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.
For a Monday, and after her melt down last night, Janet was in a great mood today. Chelsea had her in the gym this morning where I think they did more talking than anything else but Janet enjoyed it. She was happy the whole time I was with her today as well, except for the few seconds I had her walking really fast and during her stair climbing stint.
I tried really hard to let Janet choose her activities today and that always seems to produce a better effort from her. Climbing the stairs was quick and speed walking was great with very little resistance. She can do it. Janet chose to work on her SheLife assignment tonight as well and enjoyed the reading and discussion that resulted. It’s fun when we can incorporate things like that into therapy.
It was a pretty casual day around Connect, you’d think it was a holiday or something. There were no major dinner plans and only four residents to feed so Janet happily made grilled cheese sandwiches for everyone. She stood at the counter and stove for a good twenty minutes assembling and cooking the sandwiches. No complaining about it and she did some awesome flipping too.
Praying for a good night of sleep and the confidence to work hard tomorrow.
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.
All day long Janet’s focus was on getting things done so she could watch the Seahawks play on Monday Night Football. Tez has a new student working with him whose worked with Janet on her stretching a couple of times now. She says he’s nice but isn’t totally sure of what he’s doing. Janet is more than willing to tolerate that as long as she doesn’t have to work too hard. Things seem to be getting done though, including some walking. After her nap I took Janet for a walk up the stairs and on the six minute course. There was a lot of complaining that ended with some acceptance of a good result. With me pulling her along, Janet did 200 meters in just under seven minutes. That’s the fastest yet but was with help and on an inside course. Still, it may boost her confidence a little.
After setting the table and grating a bunch of cheese Janet sat down for an enjoyable Skype chat with Andrew. Janet had a fair bit to say once she warmed up and really enjoyed getting caught up on Andrew news. Dinner was in the living room so we could watch the game and that of course made up the rest of the evening. Love having a football fan for a wife.
Praying for a restful night of sleep and lots of confidence for tomorrow’s activities.
It’s a rare occasion when Janet recounts her morning activities without a complaint so I really enjoyed her phone call early this afternoon where she told me all about the stuff she had done with the only negative being her review of her step exercises as being “terrible”. She seemed pleased with everyone else and sounded quite upbeat. When I got out to Connect a little later Janet was awake in bed after napping briefly, something she hasn’t really been doing much of lately.
Janet’s attitude shift enabled her to take the initiative and walk down to the kitchen to find out what her duties for the evening were. As Chelsea had her help with making stuffed baked potatoes I showed Brian the video from Janet’s attempt at boiling water on the cooktop at home. He approved and when Janet arrived on the scene congratulated her on achieving another goal! Janet seemed genuinely pleased with that news and wasn’t too upset about not passing the laundry test yet. She needs a little more practice in familiarizing herself with the controls on both washer and drier. She’s close.
For her post dinner stroll tonight I pulled Janet around the insides of Connect including up the stairs. Janet handled those well but was feigning exhaustion part way up in such a way that I think she’s mentally giving up at the first sign of exertion. In the end she completed the routine well and maybe realizes a little better just how long of a stride she is able to take.
Praying for a night of restful sleep and a productive meeting with Dr. Miller tomorrow.
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.
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.