beach

A Sunny Christmas. January 2. #TSJ

Happy New Year everybody! We hope you all had a merry Christmas. Ours was spent in sunny California with family doing mostly untraditional Christmas things. Since this is a new year and the start of a new season for Janet and I, we are going to change up this blog a little. I would like Janet to contribute more to the content so, each time she will be invited to either write, dictate or do a video report on the highlights of recent events. Either way the narrative will be more from her voice than mine. For this one, Janet is going to dictate her account of our Christmas vacation, you’ll see that at the bottom of the page.

Our flight to San Diego went through Seattle and since Janet uses a wheelchair in airports we received VIP treatment the whole way. We were met at Sea-Tac by a young man named Jama, who personally escorted us through Customs, helped us claim and re check our bags, got us through Security then took us on three train rides to our connecting flight. If it wasn’t for him knowing exactly where to go and getting us to the front of each line, we wouldn’t have made our connection. Big props to Alaska Airlines and a company called Bags for providing exemplary service. Janet travelled very well, even managing the five steps up and down for the little plane from Kelowna. She made only one trip to the bathroom on the flight to San Diego and managed most of it herself. Another couple of flights and as long as the ride is smooth she’ll be able to toilet solo.

The focus of the trip was to spend time with Andrew, Laurel, Raj, Heather, Allan, Cam and Gina as much as possible. The first five nights were spent at a rented house that turned out to be a poor choice for Janet. It was a little small, cold and dark with too many different floor types and a bathroom that was configured such that she needed assistance every time she went. The shower was not usable for her either so by the time we got to our hotel for the last four nights even Janet never argued about taking a shower. We tried not to schedule too many activities in favour of building each day as it came. Janet had maybe three naps the entire trip and was a willing participant for most things each day.

The big thing on everyone’s list was the San Diego Zoo so that’s where we spent Christmas Day. Janet loved the monkeys the most and even braved the skyride over the park. The wheelchair we rented for the trip was adequate and we could not have done without it. We were limited a little as far as start times for each day as Janet takes a fair bit of time getting dressed, fed and toileted and I stress a little about taking Janet out before she’s had a good chance at the bathroom. We missed a trip to La Jolla with the kids one morning based on that but ended up walking around Balboa Park for a few hours which was really nice. Everywhere we went on this trip we saw people with dogs and Janet couldn’t get over it. There was a Dog Wash close to our house and we saw many dogs on restaurant patios as well. If it wasn’t for the flight, Nash could have joined us.

Sunshine was abundant but the temperatures colder than anticipated. Janet never got into shorts and usually had a light sweater on too. She enjoyed the sunshine at the beaches but the breeze was cool enough to keep her from basking in the sun as she likes to. She was scared to walk on the sand but actually did very well when she tried and if it wasn’t for a one meter drop that split the beach in two Janet could’ve made it to the water in Carlsbad. Not that it was warm enough to swim in but it would’ve been fun to have her dip her toes into. Next time.

Janet ate well during the trip and there was lots to eat. That seemed to be the focus a lot of the days and provided some of the more memorable moments too. We all had a fun dinner with Cam’s fiancĂ©, Gina’s, parents one night as they braved a lot of traffic to drive from Costa Mesa to meet us. Janet seemed happy with every meal and especially liked the sushi and fish tacos.

All in all it was a fun way to spend Christmas and Janet and I hope to do it again with some modifications. Here’s her report on it all. Until next time,

In Janet’s words;

We went to the zoo and it was fun, although long. I spent a lot of time with Andrew and I don’t usually get to. It was good. I had lots of time to spend with my kids. The weather was good except for the end when it got cold. I didn’t need my bathing suit. The food was good, it was fresh and I had shrimp tacos that were really good. At the house we stayed at we hung out on the patio one night with a fire and it was fun even though it was cold. Balboa Park was pretty and it was big and it was nice to be out in the sun. We stayed to watch the sunset one time and it was pretty. It was fun being with my kids the whole time.

Christmas PJs. Cam, Raj, Janet, Andrew, Allan, Laurel, Heather.

Christmas PJs. Cam, Raj, Janet, Andrew, Allan, Laurel, Heather.

Heather and Janet on  the Zoo SkyRide.

Heather and Janet on the Zoo SkyRide.

A tropical Christmas portrait.

A tropical Christmas portrait.

California living?

California living?

Enjoying the sun at Balboa Park.

Enjoying the sun at Balboa Park.

On the beach at Coronado Resort.

On the beach at Coronado Resort.

Janet walked that pathway from those rocks behind her. Nice place to exercise. Carlsbad Beach.

Janet walked that pathway from those rocks behind her. Nice place to exercise. Carlsbad Beach.

Walking around in sunny Carlsbad.

Walking around in sunny Carlsbad.

Looks warmer than it was.

Looks warmer than it was.

Worth waiting for.

Worth waiting for.

Janet, A Success Story. July 20. #TSJ

You know its’ been hot when you think 28 degrees is cool. That’s what it was this afternoon as Janet and I strolled the beaches in our neighbourhood. We discovered this really cool ramp into the water, with hand rails, at Rotary Beach, so now I just have to convince Janet to “jump” in the lake. Wish me luck.

This past weekend was very relaxing and Janet and I had a lot of time together just hanging out. Friday evening was our Small Group meeting with Annie and Patrick, the only two that have persevered with us and we appreciate them for their openness and willingness to share. Saturday morning was a visit with John, who seems to be doing a little better, then church in the evening which got Janet’s brain wheels spinning and we had a good discussion well into the evening.

That was it for formal events, the rest of the time was spent walking around the neighbourhood, sitting in the sun, walking to do some errands, cooking and watching a little TV. Janet walked around the house a lot and is still doing great with it save for some overthinking when going down the steps into the garage. Going up seems to be much more automatic. She admits to being quite nervous walking still and that makes it more difficult and sweaty. Janet never was much of a sweater but she sure can get it going now when she’s walking on her own.

At home Janet does great in getting herself to the bathroom when she needs to, which is quite often lately. When we are out, she’s not doing so well and I think it’s time for a doctor visit to see what can be done. I don’t expect the GP to have much to offer but I hope we can get a referral to a urologist. In my opinion its definitely a neurological issue, not physical so it may be really tough to treat. It could also just be a temporary set back and that’s what I’m hoping for.

One of the highlights of the weekend was watching the movie Forrest Gump. I don’t know why, but neither of us remembers watching the whole movie before and we so enjoyed it. Janet said there wasn’t a dull moment in the entire film and she was in tears at the end. A strange reaction to liking a movie but touching just the same. Its a lot of fun and actually very special to be able to watch something like that and have Janet totally understand the storyline and get most of the jokes and even remember some of it the next day. Love her.

Praying for a solid night of sleep for Janet and a dry and productive Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. March 13. #TSJ

My phone call to Janet today found her just getting back to Connect from a walk to the beach with Wes, Curtis, Garrett and Humberto. She seemed quite excited about it and a little concerned that she had to use Wes’s wheelchair as the footrest for hers was in our car. Oh well, it added to the adventure.

Cam and I met Janet later in the day as she was singing and grating carrots in preparation for a dinner she was not going to eat. She wasn’t complaining though. Curtis informed us that he was practicing sit to stands with Janet today and having her not use her arm at all. He said she did very well as long as she followed him very closely. I’ll have to get him to demonstrate so Janet can practice with me.

It was a little early for dinner when Janet was done with the carrots so we went for a little walk around the neighbourhood. Nice to be in the sun again. I chose to take us to Ric’s Grill near the airport as we could easily drop Cam at the airport afterwards. Bad choice. Terrible service, it took forever for our food to arrive and the quality was mediocre, especially considering the prices. Don’t bother. Janet and I were kind of excited about going there as a Connect resident recently was hired as First Cook. We asked the hostess if he was working as soon as we arrived and never heard from her again until we were leaving. She acted all surprised that the cook never came out to see us. Whatever. We enjoyed our time with Cam and that was the main point.

Things went downhill a little further upon our return to Connect. Janet did a great job with the Standing Frame after being a little grumpy going into it. She then went on her own to get her meds and brought them back to the living room to take them. I normally just watch to make sure she gets all four pills and think nothing of it. This time though, I noticed a different pill in the package. I pulled them away from Janet and went to the med room to ask Chelsea to help figure out what was going on. Turns out Janet’s doctor changed her prescription as a result of the blood test Janet went for yesterday but no one told me or the staff that hands out the meds. The change is in a good direction and could have been a positive event, but for me it was a little scary and a lot maddening to discover it after Janet had opened the package. I will follow up tomorrow.

The med issue didn’t concern Janet at all and she happily got ready for bed so I could read to her and she lasted right to 10:30. In fact she was still quite awake when I left so I’m praying she gets a good night’s sleep, has lots of energy and a positive attitude for tomorrow.

Another hole in the head. Janet goes to the dentist. #TSJ

I let Janet sleep in today knowing she wouldn’t likely have time for a nap this afternoon. She was quite happy to snooze a little longer in the sun from when she woke up just after eight. Breakfast was nice and relaxed but we somehow ended up being a little rushed to get to KGH for swimming. The pool sessions were good today with Janet having more control of her right leg than on Thursday. That allowed her to do some decent “walking”, making it about one and a half lengths of the pool with assistance. Her floating wasn’t quite as good today but she allowed me to get her face underwater briefly a couple times and she didn’t panic at all. The confidence is growing. I noticed a big difference in her flexibility compared to the hot tub even though there’s only two degrees difference in temperature. Janet felt pretty good about her pool sessions today but says she liked the hot tub better because it’s warmer.

Before we left the house this morning we made sandwiches for lunch as we only had a half hour between swimming and the dentist. We sat in the car near the beach and enjoyed those then made our way to Creekside Dental. Janet was a little apprehensive about this appointment and was starting to fade a little but Collette, Tannis and Colin treated her like royalty and she stayed awake and cooperated very well the whole hour she was in the chair. The cavities she had before getting sick are still there unfortunately so she has to go back a couple more times over the next month or so to have those filled in. Colin assured me he didn’t see anything going on in Janet’s mouth that would indicate side effects from Dilantin and I was happy to hear that. With her new toothbrush and floss in hand we drove off to Connect.

By the time we arrived at Connect it was happy hour so we sat out in the sun while Janet ate an apple and drank some water. I think I was pretty good about not nagging her to drink today and pointed out the benefit of having the fluoride treatment at the dentist where you aren’t allowed to drink for half an hour afterwards. She was please I couldn’t nag her then. Janet ate her apple quickly giving us time to walk down the street to a little beach on Wood Lake. That walk and beach are not nearly as nice as around KGH but it’s what we have this summer and I am glad we have something. All those trips to the beach last summer were nice but I was never sure how much Janet was getting out of them. Today her face lit right up when we got to the beach and she constantly was looking around at all there was to see. She even followed and smiled at a couple of noisy Canada geese that flew by maybe twenty meters away from us. We watched a couple of boats that were playing on the lake and she agreed it looked like fun. Time to see if I can get her in and out of one so we can give it a try!

With dinner done the next event was the usual argument about going to the gym. Janet capitulated eventually on the condition that I go too. Bob joined us and worked Janet’s legs while I did her right shoulder and arm. We both noticed nice improvements and Janet didn’t mind the workout at all. She wanted me to read some Slow Dance with her before bed and we had a good discussion about what we’d read afterwards with Janet remembering one of the topics we had read about. Considering the lack of a nap and the busyness of the day Janet did very well to stay up until nine but was happy to say goodnight. Praying for lots of rest and healing and a good day with a more regular routine tomorrow.