sunshine

Janet, A Success Story. October 9. #TSJ #doctorday

Thursdays are always interesting for Janet, mostly because its the start of her weekend at home. Today she also got to see three doctors before getting home. Jess took her to the clinic right after breakfast this morning to get meds for another UTI. They had to wait quite a while to see the doctor there but Janet said he was nice and she enjoyed chatting with Jess while they waited as there usually isn’t time to sit and talk at Connect.

The next doctor on the list was Dr. Miller at KGH. Since Janet might be attending a Speech Therapy program there after she comes home, we took the opportunity to see how familiar Janet is with the place and if she’s confident enough to make her own way around. I pulled up to the Rehab entrance and followed Janet inside. Erica, the head nurse saw us and came to chat as we were walking in. Janet doesn’t remember her but appreciated her encouraging words. Once inside Janet got a little confused and needed a prompt to head in the right direction. Rob, the physio guy saw her but wasn’t sure it was really Janet. He went ahead of us to Dr. Miller to make sure and was excited that Janet is doing so well. Dr. Miller was his usual upbeat self, although dressed down today. Janet seems to thrive off of his praise and although I was hoping for some detailed strategies to cope with her fear and self doubt, his reassurance to Janet and encouragement to keep doing what she’s been doing resonated with her and may be enough of a boost to push her through these last few weeks at Connect. Janet walked herself freestyle to the Rehab bathroom after the meeting then used her cane and lead me to the outside door where she waited in the sun for me to get the car. While I was gone she had a nice chat with an older lady who was out getting some sun. Awesome to be able to leave Janet do things like that and hope it grows her sense of independence.

Yes, I said weeks for coming home. Hard to believe but there is a very real possibility of Janet being home by the end of November which is only seven weeks away. She is aware of this and is willing to work hard for it. The last doctor of the day was Janet’s GP for a regular check up and to set things up for the lab near our house should Janet need to use it once home. Finally at home, Janet called her own nap time then stood for a long time at the cooktop helping me make dinner. Her stamina for that is growing and she really does appreciate the meals more when she helps out.

Praying for a healing night of sleep and a sunny Friday.

Janet, A Success Story. October 7. #TSJ

Seemingly a bit grumpy, I took Janet out for a nice long walk in the sunshine this afternoon. She didn’t believe me it was warm outside so she refused one last chance at wearing shorts. The sun did her a lot of good though and set her up well for the rest of the evening.

The morning consisted of an intense workout with Curtis that lasted into the usual lunch hour so by the time Janet called me it was after two and she was just heading for a nap. That may have been part of the reason for the grumpiness. Full of sunshine nearing dinner time Janet actually suggested she do her laundry and willingly walked to the laundry room where I coached her through most of the steps. Chelsea was working on her own tonight so while she was busy after dinner I asked Janet to help me clean up the kitchen. After some initial resistance she jumped in and did a good job. There was no Games Night tonight as no one was there to run it. Janet, of course didn’t mind. That time was filled nicely with the kitchen clean up and putting away laundry, things that Janet will do and not realize she’s doing therapy. Her walking tonight was less confident than usual but having to carry things to put them away and turn in tight spaces was really good practice for her and she did well.

Tired after all those chores Janet and I sat with Wes and Chelsea and watched a little of a baseball playoff game. That just made Janet more tired so she got herself ready for bed early. She used to complain when asked to undress and put her pjs on and it is difficult for her but she hasn’t argued with me for a while and is getting better and better at it. Its fun to watch her figure out ways to put things on. The wheels are turning and she’s getting good results.

Praying for a restful sleep and a fun Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 22. #TSJ

This Monday went quite well for Janet. Chelsea kept her very busy during the morning, exercising in the gym, walking all over Connect including up the stairs, and even making lunch. When Janet called me she didn’t complain about stuff like she often does, she did acknowledge a mistake with making lunch that she laughed about. Instead of pouring soup into a saucepan to warm it up she dumped it into a steamer pot, the part with the holes, you know what happened next. Thankfully Janet was laughing and she even seemed pleased with her physical therapies, at least pleased they were over with.

Chelsea had just finished painting Janet’s nails when I arrived on the scene. I could tell it would be an early night as Janet hadn’t napped and was not considering it then either. Knowing she’d done a lot already I let her set the pace for the run up to dinner. She checked her email, I read a newspaper column to her, she read The Hallo- Wiener to me then she walked cane free to the kitchen to set the table and grate some cheese. Her reading today was pretty good especially the first and last thirds of the book. There was a lot of ad libbing in the middle for some reason. Janet resisted the idea of walking cane free but was happy to help in the kitchen which was a nice change. Her reward was some time in the sun before dinner.

After a good after dinner walk up the stairs and through the hallways all Janet wanted to do was watch the football game. Thankfully Jess and Karl hung out with us for a while so there was good conversation to be had. As much as I love Janet’s interest in football, this game meant nothing to either of us and I don’t want her relying on TV to get her through her free time. We talked about things to do in the evening when Janet comes home and she agreed with Jess’s suggestion of a cooking or baking class once a week and Karl suggested getting involved as a Big Brother and Big Sister to spend some time out in the community with a kid. Good ideas and if any of you have other suggestions we are all ears, and eyes.

Janet enjoyed an extended phone call from Cam tonight that made her laugh and gave her a nice boost of energy and a lift of confidence before walking off to get her meds. She’s gaining more and more independence with her nighttime routine but doesn’t seem too motivated by it. We talked about Janet trying the Handydart to go from Connect to SheLife or to her Dr. Miller appointment at KGH. I know she could do it but she was very resistant to the idea tonight and didn’t buy into the argument for doing things on her own. We’ll keep working on it.

Praying that Janet rests well tonight and dismisses her fear of working with Tez so she can try her best at whatever she’s asked to do.

Janet, A Success Story. September 21. #TSJ

For a weekend with nothing much scheduled, it sure was busy, or at least seemed so.

Janet’s weekend was cane free. She is doing well enough without it that we even left it at home when we went to church Saturday night. There is still a fair amount of grabbing onto furniture and walls when possible, especially when Janet is tired. At her best she will go quite a distance completely free. Speaking of distance, I decided to push Janet this weekend with her 400 meter walk. I haven’t noticed much improvement in her speed and there is still a lot of complaining about being exhausted 200 meters in, so to try and increase her conditioning and to keep her walk interesting, I challenged Janet to do a complete lap of the complex. That worked out to 560 meters on Saturday which was completed in 32 minutes. Janet held my hand the whole way but I did not pull her along at all. Today the lap measured out at 510 meters and lasted 27 minutes. A nice little improvement. I’m not sure this is the right plan of attack and will hopefully consult Tez this week. At least it was something different to do on a nice sunny day and Janet knows now she can walk around the whole neighbourhood. High Five!

The one scheduled event was a visit Saturday morning from Janet’s former pre school boss, Carolyn. One of Janet’s “get out of Connect” goals is to read The Hallo-Wiener to a pre school class and we wanted to meet with Carolyn so she could get an idea of how Janet is doing and make sure its appropriate for Janet to pursue this goal. Carolyn was impressed with Janet’s reading skills and how well Janet is doing overall despite the read not being anywhere near Janet’s best. She was nervous all morning before the visit even to the point that her mom sensed something was wrong during their Skype chat. Janet passed the test though and is scheduled to appear at Carolyn’s pre school October 24th.

One goal may have been achieved this weekend and is awaiting Brian’s approval. To test Janet on the operation of the cooktop I asked Janet to make me a grilled cheese sandwich Saturday afternoon. I recorded it so we can show Brian and he can assess Janet on it. Janet still needs some prompting as to which buttons to press so I’m thinking she may need one more weekend of practice. Same goes with the laundry. We are still developing a good system for Janet to be able to load and unload the washer and drier but she’s learning the controls quite quickly. It could be a double gold medal weekend coming up.

We spent as much time out in the sun as possible this weekend as the forecast shows this to be the last of the sun tanning weather for the year. That included watching the first half of the Seahawks game outside today but I wasn’t able to convince Janet to go for a swim. It was more than warm enough and would have been fun to do on the first day of Fall but she was only interested in the game. Not that that’s a bad thing.

This was a weekend that saw Janet moving around the house and helping out more than ever before and I’m happy she is willing to do so. Her confidence is growing in household activities, we need to foster that same growth in her walking and she’ll be all set.

Praying for a deep and restful sleep and a productive and happy week.

Janet, A Success Story. September 15. #TSJ Wet

Monday, that dreaded first day back at Connect. Janet must have been really worked up about being back there today. How else to explain the three accidents she had this morning in not making it to the bathroom in time. She called me out of frustration after the worst of it seemed to have past and she was headed out to the sunshine in hopes that would make her feel better. I had a chat with Jess when I arrived later on and she was at a loss to try and explain it. I think Janet gets so anxious about being at Connect and having to do so many therapy type things that she loses some control. Maybe not, but she was fine all afternoon and evening.

On the bright side, Jess was really excited to tell me that Janet had dressed herself this morning. That’s not one of Janet’s goals but certainly would be nice for her to be able to do. All she needed help with was her bra and her AFO and splint. Janet thought Jess was being “crabby” in making her do that but she very matter of factly undressed herself tonight and put her PJ’s on so I think a sense of independence was breaking through and I saw a glimpse of satisfaction on her face when she was done.

The 400 meter walk tonight was Janet’s fastest yet. I’ve switched to holding her hand full time and having her walk beside me. I find this method to be as close to her walking completely on her own as possible as I’m not pulling nor is she gripping and pushing down. Instead of pulling her to walk faster I simply ask her to match my pace and within reason she does. Janet actually put on a lot of mileage tonight as she climbed the stairs and walked back and forth from her room to the patio multiple times.

The day started out with frustration and ended with satisfaction. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and a successful Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 14. #TSJ

As promised, this was a busy weekend and Janet handled it all very well. There was limited time for napping but lately it seems as long as she gets some sort of chance to rest a little she can recharge and function fine for the remainder of the day.

My mom arrived for a weekend visit Friday afternoon having hitched a ride from Nanaimo with her good friends Mo and Betty Ann. It was fun having them here for dinner and Janet really enjoyed the conversation.

Betty Ann, Mo, Janet, my mom.

Betty Ann, Mo, Janet, my mom.


It proved a good set up for our wine club gathering that immediately followed. Janet continues to show a minimum of interest in learning about wine but really enjoys the house full of people and the energy that brings. Saturday we took my mom to the Farmer’s Market and enjoyed roaming around in the sunshine for an hour before bumping into nurse Arlene from Janet’s KGH days seconds after doing the same with Kiko. Arlene reminded us as Dr. Miller has, how meaningful it is for them to see the progress their former patients make. It’s a real motivator for them and hearing positive things from folks like Arlene impacts Janet differently than hearing it from those of us around her every day.

Brian came to the house Saturday afternoon to assess Janet’s abilities with some key activities there and to provide suggestions on how to improve her situation around the house. Our new deck is pretty much finished so there is now just one step from the living area to the deck and Janet is able to negotiate it with a minimum of help. Brian recommends a railing to aid Janet on the way out and some sort of grab bar for the way in. Our handyman will do the railing soon and I’ll scope out a grab bar. Being able to come and go from the deck all by herself will be huge for Janet, providing her with more independence. Coming into and out of the garage is going pretty well right now and only needs one additional grab bar plus some minor adjustments to Janet’s positioning which we practiced with success today. I mentioned Saturday that the goal of loading and unloading the dishwasher has been achieved and operating the cooktop could happen next weekend. The washer and dryer will take a little more practice and maybe something to sit on while Janet transfers clothes from one to the other. Not her wheelchair.

The only long walk Janet got in on Saturday was at church and that went well. I have to remember she’s walking way faster than before so we don’t need to leave the house so early as we end up waiting too long for the service to start. Good problem to have. The evening was rounded out with dinner at home with my mom and Courtney. Janet for some reason got all upset about the idea of going to Menchie’s after, saying she doesn’t like it anymore. Not sure where all the negativity came from and it reminded me of her episode with Tez last week. As soon as she was half way finished her bowl of froyo, the smiles were back.

We drove my mom to Peachland this morning to meet up with her ride back to Nanaimo and enjoyed a nice chat with the ladies in the sun at Bliss Bakery before getting back to the house for the Seahawks game. It was way too nice to sit inside and watch football so we rigged things so we could sit on the deck and watch the game through the windows. Worked fine and also allowed Janet to sit outside to Skype with a bunch of family gathered at Leslie and Gavin’s today. It was cool for her to be able to connect with them all in one shot like that.

There was finally time for a 400 meter walk today and it came when Janet would’ve been better off napping. She pushed through like a pro and went for a nap right after. The rest of the evening seemed rather sombre as Janet knew she was headed back to Connect again. By the time I said goodnight she was virtually asleep and accepting of being there and thankful the week ahead has a routine schedule. Praying for a solid night of sleep that provides lots of energy for Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 11. #TSJ

An anxious Janet called me this morning to say she was all done her exercises and could I please come and get her soon. How could I resist? She had had a good morning, working with a much better attitude than the previous day and she was thrilled to be heading home before lunch. We made a few stops along the way looking for new patio furniture to go with our new deck and that gave Janet a chance to walk around stores and parking lots using her cane. She was quite slow during each excursion as she is quite nervous in strange territory. Practice practice.

Once we got home Janet had a good nap after a late lunch before going for her 400 meter walk. We went a slightly different route today so she could stay in the sunshine and again I thought she was rather slow. I led her all the way but she really pulled back on my arm and didn’t seem too confident. At least she did it and if she can keep doing it she should find it gets easier.

Janet managed enough energy to help build pizzas for dinner and we enjoyed a quiet evening and an early bedtime ahead of a busy weekend.

Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. September 7. #TSJ LOUD

It feels like forever since I posted on this blog so this may be a little wordy. Janet and I had a great almost week together at home and on the road as this seems to be the summer that never ends. That’s a good thing.

Janet went for her Botox appointment last Wednesday morning and tolerated the needles well. Dr. McCann is happy with her progress and will keep her on a four month rotation. It was clear we need to keep treating Janet’s right hand finger flexors as well as her right hamstring. Dr. McCann also gave Janet a referral to an outpatient physio program that is run out of the local Rec centres as opposed to the hospital so we will see if that will work for her once she’s home full time.

The first stop on our road trip was Bellingham Washington. The idea was to break up the driving to the Seahawks game on Thursday to allow for a rest period for Janet before the game. Janet was a good passenger for the five hours it took to get to our hotel with a few bathroom breaks along the way and a very short wait at the border. Driving to Seattle Thursday was a breeze with no bathroom breaks during that two hour trip and we were pleasantly surprised to find our room ready for us even though it was only 12:30. Janet agreed to a rest before going out into the football madness.

Quite a few years ago Janet went to her first Seahawks game and she didn’t really like it much as it was loud and “mean”. A lot has changed since then and Janet is a true fan who joined right in on all the game day fun. Even as we arrived at our hotel the streets were full of fans heading to the pre game festivities so by the time we joined them it was hard to manoeuvre Janet in her wheelchair without running into someone. Janet was amazed by the number of people in the area and marvelled when she first saw the stadium. The weather could not have been better but to be safe Janet wore jeans and sat on a little jacket that she ended up wearing for the last ten minutes of the game. Janet chose to enter the stadium early and watch the teams warm up rather than stay in the crowds outside. Good call as we were able to familiarize ourselves with the washrooms and I gave Janet a good tour of everywhere she could go in the stadium. She declined to walk down to field level though. Maybe next time.

Ready for some football!

Ready for some football!


The game itself was so much fun with Janet getting right into it being as loud as she could. I think she was as entertained by the crowd as much as she was by the game which she spent most of the time watching on the giant video board as it was hard for her to sort out what was happening on the field. As opposed to her first game Janet enjoyed the action and still can’t get over how loud the crowd is. It was a great experience and we may have to start a tradition of going to the home opener every year.
Our view of the action.

Our view of the action.


It's LOUD!

It’s LOUD!

This video will give you a little sense of what it’s like at the game. There’s nothing like being there though.

We took the long way home on Friday, after spending some time on the Seattle waterfront and at a favourite beach of ours in Bellevue then taking I-90 over the mountains before heading north to home. Janet had a tough time after leaving the beach as she was tired and never really got control of her need for bathroom breaks so that made for a long trip that also wasn’t as scenic as I had hoped.

Everyone has a pic like this right?

Everyone has a pic like this right?


Meydenbauer Beach Park

Meydenbauer Beach Park


With just enough rest Friday night we welcomed some long time friends of Janet’s to the house Saturday afternoon. Diane and Blake were in the area and stopped by for a nice visit that meant a lot to Janet. I could see the wheels turning as the discussion centred around kids and friends. After church Janet insisted on watching the finale of So You Think You Can Dance as she wanted “to see my guy win”. He did! I owe Janet a Menchie’s treat and very proud of herself for picking the winner. High five! To cap off the weekend Courtney hung out with us this afternoon to watch some tennis and get us caught up on her life. Always nice to have her around.
A nice visit with friends Blake and Diane.

A nice visit with friends Blake and Diane.


Another summer vacation is over for Janet and there were no complaints about this one not being relaxing enough and there wasn’t much protesting about returning to Connect tonight. Janet did a four hundred meter walk this afternoon and on our way back from the beach I was able to demonstrate the speed she needs to go to get 400 meters in six minutes. She was rocked by that a little and I think will put in a solid week of work as she wants to be home full time soon.

Janet, A Success Story. August 27. #TSJ

Today was rather routine for Janet. Speech with Mary Lou this morning involved practicing reading and Janet said Mary Lou was pleased at how Janet had read The Hallo-Wiener to the Games Night group. I convinced Janet to read it to me tonight and for the first time I noticed her realizing she’d missed a word or two then going back to read them. The improvement is not in her remembering to read all the way to the right but in recognizing that what she just read makes no sense without those other words. Janet has probably read this story enough now that she knows what its supposed to say so it’ll be interesting to see how she does with some new material.

Lots of walking was the substitute for the Shuttle during gym time today. Janet commented to me that she has a habit of reaching back at whomever is pushing her from behind when trying to get her to walk faster. She understands that its a trust thing and will try and learn to not react that way. Her cane walking to me is still rather slow but her gait is improving as she manages to get her left leg more forward each step. I hope we can work on the distance walking a lot this weekend.

Taking advantage of the hot weather we went for a nice walk after dinner and watched some soccer before treating ourselves to an ice cream cone from the little stand at the corner store. We stayed out on the patio until dark as it was so nice outside and so artificially cold inside.

Janet did a great job with her end of day report to me, getting everything right, even names of people, up until the late afternoon. Its odd to me how she can remember the morning so clearly but not a few hours ago unless I give her clues. Still getting better though.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and a productive Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. August 24. #TSJ

There may have been some intention of having Janet really work on her walking this weekend but reality was there was too much fun to be had. She was on a high from the radio interview on Friday, (still is), as Saturday got underway with the Mary/Gaga Skype chat which took place during breakfast in the sunshine. After a little tidying up before the arrival of our friends Nancy and Jim from North Vancouver, there was one chance to get some walking in. To warm Janet up we took the dog for a lap around the neighbourhood then filed him away so Janet could focus on walking. We parked her wheelchair outside the garage and I gave her the target of walking to the pedestrian gate and back. A distance of 100 meters each way. Janet started out without her cane and I reassured her she could use it if needed. She didn’t need it until the first leg of the trip was almost done. She then made it all the way back using her cane and walking on pace to do about fifty meters every six minutes, which is very good for her being outside where she is not as confident. I’m confident she can reach her goal of 400 meters in six minutes by sometime in November.

With the work out of the way and a good rest completed our guests arrived and the fun could begin. The rest of Saturday consisted of a glass of wine in the sun, a great church service, a very yummy dinner and good company throughout. Janet did well the whole time mostly listening to the conversation. She was more animated and vocal today especially during a leisurely breakfast that she got waited on for, and she was darn happy about it. We then headed out to a wine tasting at Sandhill Winery and were pleasantly surprised by the experience. Janet and I agreed on our favourite wine and brought a bottle home. Before Jim and Nancy took off on the next leg of their adventure we enjoyed a nice outside lunch with them. Janet and I came away from this visit with friends smiling, laughing and genuinely grateful to have such good people in our lives.
JimNancyJanetLarrySandhill

There was one last piece of work for Janet today and she willingly accepted helping prep dinner. The sun seems to be setting much sooner these days so dinner was inside after a lively discussion about Christmas vacation with the bulk of the family. Looks like we’ve settled on San Diego, now its a matter of locking down a place to stay. Janet is excited but mostly to hang with the family so where we do it doesn’t really matter to her. She was not excited about going back to Connect tonight but was greeted as a celebrity when she walked in and that brought a huge smile to her face. She really believes in and is excited about sharing her story.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and an energetic Monday.