chores

Janet, A Success Story. July 31. #TSJ Out in Style

The last day of July. Wow. Janet still thinks she has a long time at Connect and even knowing tomorrow is August she doesn’t really sense how quickly the time is passing. Maybe its not for her. Today went quickly though, while most of the other house mates were kayaking and swimming Janet was in the gym with Jess and complaining a lot, right to the point where Jess left her for a few minutes to get a grip on herself. When Janet called me and told me about this we had a good talk about how Janet needs to focus on her goals, try and achieve them as soon as she can then come home. She really seemed to get it but tonight when I asked her to do some stairs with me she started in the same way she had earlier with Jess. In the end she relented and walked to the stairwell.

Janet was confident she could do three steps up and down without assistance and very assertively told me to “back off” while she did them. The three steps up were way better than the other day and she got herself over to the other side of the stairwell easily. With me working hard at staying back, Janet descended three steps in style and unofficially, in my opinion, has now accomplished that goal. To make it official she needs to show Tez and that won’t happen until the week after next at the earliest as Janet gets a summer break starting tomorrow.

Janet usually comes home with me Thursdays for the weekend and was surprisingly cooperative about not doing so today. Laurel and Raj arrive tomorrow night for a few days then Janet and I are traveling to Nanaimo to visit my mom before bringing Brittney and Ethan back to Kelowna for a few days visit with us. Therefore, I wanted Janet to get her exercises done Friday morning before starting her nine nights away. Fair deal I think.

Chelsea gave Janet a few tasks in helping get dinner ready and Janet did them well and without protest. She was quite chatty with her housemates today, especially Wes, with whom she’s had a few “good conversations” the last couple of days. Good to see her stepping out more and more to start a conversation and even better that she remembers what was talked about a couple days later.

After the struggle of getting Janet to try the stairs and to reward her success I let her choose the activities the rest of the evening. She wanted to be out in the sun so we walked to Beasley Park and watched soccer for almost an hour. I remember doing that with Janet last summer and not being sure what she was seeing or understanding and now she’s telling me legitimate reasons why she’s cheering for one team over the other and making random but interesting observations like, “there isn’t a cloud in the sky”. Nothing to do with soccer but valid and it was pretty cool to look around the entire valley and not see any clouds.

More and more I am leaving Janet to get around on her own and she did really well with that tonight. I even heard her getting her meds from Chelsea and identifying them with only one hint. Praying for a solid night of sleep for Janet, a positive attitude and willingness to work hard Friday morning and for a fun nine days away.

In light of the visiting and traveling we will be doing, blog posts will be random and only as events warrant until sometime around August 11.

Janet, A Success Story. July 24. #TSJ

Janet and I met with her team at Connect early this morning and found it to be a productive time. Everyone is supportive of the idea of Janet setting goals to reach before leaving Connect as opposed to choosing a specific date and there was good discussion around what to set as goals in each area. The outcome is as follows;

– Walking- Janet wants to walk “like a regular person”. When asked to define that she said “being able to walk without standing there not knowing what to do”. Tez will use the 6 Minute Walking Test to measure Janet’s progress. The low end of “normal” for that test is 700 meters in 6 minutes. Today Janet did 27 meters. She likely will be tested a couple more times before setting a specific target to reach before leaving Connect.Tez recommends Janet use her cane to gain speed and confidence in walking. She is reluctant but was encouraged to hear that its a temporary thing. Janet used the cane for her last two walking trips at home tonight and although it didn’t speed her up she felt OK with using it.
– Steps- Janet would like to be able to climb and descend three steps on her own using only a handrail. Tez agreed she can likely do that very soon and will have the staff take Janet on the stairs at Connect next week.
– Reading- Janet wants to be able to read to three and four year olds with expression. Mary Lou says she’s making good progress and that is an achievable goal.
– Writing- Brian and I would like to see Janet be able to write her name, address and phone number on a form and be able to leave hand-written notes for people. Janet sees the value in that and will work with Mary Lou to get there.
– Home Chores- Janet would like to be able to load and operate the washer, drier and dishwasher as well as be able to operate the cooktop. Brian will come to the house one day soon to assess Janet and coach her on how to improve with those tasks.
– Toileting- Janet would like to be independent in her toileting routine. The staff have been training Janet and will coach me so I can help Janet at home.

Like I said, it was a productive meeting. The day only got better as Janet was able to come home for the weekend before lunch. We took advantage of the cool weather to stop and get Janet a couple new bathing suits and I think we did pretty well. You may see them this weekend. Janet napped while I went to the grocery store with the list she helped create then in the spirit of going after those goals I put Janet to work. We pitted two pounds of cherries for freezing, she pulled the stems off all of them and pitted some. She ordered quesadillas for dinner and chopped peppers, onion and mushrooms then built each quesadilla for us. After dinner she rinsed the dishes while I washed. She did all of this with no wheelchair in sight and standing for some of it.

Our neighbour, Bonnie came over for a post dinner glass of wine and a chat. She told us she had just baked three cherry pies and Janet got all excited saying that is her favourite pie. It must have been from her childhood because I don’t remember liking pie at all. Bonnie kindly agreed to bake one more. Smooth move Janet.

I’m looking forward to a fun weekend of involving Janet in as many household tasks as possible and walking a lot. Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and giving thanks for all we have been blessed with.

Janet, A Success Story. June 11. #TSJ

Nap time was late for Janet today. She called me at 2:40 to say she’d finished her workout and was going for a nap. There was no particular reason for being so late and she didn’t even do all of her gym activities, everything just took a long time to get done. There was an opportunity to go sailing this morning but Janet turned it down thinking she’d only have to do all her other stuff later in the day. When I explained its OK to do different things once in a while and not do every single regular activity, a light seemed to come on, so maybe next time she’ll say yes.

Janet was ready to get up when I arrived and she asked to get her bike ride over with. The walk to the gym was not Janet’s best but she did it then put in a really good bike ride. The walk back was better but she still seemed a little off so I let her hold my hand all the way to her room then down for dinner. Seeming a little off was an understatement after dinner. Janet’s chore of the day was to empty the sanitizer and put away the dishes. Last time she did this it went really well, tonight she got it done but under major protest and with a couple pretty good meltdowns. Not sure why, but it seemed like her confidence level was way down and her balance a little off. Her right leg action appeared to be coming much more from her hip than usual too. The freestyle walking trip to get her meds at the end of the evening was pretty good so I’m putting it all down to a bad day and hope that a more relaxed day tomorrow will rejuvenate her.

Since its Janet’s birthday next week and Humberto’s on Sunday the house is having a picnic for them in Vernon tomorrow. Janet doesn’t think it’ll be fun but I know Jess made a carrot cake for her so that at least is one good thing.

Praying that Janet has a solid night of healing sleep and wakes up tomorrow with a positive attitude and a willingness to fully participate in everything she’s asked to do.

Janet, A Success Story. June 10. #TSJ

Thankfully, Janet slept well last night and is no longer experiencing any ear pain. Her gym activities went well this morning and she was in good spirits when she called me while in the Standing Frame.

I tried to go to Connect a little later than usual but find it hard to do that and got there with Janet still napping. I lay down beside her and twenty minutes later she woke up looking at me and said “that was a nice idea”, followed by a bunch of mumbled words. When she really woke up a few seconds later she acknowledged she had been dreaming. I’ve asked Janet a few times during her recovery if she had dreamt at all and her answer has always been no. I’ve heard her talking in her sleep and am not sure if that’s connected so today will be noted as Janet’s first dream and I’m thrilled to report that it involved the entire family on a cruise somewhere sunny and warm, possibly Hawaii. There’s hope yet!

As soon as Janet was up she walked freestyle down to the kitchen to ask what her house chore was to be today. Chelsea assigned her dusting duties and Janet walked a lap of the living room with a feather duster as I coached her on where to stand in order to reach everything. She did a great job and was justifiably tired when she got back to her room. I’d say she was on her feet with no assistance for a good half hour. In light of that I helped her walk down to dinner going as fast as she could without tripping over herself. If I have to help her I’m going to make sure she’s going fast each time so she gets that rhythm going better. One negative about her freestyle walking right now is she pauses between steps too long sometimes and doesn’t believe me she’s wasting energy that way. It wouldn’t be so bad if she was putting equal weight on both legs but Janet still favours her left one significantly.

We practiced some reading before walking up to Games Night. Janet put in her best performance yet and actually said “it was kinda fun” after. Her Dilantin levels are in a really good range now and I credit that with some of her cognitive improvements.

Janet enjoyed the chapter of Unbreak My Heart that we read tonight and understood it very clearly and that makes it fun for me to read to her. Praying for another good night of rest and an active Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 2. #TSJ

This was a bonus day for Janet in many ways. Home a day earlier than usual, no gym to go to and a beautiful summer type day outside. It was my intention to make sure Janet got time in the sun today and she did. Breakfast and lunch were outside as was most of the afternoon. I did have her working this morning though more mentally than physically. She made her own breakfast, made the bed, put away laundry and dusted in the living room, all while I went grocery shopping. High five!

Janet did her chores from her wheelchair with her iPhone playing music for her and she was singing along when I got home. She was pleased at being able to be helpful and combined with her hard work at Connect yesterday she deserved a day off. We sat outside for a long lunch before Janet had a nap so she’d have energy for our Wine Club gathering tonight.

We had been in summer mode most of the day so were a little behind when people started arriving for the evening but since Janet is able to help all was well. It was our largest crowd yet and Janet enjoyed the conversations and wine but cautioned that five wines was a bit too much for her. She did stay more focussed than the previous two times and responded well when I invited her comments on the wines we were tasting.

To wind down the evening Janet enjoyed some ice cream and a little TV and is looking forward to maybe some shoe shopping and visiting John tomorrow, things she needed no prompting to remember were on our schedule.

Praying for a productive Saturday.