Janet, A Success Story. May 25. #TSJ

Mornings are becoming pretty routine around the house as Janet gets more familiar with things. She’s doing more of her dressing and personal grooming and I didn’t have to coach her on breakfast at all today. At lunch she turned the oven on with no assistance. The cooktop is still a challenge as its hard for Janet to see the controls while sitting in her wheelchair so as soon as she’s more confident with standing and walking we’ll get her working that more.

Janet eagerly practiced her reading this morning and read out loud to me using a bit of expression. Nice to hear! The Skype chat with Mary/Gaga seemed fine and brought the good news that Keith is home from the hospital and “doing well”. We seem to have sent our nice weather out to them for the day so Janet and I had to come up with inside activities today and she chose scanning old photos. That was a good call on her part as we are a long ways from being done and hadn’t worked on it for a while. Its not a lot of fun but we are both glad we are making progress and can see it will be cool when we are finished.

After a long and late nap Janet re hydrated herself while I made dinner. She was in no mood to return to Connect and took me up on every offer that kept her home a little while longer. Including watching the second half of a basketball game and then a little French Open tennis. I made sure the music was playing as we drove to Connect so at least the ride was happy and by freestyle walking all the way to her room Janet was too tired to be sad at being back.

Walking attempts were few today but of high quality and there was no mention of the sore right foot. Praying Janet gets lots of sleep tonight and is willing and able to fully participate in tomorrow’s activities.

Janet, A Success Story. April 7. #TSJ

Janet went right back to work today at Connect with a morning walk from the dining area to her room. That’s the longest walk she’s been on, close to 80 feet, and she was, dare I say, excited about it when I called at lunch time. She repeated that distance this afternoon with me, going the other direction, and showing improvement in her balance and confidence. Very exciting.

That was for sure the highlight of the day but Janet was in a good mood and quite bright the whole time I was with her. She practiced some hand writing using a workbook Mary Lou gave her and is producing more consistent letters than before. After reading The Artisan Soul, which talks a lot about artistic freedom, it is hard for me to tell Janet to stay between the lines, but I think it’s best she does. Janet reluctantly agreed to a Standing Frame session after dinner. It had been a while since her last session partly because of the pain she was complaining of in her right leg. That seems to be diminishing as Jess was able to stretch Janet well this morning and I got no mentions of pain tonight. Fortunately the NCAA basketball championship was on while Janet was standing and that provided a nice distraction and a fun way for Janet to end a very hard working day.

Praying for lots of strength and a positive attitude for tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. March 23. #TSJ

If Janet was to habitually wake me up at 4am I would not be impressed. This morning it was more than welcomed as she wasn’t waking me to go to the bathroom or reach for the puke bucket, she wanted a glass of water. A sure sign she was getting better! We made the most of being awake by including a successful bathroom trip, a wash of the face and a re-tucking into bed. Before falling back to sleep she asked if it was time to get up and she would ask again at 6:30 then finally around 8:40 I let her. The rest had done her a lot of good and she happily got her water and took her meds before making a cup of coffee. She was more enthusiastic about it than her body would allow and after a half piece of toast and a few sips of coffee she was done.



Since we missed church last night we tried the eleven this morning and although Janet was reluctant at first it turned out to be a great experience. She stood during worship way longer than I expected and really connected to Wayne’s message, even going up to him on her own at the end of the service to tell him. Wayne lovingly prayed with her as Laurel and I stood back and watched God at work. Beautiful.

Seemingly scared to take in too much food, Janet managed half a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch but was more than willing to go for a nice long walk in the sunshine with Laurel and I. Before we left I felt Janet was very capable of walking to the bathroom and she did to Laurel’s amazement. It struck me then that maybe I haven’t described Janet’s walking abilities in as much detail as needed to paint a good picture in this blog so I will try and get some video to share with y’all this week. The fresh air and warmth of the sun during our walk around the surrounding neighbourhoods was rejuvenating I’m sure and set Janet up nicely for a much needed nap. She woke up a couple hours later calling me loud enough to hear her over the TV as Laurel and I watched basketball. Janet was eager to do the same and settled in on the couch until dinner, finally able to relax and enjoy Laurel’s company.

Tell me they don't look alike.

Tell me they don’t look alike.

Dinner was not the usual Janet sized portion but very respectable considering, and it was more than I ate as I started to feel some of her symptoms. They’ve subsided as I write and hopefully go away all together. We sadly dropped Laurel off at the airport on our way back to Connect with Janet feeling loved as a mom. She really wanted me to read for awhile once in bed and although what I read was fascinating, Janet was asleep less than half an hour in. No surprise.

Thanking Jesus for his bountiful blessings and praying that Janet is completely recovered tomorrow and able to fully participate in her day.

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

Garrett and Karl ran Janet through a pretty busy first half of the day so when I got to Connect she was finishing a nap. The new exercise routine had been followed well we found out from Tiffany as Janet couldn’t remember exactly what she’d done other than stand on the two scales. The AFO continues to fit fine and once up from her nap Janet was eager to do more exercise so she could be done with it. She had a good workout on the Shuttle, all right leg stuff with me trying hard not to support her leg too much. Her one legged pedalling on the bike was noticeably better than yesterday and Janet was able to go at a steady enough pace to not feel it was stupid.

We stayed for dinner at Connect and Janet transferred nicely to and from the dinner table. Afterwards, we drove to UBCO to watch some basketball and I had Janet propel herself to our car then from the car into the gym. I don’t think she’s too thrilled about this new level of responsibility but she’s doing extremely well at it with the only obstacle being her fear of going too fast on a downhill part. Transferring from wheelchair to seat at the game was a little more challenging because of the weight of the AFO. Janet has to step up a one foot ledge to get to the seating level and needs a lot of assistance in doing so but made it. Our timing was perfect as it was halftime in the women’s game and we left at halftime of the men’s game. The games were entertaining with the women winning a close one and the guys holding an unexpected lead at the half. It’s just too late for us to stay for all the guys game though and their game is a little too fast for Janet to really follow. She gets the women’s game pretty good now.

Getting back into her wheelchair to leave UBCO was much easier than getting out as it was down hill and Janet confidently wheeled out of the gym in a nice straight line in front of quite a large crowd. I thought she might feel a little awkward doing that but not so. We finished the night off with some good tennis and ice cream and Janet being very pleased to be home.

Prying for a deep and re-energizing sleep and a productive tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 54. Randy installed all the shelves in the kitchen and by the fireplace and finished the drawers in the Island. That allowed us to load the new pots and pans as well as one big box of other kitchen stuff and tomorrow we can do a bunch more. Yeah!

After a good night’s sleep Janet was ready to get up a little later than her usual time and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in anticipation of doing some work before Laurel’s arrival in the afternoon. Janet accepted the job of vacuuming the furniture which is easier here with the central vacuum but still a good workout for her. Between that and putting away stuff in the kitchen it was a busy morning.

Janet was very excited that Laurel was arriving today and demonstrated that with a big smile and a shake of her fist as we pulled out of the garage to go get her. We stopped and grabbed take out at Urban Fare to eat at home as Janet was really wanting Laurel to see the place. She gave her the tour as soon as we got there and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and looking for recipes to do some baking tomorrow.

Laurel’s alma matter, UNBC, was playing at UBCO tonight so we drove in the wet snow to see that game. Susanne met us there and Janet really enjoyed the evening. The game was entertaining and Janet loved talking to her daughter and friend instead of just me. The game was webcast and Laurel’s former coach was watching in Prince George and messaged her to say she saw us and that Janet looks great. Indeed she does and Janet got a kick out of the fact someone saw her from so far away, especially someone she knows. Thanks for the hello Loralyn, that was cool.

The dinner choice was Janet’s and she wanted Asian Pear and was very conscious of not eating as much as she did last time, remembering her sore tummy afterwards. Janet ate well and I had the opportunity to tell her how much she’s improved in that area as I saw her calmly sitting there eating and drinking. I used to be quite stressed when we first were able to go out, worrying how much she would spill on herself, would she choke, could she even pick up the food on her plate. Tonight she served herself from the buffet and I think dropped one snow pea on the floor. She’s come along way!

I had heard that was interviewing Kevin Durant today and since he was Janet’s favourite basketball player prior to getting sick I though we would try and watch it. Turned out to be a very interesting and inspiring message, check it here if you like. We all gained respect for him as a person and Janet connected with his statement that you have to work at growing spiritually. For fun to end the evening we tried out the new Karaoke Channel on TV. Once I got used to selecting the songs it was kind of fun and I think we will make this a regular thing to keep Janet’s vocal exercises going.

The first full day at home for the weekend was a good one with Janet staying bright and with it all day. We ditched her wheelchair footrest this morning, at least for when she’s in the house, and so far so good. For most outside trips we’ll still use it but I figure if she’s starting to walk she better start using that leg to propel her chair as well.

Praying for a good night of rest that brings lots of energy for tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 39. I’m writing this from our new bed, or at least the unpacked mattress. I’m very excited as this is the first time I’ve slept on a bed in forty one days.

This was a crazy busy day as expected. The blinds are installed, the appliances are all here and Randy and plumber Frank worked hard all day to keep things on schedule. I tried getting things ready for them as they moved through the various areas and all was going well until I moved the fridge into place and discovered we used an incorrect measurement for the height of it. Disappointing, but nothing a sledge hammer can’t fix. That was the easy part, now Randy has to rebuild the bottom of that cupboard. Oops.

To my surprise Janet was in bed when I finally got to Connect at five o’clock. She was awake of course and Brent informed me she’d been nodding off around three so he got her to lay down. She had done the sling walking and Shuttle and stretching so no surprise she was tired. Janet took a little ribbing at the dinner table tonight as she fussed about being served a tuna melt at lunchtime. Sydney capitulated and made Janet a grilled cheese instead, something that typically isn’t supposed to happen so the words princess and queen were being thrown around tonight in jest. There were lots of laughs.

I convinced Janet to go to the basketball game at UBCO after dinner and I’m really glad we went. The last time I took Janet to a game was February and compared to tonight she didn’t have a clue what was going on then. Tonight she followed the play well, reacted to things happening appropriately and could tell me the score each time I asked her. Not only that but she stood up and sang along to O Canada before the men’s game started. A few times during the action she made comments about certain players. and noticed that the UVIC team all had the same “yucky” blue shoes. Janet couldn’t stop talking about the between game chat with Simon, a family friend and the Simon that worked with Janet at Connect during a practicum this summer. He is now a licensed kinesiologist and is moving to Vancouver soon to start two new jobs there. Simon has been around our family for ten years now and his politeness and kindness has always garnered praise from Janet and he topped that tonight in giving her a hug that is really what she couldn’t stop talking about.

Our time together today was short but fun and a real indicator of how much progress Janet has made. Praying for a solid night’s sleep and a productive day tomorrow.

Water Baby. Lots of pool time for Janet. #TSJ

Janet must’ve known it was Monday as she was in no hurry to get up this morning which normally would be OK but we had an appointment before swimming today so up she had to get. Her right leg on the other hand stayed asleep most of the day. In the pool it was doing its own thing most of the time despite a real effort from Janet. She did manage some good balancing and floating and over all both pool sessions were worth the trip. Even more worth the trip was a reunion with nurse R J as we passed by the Rehab nurses station. He was very excited to see Janet and could not believe she was talking to him. He was as excited as a little kid on Christmas morning and Janet thought the whole thing quite funny.

Unsure of what to do for lunch and with Janet announcing she had to go to the bathroom once we were in the car, I decided to take her home for the bathroom break and a quick lunch. I really need to stop referring to meals as quick with Janet as they never are. It was three o’clock by the time we were done and Janet was clearly getting quite tired. She would have nothing to do with the idea of a nap either at Connect or home but I offered to lay down with her and she accepted that. Asleep within five minutes and still sleeping at 4:30 I called Connect to say we’d be back after dinner. When she woke up after five Janet was refreshed and totally up for a hot tub. That warm water worked its magic on Janet again as I was able to get excellent stretches on both legs and some good work on her right arm and shoulder. With the cooler air temperature and the fact we weren’t in the overheated pool before going to the hot tub we were both able to stay in longer than yesterday and Janet was very relaxed when we got out. Her right leg seemed a little more responsive towards the end of the session and while doing some squats I could feel that leg working a little. Janet later executed some really strong standing transfers that I think even she was happy with.

No longer rushing to get back to Connect we had a good Skype chat with Andrew then a decent dinner before making the half hour drive to Lake Country. Bob had a good basketball game on when we got there so we stayed up too late and watched that but Janet wasn’t really that tired until the end. Regulation time ended at around 9:15 or so and I tried to fool her saying the game was over but she knew it was going into overtime and so she got to watch the whole thing.

Lots of time in the water today, a fun reunion with R J, a nice chat with Andrew and an extended stay at home made for a fun day for Janet. Praying for a good night of sleep and healing and a productive day tomorrow.

Madness Monday. Nice comeback by Janet. #TSJ

For the first time in a while we had to use an alarm to wake up this morning. I wanted to make sure we had lots of time to get to the KGH pool and wasn’t sure how Janet would be feeling today. I showered and got dressed then woke her up. She was not totally pleased with me but gathered herself and got on with it. I didn’t even have to nag her about drinking her water as she was sipping regularly as soon as I served it. Janet took her morning meds well and we were out the door on time.

In the nice warm water, Janet loosened up quickly and after a while got some decent leg kicking action going while I held her afloat. Her best skill in the pool today was standing by far. She was able to go up and down, using her left leg mostly, the farthest I’ve seen yet. I’m still not convinced we are doing things right but we make the best of it. Janet also excelled at floating on her back today. She’s either gaining more confidence in the water or more trust in me and allowing herself to relax more. At one point her head was back almost covering her ears with water and her eyes were closed and I barely had to support her. Not sure if there’s any physical therapy to be gained there but it was nice to see her so relaxed. She didn’t list to the right as much as last time either. No idea why.

Music Therapy with Stephani was next and Janet seemed pleased to see her and didn’t hesitate to get started. The best task I’ve seen so far from Stephani is when she has Janet play some sort of instrument. There are drums and shakers etc. and Janet really enjoys all of those and keeps a pretty strong beat going.

I took Janet home for lunch since we were so close and decided to let her nap there as well. She gave the usual mad battle against the nap with the usual two hour sleep to follow. I actually had to wake her so we could get to Connect in time for dinner. Janet seemed perfectly happy to be back there and was warmly greeted by everyone. Dinner was timed really well as Janet finished just as the basketball game was about to tip. What a great game it was! Janet missed halftime and the first twelve minutes of the second half as Curtis took her to the gym. We talked about going during the first half of the game and Janet laughed sometimes and got mad about it sometimes. Then when it came time to go she completely gave in and “happily” went. I suggested only a fifteen minute stretch but Curtis put her through a full workout and Janet never complained about it. She did say afterwards that it was “terrible” but she said it with a smile.

We watched the end of the game with Janet asking to stay and watch the trophy presentations afterwards so bedtime was later than usual. Her nightime routine went well until minutes after taking her Dilantin she once again tearfully complained of a sore tongue/throat. The pain subsided ten minutes later and she was relaxed and sleepy as I said goodnight. I will talk to nurse Jen and Janet’s doctor about this tomorrow as I have no idea what’s causing the discomfort.

Praying for a night of rest and healing, to know why Janet’s throat was sore and for an energetic day tomorrow.

Simple. A simply enjoyable day. #TSJ

I’m starting to really enjoy Saturdays, especially ones where we have no set agenda. This one started nice and slow with both of us waking up at 7:15 and agreeing it was way too early so back to sleep we went. Well Janet went at least and I hung out beside her just relaxing until she stirred again just after 8:30. That was a little more reasonable so we started the morning routine and by the time breakfast was done it was past 10:30. Janet was cheery and chatty throughout and chose to help me make a pot of chili afterwards that we could let simmer all day and enjoy it whenever we wanted tonight while we watched basketball.

Janet did a good job chopping a couple of very irritating onions, had a little trouble with the peppers as they seem to have tough skins for her to break and was happy to stir things together. This was Janet’s fist attempt at using our new One Touch can opener and she had immediate success after a very brief demonstration. I’m really happy that worked as it’s one more thing she can do on her own.

With the chili cooking we moved to trying on pants and things Janet had elected to keep during the purge but we weren’t sure if they fit. Most didn’t so it looks like a shopping trip is in the works. Sticking with an unintentional Mexican food theme we had quesadillas for lunch, something Janet could participate in the making of. I need to find a way for her to grate cheese. She can’t seem to push hard enough against the grater we have. Suggestions?

Nap time came a little late as we took a long time eating lunch and listening to music but after getting up Janet was nicely refreshed and patiently sat in the sun while I cut and painted her nails. Jess told me the other day that they aren’t allowed to cut toe nails in case they break some skin. That’s a new one on me but I’m happy doing it anyways. We went with bright yellow today in honor of the Spring sunshine and to help cheer on Michigan in their basketball game against Syracuse. It worked!

Today was a nice simple, relaxed, fun and productive day. Janet did very well with her standing transfers, the best yet, with some really strong pushes once I got her most of the way up. Which is not near all the way up of course, but all the way for her. It seems a little like we are starting all this over again and in some ways we are. I think previously, I was able to lift her to a straighter position and therefore thought she was standing more on her own. I now realize she wasn’t doing much of the work then but now I’m starting her off then waiting for that push from her before making any further move. Sometimes it doesn’t come right away and I have to sit her down and try again but more often than not she gives a very definite push and raises herself up noticeably to where I’m mostly just balancing her rather than holding her up. That only lasts a second or two of course but I think she’s learning each time she does it and is gaining a little confidence. Overall I think she gained a lot of confidence today as she accomplished many small but important tasks.

Praying for a restful night and lots of energy tomorrow.

Just Hanging Out. A nice sunny Saturday. #TSJ

Janet and I awoke to the sun streaming into the bedroom and just after Nash barked needlessly at some dog a block away. It was still nice to see the sun and the smile on Janet’s face as she is not as bothered by the dog as I am. She ordered bacon and eggs for breakfast and started with a bowl of yogurt and fresh strawberries and even drank her water without fussing. Without definite plans for the morning the choice was hers as to what we would do. A walk was tempting but it was too cold outside despite it looking like summer. Janet somehow remembered me mentioning cleaning out the rest of her closet and that’s what she chose to do. To make it more fun I hauled things out to the family room where we could enjoy the sun and have the basketball games on in the background. Janet made some good decisions and laughed at a few of the clothes we found. Lots went into donation bags and the last step we have is to try on pants and such to see if they fit her still. Most women seem to have shoe collections, Janet is definitely a shirt person, we even found some with the tags still on them.

At lunch Janet ate the neatest and cleanest I’ve seen yet. I had to help her with he last bit of soup only and I don’t think she dropped more than one crumb of her sandwich. Impressive. All day she did very well in the toileting department, and just before finishing her session before nap time she totally broke down. It was the fastest crash I’ve seen from her and I had to console her like a baby once she was in bed. Within ten minutes she was asleep and woke up almost two hours later bright and ready to go.

My former boss, Gordon, from CedarCreek, popped by for a glass of wine and a little visit and although Janet didn’t really know him well she enjoyed the chat. It could’ve been the 2011 Platinum Viognier we opened but I think it was just nice to sit in the sun and talk to another adult.

Dinner was kept simple tonight so we could watch basketball. Janet did a good job chopping onion and tried really hard to grate cheese but doesn’t seem able or to want to push down hard on things. She’s got the strength to do it just not the technique. Something to work on. My favorite basketball team lost their game tonight so I was sad but a nice ice cream dessert with Janet fixed that and I tucked her into bed shortly before ten after a pretty good day of just hanging out at home.

Praying for rest and healing, especially for the spasticity in her legs to go away.