Janet, A Success Story. June 30. #TSJ

June left with a bang today as Janet showed amazing progress on the cognitive side of things. She called me after she’d finished her lunch and I got a sense that she was having a good day right away. She was laughing and speaking very clearly. Her first question was “did I catch you at lunch?” Usually there is no question at all, I am often expected to ask questions. She then launched into a speech about how she’d done all her exercises and been sitting in the sun and how excited she was that everyone from the house was about to walk over to the beach. All that with no prompting.

I fully expected to find Janet sleeping or at least about to get up from her nap when I got to her room at Connect. Not so, she was just wheeling out of it, saw me, and waved with a big smile on her face. She happily told me she didn’t have a nap and I figured that would come into play later. It did, as this was not Janet’s best night physically but that didn’t matter as it was stellar cognitively. She did manage a good walk to the kitchen to set the table. There was too much reliance on hanging onto things as she walked around but the job got done with just a few reminders along the way. We sat in the sun until dinner was ready and our conversation flowed well with Janet initiating sometimes. She did a great job in chatting with Andrew on Skype after dinner, sounding loud and clear and finding key words with a minimum of hesitation.

Janet continues to be a little frustrated with her reading skills and tonight did well as long as I helped her look all the way to the right. She definitely now lasts longer before the frustration sets in. The best part of the day came at the end when I always ask Janet to give me a rundown of her day. Most often she’ll get the first few things then kind of give up and say she doesn’t remember. Tonight she went non stop from getting up to going to the beach before I got there. Very impressive and encouraging. I’m praying Janet realizes the progress she has made and is continuing to make and that there is no stopping until she is fully healed.

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

Jess and Janet were waiting outside Dr. Miller’s office when I got to KGH this morning. Janet was very bright and chatty and that continued throughout the appointment. Dr. Miller can’t seem to stop himself from telling Janet how much she has progressed overall but more importantly how her improvement increases even from the time between each visit. Janet accepted most of the feedback with only the occasional “I don’t believe it” and the odd “I’m glad you think so”. Dr. Miller is not just feeding lines to Janet and is truly amazed at where she’s gotten to especially in light of how far post injury she is. He mentioned, I think only half joking, that “we should do a case study on you”. There is a theory out there that people only recover for three to six months after a brain injury such as this and Janet has proven that theory false as most of her cognitive gains are being made 15 to 21 months later. It wouldn’t surprise me if Janet gets an opportunity to share her story to the medical community somehow soon.

Following the Dr. Miller session Janet wheeled herself over to the physio department to say hi to Moira whom we haven’t seen since Janet stopped using the Rehab Pool. Surprisingly, Moira spent half an hour catching up with Janet and even had her demonstrate her walking abilities. The visit was full of praise and encouragement for Janet but she started to fade near the end as throughout the chat with Moira, there was a pretty steady stream of people saying hi to Janet as they passed by and she found that to be a little overwhelming. After lunch at home she reluctantly went for a nap from which I had to wake her in time for her next appointment.

Janet’s AFO has been causing a small abrasion on her ankle bone so we went to ask Birgit if she would remedy that today and she did. We were back at Connect in time for a bike ride which a now tired Janet did fairly well on. We spoke to Tez prior to hitting the gym and he said not to focus too much on the one legged pedalling and let Janet do her thing to get some cardio benefit and insert the one legged method at the beginning and end of each ride. There is no strength building benefit to pedalling with one leg but it is crucial for teaching the brain to communicate with her right leg and get it working better. Tez worked a lot with Janet last week and said she can put way more weight through her right leg than she’s allowing and through repetition we need to get her using it more. Janet complained of being too tired at the start of her ride and still did 2.5 miles in thirty minutes. I was glad she powered through that so I didn’t have her try the one legged thing. Next time.

The Botox is having an amazing effect on Janet’s right arm. I can’t remember the last time I was able to get her arm in this position with no pain. Very cool.
Janet Right arm position
After dinner Janet dutifully got into the Standing Frame while watching Olympic highlights then replied to a couple of emails. She, for the first time, was able to use the speech function of Gmail without assistance from me and produced a couple of authentic Janet emails. She even stayed awake for a good forty five minutes while I read to her in bed saying, “the book is getting better, I like it”. Today was a great day for Janet with a lot of reasons to feel better about herself.

Praying that Janet’s confidence in herself increases and she continues to prove the theorists wrong.

Brain Gain. Janet smartening up. #TSJ

Garrett had Janet in the gym when I arrived at Connect this morning and they were just finishing a session on the Shuttle when I snuck up behind Janet. Garrett saw me and started asking Janet where she was going today and who with. She knew about swimming and she knew she was going with me, her “boyfriend”. I managed to stay out of her line of sight until she sat up on the Shuttle and I did the cover her eyes, guess who? trick. She knew it was me right away and had a good laugh saying “we were just talking about you”. Garrett said Janet’s legs were quite stiff this morning so we were hoping for some help from the nice warm pool to loosen things up.

During the drive to KGH Janet said she was sort of excited about swimming and sort of not. Once in the water I’d say she was quite happy to be there. We had a good session today although different from the previous visits. Janet seems to have widely varying conditions of flexibility and control over her legs. Today her kicking while on her back was not that strong but kicking while on her tummy was quite impressive. The standing exercises went well and I was able to try quite a few reps without holding onto her at all. I just kept her from falling backwards, something which she tended to do today a lot, but not so much on Monday. Tez will join us at the pool Monday morning and give us some pointers on how to get the best value out of our time there.

After getting dressed we stopped by the OT department and had a nice chat with Jess, Janet’s former OT. Janet spoke nice and loud and clear to Jess who was impressed with how good Janet looks and sounds. On the rehab unit we said hi to nurse Amy and head nurse Erica who had an encouraging chat with Janet. Dr. McCann was there too and I “warned” him about our appointment on Tuesday. He’s ready.

On our way home Janet helped me with a little grocery shopping at Save On where we also picked up some lunch that we enjoyed in the sunshine at home. I didn’t press Janet to have a nap today as by the time we were done lunch it was three o’clock and she was actually doing pretty good so we decided to have a little Skype chat with Heather before making our way back to Connect. We had some stops to make along the way and I explained all of them to Janet before we left the driveway. Surprisingly she got a couple of them right as we made our way to each one but once we hit the “open” road she closed her eyes for a little siesta.

Back at Connect there was only time for a quick bio break before a salmon dinner. Janet said she didn’t like the salmon and I thought it might be because she had lunch so late but I tried it and it was very salty and fishy so I gave her my lasagna which she ate a little of along with her vegetables and lots of cantaloupe for dessert. I convinced her to go to the gym with Sousanne after dinner for a little leg stretch as it would be good for her and good for Sousanne who hasn’t worked with Janet much. Both were pleased with the results and Janet and I read some Slow Dance before getting an early start towards bed tonight as the lack of a nap caught up to Janet. She actually remained very bright right through saying goodnight even though she was tired. Her cognitive abilities have increased dramatically this week and I pray it continues. One good example from today is her reading an invitation she received to the Connect Spring Fling Brunch. Janet read me the card in its entirety except for the times listed on it, then chose to attend the event. You are supposed to rsvp through Christi who has a desk in the main lobby. I wrote “Janet will attend” on the card and sent Janet off to place it on Christi’s desk. I followed way behind Janet so she didn’t know I was there and I smiled the whole time as she wheeled confidently to the lobby, carefully put the card on top of Christi’s answering machine, spun around and came all the way back to her room. She only hit one wall and that was the last door she went through before her room. High five!

Praying for rest and healing tonight and a strong day tomorrow.