Janet, A Success Story. December 10. #TSJ #Independence

Its still too early to nail down any sort of routine for Janet living at home full time. Each week brings different appointments and responsibilities so in that regard Janet has been kept busy in various ways. Since the craziness of her homecoming weekend there hasn’t been a day without something significant going on.

I’ve backed off on taking Janet to H2O as often as I’d like as there is already some resistance developing and I want Janet to want to go. It’s not always fun working out but I hope to get her to the point where she sees the benefit and is willing to go without hesitation. The times we have been have taught us it takes a lot longer for her to go through every element than we thought. If Janet does everything on her list, it’s a good two and half hour outing, which is fine, we just have to figure out how to fit things into the rest of the day.

A friend of ours recently asked if we would meet with the mother of a young lady in KGH who is going through a similar situation that Janet did. Janet was all over the opportunity to share and encourage and has twice been to the young lady’s room to read to her or just hang out. It has been very cool to watch Janet in that hospital room knowing she was there two and a half years ago. She’s handling it very well and wants to go regularly, each time we are there also provides an encounter with someone who cared for Janet back then. She has received lots of “wow, look at you” and “you look great” and “I’m so happy to see you”. So much so that I think she’s actually starting to believe those compliments. Janet laughs each time we meet someone as it happens all over the hospital and she repeatedly comments that “we can’t go anywhere without being recognized”. Celeb.

Continuing in the spirit of sharing and encouraging, Janet went back to Connect today to sing with Debra. She dreaded the drive out there even though she was only visiting. Too many bad memories still. When she arrived though, it was all smiles. We spent a half hour with Debra singing Christmas songs and Debra would like to do it again next week and Janet is happy about that. Singing was an amazing tool for Janet and I can see the benefits to Debra already as she smiled and laughed a lot.

Christmas Sing Along with Janet

Christmas Sing Along with Janet

A major goal for Janet being at home is to be as independent as possible and she took a huge step in that direction today. I’ve left her home alone a few times so far for various lengths of time and with different projects to attempt. Tonight, at her request, she was to make chocolate haystacks while I worked at the church for a few hours. Never before have I even considered leaving Janet to cook anything unattended but she was really wanting to try this, so after dinner, a reading of the recipe and a walkthrough of the procedures, I left. To fill out the time I would be away Janet chose to watch a movie then do her baking. I fully expected a phone call anytime the whole time I was away and was tempted to call her myself but didn’t. When I got home three hours later Janet was standing at the sink with a huge grin on her face washing the pot she’d used for the haystacks. The house smelled like chocolate and a nice collection of tasty treats were cooling on the island.


She did it! She followed the recipe, except for the coconut, operated the cooktop and cleaned up after herself, all by herself! Amazing! So happy!


With all that said, things are going well at home so far. Our Christmas vacation to San Diego is approaching and that will become the focus next week I’m sure. Alyssa and I hope to get Janet in the pool Friday as well as find a way to make exercise more fun for her. Praying for Janet’s confidence to keep growing.

Janet, A Success Story. August 20. #TSJ Stubborn

Happily Janet’s cold seems to be going away. She sounded much better today and had lots more energy. Enough energy to put up a ton of resistance towards helping Chelsea make a cake and for doing any form of exercise tonight even though all she had done during the day was the bike.

When Janet called me this afternoon she excitedly told me how she had just read The Hallo-Wiener to Garrett and Curtis. She was quite happy she was able to do it and admitted she was nervous about reading to an audience. Mary Lou had encouraged her to try as it would be good practice for reading at a pre school. That was the good Janet. Things had shifted dramatically by the time I got to Connect and the majority of our evening was spent “discussing” the many reasons why Janet is at Connect and what her responsibilities are while she’s there. I was disappointed with her seeming lack of desire to help out around there and the false expectation that she should be waited on all the time. Those are very un Janet like characteristics and this was the second day in a row I’ve noticed them. It’s good that Janet is able to assert her feelings and wants but I don’t think its acceptable combined with a complete disconnect for other’s feelings and wants. We reached a resolution when Janet admitted she didn’t want to help with the cake because she feels she won’t be able to help or do enough based on having use of only one arm. When reminded of the good help she’s provided while baking at home she felt better about her situation but in the end only watched Chelsea and cheered her on a little. As far as the exercise goes, Janet finally agreed to do the stairs after realizing that going home on weekends is a privilege that is earned by doing the required work during her days at Connect.

Through it all there was still time for sitting in the sun and going for a nice stroll to watch some soccer before the bedtime reading session which lasted a short twenty minutes tonight as I don’t like reading out loud to myself and a snoring Janet.

Praying for another good night of healing sleep and for Janet to have a positive Thursday.

PS. Janet and I will be on CBC Radio this Friday afternoon just after 5pm PDT. The programme is called Radio West and is broadcast throughout the BC Interior. Thanks to technology, those of you not in our area can stream it live here , if you miss it, I hope to post a recording on this blog over the weekend.

Janet, A Success Story. June 26. #TSJ Early Weekend

When Janet called me after lunch today I could sense right away where she was steering the conversation to. Yesterday she repeatedly asked if she could come home early for the weekend since its going to be such a busy one. I made her the usual deal of getting all her therapies done by lunchtime then we’d talk. She couldn’t tell me fast enough that she’d done just that then asked again if she could come home. How could I say no and why would I?

Janet agreed to a nap before I picked her up though and she was just getting up when I arrived. We are having some of the Connect staff over for a BBQ tomorrow so there was work to be done as soon as we got home and getting dinner was first up. Pizzas are a good project for Janet to help with and she loves eating them so that was dinner tonight. We are developing a good routine around pizza making. Janet, in her wheelchair, is able to get a lot of the ingredients and turn the oven on and she’s awesome and putting the sauces on before building the actual pizzas. It used to be that half of her toppings would end up anywhere but on her pizza. Not so now, she is creating masterpieces.

For the BBQ Janet was pretty insistent on having a dessert and wanted to make a carrot cake, her favourite. My baking past is not pretty so I was a reluctant participant in our effort tonight but I must say the end result looks pretty good and the icing is awesome. Janet broke eggs and mixed things together for the cake really well then decided to chat with Laurel for a bit while I figured out the icing. After catching up a little on our So You Think You Can Dance watching, Janet iced the carrot cake before going to bed.

Because of all the kitchen work, Janet was in her wheelchair more than I would’ve liked tonight but that is the best way for her to be able to help. She did stand to ice the cake and had to walk up the two steps from the garage when we got home today as I’ve taken away the wheelchair ramp. There is a grab bar on her left side and using that she effortlessly got up both steps. High five! I may not put the ramp back if going down the steps is just as good.

Praying for a night of reenergizing sleep and a fun Friday.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #CitizenCane

Talking on the phone with Janet at lunch time today she mentioned she had been up at the parallel bars. I asked her how that went, expecting the usual, “terrible”. Instead she surprised me with “fairly well”. In fact, according to Jess and Tez, it went “quite well”. Janet said she was in the sling and walked around the bars a few times while holding onto the bar. In fact, she did eight laps of the parallel bars using a cane! Why she didn’t tell me that I don’t know and when I congratulated her she was her usual self in saying, “it’s no big deal”. Yes it is.

The only exercise Janet hadn’t done prior to nap time was the Standing Frame and she chose to get in it soon after I arrived. She is standing straighter than ever these days and putting a little more weight through her right leg.

Dinner time was a little quiet with Kieran not around but still fun and Janet had a decent Skype chat with Andrew afterwards. The big event of the evening was baking granola bars with Chelsea. Janet’s table is responsible for bringing snacks to SheLife tomorrow so Chelsea offered to help Janet bake something. Janet seemed a little tired half way into it but contributed well and had the whole house wondering what the yummy smell was. We’ll find out tomorrow if they taste any good.

After some YouTube and reading Janet fell asleep earlier than usual closing out a successful day for her. Praying for a night of deep and restorative sleep allowing for a productive tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #baking

Slow out of the gate again this morning Janet was full of energy so I guess letting her sleep in was a good thing. With coffee in hand she had a good Skype chat with Laurel before we watched the Men’s Championship match from the Aussie Open. Janet was cheering for Rafael Nadal but learned to like his opponent, Stanislas Wawrinka, who ended up winning. Janet seems to be able to really connect with the tennis players as they are not all covered up as other athletes are and there are only two on a court with TV providing plenty of close ups. She enjoys hearing their stories and really does get emotionally connected to what she’s watching. The Aussie Open was great fun and hopefully there is more tennis in our future.

Not having all the supplies needed to continue our work with Janet’s memorabilia we decided to try some baking. Yikes! It actually was a lot of fun as Janet was eager and knowledgeable and able to help quite a bit. I had to run to the store for eggs and when I returned Janet had most of the other ingredients out on the counter ready to go. We made Janet’s famous lemon squares and in the true spirit of baking are giving them away to an unsuspecting couple. I hope they turned out!

Janet faded late in the afternoon and had a very long nap not getting up until almost six o’clock. Again, it seemed to do her good as we enjoyed a nice dinner which I got ready as she talked to Andrew on Skype. She was able to keep the conversation going for a decent amount of time and only looked to me for answers a few times. She’s getting close to being able to initiate these chats on her own so beware.

Dinner was late and so were The Grammys so by the time we got back to Connect it was time for bed and a little reading. Janet enjoyed a leisurely weekend and hopefully is recharged and ready to tackle the week ahead. Praying for complete healing and thanking God for all we are blessed with.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #baking

Janet and I slept in a little this morning after being up a little late last night. Laurel and Heather got her helping with some Christmas baking after breakfast and a Skype chat with Mary/Gaga in which Janet wasn’t quite as chatty as she can be. The baking went on for a long time but Janet said she enjoyed it and was glad to help.

We didn’t do any formal exercise today but Janet’s transfers continue to improve and she managed a couple of unassisted stands from her wheelchair one of which included a nice turn to sit on the couch with no help at all. High five! We did a little standing and walking this afternoon as well with no significant changes to report. The ankle brace is helping but the AFO will be much better.

After a little afternoon nap Janet helped with dinner prep but seemed a little low on energy still. She said she was fine and just didn’t have anything to say. The girls all watched a movie before bed and by the end of the day she said she had enjoyed her time with the girls baking and is looking forward to the Seahawks game tomorrow.

Praying for a deep and healing sleep tonight and lots of energy tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #SheLife

Renovation Day Three saw walls come down, wiring pulled and final decisions made on placement of appliances etc. Here’s a look at where we are at now.
New House Day 3S

New House Day 3N

Janet was waiting for me in anticipation of going to her She Life group at the church tonight. First stop though was Diving Dynamics to try on a wet suit they brought in for her. It was a little challenging to put on but once it was on it fit well and looks good on her. The guys at the dive shop are confident it will keep Janet warm enough to enjoy the public pool and we will give it a go tomorrow morning. Next stop was home so Janet could see for herself what’s been happening. She admitted there is so much happening its hard for her to keep up.

Earlier in the day Janet helped Jess make cereal squares and Janet brought a pan of them to the church with her. She was quite excited about them and they were really good. The She Life session went quite long tonight but Janet was still smiling at the end and was able to tell me a pretty good recap of what happened. I notice a different sparkle in her eyes when she’s there and am really glad she’s enjoying it.

After downing her meds once we got back to Connect Janet was quick to say she wanted to get ready for bed then was sleeping before our prayers were done. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and lots of energy for a good day tomorrow especially at the pool.