Music Therapy

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.

Janet, A Success Story. April 25. #TSJ

For some of you, yesterday’s post was delivered to your Spam folder and I don’t know why. I have in light of that made a slight change to the RSS feed for this blog. All emails will now be only a summary of the post, you must click on the title in order to view the entire update in your web browser. Making a change like this may have solved the problem from yesterday or maybe not but it should at least give me a more accurate picture of how many of you are reading this thing each day as when you only read in your email editor you don’t show up in the blog stats. I know, numbers shouldn’t matter, but they do, I’m human.

The first part of Janet’s day was “the same boring stuff” according to her and she was eager to come home. I encouraged her to nap before I picked her up and she was in bed when I got to Connect but nowhere near sleeping, so home we went. Along the way and for the first hour or so there I thought this would be a short night as she seemed to be fading. Dinner in the sunshine gave her a nice boost though and we had a fun night together.

In an effort to help Janet gain confidence in walking I intend on having her do more and that started tonight. Each trip to the bathroom and the couch was walked instead of wheeled and I find Janet’s technique and speed to be better when I am in front of her acting as the cane. Her steps are long and deliberate and she pushes down well with her right leg. Tez may have a different opinion but we haven’t seen him for a few weeks so I’m going with this until someone tells me different. Janet likes it compared to the cane saying “it feels more like me doing it”. I think she means her motions are more natural and it feels more like walking. We’ll try and get a little video tomorrow to show you.

Leading into The Voice we actually watched the end of a basketball game and quite enjoyed it. We haven’t done any of that all season and don’t expect to get right back into it but it was fun. The Voice was much more intense though as Janet’s pick was in danger of being eliminated in the first live show. Facing the prospect of owing me two Blizzards Janet was chanting his name as the results were about to be announced. He didn’t make it and Janet was quite upset at being bounced in the first round. Being the nice guy I am I allowed her to go double or nothing by picking someone from her top four so she could keep playing. If this is any indication of what the season is going to be like, wow.

Instead of begin all tired and asleep by nine thirty, Janet was full of energy after that intense session of The Voice so we read for a while in bed and had some laughs from Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Good way to wind down until almost eleven thirty.

Praying for a good night of rest and an energetic Saturday.

Janet, A Success Story. April 23. #TSJ

Remember those toileting issues Janet was having recently? They appear to be gone, at least for now. Janet had just rung her alarm when I walked into her room this afternoon. She had been in bed for an hour and a half, not sleeping she says, and needed to go to the bathroom. Often this requires some pretty fast action but today she said there was time to put her AFO and shoes on and I actually had her walk to the toilet. She held it all the way and walked back out when finished. High five!

After a little chat and opening a very nice card made by our neighbour Bonnie, we headed out for dinner and SheLife and arrived at the church with lots of time for a bathroom break and some walking. Janet did the same distance she’d done the first time walking into SheLife and did it considerably faster tonight. I’m still not happy with her tendency to walk a little sideways but she’s working on it. Janet enjoyed the session tonight and was happy she got to share Willie’s story with her table. Other than that, she said she didn’t say much but enjoyed listening to the discussion.

Back at Connect while Janet was taking her meds and enjoying some Easter chocolate we watched another TEDx talk from Dr. Grahn. This one was on the myth that listening to Mozart makes you or your baby smarter. There is one line in the talk that I thought really pertained to Janet, watch it and let me know what you think it is.

Praying that Janet realizes full and complete healing soon.

Janet, A Success Story. April 22. #TSJ #firstrealsteps

This is one of those days where I could just post a video and let it speak for itself but there is more to today than that. Janet continues to amaze.

The first part of her day seemed routine and she was giggly and doing fine when I called at lunchtime. She was awake in bed when I arrived a few hours later and was happy to open a package from her mom while I did some light maintenance on her wheelchair. In addition to some Easter treats, the package contained info on a lecture Mary Gaga and Keith had attended given by Dr. Jessica Grahn, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies music. Check out her talk at TEDx Waterloo, it’s fascinating and we’ll be checking into her studies more as we all know Janet has benefitted hugely from music during her recovery.

We spent our pre dinner time talking and learning and after a good dinner I challenged Janet to walk back to her room. Her acceptance was reluctant of course but for once there was no real complaining during the walk. She asked a few times to stop at the Den and complained once of feeling a little dizzy. I asked her to stop and stand tall and stretch a little then she was able to power on, reaching her bed in a record smashing thirty five minutes! Her technique has improved for sure, larger steps, much larger steps with her right leg, and managing to stay on a better angle. Janet was visibly pleased when it was over, both that it was over and that she had done it. Chelsea and Curtis stopped by and encouraged her a little and when Janet stood up for a reason I can’t remember, I felt prompted to ask her to step to me without hanging onto anything. Without hesitation she made three steps toward me in succession. Chelsea agreed to be camera operator and here’s what happened next.

So exciting!

Janet repeatedly said she was not going to Games Night but she did and she participated well and said it was OK afterwards. Willie stopped by to tell us he was able to share his story at his church this weekend. There seems to be a lot of that going on lately. Good stuff.

After Janet shared and ate more Easter chocolate it was reading time and we shared a lot of chuckles from Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Feeling very blessed for the gains Janet is making and praying for Janet to be a willing participant in everything she’s asked to do tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. April 17. #TSJ

On a high after her speech last night Janet had a good day today. Her morning consisted of a routine visit to the gym and some speech therapy work on her own. When I checked in at lunchtime she was waiting for lunch and not sure what she ought to do the rest of the day. I suggested walking or Shuttle which of course failed to excite her. When I got to Connect I noticed the large tilt table being used in the living room and went to sneak up on Big Country and say “hi shorty” but to my surprise, a real shorty was in it, Janet.

Not happy but standing tall.

Not happy but standing tall.


Tez figured she may as well try it in an effort to get more weight transferring through her right leg and it appeared to be working. Janet was in it for forty five minutes like the Standing Frame and after a little coaxing simply stepped off and sat in her wheelchair. Much easier than the other machine. She had walked from her room to the Den and gave her usual rating of “terrible” to that experience but I’m sure she did fine.

Even though we weren’t staying for dinner, Janet agreed to help Curtis prepare it as he was by himself and running a little behind schedule and Thursdays are Janet’s days to help. She did a great job chopping peppers and onions for a stir fry.

We made our escape after that and enjoyed a simple but tasty meal at home during which I read all the messages people sent in regards to her speech from last night. Janet is amazed and genuinely pleased that so many people liked it. She was definitely a more confident person today, even willing to try some red wine with dinner and liking it. Nice!

Happy

Happy


Her confidence and good mood lasted through the evening and Janet had a nice walk from the dining table to the couch before laughing and singing her way through The Voice. It’s awesome to have her home and I’m praying for a positive and productive weekend.