wine

Janet, A Success Story. October 12. #TSJ

Janet was not at all thankful for going back to Connect tonight. She was the most upset about it that she’s been in a long time but once there and settled in all was as good as could be and we’ll pray for a productive week.

The weekend was enjoyable for Janet, not a lot of crazy activities but enough action to keep things interesting. Friday night, eleven of us from our wine club attended a dinner put on by the culinary students at Okanagan College. We live close enough that we were able to walk there with some of our neighbours and it was warm enough that Janet only needed a light sweater. Of the five courses presented, Janet liked the salad served first the best. Surprise! The wines were not as adventurous as I was hoping for and they proved a little too much for Janet but I’m always willing to help her out. Saturday, Courtney joined us at church and was surprised at how well and how far Janet is walking. Today, Courtney spent the afternoon with us on an unofficial Thanksgiving Day visit. She gave Janet a much needed manicure and having her around made coping with the Seahawks loss much easier.

There was lots of practicing the laundry machines and cooktop this weekend for Janet and she’s getting better at both. Passing her laundry test just seems to be a matter of getting enough repetitions in. As far as walking goes, there’s no noticeable decline in the fear level but left on her own Janet seems happy to make her way around wherever she wants to go. She just needs to do it at Janet speed.

Praying that Janet has an enjoyable week and that she stays focused on the positives.

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. 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.

Janet, A Success Story. August 21. #TSJ Walking Best

Tez put Janet through the ringer again this morning and she responded very well. The cold has all but disappeared and Janet was highly motivated today in contrast to the last couple of days. Walking a lot without her cane Janet showed improvement in her stride to the point where Tez feels its time to adjust her AFO so that its not so rigid. Currently it supports Janet just like a ski boot and I think we all know how difficult it is to walk in those, so for Janet to have progressed to where she can where a more flexible AFO is huge. When the lady who built Janet’s AFO was chatting with us I got the impression she didn’t feel Janet would get there. Well, this coming Tuesday Janet will get to show her it wasn’t a matter of if but when.

Back on July 24th Janet did her first six minute walking test and managed to travel 27 meters. Today, less than a month later she more than doubled that distance to 55 meters! Her goal for leaving Connect is now set at 400 meters, a number Tez is confident she’ll reach provided she keeps putting in the work. We have a busy weekend planned but will find time for lots of walking.

Before going home today Janet got to stop at the dentist to have more cavities filled. The dentist feels these latest ones are still related to Janet’s very long time in the hospital where she wasn’t able to brush her teeth and he’s not worried about the future as Janet has good brushing and flossing habits.

It had been a long day by the time Janet got home so she went for a late nap so she could better enjoy her first night of the weekend. A glass of wine and the semi finals of So You Think You Can Dance made for a nice relaxing evening and a satisfying one as both of our contestants made it into the finals. As a bonus, our tickets to the SYTYCD Tour arrived today and even though its not until February, Janet is excited about going. Me too.

Tomorrow we make our radio debut and Janet says she’s a little scared about it. I know she’ll do well and it will be an exciting experience. Listen live at 5pm PDT here on CBC Radio.

Praying for a restful night of sleep, a fun Friday and for our story to inspire, encourage and bring faith to others.

PS. I’ve added a new page to this blog, Video. On it you will find each video that’s been posted of Janet since this adventure began. Enjoy.

Janet, A Success Story. July 24. #TSJ

Janet and I met with her team at Connect early this morning and found it to be a productive time. Everyone is supportive of the idea of Janet setting goals to reach before leaving Connect as opposed to choosing a specific date and there was good discussion around what to set as goals in each area. The outcome is as follows;

– Walking- Janet wants to walk “like a regular person”. When asked to define that she said “being able to walk without standing there not knowing what to do”. Tez will use the 6 Minute Walking Test to measure Janet’s progress. The low end of “normal” for that test is 700 meters in 6 minutes. Today Janet did 27 meters. She likely will be tested a couple more times before setting a specific target to reach before leaving Connect.Tez recommends Janet use her cane to gain speed and confidence in walking. She is reluctant but was encouraged to hear that its a temporary thing. Janet used the cane for her last two walking trips at home tonight and although it didn’t speed her up she felt OK with using it.
– Steps- Janet would like to be able to climb and descend three steps on her own using only a handrail. Tez agreed she can likely do that very soon and will have the staff take Janet on the stairs at Connect next week.
– Reading- Janet wants to be able to read to three and four year olds with expression. Mary Lou says she’s making good progress and that is an achievable goal.
– Writing- Brian and I would like to see Janet be able to write her name, address and phone number on a form and be able to leave hand-written notes for people. Janet sees the value in that and will work with Mary Lou to get there.
– Home Chores- Janet would like to be able to load and operate the washer, drier and dishwasher as well as be able to operate the cooktop. Brian will come to the house one day soon to assess Janet and coach her on how to improve with those tasks.
– Toileting- Janet would like to be independent in her toileting routine. The staff have been training Janet and will coach me so I can help Janet at home.

Like I said, it was a productive meeting. The day only got better as Janet was able to come home for the weekend before lunch. We took advantage of the cool weather to stop and get Janet a couple new bathing suits and I think we did pretty well. You may see them this weekend. Janet napped while I went to the grocery store with the list she helped create then in the spirit of going after those goals I put Janet to work. We pitted two pounds of cherries for freezing, she pulled the stems off all of them and pitted some. She ordered quesadillas for dinner and chopped peppers, onion and mushrooms then built each quesadilla for us. After dinner she rinsed the dishes while I washed. She did all of this with no wheelchair in sight and standing for some of it.

Our neighbour, Bonnie came over for a post dinner glass of wine and a chat. She told us she had just baked three cherry pies and Janet got all excited saying that is her favourite pie. It must have been from her childhood because I don’t remember liking pie at all. Bonnie kindly agreed to bake one more. Smooth move Janet.

I’m looking forward to a fun weekend of involving Janet in as many household tasks as possible and walking a lot. Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and giving thanks for all we have been blessed with.

Janet, A Success Story. July 6. #TSJ Good Friend

This morning was the opposite of Saturday as we both slept in rather than getting up early to watch tennis. Janet had a shower and is manoeuvring around the bathroom much better than when we first attempted showers here. I can remember practically carrying her in some cases, now I’m just a bit of a support.

It was just after ten by the time we were out making breakfast and we put our recorded version of the Gentlemen’s Championship of Wimbledon on. We let it play while we made and ate breakfast then Janet had her weekly Skype session with Mary/Gaga then we focused on the tennis. Janet impressed me over and over with her increasing knowledge of the game as well as her understanding of what was happening moment to moment. Her best comment came in the third set when she observed that Roger Federer was making most of his first serves and Novak Djokovic wasn’t. Brilliant.

I wasn’t planning on sitting through the entire match but Janet was really enjoying it and it was an amazing battle so we only sped through a small portion of it with Championship Point coming just as Kiko arrived for a visit. Janet initiated this get together as she had some questions coming out of Tim’s message at Trinity last week and thought Kiko would be a good person to talk to. She’s right, they enjoyed a nice afternoon together chatting away and sipping wine with Janet feeling really happy about it all afterwards and Kiko saying to me how impressed she was with Janet’s memory and social skills. There has been a very steady improvement in those areas the last little while and Janet is always at her best when she’s with people she cares about.

Sunday afternoon with a good friend.

Sunday afternoon with a good friend.


After a very brief nap to recoup a little we enjoyed a Chinese food dinner then made the sad trip back to Connect. The wheelchair was not used at all after breakfast today except for when I went to pick up dinner. Janet walked well, mostly with assistance today as I wanted her moving at a quicker pace and she did a great job on the steps multiple times.

Praying for a long night of healing sleep and an energetic Monday. Thanking Jesus for blessing us with amazing people in our lives.

Janet, A Success Story. July 3. #TSJ

I got my phone call from Janet much earlier than typical today as she very excitedly called me right after Genie Bouchard won her semi final match at Wimbledon. Janet watched the last half of the match during her breakfast and was super excited Genie won, so much so that we are getting up early Saturday to watch the Championship live. Janet is liking both the game of tennis (“it’s played in a nice warm, clean place”) and the person that Genie seems to be (“a nice and intelligent good looking person”).

Another thing that got Janet all excited today was getting to come home for the weekend. Garrett commented that Janet really took the initiative in regards to her exercise routine this morning by walking up to him on a couple of occasions and asking if she could do something. According to Janet she was motivated by not only wanting to get them done but by the prospect of coming home. Whatever works.

Tez was in the building today and offered a few tips on walking. I’ve been nagging Janet to stop hanging onto walls and furniture while walking freestyle and Tez says not to worry about that as long as Janet isn’t leaning onto things for support. If it’s for security purposes its fine. I asked him about Janet walking barefoot for a few steps and he thought that wasn’t the greatest idea but if Janet wants to do so using her cane and carefully stepping out with her right foot so it lands flat on the floor, fine. We brought the cane home in case she wants to try. The motivation for this is to refrain from using the wheelchair as much as possible including first thing in the morning and when going to the bathroom after having gotten into bed at night or after a nap. Sounds like it may be a little too soon to really go after.

Janet was a big help at dinner time tonight, preparing a veggie stir fry by herself except for getting the very heavy frying pan out and turning on the cooktop. I could have sat back and drank wine while she cooked. Maybe tomorrow.

Praying for a long night of reenergizing sleep and a productive Friday.