Janet, A Success Story. April 2. #TSJ

For the first time since Janet moved into Connect there is another lady in the house! We had heard this might be happening and Janet was getting excited about it and when I called her at lunchtime it was the first thing she told me. She said she’s kind of quiet but that’s to be expected first day in.

The female theme continued tonight as another session of SheLife began at Trinity. Janet had a good nap this afternoon and walked from her room to the Den on our way out for dinner. To warm up I had her walk from her bed to the bathroom and back when she woke up. Those trips were a little shaky but the later one down the hall was solid. I timed things wrong as far as Janet’s walking went and so dinner was a little rushed and we arrived at the church just in the knick of time. I had hoped Janet would try and walk to her table from the lobby but she wasn’t interested and we didn’t have time anyways. Janet was at a much higher state of awareness when I met her after the session and she clearly enjoyed being back with her ladies. She was talking with a couple of them as I came to get her and each time I thought there was an opportunity to say let’s go, Janet through out another nugget that kept the conversation going. She was very good and in the car she volunteered that she might try and walk in next week. Yay! I can’t say enough about how positive it is for Janet to participate in SheLife. Her table mates are so supportive and encouraging it really builds Janet up.

Without prompting Janet asked for her meds as soon as we got back to Connect. She’s getting pretty good about this now and probably doesn’t need the reminder on her phone anymore. Brian was working a night shift tonight and stopped by for a chat on his way out. Janet got his name right without assistance and told him she’d like more opportunities to walk so he will consult the staff on that. I’ve been encouraging Janet to ask for walking practice but her nervousness about walking has kept her from taking the initiative. I think the experience at SheLife tonight fired her up enough to ask Brian. Yay again!

Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and that she maintains a positive attitude and is able to fully participate in tomorrow.

A Good Excuse. Janet waits for a nap. #TSJ

Once again Janet was in the living room at Connect when I arrived this afternoon. She had not had a nap and said she was waiting for me before having one. I told her I delayed my arrival today in hopes she would be well into her nap and I would join her for the last little bit. She laughed and I accepted her excuse as I wasn’t feeling that great this morning and welcomed the opportunity to lay down for a bit. Janet was quiet for maybe fifteen minutes but I sensed nowhere near sleeping, then wouldn’t stop talking. She demonstrated an arm exercise she had done in the gym earlier and talked a lot about swimming tomorrow and music therapy. I don’t think she’s getting worked up about either one, she just knows tomorrow is a busy day.

I let Janet get up from the right side of the bed for a change and after I helped get her right foot over the edge she used her abs to sit herself up. High five! It actually seemed easier for her than pushing with her arm on the left side but I really had to help get the leg over where as on the other side she can do it herself sometimes. Our first task was to have a Skype chat with Leslie. While we were waiting I went to get waters for us and Janet asked if she should say hi first or Leslie. I explained we weren’t calling until I got back but thought that was really good awareness to ask that. The conversation went well for the first fifteen minutes then Janet started to lose focus. We are excited that Leslie and Gavin are coming out to visit at the end of June as in person chats are always better than Skype.

Janet helped set the table for dinner tonight then ate a big bowl of pasta that Chris made. Pretty cool to see him standing at the stove making dinner. Could be Janet one day? Garrett and I convinced Janet to go to the gym for some leg stretches. She only had a minor breakdown regarding the gym tonight as I was able to commend her on the good workout Lorne gave her in the morning and how much better she’s doing her “standing” transfers today. It seems like giving her tangible evidence of why to do something weighs big for her. We also made it fun with Garrett challenging her to make her own way to the gym. She had a little break in her room then I sent her off. She immediately turned right out of her room as that’s the way she goes 99% of the time so after I corrected her on that she took off. I stayed back and spied on her as she slowly but surely made her way all the way to the gym. She never crashed into one wall and kept propelling herself with her foot and by using her hand on the wheelchair wheel. Something I constantly have to remind her about when I’m with her. She overshot the gym door as it’s on her right side so that was expected and then went in for a good stretch with Garrett.

After her workout, Brian, Garrett and I had a good chat about Janet’s Mondays. She is definitely not at her best on Mondays and I am concerned that the weekends at home are too much for her as Monday has turned into a catch up day. Now that she has swimming Monday mornings the routine has changed and if I can get her to bed in decent time Sunday night that may help. We agreed to have me take her home later on Fridays so she can get another gym session in before the weekend and I will try and do a little stretching at home with her. Janet continues to improve her conversation abilities and her overall awareness although her volume level was low for me today. Jess said she was talking well this morning.

We read some more Slow Dance before bed and Janet picked up right away on the description of the ladies dog getting all depressed when he saw a suitcase getting packed. Our dog has always behaved that way and Janet recognized that without help. We got some bittersweet news today. We knew it was coming but had hoped it wouldn’t be this soon, at least that’s how I feel. Fred will be moving to a Connect facility in Langley this Sunday. He has been a reliable source of laughter from day one at Connect and it has been a privilege to watch him progress. This is a good move for him but he will be missed. Praying for lots of rest tonight in preparation for a busy day tomorrow.

Tan Lines. Janet basking in her glory. #TSJ

Jess said Janet had reluctantly gone to bed for a nap around 1:30 and could be sleeping when I arrived just after two. I left her alone for a bit in hopes she was but when I tried sneaking into her room at three she was looking at me with a huge grin on her face and said she had not slept and was just listening to music. She described her day as OK and said she had done “nothing”, except have breakfast but that was only toast with jam. Garrett later confirmed that Janet said no to a shower and no to the gym this morning and had a decent sleep in. That seems to be common for Monday’s so it’ll be interesting to see how she does in the pool next week.

Janet started getting up from bed and I asked her what she was doing. She told me she had to go to the bathroom so once she was up I got her over to the toilet and away she went. Another good sign of improved awareness. We then headed for the patio and happy hour. Janet devoured an orange and drank her water while I read the comments on our video that so many of you sent our way. Janet is truly encouraged by the feedback even from those of you we’ve never met. In fact some of those comments have gotten the most reaction from her. She still struggles a little with thinking she didn’t look good or do good in the video but the more feedback I read her from all of you the better she feels about it all. Thank you!

Garrett and I convinced Janet to go to the gym before dinner and she returned from a good workout an hour later with a smile on her face. She did seem a little confused at times this evening. Giving silly answers to simple questions and not knowing some basic family questions. When we Skyped with Andrew after dinner she thought he was her brother and even told Garrett that later. Andrew asked Janet about the church video and Janet couldn’t remember what he was talking about even after a pretty good explanation. I played it for her after we talked to Andrew and it all came back to her minus the crying. Yay! She never seemed to be in a state of total confusion so I’m not overly concerned but I would like to get in and see the neurologist sooner rather than later.

The first of each month is weigh in day for everyone and Janet logged another gain. She wisely said “that’s a lot” when I asked her if she thought she weighed 412 pounds. She did guess 117 pounds which is not too far off. As long as I’ve known her she has feared being too big so she always looks a little concerned when I tell her she’s gained weight but I’ve given her an arbitrary goal and we’re not there yet so all is well. As part of reporting her weight to Garrett I had Janet take some Easter candy that Kiko kindly dropped off today to share with those that were hanging around. Janet smiled the whole time she was offering the treats and seemed genuinely happy to be doing it. It’s good to share.

Before bed, Janet asked if I would read some Slow Dance to her. We certainly aren’t moving through that book very fast and it’s too bad because what we read tonight had a lot of similarities to Janet’s experience. She even shot me a few knowing glances as I read. Again, more awareness. The bedtime routine went well and because Janet didn’t nap this afternoon the lights were out a little earlier than usual. All things considered Janet had a pretty good day and even has a little tan line starting on her chest. That’s why we live here folks.

Praying for a restful night that enables lots of healing and brings energy and awareness for a productive tomorrow.