As part of the development of a homecoming plan for Janet, Interior Health is required to determine her eligibility for home care services. Part of that process is a series of minor tests that Janet was first given in hospital almost two years ago. Actually, she wasn’t really given them then as she was unable to respond in any coherent way the first time, which was July 2012, then in September 2012 she scored super low and wasn’t able to complete the test. Today was much different. Nurse Jill met us at Connect this morning and spent an hour chatting and conducting the tests. Janet did very well and I wasn’t at all surprised but for sure pleased. The next step will likely involve a lot of paperwork so I’ll wait for instructions from the ABI Coordinator before spending too much time on it.
Since I was spending the day at Connect I brought Janet her favourite wrap from Urban Fare and we enjoyed a lively lunch with a few other residents. Janet then walked from the kitchen to her bathroom, a little slower than previous but still pretty good and she made really good turns into her room and especially the bathroom as that one was better than ninety degrees but she nailed it. There was an attempt at a nap next but my best guess says Janet was out for maybe twenty minutes. I can’t fault her as it was quite noisy out in the hallway and the adjoining room for a large part of the time. When she got up she bravely walked to the bathroom and back to the bed. I’m trying to get her to walk every short distance opportunity now and also to try a few steps unassisted. Janet remains scared of that idea.
There are two groups that Connect works with to provide some outdoor adventure to residents and today Janet and I filled out registration forms for both. One will allow her to try sailing and the other does small hikes, bike rides and kayaking, all with special equipment that makes it possible for Janet to do. She of course is not excited about any of it but I’m hoping to convince her to try once the weather gets better.
Chelsea had everyone build their own pizzas for dinner tonight so Janet was right at home with that. She did say later that it wasn’t as good as we make at home but it was OK. The energy it gave her was certainly good as she set a personal best on the bike tonight. I think it’s now time to make the ride a little harder and I’ll have to do that without her knowing as she still says it’s hard. We decided to read a little early tonight so Janet could have her dessert in hopes she would sleep better. It may have worked as she was snoring at 9:20! Praying for a long night of healing sleep and a productive tomorrow.
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.
I was a little concerned as I arrived at Connect this afternoon and saw a tired looking Janet sitting in the Standing Frame. We had planned on leaving early for SheLife so we could run an errand and not be rushed through dinner. Turns out Janet was just getting out of the Standing Frame, not into it, and she had tried to nap but just couldn’t do it so off we went and my concern was all for not as Janet had an excellent evening.
The first part of her day was pretty routine from what I could gather as she had done all the requisite exercises and worked on Speech with Mary Lou. When I asked about walking, Janet was quick to say she had not done any yet but was going to at SheLife. I was pleasantly surprised she remembered that and that she still wanted to do it. We arrived at the church a half hour early so Janet could have a bathroom break before attempting to walk to her table for the evening’s session. She thought I was going to make her walk from the bathroom but that’s probably in the 150 foot range and even I am not that mean to have her try that yet. Janet happily suggested starting from a set of doors about 80 feet from her table. It was still early so no one was around as she started out which gave her time to really get going without the distraction of people watching. Twenty minutes later Janet sat down at her table to loud applause and cheering from the whole room and Janet was visibly happy with herself. Along the way, she took some really good steps, corrected her direction well with lots of coaching from me, and only once let people distract her from what she was doing. It was an excellent public walking debut and Janet is truly excited about having done it as she even reported it to Chelsea upon our return to Connect. I think I’m more excited about Janet feeling great about accomplishing such a thing than I am about the feat itself. Exciting times.
Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and has a productive Thursday.
I arrived at Connect this afternoon to a very tired looking Janet hanging out in the living room. She said she slept but it sure didn’t look like it. That didn’t stop her from making a nice salad and setting the dinner table at Chelsea’s request. You think she knew I was lining up some exercise for her?
At my suggestion earlier in the day Janet did some walking in addition to her regular gym stuff and after dinner tonight I was able to get her to walk farther than I anticipated. She made it from her room to the Den very nicely and didn’t complain once the whole way. Despite a lot of resistance we went to Games Night following the walk. Janet feared not knowing any of the answers to the “stupid” games played and said she would only go to watch. On the very first question, Janet piped up quickly with the correct answer and did so a number of times during the evening. According to her, even with that success, “it was not fun”.
The last few days have been great for Janet both physically and cognitively. Her walking, in my opinion is improving, her short term memory is getting better too and she almost always can tell me the day, date, month and year, a skill Dr. Miller was encouraging a few months ago and I think we can now say has been achieved. Janet had another blood test today checking her Dilantin levels and they came back fine. All these positives are helping to grow Janet’s confidence to the point where she says she’s going to try and walk the last part of the way to her table at SheLife tomorrow. Can’t wait.
Praying for a solid night of sleep and a positive Wednesday.
Janet went right back to work today at Connect with a morning walk from the dining area to her room. That’s the longest walk she’s been on, close to 80 feet, and she was, dare I say, excited about it when I called at lunch time. She repeated that distance this afternoon with me, going the other direction, and showing improvement in her balance and confidence. Very exciting.
That was for sure the highlight of the day but Janet was in a good mood and quite bright the whole time I was with her. She practiced some hand writing using a workbook Mary Lou gave her and is producing more consistent letters than before. After reading The Artisan Soul, which talks a lot about artistic freedom, it is hard for me to tell Janet to stay between the lines, but I think it’s best she does. Janet reluctantly agreed to a Standing Frame session after dinner. It had been a while since her last session partly because of the pain she was complaining of in her right leg. That seems to be diminishing as Jess was able to stretch Janet well this morning and I got no mentions of pain tonight. Fortunately the NCAA basketball championship was on while Janet was standing and that provided a nice distraction and a fun way for Janet to end a very hard working day.
Praying for lots of strength and a positive attitude for tomorrow.
Sunday started out well and ended really strong. Janet has bounced back from whatever was bothering her the last few days and by tonight was at her brightest ever it seemed.
I let her sleep in a little this morning then she got her water, meds and coffee all by herself while I showered. Usually I’m watching as she gets her breakfast but today I let her go on her own and she did fine. Our plan was to have pancakes and Janet helped me make the batter but the egg we used was from a carton that expired in February and we added too much milk so it was back to toast and peanut butter. Janet took part in the weekly Skype session with her mom and enjoyed that conversation.
The first walking attempt of the day was a good one and I continue to see improvement, especially in Janet’s ability to step with her right leg. The weather was nice enough to walk around and hangout outside for a little bit this afternoon and Janet helped me with some landscaping ideas before her nap. A half hour is better than nothing and Janet got up feeling pretty good and executed a really good walk from the bathroom to the dining table. She seems to be even gaining some speed although I’m not timing her yet.
Janet helped build a salad and we enjoyed a nice dinner with pretty amazing conversation lasting well into return to Connect time. After Janet’s surprise announcement yesterday that she wanted to share her story at SheLife I thought that would be it for amazing announcements for a while. Wrong. I helped Janet take some notes on what she wants to talk about and that lead to some very interesting comments and questions from Janet centred around what happened to her, why, how amazing it is that so many people have supported her along the way and how much she has improved. She’s finally accepting that truth and I was able to reinforce it today by showing her some old video of her 4B and Rehab days. Janet took it all in and really processed it well, asking very poignant questions without getting too emotional. A couple of hours later and Janet had a very clear picture of where she’s been and how she’s gotten to where she is today and I think it’ll stick with her now. She wants to meet Dr. Redekop and thank him for performing the surgery that gave her a chance and was intrigued by my stories of the incredible nurses at VGH ICU and would like to meet them too. I’m not sure if any of this is possible but we’ll try to make it happen. The hardest part of this journey for Janet to understand is why so many people stepped up and did so much to support her. She’s still lacking confidence but is immensely grateful to all of you for all you’ve done and I believe you’ll be hearing more about that from Janet herself soon.
Praying that Janet has a most excellent sleep and a productive Monday.
A much better day for Janet today in all areas. Only one toileting accident, some really good walking and good participation in the things we did today. I am somewhat relieved, especially in regards to the toileting thing and am still keeping an eye on her right leg. Janet didn’t complain of pain as much as yesterday and when I put her to bed tonight she said it felt fine. Cautious optimism.
Her walking was borderline exciting today as there were moments when she was pushing down nicely with the lower part of her right leg. A lot of the time she more or less drags it into position but a few times today there were strong and deliberate steps taken.
We managed a visit with John today finally. He has moved to a care home and is not too happy about it. This is a temporary stop while he waits for a room at the facility he’d like to be in. We pray that happens soon. Janet had a nice little chat with him at his dinner table and also with his table mate, a former pre school teacher from Ontario.
The highlight of the day in my opinion was when Janet “woke” from her afternoon nap, that was just a rest. She said that someone at SheLife said they would be having some of the ladies share their stories to the whole room and Janet “…would really like to tell my story”. She said a little of what she’d like to talk about and it was very sweet and insightful. I’ve prayed lots for her to be willing to share and am excited she may get an opportunity soon. The first step was to clarify what was said at SheLife so Janet emailed Heidi to find out. Who knows, maybe she’ll be writing this blog soon instead of me.
Praying that Janet has another great night of sleep so that she has energy and strength to keep on improving tomorrow.
Surprisingly, Janet was in bed when I got to Connect to take her to her eye doctor appointment just after lunch today. Her morning was busy but not overly so with a light workout in the gym that included stretching of her right leg. A good sign that the pain there may be subsiding. The rest of the time was routine except for a couple of toileting errors that Janet is upset about. She went pee a lot today which is unusual for her but isn’t to the abnormal range yet and there’s no indication of any other symptoms suggesting a problem anywhere. Hopefully tomorrow is drier. Despite falling asleep as soon as she hit the pillow last night, Janet feels like she woke up in the middle of the night and didn’t sleep well after that which is why she was trying to nap at 1pm today. There was no time for such nonsense then so up she got and off we went.
Our Optometrist gave Janet a very thorough exam and noted some improvement in Janet’s vision from a year ago. We agreed that most of the improvement is from Janet compensating for her right side impairment better and just being way more aware over all. Her eyes remain healthy with some physical improvement and the doctor noted Janet’s vastly improved reading skills. To help with that some more Janet is getting a pair of reading glasses so she hopefully won’t get frustrated as fast as she does now.
Janet was deserving of a nap when we got home and took advantage of the opportunity for two hours. We had planned on a date night tonight but I sensed that Janet wasn’t in top form and after some discussion we agreed to get some take out and stay home. She was worried about having to go to the bathroom a lot and her energy level could have been a lot higher. We both really enjoyed our meal from Hector’s Casa, our neighbourhood Mexican restaurant, and along with watching The Voice it made for an enjoyable evening. Janet got the place to herself for an hour as I had to run out to Connect to get her new meds that arrived late in the afternoon and she handled that just fine. At the end of the night Janet agreed to walk from the couch to the bathroom but got a few steps in then had to pee so that ended that. Tomorrow will be different.
Praying for Janet to regain control of her toileting, for the pain to leave her right leg and for her to be able to do lots of walking this weekend.
Today was a bit of a roller coaster for Janet, starting with a down hill bit as Jess took her to the lab for another test of her Dilantin levels. They are still low so her doctor has ordered an increase back to the dosage she was on before. There is no obvious reason for the fluctuation and hopefully we can get it stabilized soon so Janet doesn’t have to get stabbed so often. Still going downhill as far as Janet is concerned, she went to the gym for a bike ride. The upper part of her right leg has been sore for a couple days according to Janet so the workouts have been light. She equates it with the stretching session she had earlier in the week and she may be right. If not, it might be off to the doctor, Janet’s favourite thing to do.
I think lunch started a bit of an uphill ride for Janet as she seems to be enjoying everyone’s company around the table and does like the new lady, Angie. When I spoke to Janet on the phone I got a little feeling I was interrupting something she was enjoying and she’d rather be doing that. First time for everything I guess.
The downhill part started again when I arrived and Janet was ringing her pendant to get up from a nap she never had. She was in good spirits and very chatty but you could tell she hadn’t slept and needed to. It wasn’t going to happen though so up she got and I had her walk to the bathroom and back. No real change there although she is using her right leg less now because of the soreness. To avoid more walking Janet asked to help Angie get dinner ready and she eagerly made a salad for everyone. This was the first dinner in a long time where the table was full and Janet enjoyed the banter. Things were looking up.
Facing the prospect of a long walk after dinner Janet elected to practice some hand writing first. Mary Lou has given her a lined workbook to practice individual letters in and Janet can do most, reasonably well. I have no idea how to teach her proper technique so I just point out where she’s consistently good and where she changed the appearance of the same letter and for now that seems fine. Writing seemed to ease her fears of going for a walk and after a little pep talk from Chelsea she set out for the living room and made it a little more than two thirds the way there, over fifty feet, before insisting she was “exhausted”. I believe she could have made it as I saw saw continued improvement in her steps but the drive just wasn’t there tonight.
The roller coaster went downhill fast after that and Janet was sleeping within minutes of hitting the pillow before nine thirty. She couldn’t even get her prayers out she crashed so fast. I’m praying that tonight she enjoys a deep and healing sleep so that tomorrow is a day of nothing but ups.
For the first time since Janet moved into Connect there is another lady in the house! We had heard this might be happening and Janet was getting excited about it and when I called her at lunchtime it was the first thing she told me. She said she’s kind of quiet but that’s to be expected first day in.
The female theme continued tonight as another session of SheLife began at Trinity. Janet had a good nap this afternoon and walked from her room to the Den on our way out for dinner. To warm up I had her walk from her bed to the bathroom and back when she woke up. Those trips were a little shaky but the later one down the hall was solid. I timed things wrong as far as Janet’s walking went and so dinner was a little rushed and we arrived at the church just in the knick of time. I had hoped Janet would try and walk to her table from the lobby but she wasn’t interested and we didn’t have time anyways. Janet was at a much higher state of awareness when I met her after the session and she clearly enjoyed being back with her ladies. She was talking with a couple of them as I came to get her and each time I thought there was an opportunity to say let’s go, Janet through out another nugget that kept the conversation going. She was very good and in the car she volunteered that she might try and walk in next week. Yay! I can’t say enough about how positive it is for Janet to participate in SheLife. Her table mates are so supportive and encouraging it really builds Janet up.
Without prompting Janet asked for her meds as soon as we got back to Connect. She’s getting pretty good about this now and probably doesn’t need the reminder on her phone anymore. Brian was working a night shift tonight and stopped by for a chat on his way out. Janet got his name right without assistance and told him she’d like more opportunities to walk so he will consult the staff on that. I’ve been encouraging Janet to ask for walking practice but her nervousness about walking has kept her from taking the initiative. I think the experience at SheLife tonight fired her up enough to ask Brian. Yay again!
Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and that she maintains a positive attitude and is able to fully participate in tomorrow.