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

Renovation Day 24. A big day of mudding, sanding and preparing for painting. We also had the electrician come by to install LED pot lights in both bathrooms as we were unable to find suitable fixtures that weren’t stupidly expensive. One week from today our new appliances are scheduled for delivery. The end is near.

I met Janet and the gang at the Kelowna Family Y this morning for a swimming session. Donning the wetsuit is getting easier but it’s not getting easier for Janet to warm up in the water. The pool was particularly cold today even though the staff tried telling us it was twenty eight degrees. No way, I was clod so I can imagine Janet, even with the wetsuit. Eventually she warmed up and impressed the others by swimming lengths on her back, switching from back to tummy and kicking her legs pretty well. Walking was a bit of a lost cause today and I’ll blame it on the cold water combined with the increased spasticity in her right leg. The hot tub was welcome relief for the last twenty minutes and allowed for a good stretch.

We cleared the pool, grabbed a quick lunch at our local Wrap Zone and ate it outside at our house so we could let the dog out for a bit. We met our first grumpy neighbour while Nash did his thing on the lawn. An old guy thought I should be taking Nash “out of the compound” to go to the bathroom. Aint going to happen pops.

From there it was over to KGH for some Botox with Dr. McCann. The original plan was to do Janet’s subscapularis this time around but I felt it way more important to hit her finger flexors, wrist flexors and especially her right leg again. In particular, I hoped there was a way to help Janet gain more ability to push her right foot to the floor and Dr. McCann felt there was and treated her that way. Here’s hoping.

Janet was tired by the time we got back to Connect but wanted to get her bike ride over with before having a nap. Her performance was solid but not record breaking as she was visibly tired half way through the ride. Good effort though and no complaints. She slept for a good hour then wolfed down dinner so we could get to Barb and Gary’s to hand out Halloween candy for a while.
That was a lot of fun but we were all disappointed at the small turn out of maybe forty kids. The neighbourhood usual is in the eighty range. None the less Janet enjoyed seeing all the costumes and did a great job handing out candy and the leftovers certainly won’t go to waste.

We got back to Connect in time to see most of Charlie Brown’s It’s The Great Pumpkin which Janet loved and correctly named all of the characters except Woodstaock.

Praying for an uninterrupted night of deep and healing sleep and lots of energy for an active day tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #moving #skype #hottub #botox

Janet seemed to have one of the best nights’ of sleep she’s had in a while last night. She was asleep before prayer time and I don’t recall her waking until around seven this morning and then she promptly fell back to sleep until nine thirty. Good for her, except that gets our day off to a late start but I’m happy she slept. That sleep probably gave her the good strong voice and brightness she displayed during our Skype chat with Leslie. Fun to listen to.

For work today we decided to finish off Laurel and Heathers’ old room which went quite smoothly as it was mostly a matter of bagging things and getting them out of there. That leaves two major rooms still to be purged, Cams’, which we’ll tackle when he’s home next week and the garage, which will wait till much closer to moving date.

After lunch we drove to what we think would be nice as our future neighborhood and went for a walk. It was nice to be out in the sun and fresh air and that set Janet up nicely for an afternoon nap. Heather was next on the Skype list and Janet was into it enough that I could leave them chat and start dinner. We finished in plenty of time for a relaxing hot tub followed by watching AGT with Janet’s legs in the extenders. With almost two months to go before the next round of Botox I’m a little concerned about the amount of tone in Janet’s legs. It seems like the effect is wearing off sooner this time or things are just different, I don’t know. Her functionality seems the same with a little more command of the right leg and that is good. The hamstrings however seem tighter than they should be at this point. I’m looking forward to Tez joining us at the pool tomorrow and getting his opinion on it all.

Praying for a restful and healing sleep and thankful for the relaxing sunny day we had today.

Easy as 1,2,3. Janet returns to domestic duties and more. #TSJ

Another progressive week for Janet with some interesting trends starting to show.

On Thursday Janet was basking in the sun waiting for me with a big smile and a self initiated kiss. When I asked her why she was waiting for me she said “now we can have some fun”. Nice to know that she still thinks that way sometimes as most of the time she complains about all the things I make her do. To start our fun we went for a nice long walk. Janet is improving with her directions and did well at naming things we saw along the way. We really took our time and I tried to keep her talking and observing as much as possible. As we returned to Connect we noticed the ice cream stand was very busy and I suggested we go there after dinner. No surprise, that got a very positive response. There was a CFL football game on TV as we waited for dinner and to prove her cognitive gains Janet said she was cheering for Saskatchewan over Toronto. That’s my girl. Not that I really care, as real football doesn’t start until September but it was still fun to hear her pick against her hometown. Janet had a good Shuttle routine and shocked me by choosing to do the Standing Frame before going for ice cream. There was a real risk of missing the ice cream by doing this but I had to honor her choice. We made it to the stand in time and Janet enjoyed her mint chocolate chip while spilling only one little drop.

On Friday, Janet was waiting on the patio again but was a little upset that I wasn’t there sooner. It was only 1:30 but I guess she’d had a fairly quiet day so far and was aware she would be going home with me so was looking forward to that. We made some shopping stops along the way, one of which resulted in Janet getting some clip-on sunglasses. She’d been refusing to wear her regular ones as she can’t see well without her prescription glasses so her optometrist suggested the clip-ons and I think they work great. Janet doesn’t mind wearing them so if nothing else her eyes get some protection now. By the time we got home it was too late for a nap so Janet just had a little quiet time lay down then got ready to go for dinner with a friend of ours from Nanaimo. The Rotten Grape turned out to be an excellent choice as we were able to sit outside in the sun listening to the Music in the Park happening right across the street. We even had a visit from Janet’s former PT, Tom. It was really nice to enjoy good food and conversation with Wendy and Janet really impressed us by sitting on a backless stool the entire time.

After a good hot tub at home and while getting ready for bed Janet called Nash, Calamity. That was the name of one of our cats that died a few years ago. Janet realized that almost as soon as she said it but was upset that she didn’t realize Calamity had died. Took her a good fifteen minutes to get over it.

We were up pretty late Friday so Saturday started off late with a nice Skype chat with Mary/Gaga. I then put Janet to work as we cleaned up the spare room in preparation for Laurel & Raj 2.0. Janet had fun with lots of laughs as we found things we hadn’t seen in a long time, one thing in particular I hope you’ll here a lot more of in the near future. Stay tuned. The more I get Janet to help with domestic stuff the more I realize how much she wants to contribute. She really goes at a task with determination and concentration and is visibly pleased when its done, usually asking if there’s anything else to do. That is, as long as she feels she can do it but occasionally now she’ll take my suggestion that she can do it and run with it. Previously my suggestion was met with self doubt. I’m seeing a little less of that now. Almost as impressive as her domestic enthusiasm was Janet’s choice for lunch Saturday. Grilled cheese with BACON! Totally her idea, never seen her eat it before and did she ever eat it. That gave her enough energy to do a little house hunting with me followed by a stop at the grocery store. Wanting to press on she insisted we go to church which turned out to be a good call on her part. She was able to have nice visits with quite a few people there and the service was really good too. Our evening was quiet and Janet wound down nicely to wear she was sleeping by 10:30.

Start time Sunday was a little more normal but Janet maybe should’ve stayed in bed a little longer as for once she picked the wrong puppy on Pick a Puppy. She’s now three for four and was a little upset about being wrong. We went for a rather long walk to a local store for some dinner supplies and Janet asked to take a shorter route home so I guess it was a little long. Our thirty degree pool water was too cold for Janet so after a relaxing hot tub I laid her down for a good nap. We had another hot tub after dinner then Janet passed on ice cream in favor of going to bed. Lights out at 9:45 seemed strange but sleep is good.

Janet’s sleep must’ve been good as she woke Monday very chipper and chatty. She wasn’t really looking forward to going to the rehab pool as her mind was very much on the impending arrival of family for Laurel & Raj 2.0. Janet is having a bit of a tough time realizing this is not a full on wedding and she worries about her appearance and abilities. I think once people are in town and things start happening she’ll be fine. Her swimming was decent with her most notable accomplishment being able to swim to the wall, grab on and “stand up” all by herself. Really nice smiles after doing so too. On our way home we did a little more house hunting and Janet asked afterwards why we didn’t look at the upstairs. It didn’t have one. At least she’s thinking. Needing to do more cleaning of the house I decided to test Janet’s vacuuming abilities. She was never very fond of this chore but loved it this time. She can only do the hardwood and furniture as she can’t maneuver herself around on the carpet. Here’s a link to a short video of Janet in action,

.She was also a huge help in dusting some shelves and nick nacs and again I could see the satisfaction she was getting from being able to help. Relaxing in the sun with a Fresca Janet explained she was afraid she’d miss something if she wasn’t coming home until Thursday. She also came out with the comment that “it’ll be awkward having Chris here”. Chris is Janet’s first husband and their parting was not amicable but I assured her he would be polite and so should she. Janet hasn’t talked about the battles she went through in that former life since she got sick but I hope the encounter on her home turf on a happy occasion leads to truly forgetting all that nonsense and moving on. It will be fun to see. Janet and I had a lot of fun eating dinner outside on an absolutely gorgeous evening and it was really difficult to gather the motivation to head back to Connect.

By the time we got there Janet was pretty much done and after a little bedtime reading it was lights out at 9:30.

After a busy Tuesday morning I met Janet and Brian at KGH for her appointment with Dr. McCann. The main goal for this one was another round of Botox, this time, both hamstrings and a little in her right arm finger flexors. The previous treatment was a huge success and we are looking forward to similar results this time. The decision to treat the finger flexors came as a result of Janet clenching her right hand less and its hoped the Botox will enable even more relaxation of that hand. Dr. McCann agreed to refer Janet to the hand clinic at KGH where they can make a brace she can wear during the day to further promote a more relaxed position for her right hand. The next round of Botox will be in three months or so using Dr. McCann’s new machine that will allow him to treat Janet’s right subscapularis in hopes of increasing range of motion for her right shoulder. Another big plus that came out of this appointment was the discontinuation of Baclofen. Janet had a terrible reaction to an increased dosage a few weeks ago and the amount she was still on was too low to do any good so now its one less drug for Janet. Yay! Brian followed us home as best he could and took a look around the house to assess what he’d do if we were determined to stay here. We ended up agreeing it doesn’t make much sense then we enjoyed a nice cold beverage in the sun. Janet later commented that its nice having Brian around, “he’s easy to talk to”. Not surprisingly Janet enjoyed herself in our pool with the water being a ridiculous 32 degrees. She still wanted to hot tub afterwards too so I was able to get a good stretch and start working that Botox into her. Quite the busy day so far and Janet easily agreed to have a short nap. I woke her an hour later and positioned her so she could watch for Laurel’s arrival. I really wish I’d recorded that moment as it was absolutely priceless when Janet started giggling and smiling and laughingly saying ” there’s someone here! It’s her, it’s Les, Na, Laurel!” I thought she was going to cry but she just kept on giggling and waving like a star struck little kid. Awesome. The excitement continued as we went back to Connect for a Shuttle and Standing Frame session. Janet was very cooperative I think because Laurel was there and did a good job on both apparatus. There was very little pouting and once given the goal time for getting down from the Standing Frame did a great job using her watch to tell what time it was and how much time she had left. That was a pleasant surprise as she was bang on with fifteen and five minutes remaining. That watch has been a very effective tool so far. Well done Jess! While in the Standing Frame Janet demonstrated more cognitive abilities in correctly identifying Sally Field in a movie that was on TV. Impressive.

Wednesday morning the focus was on Janet’s regular therapy routine. She went to the gym for a thorough workout then had Speech with Mary Lou. Laurel and Heather met up with their mom in the afternoon and hung out until bedtime, making sure she got in another gym session. When I arrived with Andrew late into the evening Janet was talking very loud and clear, was obviously excited to see her kids and I think is going to have a really fun time this weekend.

One of the more noticeable improvements Janet has made over the last few days has been in the quantity of liquid she will drink at one time. Historically her drinks have been very tiny sips. Now they are not near gulps but I’ve seen her do what would qualify as a shot more than a few times. She still needs to be reminded a lot to keep drinking but there is a definite increase in the speed with which she can down a beverage. The volume of her voice has gotten louder and she is definitely more “with it” than she was even a couple of weeks ago. Praying for continued healing, an increase in her water intake, for the Botox to have maximum effect and for everyone to enjoy themselves at Laurel and Raj 2.0.


Kicking In. A relaxing day as the Botox takes effect. #TSJ

A sleep in Saturday for sure as Janet opened her eyes at 7:30 then happily went back to sleep until 9:30. That set the pace for a relaxing day hanging out at home. She chose her traditional breakfast which we enjoyed together with no idea what we would do next. Fortunately Janet asked to watch TV while I went to shower and while searching for something to watch I noticed an NBA playoff game about to start. I thought they started Sunday so we scrambled to the computer to fill out our brackets in Raju’s annual Pool. We got our picks in just in time and Janet enjoyed the process making some good choices in winners but I think she has too many series going the full seven games. Anyways it’s something she enjoys doing and we had basketball on in the background all day.

The only scheduled event of the day was a Skype chat with Leslie that went well despite some technical challenges. Heather checked in with us later on and it was good for Janet to catch up with both of them. I’ve had to resurrect my role as physio therapist while Janet is at home so we can maximize the potential of the Botox and when I stretched her legs this afternoon I noticed an improvement right away. It was even more noticeable tonight as I was able to get her left leg down to almost where we used to be able to get it in the 4B days. Janet is not too happy that we are doing this stretching stuff at home but she was OK with lounging with her legs up in her wheelchair. Her standing for transfers was quite good today as well and I sense a little confidence coming back there. That increase in confidence saved her from a total meltdown after seeing some pictures of herself from her KGH days. I had just shown her photos from Raju and Laurel’s wedding and at the end of those there were a few unflattering pictures of Janet and she got a little upset but kind of accepted that she’s come a long way. She asked me to turn them off which I did and she was on the verge of really crying about it but held it off. A nice improvement.

Since the day started late, nap time was late too but Janet did have a brief one that allowed her to do a good job making a salad to go with dinner tonight and she really enjoyed watching The Voice together especially since I made popcorn for us. All in all it was a very relaxing day at home just making things up as we went along. One highlight for me came as we were doing the nightly rundown of the day and as I mentioned the first couple of things we did Janet chimed in with “and we picked our teams”. Love my sports junkie and nice to see a little short term memory action.

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

Botox. Janet puts up with the pain. #TSJ

Brian was kind enough to drive Janet in from Connect for her appointment with Dr. McCann at KGH today. I met them there and we had time for a walk in the sunshine before seeing the doctor. Janet said some things looked familiar to her but not the beach that we spent so much time at last year. She was still happy to be there today though and agreed it was a beautiful day.

Our visit with Dr. McCann was really good, Brian sat in with us and Dr. McCann allowed me to ask a lot of questions while he was preparing to stab Janet. He was surprised to learn that he had prescribed a low dose of Baclofen for Janet way back in the 4B days but doesn’t want to change it now so we can accurately monitor the effect of the Botox. Makes sense. He feels it’s a good time to try and wean Janet off the Ritalin and ordered her noontime dose discontinued for the next month and we’ll see how Janet manages. I think she’ll be fine. My concerns about the Dilantin were supported with the caveat that until Janet has gone seizure free for six months you shouldn’t take her off the drug. He said someone may do it after three months but I think that’s too risky and will keep hoping we can see the neurologist soon for his opinion. Dr. McCann concurred with my concern about the side effects and agreed Dr. Adams would know more.

Janet was understandably tense as she lay waiting for the “little pokes” from the Botox needles and she squeezed my hand as tight as ever as Dr. McCann used four needles on each leg. She recovered quickly and was laughing with us on the way out as Dr. McCann suggested she would soon be able to kick him as payback for what he’d done. We should start seeing results in a couple of weeks with the peak effect occurring in about a month. Dr. McCann will see Janet then to assess the situation.

I gave Janet the option of going out for lunch or going home, she chose home as she was just too drained to do anything else. Once there she had a good little play time with Nash then helped make thin crust pizzas for lunch. She spread the sauce on both and put all the toppings on including slicing the grape tomatoes with the most precision yet. She’s still a little weak on the cheese grating part so I’ll have to do some research on how to help her with that. Janet continues to gain confidence in the kitchen.

There was no argument at all about nap time today. I just wish it could have happened sooner as it wasn’t until after 2:30 that she could lay down and she had to be up just after four for a Skype chat with her mom then get back to Connect for dinner. The sleep did her well and the Skype chat went well with Janet giving surprisingly good answers to a few questions. We were impressed to learn that Keith has bought an iPad and look forward to an improved Skype experience and other cool things in the near future.

Curtis had Janet’s dinner waiting for her when we got to Connect and she devoured it then very obediently went to the gym with him after digesting for a little while. Curtis spent over an hour with her and ran her through every routine possible including standing at the stripper pole. On the second attempt he let go of Janet completely to show her she was doing it all on her own. She smiled. Hopefully this is the start of an improved attitude towards the gym and I made sure to point out that her standing transfers to the toilet were not good at home today but quite good after her workout in the gym. For once she didn’t roll her eyes or snicker. Starting to believe maybe?

After enjoying the last of her Easter chocolate we tried making a little video using an app I learned about today called Keek. It let’s you shoot thirtyfive second videos on your phone and Tweet them instantly from the app. I will be using this to do any breaking news stories on Janet and or a fun highlight of the day type of thing. I couldn’t get Janet to say all her lines for tonight’s installment so I posted it with her laughing for about fifteen seconds as that’s what she did everytime it was her turn to talk. It was a great way to end a very positive day. If you want to see the video and all the future ones please follow me on Twitter @larrylatour. You’ll also need the Keek app which you can get here.

Thanking Jesus for a productive and positive day and for the good people that are on Janet’s team. Praying for lots of rest tonight and maximum effect from the Botox.

Poker Queen. Janet cleans up at Poker Night. #TSJ

With the idea of trying to figure out why Janet complained of a sore throat the last two nights after taking her Dilantin, I stopped by for a chat with her doctor before going out to Connect today. Without seeing Janet and being able to examine her throat it’s hard to say for sure what’s going on but based on the fact Janet seems fine the rest of the time and is not bothered by trying to swallow any food or drink her doctor suggested trying to flush the capsules down with a good portion of water. When I reminded her how hard it is to get Janet to drink anything she suggested yogurt or something like that. Depending on what the capsules are coated with it is possible they would cause some irritation if not completely swallowed. The doctor was surprised to hear that the neurologist has not contacted me yet and will follow up on that as she feels it’s important Janet sees him soon.

Janet had just finished her sing along session with John and was having a bio break when I arrived. She smiled then started crying complaining that “I don’t belong here, there’s no way I’m going to go”. Realizing she was talking about going to the bathroom I told her it’s a good thing to try before nap time and I walked over to her desk and back. By the time I got back she was peeing and laughing about it. She was having a good day so far. Jess said she showered well and toileted well this morning then had a really good workout in the gym. Janet said it was fun singing with John, even singing the Titanic song. Glad I wasn’t there for that one. I had to lay down with her for a few minutes until she fell asleep then I went to talk to nurse Jen and Tez.

I filled Jen in on the sore throat thing and she agreed the water and yogurt would be good things to try. Tez was pleased with my report on Janet’s pool experiences and will come with us next Thursday to see for himself and give me some pointers on how to improve the routine. He says it’s important to work on the big things like kicking and floating and standing as opposed to little things like range of motion stuff. Just prior to speaking with Tez I got a surprise call from Dr. McCann’s office. There is a spot open next week where he could Botox Janet’s legs! I am still in the process of trying to reduce our Pharmacare premiums so I was worried that if we did the Botox now we might be paying too much if Pharmacare changes in our favor. I asked Tez for his opinion and he feels that although there is no guarantee Botox will work for Janet the window of opportunity for having success with it is closing so the sooner the better. Her actual appointment is July 10th and that is too long to wait by passing up next week’s chance. I called Pharmacare and they said they would reimburse any difference after the review of my application is complete. So Janet will go next Tuesday for another round of Botox in her legs and then the focus of her PT routines will be on stretching them as much as possible.

After her nap I told her the good news about the Botox and she immediately started to cry. Seems she remembers all the needles that treatment requires and does not want to go through that again. It took about a half hour to get her calmed down enough to have the scheduled Skype chat with her mom. Mary/Gaga was a big help in giving Janet a sense of relief about the Botox and as the evening wore on I had Janet share the positive news with everyone she saw so as to build it up as a good thing. By dinner time she could talk about it without crying.

Setting the table and helping to make mushroom gravy built Janet’s confidence tonight and her and Garrett seasoned a chicken for roasting tomorrow as well. That kept her focused for half an hour and feeling useful. Maybe she was too confident as both Garrett and I failed to convince her to go to the gym tonight. She caught on to the fact that if she agreed to play poker she wouldn’t have to go to the gym so that’s what she chose to do. And a good call it was. Janet has no clue how to play the game and with all the chatter going on around the table and a new dealer who didn’t really know what she was doing it was not the night to try and learn. But it was fun as I helped her along. Each time she won a hand she got a massive smile on her face and by the end of the night it was down to her and Brandon left in the game with Janet holding at least twice as many chips as him. Because of the time we agreed to play one hand all in and Brandon won so he got to chose from the prize box but Janet couldn’t have cared less as she was still playing with the colorful chips. She helped me put them away and I think she enjoyed stacking them in separate colors as much as she did playing the game. That was a fun and different experience for her.

With water and yogurt ready I gave Janet her Dilantin before she started her nightime routine thinking the longer before she lays down the better too. There were no problems tonight at all. She took the capsules first try each time and drank a good amount of water along with a few spoons full of yogurt. No complaints or coughing or anything.

Praying for a restful night and an active day tomorrow.

The Hangover. Janet recovering from the weekend? #TSJ

As usual Janet was hanging out in the living room when I got to Connect this afternoon. She was lounging in her comfy chair, legs up, pillows in place, all she needed was a nice cocktail and she’d be set. She agreed it was pretty comfy and that’d she’d even closed her eyes a bit. Jess was there to help with the report of the day so far. Janet had trouble getting started in telling me what happened and couldn’t remember what she had for breakfast. Pancakes. She remembered going to the gym but not what she did there. Garrett told me it was a tough session with lots of tears. Janet refused the Shuttle and said her legs were sore and Garrett found the range of motion on her right shoulder to be less than previous. I found her legs to be quite stiff today and am hoping its just from her overall state of being as she seemed quite tired all day. That’s as much of a report as I got as Janet surprised me by agreeing to lay down for a while. She did so for about an hour but didn’t sleep much.

With a little more energy than before her rest time Janet got up and we went to see nurse Jen about her former peg site. On my way out to Connect today I got a surprise call from the KGH Rehab Pool saying Janet has been accepted into a program there for the month of March. Since I was on the road I couldn’t get details and I was really excited and shocked at the news. I figured there would be a lengthy wait list to get in there and when Dr. McCann’s office called this morning to say they had sent in the referral I thought it would be a few weeks before anything happened. What do I know. The down side is I’m not sure Janet has healed enough from the peg tube removal to go “swimming” and Jen isn’t sure either. We agreed to have another good look at it tomorrow. Janet is a little blasé about using the pool but I think she’ll like it once she starts. Dr. McCann’s office also said he is very supportive of more Botox for Janet’s legs but officially can’t get her in until July. His lovely assistant Pam will try and get Janet in before then. I have confidence in Pam.

Janet was able to set the table for dinner but needed quite a bit of help as she was tiring again. She gobbled up her dinner though and that gave her energy to Skype with Laurel afterwards for almost a half hour. Her voice was reasonably loud and she mostly responded appropriately to Laurel’s questions and comments but had trouble telling her own stories with a lot of them referencing Jews. The only association I can make for this is from the Academy Awards show when Mark Whalberg and “Ted” were telling Jewish jokes. I didn’t even think Janet was that awake during that part of the show but I have no other idea as to how she got onto that tangent. She was petty funny though. Funnier than “Ted”.

We watched a little YouTube and that was about it for the night. Praying for rest and healing and a hard working productive day tomorrow.