cane

Janet, A Success Story. November 17. #TSJ

She believes! Janet finally has some confidence towards getting to come home for good this week. Something clicked today and she made huge improvements in her ability to pick something up off the floor. Chelsea took her into the den at Connect tonight for a half hour and practiced with her. Janet says that helped a lot because she really likes Chelsea. I did a lot of the same drills with Janet this weekend but I guess she doesn’t like me. She seems well on her way now and I’m confident that tonight is her second to last sleep at Connect!

Our day started early today which was really good practice for when she’s home full time. I had to be out by 8:15 which meant Janet needed to be up and dressed before then. She had to be out by 9:40 which meant breakfast needed to be finished as well. There was no problem getting up, Janet did her own thing after I helped with her AFO, shoes and splint. When I got back from my appointment at 9:15 she was finished breakfast and was proudly emptying the dishwasher. Love it!

After Janet’s appointment we made the drive to Connect during which I tried to motivate her to try her best at making this one of her last few days there. She wasn’t sure she could do it but sure worked hard once there. Almost immediately Janet went for a bike ride and set another personal record and even acknowledged that she’s getting stronger about half way through the ride. I took her out for lunch after that and we enjoyed a real nice hour doing that where Janet walked well and talked well, ordering her own lunch and making a lot of decisions in the process. Never once did the server have to ask Janet to repeat or explain. Following a well deserved nap Janet took the initiative and set the dinner table then worked with me on making a salad.

I played a few tricks on Janet to get her to pick things up off the floor and each time she new I was being “mean” but she made strong and successful efforts each time. After working with Chelsea I can say that Janet can consistently pick up her cane from the floor as well as her jacket. She’s doing so well that we may not hold her to being able to pick up her phone but she may just get it anyways. To round out her evening Janet agreed to walking the stairs and commented as she was doing so that “I’m going way faster”. Yes she is.

Janet listened intently as I read from the book we are currently reading, A House in the Sky, then excitedly said “I’m coming home!” as I said goodnight. The light is very bright at the end of the tunnel and its not an oncoming train, its Janet’s bright cheery home that she is about to actually live in.

Praying for a good night of sleep and a day filled with confidence and accomplishment tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. October 30. #TSJ

I mentioned a while ago that I would stop posting blog updates on days when Janet was home and even though she’s been starting her weekends on Thursdays for quite a bit, I kept on blogging. Well, this is the last one of those and once Janet is home full time the daily updates will cease. Every once in a while there is something cool worth sharing but it certainly isn’t every day any longer.

Janet had a good stretching session in the gym with Curtis this morning then I picked her up for the weekend and we hung out at home with my mom who baked up a storm and made the place smell real nice. After Janet’s nap she helped make dinner again and amongst other things is showing an increased ability to stand for long periods. She moved around the house well without her cane and enjoyed just chilling in her comfy home.

We have a busy weekend full of figure skating ahead of us as we attend the Skate Canada International competition. Janet will not have a chance for a nap all weekend so a sleep in is planned for tomorrow. Since my mom is here I’ve told Janet she can stay home until Monday evening and she is very excited about that.

Praying that Janet sleeps well each night this weekend and has the energy to keep up with all we have planned.

Janet, A Success Story. September 30. #TSJ

Disappointingly, today’s appointment with Dr. Miller was postponed until next Thursday. Apparently there’s someone out there more important than Janet? That meant Janet could do her full workout this morning which she was actually ok about. Jess showed me a trick she’s been using to get Janet to walk faster. She puts her hands on both sides of Janet’s hips and gently pushes and without any resistance Janet speeds up dramatically. I’m not that good at it yet and Janet will only tolerate it for so long but I feel its better than me dragging her along.

Tez and I had a chat and agree that fear is Janet’s biggest obstacle right now and no one has any new tools to offer. He will assess her six minute walking test on Thursday then set a new walking goal for Janet to reach before leaving Connect. 400 meters just isn’t realistic in the time remaining. Janet is aware of all this and seems relieved there will be an easier goal set. Maybe that will lessen the fear?

After a couple of days delay, Cam made an appearance today and I brought Janet home this afternoon so we could have dinner with him. This was a cane and wheelchair free trip for Janet and she managed just fine. She was a big help prepping dinner again enjoyed the energy Cam brings to the house. There was a little complaining about going back to Connect tonight but that was tempered by knowing she gets dinner out and SheLife tomorrow then a quick trip to the coast and home for the weekend starting Thursday. Praying for a good sleep and an energetic Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 21. #TSJ

For a weekend with nothing much scheduled, it sure was busy, or at least seemed so.

Janet’s weekend was cane free. She is doing well enough without it that we even left it at home when we went to church Saturday night. There is still a fair amount of grabbing onto furniture and walls when possible, especially when Janet is tired. At her best she will go quite a distance completely free. Speaking of distance, I decided to push Janet this weekend with her 400 meter walk. I haven’t noticed much improvement in her speed and there is still a lot of complaining about being exhausted 200 meters in, so to try and increase her conditioning and to keep her walk interesting, I challenged Janet to do a complete lap of the complex. That worked out to 560 meters on Saturday which was completed in 32 minutes. Janet held my hand the whole way but I did not pull her along at all. Today the lap measured out at 510 meters and lasted 27 minutes. A nice little improvement. I’m not sure this is the right plan of attack and will hopefully consult Tez this week. At least it was something different to do on a nice sunny day and Janet knows now she can walk around the whole neighbourhood. High Five!

The one scheduled event was a visit Saturday morning from Janet’s former pre school boss, Carolyn. One of Janet’s “get out of Connect” goals is to read The Hallo-Wiener to a pre school class and we wanted to meet with Carolyn so she could get an idea of how Janet is doing and make sure its appropriate for Janet to pursue this goal. Carolyn was impressed with Janet’s reading skills and how well Janet is doing overall despite the read not being anywhere near Janet’s best. She was nervous all morning before the visit even to the point that her mom sensed something was wrong during their Skype chat. Janet passed the test though and is scheduled to appear at Carolyn’s pre school October 24th.

One goal may have been achieved this weekend and is awaiting Brian’s approval. To test Janet on the operation of the cooktop I asked Janet to make me a grilled cheese sandwich Saturday afternoon. I recorded it so we can show Brian and he can assess Janet on it. Janet still needs some prompting as to which buttons to press so I’m thinking she may need one more weekend of practice. Same goes with the laundry. We are still developing a good system for Janet to be able to load and unload the washer and drier but she’s learning the controls quite quickly. It could be a double gold medal weekend coming up.

We spent as much time out in the sun as possible this weekend as the forecast shows this to be the last of the sun tanning weather for the year. That included watching the first half of the Seahawks game outside today but I wasn’t able to convince Janet to go for a swim. It was more than warm enough and would have been fun to do on the first day of Fall but she was only interested in the game. Not that that’s a bad thing.

This was a weekend that saw Janet moving around the house and helping out more than ever before and I’m happy she is willing to do so. Her confidence is growing in household activities, we need to foster that same growth in her walking and she’ll be all set.

Praying for a deep and restful sleep and a productive and happy week.

Janet, A Success Story. September 11. #TSJ

An anxious Janet called me this morning to say she was all done her exercises and could I please come and get her soon. How could I resist? She had had a good morning, working with a much better attitude than the previous day and she was thrilled to be heading home before lunch. We made a few stops along the way looking for new patio furniture to go with our new deck and that gave Janet a chance to walk around stores and parking lots using her cane. She was quite slow during each excursion as she is quite nervous in strange territory. Practice practice.

Once we got home Janet had a good nap after a late lunch before going for her 400 meter walk. We went a slightly different route today so she could stay in the sunshine and again I thought she was rather slow. I led her all the way but she really pulled back on my arm and didn’t seem too confident. At least she did it and if she can keep doing it she should find it gets easier.

Janet managed enough energy to help build pizzas for dinner and we enjoyed a quiet evening and an early bedtime ahead of a busy weekend.

Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. July 28. #TSJ

Today marked the beginning of Janet’s ramped up effort to achieve her move out goals. Other than the first transfer out of bed in the morning and a long walk with me tonight, the wheelchair stayed parked. One long term resident, Chris, commented to us this afternoon how impressed he was that Janet was walking everywhere with her cane. Chris has long been a cheerleader for Janet and she still values his opinion so his comments did her some good today.

By the time I got to Connect this afternoon Janet was waiting for me in the living room. She said she couldn’t nap and wasn’t sure why she was inside in the cold so we immediately went out to the patio where she recounted her day for me. Janet’s recall continues to improve to the point now where I no longer feel a need to verify her stories. The time soon came for Janet to set the dinner table and she needed no physical help at all but seemed to have difficulty in figuring out how many places to set and what to put with each one. I’ll blame the lack of a nap.

Our evening was pretty mellow as we took advantage of the hot weather and went for a nice long walk around the neighbourhood. Janet is so much more observant and conversant than when we did that last summer it blows my mind. There is one house we pass on this walk that has dozens of cats roaming the yard. Last year I’d have to spend five minutes guiding Janet to a point of seeing one of the seven or eight that were clearly visible at anytime. Now, she can even spot the ones hiding in the shade of the carport, which they all seemed to be doing tonight.

Janet realizes her walking pace needs to increase and I noticed a slight improvement tonight but more importantly it was obvious Janet was trying. She wouldn’t try and read The Hallo-Wiener to me though so I read to her and she laughed like a little kid at the end. Love it when she gets excited about silly things. Emails are still a chore for Janet but when she puts her mind to it she can churn them out pretty fast now using the voice to text feature and thats what she did for a few tonight, feeling a sense of accomplishment when done. Janet deserved to feel accomplished tonight as she had a good day.

Praying for a good long sleep tonight and an energetic and progressive Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 27. #TSJ

Another summer weekend comes to a close and it was a good one. Not a lot of activity as far as going out or having people over, just quality time together in the sun. Janet said the highlight for her was the salmon dinner we had tonight. It was yummy but I think the highlight for me was taking Janet out to see John today and having her lead the conversation after we stopped at a store and Janet walked with her cane the whole time there. It felt like she was more independent to me and I hope she’s feeling the same way. Janet is at least very willing to use the cane now and realizes it will help her become a faster walker and her memory has improved to the point where one tiny prompt from me can set her story telling for a couple of minutes.

Speed wasn’t really present all weekend as Janet is still nervous about walking. Her stair climbing improved each day and this is the least she’s used her wheelchair by far. It is still very much needed for walks to Menchie’s and such but not around the house at all. Janet cane walked into church but I had to lead her the last bit as she was going so slow we risked not being seated before the service started. We had lots of time as we left the building and Janet made that trip completely on her own. Slowly but she made it.

I pretty much dragged Janet to the pool today for a swim and she whined and complained until she got used to the water then I could hardly convince her to leave. Getting in and out was a little better today as she went with no AFO or shoes. The in part still needs work but getting out has been mastered.

Janet practiced her reading a fair bit this weekend and says she’s getting better and from what I heard I’d agree. There was even a little practicing of her handwriting which was nice to see, its getting better too.

The weekend ended up having lots of ways of suggesting to Janet that the goals she set last week are very achievable and I pray she has the attitude and ability to work hard at them all this week.

Janet, a Success Story. March 6. #TSJ

I really wasn’t sure about the new title for this blog site but Janet, through her hard work today, has legitimized it for me. When I called her to see how her day was going she very proudly told me she walked all the way from the gym to her room using a cane. That is over 100 feet! Jess held her a little from behind and the rest was all Janet. I’m super glad she told me in such a positive manner too! She actually realizes this is a huge accomplishment.

By the time I got to Connect Janet was watching Ellen in the living room with Wes and Humberto. I had brought her a sketch book and pencil but she wasn’t interested at that moment saying, “I was a good drawer but I used my right hand then”. Valid point, we’ll try some other time.

After dinner I gave Janet the option of a bike ride or walking combined with the Standing Frame and she chose walking. We didn’t have a cane so I stood in for that, I’ve asked Tez if we should buy one now, and Janet made it all the way from her room to the living room, about 70 feet. She was pretty tired by the end of that walk and was using my arm as a cane pretty heavily but there were moments along the way where she took strong steps with little pressure on me. Janet was nice and straight and tall in the Standing Frame and kept a very close eye on the time to make sure she didn’t spend one minute more than she had to.

With a very successful day behind her and facing a long drive to Nanaimo tomorrow I surprised Janet with an invitation to come home tonight. Her face lit right up and if she didn’t need to put a jacket on I think she would’ve gone straight out the door. It was bedtime when we got home and there was no arguing about it at all. Janet smiled and seemed to totally relax as she hit the pillow in our bed saying, “this is so much better than the other place”. I explained that she had earned this visit home by working really hard today and she said she’d do that more if coming home was the reward. Hmmm.

Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and a fun and safe trip to Nanaimo tomorrow.

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 #Physio

No phone call from Janet today, she was too busy. Tez had her in the gym and up at the parallel bars where Janet “walked” a couple of laps using a cane while in the sling. Tez insists that is the safest way and Janet didn’t complain much to me about it so maybe she feels a little better about it now. She did say the walking was very hard and she doesn’t think that’s the way to start really walking again. Janet says she will just “get up and go, in a couple of days”.

I could see Janet as I rounded the corner into the Connect parking lot as she stood in the Standing Frame. Its funny being able to see her like that, taller than she really is. Dinner followed the standing with Janet doing an excellent job cutting her ham with a rocker knife. Most meals don’t require such cutting so it had been a while since I’d seen Janet use the rocker and I’m impressed with her improved skills.

Janet asked to work on her SheLife stuff for tomorrow after dinner and I have to admit I found it a little overwhelming myself. We ended up just reading the associated Bible story which Janet followed well and asked some good questions of. She still doesn’t think she gets it but I can’t see what else there is to get. Her questions were exactly what I would ask and seem to be totally appropriate discussion points for her group. Hopefully things go well for her tomorrow night.

The only exercise Janet didn’t do before my arrival today was the Shuttle and she turned in another fine performance this evening which earned her the right to choose the rest of her night. Olympics it was and she really enjoyed the Slope-style skiing and the figure skating, so much so that there was no time left for reading. So ended a strong day for Janet and I pray she gets a solid night’s sleep and has a productive Wednesday.