Recovery

Janet, A Success Story. November 13. #TSJ Goaal! #5

I know I said I wasn’t posting on Thursdays anymore but this one is special. Janet has officially achieved her laundry goal! Brian watched the video of Janet that was recorded Wednesday and enthusiastically credited her with goal number five. Janet is very happy and realizes she is one small step from being home full time. Here is the video, not the most exciting one I’ve ever posted but I hope you can appreciate the multiple tasks Janet had to string together to accomplish what most of us consider a pretty mundane chore. Happy!

We had our last team meeting at Connect this afternoon with the theme being move out planning. Janet is clear to go on the 28th or sooner and with the exception of a few minor details to cover off, its now a waiting game. The team is in agreement that Janet is not waiting very patiently and has been somewhat uncooperative a couple of days this week. With her out of the room I asked if there was a way that without rewarding bad behaviour Janet could come home sooner. It was always our intention that Janet finish strong at Connect by achieving goals before coming home. She’s done that except for the walking one which will have to be excused as her progress is too slow. In that light it was agreed that if Janet is willing to try hard at learning to pick up things from the floor and get to where she can do that consistently and without assistance, she can come home. Janet accepted the challenge and we will practice this weekend knowing she can do it and just needs to build the confidence to do it consistently. Brian will give her one more six minute walking test Tuesday so we have an up to date result for the next phase of physio. If all goes well, Janet could be home full time after SheLife on Wednesday!

Praying for Janet to sleep well tonight and enjoy a productive and fun Friday.

PS: Janet’s baptism is Saturday at 5:30 Trinity Church. She would love it if you could be there.

Janet, A Success Story. November 12. #TSJ

No trouble for Janet today! Her morning went well, she never complained about anything and even ate some leftover fish for lunch. It was “yucky” of course but she kept that to herself. Gym time was good as was a brief session with Mary Lou.

I half expected Janet to be ready and waiting for me when I went to pick her up. Waiting she was but laying in bed no where near ready. I assured her she could nap at home and helped her get up. We stopped to vote on the way and were pleased the polling station was busy. It didn’t take too long and Janet was glad she participated. We use the type of ballot where you fill in a box beside the candidates name instead of writing an X and I helped Janet with that so she didn’t spoil her ballot. She was happy to read the names of who she was voting for from the list we made so didn’t feel left out.

Before nap time Janet agreed to try and pass the laundry test. I think she made it but we’ll let Brian rule on it tomorrow. Her nap went a little long so she wasn’t able to help too much with dinner as we had to get out the door for SheLife. Once in the church I let Janet make her own way to her table. Standing back and watching her I was really impressed by how independent she’s becoming. Her walk through the room was confident and as people said hi to her along the way I could see her genuinely smile and greet them back. It wasn’t long ago I’d have to prompt her to acknowledge someone. Janet even excused herself from the table to take a bathroom break all on her own again tonight. Nice! I waited a short distance away at the end and watched Janet not be in any hurry to leave. She chatted with people and was quite smiley. I didn’t offer any assistance in getting out of the building and Janet walked slow but steady, even choosing steps instead of the ramp to get down one part. That’s a first!

Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and is willing to fully participate in whatever she’s asked to do tomorrow.

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 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 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 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 21. #TSJ

Let’s start with the big news. Janet is coming home for good November 28th! It is becoming more and more obvious each day that Janet is losing her willingness to participate at Connect. She simply doesn’t want to be there anymore and is putting in the bare minimum of effort. After an earlier than usual phone call from Janet this morning, during which she sounded kinda down, I texted Brian and asked him if he thought that was a good date to bring her home. He concurred and Janet and I met with him and Tez this afternoon to make it official. They both had received reports from the staff that Janet was less cooperative lately and Tez says that her physical progress has slowed to the point where coming home a month “early” isn’t going to make much difference. He is confident that Janet will continue to improve, at a slow pace, and as long as we stay on top of the tone in her right hamstring she has a good chance of doing some decent walking. Janet is relieved to know there is now a firm date in place and will be counting down each day I’m sure. 37 as of Wednesday.

Nothing could overshadow that news of course but today was good for Janet in other ways too. She participated well at Games Night this evening and walked up and down the stairs in the process. I was able to convince her to do that knowing she’ll have to do similar at the preschool tomorrow. Chelsea invited Janet to read The Hallo-Wiener to her for practice and she started off great then had a really difficult time for the last half of the book. Hopefully that’s the bad read before the great one tomorrow. Janet’s dressing and undressing skills continue to improve and tonight I only had to help with her bra and lining up her PJ shorts so that she got her legs in the correct sides. The rest she did unassisted and quite quickly.

A lot is going to change over the next five weeks and I’m excited to get on with it. Janet is too and I pray she uses her remaining time at Connect to her fullest advantage.

Janet, A Success Story. October 19. #TSJ

Each weekend gets more and more comfortable at home for Janet and like she belongs here. She does and soon she will be.

Friday started off with a little haircut from Chelsea then some grocery shopping. Janet was quite chatty with Chelsea and walked from the front door of the salon to her chair all by herself. I stayed back the entire time and let Janet explain what she wanted then watched her talk more than at any previous appointment. Coincidently, Courtney was Chelsea’s next appointment so we got to say a quick hello to her as we left. Thankfully the stores weren’t too busy so Janet was able to help a fair bit with the shopping and doesn’t seem to mind it much as long as we don’t spent too much time in the cold sections. In the evening we hosted our Small Group meeting and welcomed a new person to the group so we are now six and Janet enjoyed the conversation a lot. She wasn’t as assertive as the first meeting but contributed nicely from time to time.

Saturday had Janet practicing her laundry skills. She’s getting pretty good at it and we shot some video of her today that we’ll try and show Brian this week. I can see ways he could pass her and ways not too. Hopefully Janet can check that goal off this week. We got word today that her reading to the pre-schoolers will happen on Wednesday instead of Friday. Janet is a little nervous about it now but I’m confident that when the time comes she’ll do great. I was planning on taking Janet with me to a little wine tasting event at a friends house Saturday night but access to the house was too challenging so we turned it into a Janet staying home alone experience. She was more than happy to hang out at home and I was only gone for an hour and a half while she watched a recorded episode of So You Think You Can Dance.

There was walking practice every day this weekend and Janet improved her time on the 200 meter walk each day, breaking the eight minute mark today. These walks are with me pulling her along so they don’t count towards anything Tez will grade her on. I don’t see any changes in her freestyle walking around the house though, in fact Janet might be clinging to furniture even more now.

Tonight saw the usual resistance to going back to Connect but it was eased by a small understanding that soon she’ll be done there. Praying for rest, confidence and strength.

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.