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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.

Janet, A Success Story. November 9. #TSJ

Only two more Sundays of taking Janet back to Connect, thank goodness. She handled tonight’s return well as her weekend was relaxing and entertaining and there was no time for a nap today so she was too tired to complain. A couple from our Small Group joined us today to watch the Seahawks game and that made for an enjoyable Sunday. Janet enjoyed the mixture of football talk and family talk and contributed well with both.

Neither day at home this weekend was too structured. Saturday night was different from the usual in that Courtney was home for dinner after church and we watched a movie together too. We are enjoying having her around and Janet is benefiting from having someone else to talk to. Friday we stopped by the church to do a walk through of the baptism tank. Janet did a great job walking up the steps, down into the tank then back out again. I’m confident she can handle it for real on Saturday and we thank Dave for taking the time to let Janet try that in advance. She was pretty pleased with herself for being able to do it. Our Small Group met Friday night and Janet participated well and even asked the group a question on her own for the first time. She wanted to hear everyone’s take on the Brittany Maynard and Lauren Hill stories and was rewarded with some good conversation. That was a good demonstration of Janet’s memory improving along with her confidence to initiate conversation.

Thursday night Janet recorded her baptism testimonial video. It was understood that she’d be able to use a teleprompter but it wasn’t ready when her time to shoot arrived so we tried feeding her two or three sentences at a time. That was a struggle for Janet but she made it through for the most part. By the time the teleprompter was ready Janet was tired of the whole thing so struggled reading from it too. Jody, the videographer, will work his magic and Janet’s story will come out loud and clear. There’s no magic needed to make Janet look good though.

Under the lights again.

Under the lights again.


Janet was a big help around the house this weekend as is becoming the norm. We didn’t take any formal time for exercise so all of Janet’s walking came associated with practical tasks. Talking with her tonight, she was happy about that but admitted she wasn’t moving around as easily. She disagreed that it was a result of a more relaxing weekend but resigned herself to the idea of using the indoor track at CNC sooner rather than later. Winter is supposed to arrive this week so the days of walking outside seem to be done and Janet needs to keep moving. I think she’ll be OK with it as long as we don’t overdo it.

Praying for a week of progress.

Janet, A Success Story. October 12. #TSJ

Janet was not at all thankful for going back to Connect tonight. She was the most upset about it that she’s been in a long time but once there and settled in all was as good as could be and we’ll pray for a productive week.

The weekend was enjoyable for Janet, not a lot of crazy activities but enough action to keep things interesting. Friday night, eleven of us from our wine club attended a dinner put on by the culinary students at Okanagan College. We live close enough that we were able to walk there with some of our neighbours and it was warm enough that Janet only needed a light sweater. Of the five courses presented, Janet liked the salad served first the best. Surprise! The wines were not as adventurous as I was hoping for and they proved a little too much for Janet but I’m always willing to help her out. Saturday, Courtney joined us at church and was surprised at how well and how far Janet is walking. Today, Courtney spent the afternoon with us on an unofficial Thanksgiving Day visit. She gave Janet a much needed manicure and having her around made coping with the Seahawks loss much easier.

There was lots of practicing the laundry machines and cooktop this weekend for Janet and she’s getting better at both. Passing her laundry test just seems to be a matter of getting enough repetitions in. As far as walking goes, there’s no noticeable decline in the fear level but left on her own Janet seems happy to make her way around wherever she wants to go. She just needs to do it at Janet speed.

Praying that Janet has an enjoyable week and that she stays focused on the positives.

Janet, A Success Story. October 5. #TSJ

We are now another weekend closer to Janet coming home full time. There were not a lot of direct attempts at reaching the three goals she has left to achieve but Janet participated in many activities that helped her. Each day there was lots of walking, both freestyle and with me pulling her along. The cane was not used once all weekend and the wheelchair was used only for some long outside walks we took. Each day saw Janet do a 200 meter walk with today’s effort clocking her best time by thirty seconds. I’ve been pulling her along on these to try and get as close to the speed she needs to go but we’re still taking just over eight minutes to complete the route. Janet is still too scared to go any faster. Inside, Janet is showing signs of being less scared. She loves to cling onto whatever she can reach but hesitates much less now when approaching an open area and she has to let go of something. The confidence and stamina are building in the kitchen as Janet stood and helped there a lot this weekend. She’s also learning to get herself into better position before attempting a task. Previously she would start doing something the second she could reach it instead of getting herself strong and stable. Janet practiced her reading every day and continues to read faster and with more expression.

Friday night was the re start of our Small Group and we had a really interesting discussion with our three guests and Janet participated well and is looking forward to keeping this going on a regular basis. During our walk on Saturday we ran into a few of our neighbours along the way and had some interesting chats with them. Janet is getting to know more people around here and is liking them too. One of her KGH Rehab Pool partners was at Trinity Saturday night and spent some time reminiscing with Janet but she doesn’t remember much from those days. Tonight we enjoyed a yummy dinner and good conversation with Randy and Claudette, and Henrik and Sandi whom we haven’t connected with for a long time. Janet agreed it was a fun and interesting evening. All in all it was a fairly social weekend.

There were many positives for Janet this weekend, encouragement from others, recognizing improvement in herself and socially functioning at her highest level since this all started. Janet will still have long moments of silence where I wonder if she’s tuned in or not then she’ll contribute in a way that shows very clearly she’s been paying close attention and processing well too. Fun and encouraging to see.

Praying for a good night of sleep and an energetic and confident Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 24. #TSJ

I picked Janet up today just as she was finishing her lunch and brought her home for the afternoon as we were going to the church this evening. Janet’s morning had been pretty routine and she was as eager as ever to get out of Connect.

To take advantage of our time at home and before she got too tired I asked Janet to get a pot of water boiling on the cooktop to see if she could do it without coaching. If I was grading her out of ten I’d give her an eight on this attempt. I’m not quite ready to give her credit for achieving that goal yet, she’d need a ten out of ten, but expect to this weekend. Next up was a 400 meter walk and although she did it, the speed is still slow and the nervousness continues to control Janet. I’m really pleased she agreed to do it and she didn’t argue about being cane-less in the house either. In fact she was also wheelchair-less for this entire outing. Pretty cool.

The coolness continued when we got to the church. The event was a Small Group info night and we hoped to recruit a few people into ours. Instead, it turned into a bit of a SheLife reunion for Janet as most of her table mates were there and hadn’t seen her all summer. Nor had they seen her walking around on her own. Very cool. SheLife starts again next week so this was a good teaser for Janet in what’s to come.

Back at Connect we got to meet the newest resident in Janet’s house, Brad, who just arrived from West Vancouver a few minutes ahead of us. Seems like a nice guy with a good support team around him. Should liven up the dinner table nicely.

Praying that Janet has a sound night of sleep and has lots of confidence to work hard tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. September 14. #TSJ

As promised, this was a busy weekend and Janet handled it all very well. There was limited time for napping but lately it seems as long as she gets some sort of chance to rest a little she can recharge and function fine for the remainder of the day.

My mom arrived for a weekend visit Friday afternoon having hitched a ride from Nanaimo with her good friends Mo and Betty Ann. It was fun having them here for dinner and Janet really enjoyed the conversation.

Betty Ann, Mo, Janet, my mom.

Betty Ann, Mo, Janet, my mom.


It proved a good set up for our wine club gathering that immediately followed. Janet continues to show a minimum of interest in learning about wine but really enjoys the house full of people and the energy that brings. Saturday we took my mom to the Farmer’s Market and enjoyed roaming around in the sunshine for an hour before bumping into nurse Arlene from Janet’s KGH days seconds after doing the same with Kiko. Arlene reminded us as Dr. Miller has, how meaningful it is for them to see the progress their former patients make. It’s a real motivator for them and hearing positive things from folks like Arlene impacts Janet differently than hearing it from those of us around her every day.

Brian came to the house Saturday afternoon to assess Janet’s abilities with some key activities there and to provide suggestions on how to improve her situation around the house. Our new deck is pretty much finished so there is now just one step from the living area to the deck and Janet is able to negotiate it with a minimum of help. Brian recommends a railing to aid Janet on the way out and some sort of grab bar for the way in. Our handyman will do the railing soon and I’ll scope out a grab bar. Being able to come and go from the deck all by herself will be huge for Janet, providing her with more independence. Coming into and out of the garage is going pretty well right now and only needs one additional grab bar plus some minor adjustments to Janet’s positioning which we practiced with success today. I mentioned Saturday that the goal of loading and unloading the dishwasher has been achieved and operating the cooktop could happen next weekend. The washer and dryer will take a little more practice and maybe something to sit on while Janet transfers clothes from one to the other. Not her wheelchair.

The only long walk Janet got in on Saturday was at church and that went well. I have to remember she’s walking way faster than before so we don’t need to leave the house so early as we end up waiting too long for the service to start. Good problem to have. The evening was rounded out with dinner at home with my mom and Courtney. Janet for some reason got all upset about the idea of going to Menchie’s after, saying she doesn’t like it anymore. Not sure where all the negativity came from and it reminded me of her episode with Tez last week. As soon as she was half way finished her bowl of froyo, the smiles were back.

We drove my mom to Peachland this morning to meet up with her ride back to Nanaimo and enjoyed a nice chat with the ladies in the sun at Bliss Bakery before getting back to the house for the Seahawks game. It was way too nice to sit inside and watch football so we rigged things so we could sit on the deck and watch the game through the windows. Worked fine and also allowed Janet to sit outside to Skype with a bunch of family gathered at Leslie and Gavin’s today. It was cool for her to be able to connect with them all in one shot like that.

There was finally time for a 400 meter walk today and it came when Janet would’ve been better off napping. She pushed through like a pro and went for a nap right after. The rest of the evening seemed rather sombre as Janet knew she was headed back to Connect again. By the time I said goodnight she was virtually asleep and accepting of being there and thankful the week ahead has a routine schedule. Praying for a solid night of sleep that provides lots of energy for Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. June 28. #TSJ Wine Tour

Not much rest for the ever active Janet. After a late night, Janet was up at a normal time this morning and we were off to do some wine touring with our Wine Club. The only thing I had to help Janet with during breakfast was opening the peanut butter jar and I give her top marks for remembering its now kept in the fridge.

The Wine Club met at Tantalus Vineyards for a very informative tasting given by their Operations Manager, Jane. Janet went in thinking she wouldn’t know anything or learn anything but she drank all four tastings and agreed it was a fun experience and a beautiful facility.

Our next stop was CedarCreek Estate Winery where Candice led us through a good tour during which I tried to help with the few fun facts that I remembered from my days of working there. Thirteen of us sat down for lunch after the tour and enjoyed the great food, beautiful scenery and fun fellowship.
WineClubatCC
A great way to end the season for our club and although Janet felt overwhelmed at the gatherings sometimes, she is looking forward to reconvening in September for the social aspect of it all.

Wine Shots!

Wine Shots!

Arriving back home, it was supposed to be nap time but Janet really wanted to finish watching Genie Bouchard’s match at Wimbledon. She won and Janet happily agreed to attempt a nap. There certainly was no snoring to be heard but maybe a few minutes of sleep before leaving for church. Janet was seeming a little tired as we arrived so I held her hand as we walked all the way in. I’m trying to get Janet to focus on placing each heel down first when she steps and as long as I remind she can do it.

Janet really liked Tim’s message tonight and told him so after the service. Its really special when Janet “gets” what a speaker is talking about and I’m impressed by how she can communicate her feelings and thoughts about things sometimes. Its reminiscent of the former Janet.

All the wine tasting, touring and socializing combined with the very short nap made for a tired Janet tonight. It’s the good tired of completing an active day where there may not have been a lot of physical exercise but there sure was a cognitive workout. Praying for a rejuvenating sleep and a positive tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. June 14. #TSJ

This pretending to change time zone thing is not that easy, especially trying to tie it into Janet’s nap time and regular bedtime. If she’s not tired she can’t sleep. We are making progress on it though and hope to be on Eastern Time tomorrow.

Today was fairly routine save for one big moment this evening. The morning consisted of Miss Independent making her breakfast then having a bit of a giggle session with her mom on Skype. Then the work began. At risk of being old and prepared way too soon, we started packing. It feels like we are forgetting something already as Janet is packed in a very small suitcase and I’m not using my largest one either. Seems odd but good if it works.

Nash was on a sleep over with our friend Annie, who is going to look after him while we’re gone and we made a quick trip to pick him up. He was OK with coming home but seemed very comfortable at Annie’s house too. We went without the wheelchair and Janet did some nice walking up a large ramp to the front door of the building.

Nap time was a little early with the time change but Janet didn’t protest, she just didn’t sleep that long. The sun was shining bright when she woke so I plunked her out in it for forty five minutes while I made our early dinner. All warmed up and fed we headed out to church where I helped Janet walk all the way to the door to the auditorium. I then challenged her to walk down the aisle to our seats. This time there was resistance but she caved in quickly and for the first time walked freestyle all the way down the aisle and right into her seat! Outstanding!

As we continue to pretend its later than it really is we had dessert after church instead of dinner while watching some touching and amazing stories and performances on America’s Got Talent. A reluctant Janet was in bed at 9:30 real time, 11:30 pretend, saying she would not go to sleep, she’s snoring as I write.

Praying for a fun and productive Sunday on Eastern Time.

Janet, A Success Story. May 31. #TSJ

Being up late last night didn’t deter Janet from getting up early this morning which was surprising to me but I’m glad she did. Mostly because the landscaping committee rang the doorbell at 9:30 and Janet got a say in where some new plants went. Shortly after that we got a call about something we are selling then we walked over to the pool to help clean and set up the furniture and stuff for it as today was opening day. Janet helped me put some stuff away from Wine Club when we got home and by the time noon rolled around it had been a very productive day which meant we could spend the afternoon in the sun.

I tried to convince Janet to go for a swim but she wasn’t buying it despite the air and water temps being right in her range. Hopefully tomorrow. She did do good work on her tan before nap time though.

Our outing to church this evening was Janet’s first without her wheelchair which meant she even walked down the ramp in our garage for the first time. She was a little scared at first but handled it very well. Guess its time for a hand rail.

Pizza, a movie and ice cream rounded out the night and Janet was in bed snoring at a much more reasonable hour. Praying for a long night of sleep that gives Janet lots of energy for a fun Sunday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 24. #TSJ

During breakfast this morning Janet remembered that Mary Lou had asked her to bring in a children’s book to practice reading with. Janet was excited to look through our collection and wasn’t at all upset by the thought of reading a kids book, until she tried reading one. She is still figuring out how to compensate for her right side impairment so when she reads a long line of text she misses the last three or four words. Being able to read a children’s book well enough to present it to a Pre School class is Janet’s goal and the book she has chosen is The Hallo-wiener. We will try and find a Pre School that will let Janet come in and read and with five months before Halloween she should have enough time to get to that level. I love that she set that goal.

Not wanting to hog all the sun to ourselves today we drove out to see John and as soon as he saw us he asked if we were going outside, even before he said hello. He seems much more with it today and we enjoyed a long leisurely stroll where he was able to tell us a bit of his life story. John has always been a great talker and he got on a roll with us today.

We arrived at church with enough time to allow Janet to walk freestyle most of the way through the lobby. She tired out close to the door we enter the auditorium by and that’s where I was going to start helping her anyways as the floor slopes from there. I noticed Janet’s pace was slower during this walk partly because she was distracted by the other people milling about. Solid effort though.

Planning seemed to be the theme of the day as we set tentative dates for a number of activities we hope to do this summer. Janet agreed that there’s no point in having an idea if you don’t take any action on it, so we did and the calendar is filling up fast.

Praying for a happy Sunday.