update

Fresca #TSJ

Dr. Miller visited Janet first thing this morning then came into the gym to say hi when I was working with Janet there after breakfast. He said he was truly impressed with how she has improved and stated “this is the best I’ve ever seen her”. He was a little unsure of what to expect having heard about the seizures but agreed that she has bounced back really well. I asked him about the Dilatin and its’ side effects. He understands my concern and advised me to keep an eye on Janet over the next couple of weeks to see if there are any signs of excess confusion or other cognitive impairments. There are other drugs that could be used as anticonvulsants but they are not necessarily better and all drugs have side effects. He cautioned that side effects don’t appear in everyone so just watch for now and see what happens.

Our workout went quite well with Janet getting herself on her tummy this time, allowing for a decent hamstring stretch. I’m not seeing any real change in the severity of the tone in her legs but her right arm and shoulder seem to be improving. Despite her reluctance I had her use the stripper pole again and she performed her best standing yet. She got much straighter than yesterday and was able to let go of the pole and hold my shoulder so that more weight was on her legs. She still stands on her tippy toes but I’m confident that with time and more weight bearing through her legs her ankles will loosen up. The range is still there so we just need for those muscles to know when to turn off. I plan on demonstrating Janet standing to Tez as soon as possible and asking him to get her “walking” in the parallel bars soon.

With the workout done we rushed off for an appointment to view a condo downtown. I wanted to see what 1500 square feet looks and feels like to live in. It felt a little small but I think its doable with the right floor plan and the unit we saw certainly did not have the right plan at all. The realtor will keep an eye out for us.

At home it was time for a real food lunch then some NFL playoff football while we waited for two different people to stop by to look at Cam’s car he is trying to sell. I think we had success by the end of the day so come Monday there may be one less vehicle in our driveway. I used our waiting time to update Janet’s nail polish to Seahawks blue in readiness for the big game tomorrow. I figured she deserved a reward for sitting still so long while I did her nails so I offered her a pop. As soon as I mentioned we have Fresca, she smiled and rather mischievously said “that would be really nice”. Finally a cold drink she likes!. For dinner we enjoyed an unauthorized chicken dish that Suzanne had kindly dropped off for us then we rushed off to church so we can watch the Seahawks game tomorrow as it starts at the ridiculous time of 10am. Not sure if that’s the right thing to do but Janet did enjoy the service and I commented to her that unlike before her illness, she is liking the music parts of church more than the talking parts. She smiled and shrugged her shoulders.

On our return to Connect I had Janet put away her stuff, she is starting to figure out where some things go and she is very good at taking her shoes off now. Once in bed we read some of Slow Dance after I reassured her we had not finished it already. Janet took about ten minutes to ask me a really important question that she “needs to know the answer now” but never made it clear and she eventually forgot the whole thing. It started out with “how do we get to Washington to…” and evolved into “what’s the difference between Strawberry one and…” I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any. By the time I said goodnight she was closing her eyes and had a smile on her face that makes it really hard for me to leave.

Praying for rest and healing, a fun day tomorrow, and a Seahawks win.

No Doubt #TSJ

Janet’s day started after a really good night’s sleep. Lorne said the night staff checked Janet every hour and she was snoring each time. She ate a good breakfast then went to the gym for a stretch on her right arm and shoulder. Some Speech work was next and Christi reported Janet did really well. She refused lunch however and I arrived to find her scrolling through channels on the TV in the living room. She told me she had just had an interview and was listening to the ref. She was watching sports highlights so there could have been an interview with a ref I guess.

I took Janet to the gym for some leg stretching and found her to be quite tensed up compared to yesterday so I took it reasonably easy on her. Wanting to get a good hamstring stretch though, I asked her to try and lay on her tummy. She gave it a really good effort but said it hurt too much. I then asked her if she wanted to try standing. She shook her head and got all emotional saying she couldn’t stand. I reminded her how well she did yesterday kneeling and that she had stood before. She eventually agreed to try, so over to the stripper pole we went. The first attempt she even admitted was sloppy and I took the blame for not positioning her or myself correctly. The next two times were bang on as Janet stood carrying her own weight for about ten seconds each time and getting her butt clear of the table mat by a good eight to ten inches with me lightly resting my hand on her back to keep her from falling backwards. Very impressive, best I’ve seen, and she was really happy too. I told her not to doubt herself and that I believe she will walk again one day and that she just has to keep trying. She smiled and nodded her head.

We had an hour before dinner and I wanted Janet to rest a little as we planned on going to the UBCO women’s basketball game tonight. I got her to lay down on her bed with me so I could read to her for a bit and that led to about twenty minutes of eyes closed time. She ate a large bowl of soup for dinner then off we went to the game.

When we arrived at the gym I initially parked her in her wheelchair at one end of the court and I sat in the first row of seats right beside her. She looked at me very puzzled and asked where her seat was. I never thought of putting her into a seat but with some help from a guy sitting close by I gave it a try. Janet was much happier, then I realized we were at the wrong end of the court. Janet’s field of vision is weak on the right side and most of the court was on the right from where we were. Suzanne joined us and at the first quarter break we wheeled down to the other end and got settled there with a really good view. Janet’s first question from the new seats was, “where’s Laurel?” I had to explain that Laurel doesn’t play anymore and she is old and married now. She smiled and nodded her head. At the half I offered Janet some pizza but she said no. I got a slice anyways teasing her that this was her chance to cheat and after a couple of bites she laughed and agreed to have her own piece.

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UBCO lost a close and entertaining game to Calgary and we really enjoyed watching Angela White play. She is from North Vancouver ( I won’t mention she’s from Handsworth) and her mom taught some of our girls at Argyle and her dad coached with me in the Steve Nash League there. I had a nice chat with him and her mom came down to say hi and as soon as I said her name to Janet she held out her hand for a shake. I think she really does remember Shawn.

Back at Connect it was past bedtime but Janet had hung in there really well and agreed she had a good day. Praying for a restful and healing night and a fun day of Learning tomorrow.

Looking Up

Houdieno was at it again last night. This time she got out through the gap in the rails on the right side of the bed around 10:30. Bob found her and Janet thought the whole thing was pretty funny. When I asked about it today she tried telling me why she did it but I couldn’t understand what she was saying. Brian and I chatted about it and agreed that blockading her in even more is not the answer. We need to find out why she wants to get out and help her from there.

Lorne gave me a run down on Janet’s morning saying they let her sleep in till nine as she didn’t sleep very well last night. After breakfast Garret took her to the gym for some stretching and Lorne did some speech with her before Mary Lou happened by for another session with Janet.

It was a pretty busy first half of the day and that trend continued after I arrived. Damian was with Janet when I got to her room. He works with Dr. Miller and will be monitoring Janet’s cognitive and psychological improvements. I was able to have a good talk with him to give him a clear understanding of where Janet is now. We then headed off to the gym with Tez and Bob for a video recording session. The stretches Tez wants the staff to do with Janet are all recorded into a folder on the gym computer so each staff member can watch before working with Janet so they are all doing the same thing.

Tez really worked Janet’s right arm and shoulder and found significant improvement since her seizures and said sometimes seizures can actually change things for the better. Janet cried a couple of times but hung in there really well. When Tez was done his part he coached Bob through each stretch and I recorded the video. We moved on to Janet’s legs after that and found them to be unchanged so Tez decided to try and get Janet onto her tummy so he could stretch her hamstring better. With Janet doing most of the work, we got her onto her tummy surprisingly easily and she tolerated being there for a good fifteen minutes undergoing some really good hamstring work. Janet was doing so well that Tez decided to go for a big finish. From her tummy and with Bob holding the back of her knees, Tez and I lifted her to a kneeling position supported only by her left hand on my shoulder. We all were so impressed with her and I think she was too as when I asked her to look up at me she did so and started crying. She said she wasn’t hurting or anything and I think they were tears of joy. After a few minutes on her knees it was an easy flip and she was sitting on the side of the bed and feeling pretty good after a tough workout.

Deserving of a rest Janet chose to hang out in the living room watching TLC for an hour then having a late dinner. We stayed in the living room to eat while watching some basketball. Janet really was watching the tv I noticed and answered a lot of my questions correctly as to what was happening both in the TLC programs and the game. At one point I was in the kitchen talking to Bob when Clint motioned for me to come back to the living room. I saw Janet 80% out of her wheelchair and 20% onto the couch. I stood her up as straight as I could and she “took a step” towards to couch. I was holding most of her weight but she moved her left leg in a definite walking move and dragged her right one behind heading for the couch. It made me feel really confident she will walk one day and I told her so. Bob agrees and said we are still really early in all of this and Janet will improve a lot. She was so into the basketball game that she didn’t want to go for her shower until it was over. Nicole was working for the first time with Janet tonight so I helped get Janet ready for the shower which allowed me to see just how well she tolerates that task. The room is nice and warm and the shower chair is very comfy. No wonder she comes away smiling unlike at KGH.

Janet agreed it was a really good day for her and promised to get a good nights sleep in bed, not on the floor and she even told me she could push the button for help if needed. Good signs. Praying for rest and healing and thanking Jesus for the great day and all the great help from the Connect crew.

Oops #TSJ

Mary Lou was quite pleased with Janet’s speech abilities and participation level in their session this morning. I was surprised as Janet seemed to be quiet and talking a lot of Klingon with me. I came back to her room just as they were wrapping up and Mary Lou had Janet sing Row Row Row Your Boat for me and she did so nice and loud and clear.

Lunch was a bowl of vegetable soup and some med laced fruit lax. I was impressed with Janet’s ability to eat after the shape she was in yesterday. We then headed back to her room to wait for a visit from Brian the OT. Garret brought Janet’s laundry in while we were waiting so I had Janet try and put it away. She was definitely more confused than normal but was very willing to try and put things in the right places. Brian arrived in the middle of all this and watched Janet finish the job. We decided it would be good to label the drawers and cupboards to help Janet remember where things are. Brian then spent about twenty minutes with Janet trying to assess what her understanding of her situation is. He found it difficult to comprehend Janet today and I attribute that to still being in recovery mode from yesterday and hoping its not the anti seizure med. One of the side effects is confusion so we’ll have to see how this plays out over the next few weeks. Brian also commented on Janet’s vision challenges. I had planned on meeting with our eye doctor yesterday but that appointment got preempted so as long as Janet remains stable I will try and meet with him next week to discuss a vision test. I actual left to do some work around the house before Brian did his thing with Janet and before I left we agreed that he would put her into nap mode when he was done. We discussed getting rid of the hospital bed and decided that we would start eliminating bed rails to see if Janet can safely be in bed without them. Brian tucked her in and left the two lower rails down. He left the room at 2:10, Garret checked on Janet at 2:45, she was in bed but not asleep. Garret walked past ten minutes later and Janet was on the floor. Houdieno returns! She was fine, just a little scared and we had a good talk about it when I returned and Janet seems to think she can get out of bed whenever she wants to. She later demonstrated a similar feeling towards her wheelchair as she made two good efforts at getting out of it after dinner. Apparently our idea of a regular bed is a little premature. Oops.

Janet was getting up from her nap, she eventually did have one, when I returned at 4:30. She was being helped by Curtis who used a straight on pivot move to get Janet from bed to chair. I didn’t think it would work as it requires Janet to take a lot of the weight, she did it really well! She was also talking much clearer and I was able to get her to agree it was because she had a rest. One day that will really sink in. Dinner was a bowl of Clint’s chili that he made for everyone today. Clint is in his late twenties and has been a resident at Connect for seven months. He is very mobile and loves to cook so he runs the kitchen apparently. The chili was good. Suzanne stopped by for a visit and brought another care package with her. Thanks! Janet and her and a nice chat with Janet talking reasonably well considering the time of day and what she has been through. We said goodnight to Suzanne, made Janet’s bed and did all the other bedtime prep stuff before climbing in to start reading a book the Dr. Miller lent to us. Slow Dance by Bonnie Sher Klein, a stroke survivor who was just named to The Order of Canada. Interesting read so far.

Praying for more good rest and healing tonight and an active day of learning tomorrow.

Rebounding #TSJ

A quick update to say that Janet had a restful night with some obvious healing. She got up at her regular time and ate a good breakfast of scrambled eggs after setting the table for herself. She was sitting by the fire having her water when I came in and greeted me with a “how’s it going with you?” So nice to hear real words coming out of her mouth.

Janet looks much better today, still feeling the effects a little and is not fully back to where she was prior to the seizures but is rebounding quite nicely. Garret has her in the gym now for some stretching and Mary Lou is coming in for some Speech therapy after that.

Thanking Jesus for the rest and healing and praying for more.

Coming Back #TSJ

Janet woke up just after six tonight and slowly started to brighten up. I got a few verbal responses from her but her voice was very quiet and the words she was saying were mostly Klingon. I did get a whispered “yes” and some facial expressions to a few questions. After ten minutes of her eyes being open I sat her up on the side of the bed to see if she could tolerate that and she did well considering how groggy she was still. Janet didn’t outright say so but I got a strong indication she wanted to go back to Connect so I asked the nurses to change her and we got her dressed. Janet put up with the tossing and turning required for all that to happen and before you knew it her I V was unhooked and I lifted her into a wheelchair. The nurses kept an eye on her while I retrieved the car then wheeled Janet out to it. She helped me get into and out of the wheelchair by putting her left arm over my shoulder. That’s a good sign to me.

The car ride back to Connect was slow and steady as the roads were a little slippery but not as bad as yesterday. Janet was visibly happy to be back and gave the gang a little smile when we walked in on their poker night. I wheeled her straight to her room and Dani got a tube feed going for her. Hopefully that’s just for tonight. With Janet tucked in, I laid beside her for an hour till she fell asleep and I expect a good nights rest and a strong day of recovery tomorrow.

I’m very appreciative of the staff at KGH and Connect as their response and action today could not have been better. Janet’s nurse most of the day was a young guy named Chris who was working his first day in the hospital. After a bit of a nervous start he did a great job. Thanks again to Kiko! So nice to come home to a fed dog and a shoveled driveway. You are amazing!

Praying for rest and healing tonight and strong recovery tomorrow. Thanking Jesus for continuing to place the right people into our lives at the right time.

KGH 3 #TSJ

As I write this I’m sitting beside a sleeping Janet at KGH ER. She suffered two mild seizures this morning. The first was just after eight at Connect as she was getting dressed. It lasted about three minutes and was described as mild. The second one occurred at KGH an hour and half later and lasted just over a minute and was milder. Dr Eppler was the ER doctor who saw her and he played it all down and was quite positive the whole day. Dr. Adams, the neurologist said the CT scan showed only the old damage from last May and said Janet should bounce back from this quite quickly. He put her on Dilatin and she may be on that for life now. He said there will not be long term complications from this and it is quite common for ABI patients to have seizures.

Garret from Connect followed the ambulance to KGH and stayed with us until Dr. Adams said Janet could leave. The staff at KGH have been good as usual. Thanks Kiko for all your help!

Praying for rest and healing.