be on.

There was a lot of sitting going on tonight but Janet did get in a few freestyle walking trips and did very well. She even transferred herself from wheelchair to sitting on the bed twice all by herself which I think is pretty big as that involves a lot of turning and backing up. Her confidence continues to grow and I can see her walking around the house soon without me hovering near, maybe Sunday?

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a positive attitude for tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 9. #TSJ

Going home day for Janet today and she didn’t get to go as early as she had hoped. I had lots to do before I could go and get her so while she waited she did lots of walking with Nicole, a student on practicum at Connect. Janet complained of that sore right foot when I called her at lunch but never mentioned it at home tonight. That foot does seem a little swollen on the arch to me so we may be headed for the doctor for this one. On our way home we stopped at the show repair place as they requested Janet’s foot to make sure the strap they put on her clog fits. I used the opportunity to have Janet walk from the car into the store and back as we were able to park right outside. She did well on the way in, stepping up a three inch curb very nicely. The way back she chose not to follow my directions and went a little sideways stepping off that curb. No risk of falling but not very graceful.

We hosted two couples at our house this evening who are interested in joining a Small Group we have been wanting to start for a while. They all seem nice and the conversation was good although Janet seemed a little disconnected after the first twenty minutes or so. She had all positives to say after our guests left though and we are looking forward to meeting with them every other Friday to study Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick.

It was late when the company left but we stayed up to catch up on The Voice and I’m happy to report that Janet’s new pick is on to the semi finals. We haven’t done so well this season but Janet is really enjoying the show.

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a fun day tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 4. #TSJ

Sleep in Sunday felt pretty good and because of the late start Janet was able to power through the day without a nap.

The weekly Skype chat with Mary/Gaga happened during breakfast and I thought Janet participated well. It was soon after that we decided to go for a little walk around the neighbourhood and good thing we did it then as the weather deteriorated rapidly after that. It’s not really summer yet.

During our walk I had Janet test drive her new clogs and quickly realized the left one was just a little too loose so we jumped in the car and went back to Hollywood Shoes in search of a solution. The owner came up with a good one and I will be taking Janet’s shoe to a guy that will install a velcro strap on the back to hold her foot in better. Should work. Since we had the owner’s attention we broached the desire for an “everyday at Connect” shoe for Janet and moments later walked out with another pair of shoes for Imelda, I mean Janet. Except for some sandals she’s all set.

Lunch was taken during the time Janet would normally be napping and was followed by some really good walking practice. I even got a few free steps out of her. The reward for the workout was to sit on the couch for a bit and watch TV. We thankfully stumbled across a TED talk given by Gabby Giffords and her husband in Vancouver this March. Very inspiring and Janet noted the similarities between her and Gabby. Check it here if you like.

The topic of Janet’s dad came up and she surprised me in agreeing to call him. He sounded good and the conversation was reasonable and I think it brighten the day for them both. Keeping with the family theme and in need of a laugh Janet placed a FaceTime call to her brother Mike which was full of smiles and included cameos from members of the family that happened to be home. Janet felt good about reaching out in that way and actually mentioned she was happy we have the technology to do so. We used that technology to track down a college friend of Janet’s whom she hasn’t seen in thirty plus years. Janet is excited to reconnect with Helen, and it’ll be interesting to see how the “reunion” plays out. I was impressed to read that Helen was aware of Janet’s situation and can’t wait to find out how she knew.

Janet was a good help in making dinner with me tonight and thanks in part to good music in the background the preparation for and drive back to Connect were pleasant despite my unwillingness to have her leave. Janet excitedly showed off her new shoes and talked about the wine club to Chelsea upon our arrival, while walking to her room. She then stood at her dresser and put some laundry away. This required her to free stand and bend to reach the lower drawers and she did it well.

Bedtime reading produced some giggles and insightful comments from Janet and I was able to say goodnight satisfied she was settled in and ready for a productive week ahead. I’m thankful for the long weekend we had together and praying for lots of rest tonight and lots of energy tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 3. #TSJ

Today we eliminated one stressful item off of my to do list. Janet found shoes for the wedding! AFO lady had suggested a store called Hollywood Shoes and that was our first task of the day. Half an hour later we left the store with wedding shoes and a pair of clogs for outings away from Connect. Happy happy.

Since we were in the area we stopped by to see John who is still at the care home he doesn’t want to be in. It is a pretty sad place and John has yet to recapture his positive personality although he tries hard to put on a brave face. He was pleased to see us and Janet felt good about visiting him.

I eased Janet back into some walking practice today and I didn’t notice any real set back after the day off. The big test came at church this evening where she propelled in wearing her new clogs then walked down the aisle to her seat. She did well saying the left show feels a little loose. It was better on the way up the aisle after church and Janet thinks it’ll be fine but I will test her more tomorrow. Janet took a few steps on her own without even thinking about it and did a nice turn to her spot at the table without assistance. If she would just believe in herself she could do so much more.

We got some great news about our friend Wendy in Nanaimo this evening, she is off the respirator, conscious and “out of the woods”. Still in ICU but things look positive. Thanks to those who prayed for her.

Janet and I closed our day catching up on American Idol with Janet offering some good critiques and correctly naming who’d be sent home. Her favourite, surprisingly is Caleb.

Praying that Janet sleeps well and is bright and energetic for tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 2. #TSJ

This was a bonus day for Janet in many ways. Home a day earlier than usual, no gym to go to and a beautiful summer type day outside. It was my intention to make sure Janet got time in the sun today and she did. Breakfast and lunch were outside as was most of the afternoon. I did have her working this morning though more mentally than physically. She made her own breakfast, made the bed, put away laundry and dusted in the living room, all while I went grocery shopping. High five!

Janet did her chores from her wheelchair with her iPhone playing music for her and she was singing along when I got home. She was pleased at being able to be helpful and combined with her hard work at Connect yesterday she deserved a day off. We sat outside for a long lunch before Janet had a nap so she’d have energy for our Wine Club gathering tonight.

We had been in summer mode most of the day so were a little behind when people started arriving for the evening but since Janet is able to help all was well. It was our largest crowd yet and Janet enjoyed the conversations and wine but cautioned that five wines was a bit too much for her. She did stay more focussed than the previous two times and responded well when I invited her comments on the wines we were tasting.

To wind down the evening Janet enjoyed some ice cream and a little TV and is looking forward to maybe some shoe shopping and visiting John tomorrow, things she needed no prompting to remember were on our schedule.

Praying for a productive Saturday.