Janet, A Success Story. August 20. #TSJ Stubborn

Happily Janet’s cold seems to be going away. She sounded much better today and had lots more energy. Enough energy to put up a ton of resistance towards helping Chelsea make a cake and for doing any form of exercise tonight even though all she had done during the day was the bike.

When Janet called me this afternoon she excitedly told me how she had just read The Hallo-Wiener to Garrett and Curtis. She was quite happy she was able to do it and admitted she was nervous about reading to an audience. Mary Lou had encouraged her to try as it would be good practice for reading at a pre school. That was the good Janet. Things had shifted dramatically by the time I got to Connect and the majority of our evening was spent “discussing” the many reasons why Janet is at Connect and what her responsibilities are while she’s there. I was disappointed with her seeming lack of desire to help out around there and the false expectation that she should be waited on all the time. Those are very un Janet like characteristics and this was the second day in a row I’ve noticed them. It’s good that Janet is able to assert her feelings and wants but I don’t think its acceptable combined with a complete disconnect for other’s feelings and wants. We reached a resolution when Janet admitted she didn’t want to help with the cake because she feels she won’t be able to help or do enough based on having use of only one arm. When reminded of the good help she’s provided while baking at home she felt better about her situation but in the end only watched Chelsea and cheered her on a little. As far as the exercise goes, Janet finally agreed to do the stairs after realizing that going home on weekends is a privilege that is earned by doing the required work during her days at Connect.

Through it all there was still time for sitting in the sun and going for a nice stroll to watch some soccer before the bedtime reading session which lasted a short twenty minutes tonight as I don’t like reading out loud to myself and a snoring Janet.

Praying for another good night of healing sleep and for Janet to have a positive Thursday.

PS. Janet and I will be on CBC Radio this Friday afternoon just after 5pm PDT. The programme is called Radio West and is broadcast throughout the BC Interior. Thanks to technology, those of you not in our area can stream it live here , if you miss it, I hope to post a recording on this blog over the weekend.

Janet, A Success Story. July 31. #TSJ Out in Style

The last day of July. Wow. Janet still thinks she has a long time at Connect and even knowing tomorrow is August she doesn’t really sense how quickly the time is passing. Maybe its not for her. Today went quickly though, while most of the other house mates were kayaking and swimming Janet was in the gym with Jess and complaining a lot, right to the point where Jess left her for a few minutes to get a grip on herself. When Janet called me and told me about this we had a good talk about how Janet needs to focus on her goals, try and achieve them as soon as she can then come home. She really seemed to get it but tonight when I asked her to do some stairs with me she started in the same way she had earlier with Jess. In the end she relented and walked to the stairwell.

Janet was confident she could do three steps up and down without assistance and very assertively told me to “back off” while she did them. The three steps up were way better than the other day and she got herself over to the other side of the stairwell easily. With me working hard at staying back, Janet descended three steps in style and unofficially, in my opinion, has now accomplished that goal. To make it official she needs to show Tez and that won’t happen until the week after next at the earliest as Janet gets a summer break starting tomorrow.

Janet usually comes home with me Thursdays for the weekend and was surprisingly cooperative about not doing so today. Laurel and Raj arrive tomorrow night for a few days then Janet and I are traveling to Nanaimo to visit my mom before bringing Brittney and Ethan back to Kelowna for a few days visit with us. Therefore, I wanted Janet to get her exercises done Friday morning before starting her nine nights away. Fair deal I think.

Chelsea gave Janet a few tasks in helping get dinner ready and Janet did them well and without protest. She was quite chatty with her housemates today, especially Wes, with whom she’s had a few “good conversations” the last couple of days. Good to see her stepping out more and more to start a conversation and even better that she remembers what was talked about a couple days later.

After the struggle of getting Janet to try the stairs and to reward her success I let her choose the activities the rest of the evening. She wanted to be out in the sun so we walked to Beasley Park and watched soccer for almost an hour. I remember doing that with Janet last summer and not being sure what she was seeing or understanding and now she’s telling me legitimate reasons why she’s cheering for one team over the other and making random but interesting observations like, “there isn’t a cloud in the sky”. Nothing to do with soccer but valid and it was pretty cool to look around the entire valley and not see any clouds.

More and more I am leaving Janet to get around on her own and she did really well with that tonight. I even heard her getting her meds from Chelsea and identifying them with only one hint. Praying for a solid night of sleep for Janet, a positive attitude and willingness to work hard Friday morning and for a fun nine days away.

In light of the visiting and traveling we will be doing, blog posts will be random and only as events warrant until sometime around August 11.

Janet, A Success Story. June 20. #TSJ Wedding Eve

I used to write how Janet seemed to be on a roller coaster during the first months of her recovery and today could very well be summed up as that. It started a little later than planned as it took longer for the morning routine than usual but by 9:30 we were having breakfast with Janet’s dad, Doug, and his wife Joan. It has been four years since we have seen them in person and Janet was very excited to do so. Doug suffered a stroke a year before Janet’s aneurysm which made him even less of a talker than he used to be but Janet and Joan kept the conversation going really well and it was an enjoyable start to the day.

Wanting to get out in the sun, Janet and I went for what was to be a nice exploratory walk with the option of finding me some new sunglasses. After a two block false start (Janet needed her sweater) we maneuvered along the very bumpy sidewalks for almost an hour. Janet wasn’t enjoying it much because of the bumps and said she needed to go to the bathroom. I love it when she initiates that task and hate it when she doesn’t make it to the toilet in time. We were less than three minutes from the time she mentioned it to the time she was getting out of her wheelchair, but it was too late. I was most unimpressed, as a large part of the morning had already been spent in the bathroom and I have no idea what brought on the increased need to go. Back to the hotel we went, now late for our lunch date with Mary/Gaga and Keith and by the time we did catch up to them the sun had pretty much left the area we were to have lunch in. It was still nice to hang out with them for a while even in the shade.

While Janet tried to nap, I got to do laundry. At least there was a soccer game on. Janet had her eyes closed for maybe twenty minutes and probably didn’t sleep at all so got up to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Things seemed to be improving toileting wise and after getting dressed with hair by Courtney and make up by Heather, off we went. Allan’s parents hosted the rehearsal dinner at their house out in the country a little bit and it was a nice change from the bustle of Ottawa. Most places we’ve been to on this trip are not wheelchair friendly and I found it easier to have Janet walk into the house tonight rather than try and lift her wheelchair up the steps. She did a great job stepping up again, with lots of support but doing more of the work than she’s been capable of before. People were helpful in getting Janet down the steps at the back and out onto the grass where the sun was. The rehearsal was short and sweet and we learned Janet is going to have a tough time walking with Heather down the aisle so I will likely be there for support too. Janet really enjoyed sitting out in the sun for dinner watching the dogs play, the chipmunks hop around and the dogs chase the chipmunks. People kept asking us if the bugs were bothering us and we had to respond with “what bugs?” Janet and I were bug free until the sun disappeared but it was time to head for the hotel then anyways.

So, a good start, a bad middle and a good finish to the day for Janet. The toileting challenge seems to have corrected itself and we are all focused on making tomorrow an enjoyable one for Heather and Allan. Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and is fully able to participate and enjoy tomorrow. Praying also for God’s blessing on Heather and Allan.

Janet, A Success Story. June 16. #TSJ Ready and Waiting

Janet and I spent most of today wondering why we decided to leave for Ottawa tomorrow and not today. She figures it must have been a money thing and she’s probably right, all I know is there must have been a good reason.

There wasn’t much to do today other than the last check of our packing job and cleaning the house a little. Janet skipped her nap today, wanting to be really tired so she could sleep tonight. So far there’s no indication that plan worked but she is in bed now and her eyes are closed.

We watched bits of the World Cup soccer games today and Janet saw the second half of the USA Ghana game by herself while I dropped the dog off and ran another errand. I got back just after the USA scored the winning goal and Janet was all excited telling me how “the play was all in that end then the other team scored”. It’s awesome to see her improving ability to understand what she’s watching.

For exercise today I had Janet do quite a few laps around the house and one stint of helping me wash dishes that required her to stand at the sink with me. What a great feeling to have her standing beside me, and she thought it was cool to be able to look out the window instead of at the backsplash. Hopefully that translates into more willingness to stand and walk at every opportunity.

The snores have started. Praying for a good night of rest and God’s guidance through our travel day tomorrow.