Christmas

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. December 22. #TSJ

Seems like forever since I’ve been here and I must admit the break has been nice. It was getting hard to find things to talk about on a daily basis for sure and now that Janet being at home is “normal” I have to dig deep for a weekly talking point. I think “normal” will be it for this one.

We are definitely into a routine around the house, not the most productive routine but one that has Janet responsible for some basic duties and helping out with others. She is improving with her abilities in the kitchen and has taken easily to building her own sandwich for lunch, all the steps, unassisted, with the exception of needing help to open the mustard sometimes. Janet is happy to put things away and do light duty cleaning but is reluctant to try the big things like vacuuming. Soon, I hope.

The exercise routine is ok and I hope will get better in the new year. Janet is doing really well in the pool, already graduating to walking forwards and backwards without the pool noodle. Today I took her into the River Run for the first time and she handled it better than I thought she would. The Botox has completely worn off now and I notice Janet losing some control of her right leg even out of the water. We didn’t make it all the way around the river as it got too deep for Janet at one point and she was not wanting to swim. Next time. Her attitude about going to H2O hasn’t improved much but once there she does good things and comes away telling herself she did good so hopefully with some more time and recognizable improvements for her she’ll be more willing to get out the door.

The best part of Janet’s new normal is the relaxing evenings she’s been enjoying. We’ve watched movies, The Voice and of course our beloved Seahawks. Janet looks forward to those couple of hours to be entertained and is far more engaged in what she’s watching than ever before. I will still pause and explain things to her periodically only now she actually gets what I explain and I love her reaction at the end of a good movie or game. It’s totally appropriate to what happened and often includes her patented fist pump.

The fist was pumping tonight after the Christmas Eve service at Trinity. Janet really really enjoyed it, more than any event I’ve taken her to lately minus the Seahawks game. The music was great and the drama portion easy for her to understand and see. We went tonight as we are off to San Diego for eight days tomorrow. Janet is super excited about this trip and the very un-normal Christmas this will be. Stay tuned for pics and other things.

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your love and support. Peace.

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

We are still in holiday mode here and our morning started late as seems to be usual but we had just the right amount of time to prepare for Joel and Kiko’s arrival for lunch. They are awesome friends and we are glad we could start off 2014 with them as our first guests. Janet was a little quiet during their visit again saying she didn’t know much about what we were talking about and didn’t know what else to discuss. I’m not liking this pattern and hope that with more exposure to guests in the house she will relax and be able to participate more. I think it’s still good that she listens to real conversation as opposed to always trying to tailor talk to her. Learning curve.

Janet was pretty zonked after Joel and Kiko left and had an almost two hour nap which allowed me to put away outside Christmas and get everything ready for her to help put away the inside stuff. That all took longer than anticipated but Janet was a big help with the tree decorations and she enjoyed the project.

Uncle Monkey joined us via FaceTime for dinner tonight and it was good to see and hear him and to know all is well with the Oakville Aitons.

With Christmas put away we decided to watch a movie before bed. Janet selected the genre, children and family, and we agreed to try the first one that popped up, Parental Guidance. We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it and Janet laughed more than I can remember her laughing at any other movie. That was almost as much fun as her singing through a film and a great way to end the day.

Praying for a good night’s sleep and lots of energy, a positive attitude and good control of her body for swimming tomorrow.

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

A very merry Christmas it was here today. There was no mad rush to the tree to open presents so Janet was able to get up when she wanted and enjoy a leisurely breakfast prepared by Laurel and Heather. Courtney joined us near the end and then we did the presents thing. Janet loves opening stuff but more enjoys seeing others react to what she gave them and although we have scaled things way back it was still a fun time.

The weather was nice enough for a nice walk around the neighbourhood before a late lunch. Janet was having a rather relaxed day up until that point and I thought the fresh air would be good for her. She was a little quiet as we watched basketball and snacked so to improve the chances of an enjoyable evening I had Janet take a one hour rest break. She probably slept for most of that hour but was awake when I went in to check on her and she seemed ready to make the rest of the day fun.

Janet helped a little with the dinner prep and did some really good standing for more than ten minutes while Laurel and Heather made dinner. With some lively Christmas music playing, Janet even got a few dance moves going while holding onto a countertop and briefly a couple times not holding onto anything. The music and business of the kitchen were good distractions to any discomfort Janet was experiencing and she even executed a well controlled decent back into her wheelchair. High Five!

Dinner was outstanding and the conversation around the table very enjoyable as we all relaxed and enjoyed wine and laughter. Janet participated fully and even after a more wine than she probably should have she was fully engaged in what was happening and had a really fun time. She surprised us all by calling her own bedtime at ten o’clock when she seemed to be going pretty strong. Good for her to recognize when she’s tired though and she did fall asleep pretty quick.

We hope you enjoyed your Christmas as much as we did. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow.

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

I’m keeping this one intentionally short as its Christmas and all. Janet had a good day, a little quiet but she said it was a good one. The kids walked with her to the local Starbucks in the sunshine and Janet really enjoyed that. The girls helped her get dressed for church and Janet is really starting to enjoy wearing dressier clothes again. She looked beautiful tonight and made it through until after ten without a nap. There were moments where I wasn’t sure she would make it and I nagged her a little about drinking water hoping that would keep her energy up. She had enough energy to get mad at me for nagging her and I guess that’s a good thing. At church Janet stood the longest she has yet and said afterwards that she intended to stand longer tonight. High five!

Joy to the World

Joy to the World

Joy!

Joy!

I feel truly blessed to be able to have Janet home for an extended stay this Christmas and am especially happy with how well she is able to participate in our family activities. As an example, we played a little Pictionary tonight and Janet drew a couple of things that her team guessed correctly and she even gave enough good clues that her team guessed correctly on one turn of Catch Phrase. Not only that, Janet can recite a fair bit of Twas the Night Before Christmas by heart too. We did one attempt with me prompting her from the book and I never had to give her more than three words and she would complete the next two or three lines. Such a massive change from a year ago when she had just transferred to Connect.


Janet and I wish you all a very blessed Christmas!

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

Renovation Day 69. A day off for me and hopefully Randy too.

Janet and I were up a little late last night and therefore up late this morning. I woke up a few times to see Janet peacefully at rest until finally at 9:40 she opened her eyes. I don’t mind the odd sleep in day but will have to watch that over the Christmas break as it’s not a good habit for Janet to be in. The whole being at home thing has been quite relaxing this weekend and that’s good.

Relaxation was the mode of the day today and with the Seahawks game on in the background Janet did a great job making her toast and coffee. I had to cue her as to where some things were but other than that she did it all on her own. She then had a little Skype chat with Heather followed by some actual watching of the football game.

I convinced Janet to help me sort through the inside Christmas decorations as I know we have way too many and I wanted to be prepared for when the decorating takes place later this week. We did a good job purging and are now ready for Friday when both Laurel and Heather will be here and the women can do their thing.

In order to get in a little exercise I challenged Janet to walk from the dining table to the couch. A week ago there would have been significant protest to that challenge but today with her ankle brace on there was no hesitation in trying. I think she did really well. Her grip on me was tight but only to hold on to and not so much to transfer weight through like she used to. The ankle brace seems to have given her a confidence boost at least. A little later I had her walk from the bed to the toilet and she did so admirably. Our plan is to meet with Tez Tuesday so he can coach us on proper technique and hopefully provide advice on a cane. I think Janet is ready to use one for practice at least.

The thought of going back to Connect tonight didn’t make either of us happy at all. All the Christmas talk and decoration sorting along with The Santa Claus being on TV made it very hard to justify going back tonight but we did, after the movie. Janet remembered the film was shot in Oakville and recognized some of the parts of town which made watching a little more fun. Janet shocked me by asking to go for a bike ride once we got back to Connect at 9:20. She said it would help her sleep. Good call. Once in bed I read a few pages of Open to her and said goodnight as she seemed content and ready for sleep.

Thanking Jesus for the time we got to spend together this weekend and for the continued healing and strengthening. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 51. Randy continues to work on drawers and shelves for the kitchen. I took the morning to catch up on bill paying and other paperwork knowing Janet was coming home in the afternoon to help unload a few boxes.

Janet was helping Jess do dishes when I got to Connect and she was quite cheery. I dare say she’s ramped up the brightness level a little since her walking yesterday and the confidence level seems a little higher too. Thanks to all of you that sent comments to us. I read them all to Janet and it really helps her to hear what you all think and have to say about her. She knew exactly what we had planned for the day and wasn’t too excited about going home to unpack saying “its a lot of work”. It is and she’s a big help to me especially in deciding things like what colour of towels go where. We got a good start on the last of the boxes today and I’ll be able to handle the rest on my own so we left the house early to run a couple errands before dinner and SHElife.

Dinner was at Milestones tonight and Janet was looking pretty tired before the appetizer arrived. The food gave her an energy boost and by the time I dropped her at the church she was doing fine. Tonight was the church AGM combined with a group packing of Christmas hampers. Janet really enjoyed the meeting but couldn’t give me any details on what was discussed. She did name a few of the speakers and very accurately described her challenges when it came to packing the hampers. Whoever pushed her down to where that was happening didn’t realize Janet can’t really write and left her at that station. Unfortunately she didn’t think to move on her own but someone came along and realized the problem and took her to the station where she could help load things into bags. Janet had nice things to say about quite a few people she interacted with tonight and that has been a huge benefit of her SHElife experience. I hope she decides to go again in the new year.

There were no big break through moments today like there was yesterday but Janet was very bright despite being tired and I noticed a lot more initiation of conversing than ever before and her response time to questions seems faster as well. It was a good day overall and one that Janet was happy to let happen at a slower pace than yesterday.

Praying for complete healing soon.