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.
No trouble for Janet today! Her morning went well, she never complained about anything and even ate some leftover fish for lunch. It was “yucky” of course but she kept that to herself. Gym time was good as was a brief session with Mary Lou.
I half expected Janet to be ready and waiting for me when I went to pick her up. Waiting she was but laying in bed no where near ready. I assured her she could nap at home and helped her get up. We stopped to vote on the way and were pleased the polling station was busy. It didn’t take too long and Janet was glad she participated. We use the type of ballot where you fill in a box beside the candidates name instead of writing an X and I helped Janet with that so she didn’t spoil her ballot. She was happy to read the names of who she was voting for from the list we made so didn’t feel left out.
Before nap time Janet agreed to try and pass the laundry test. I think she made it but we’ll let Brian rule on it tomorrow. Her nap went a little long so she wasn’t able to help too much with dinner as we had to get out the door for SheLife. Once in the church I let Janet make her own way to her table. Standing back and watching her I was really impressed by how independent she’s becoming. Her walk through the room was confident and as people said hi to her along the way I could see her genuinely smile and greet them back. It wasn’t long ago I’d have to prompt her to acknowledge someone. Janet even excused herself from the table to take a bathroom break all on her own again tonight. Nice! I waited a short distance away at the end and watched Janet not be in any hurry to leave. She chatted with people and was quite smiley. I didn’t offer any assistance in getting out of the building and Janet walked slow but steady, even choosing steps instead of the ramp to get down one part. That’s a first!
Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and is willing to fully participate in whatever she’s asked to do tomorrow.
Another weekend at home that seemed to go by all too quickly. Friday was the fullest day of the three Janet had away from Connect. We attended the TEDx conference here and were treated to an afternoon of inspiring and thought provoking speakers.
TEDx Kelowna was held at the Kelowna Community Theatre, a venue we’d been to many times with Janet in her wheelchair. This time we braved it without. We lucked out and got VIP parking right at the front door so all Janet had to do was step up a curb then walk with me inside. I let her use the cane in case she wanted to roam on her own a little. That never happened of course so she could’ve free styled the whole day. For the first time, we sat in regular seats, on the aisle just a few rows down from the exit to the bathroom which was needed only once. Janet enjoyed most of the speakers as well as the hundreds of students from the Canadian Student Leadership Conference that brought great energy to the room.
Saturday started with the usual Skype chat with Mary/Gaga before practicing some household duties that are on Janet’s goal list. A nervous high speed walk outside followed with Janet complaining of being exhausted halfway through. I’m very hopeful Dr. Miller has some tricks up his sleeve to help motivate Janet or her walking just isn’t going to improve much. The trend throughout the weekend was one of nervousness and doubt even though Janet often did very well at times. For some reason she won’t accept that fact.
On today’s walk I let Janet set the pace a little more and got the same result. Her confidence level should have been reasonably high as prior to the walk she may have reached her goal of operating the cooktop and doing laundry and she read The Hallo-Wiener better than ever. Still scared, still doubting herself. I say may have reached those goals. Her attempts were recorded so Brian can see them as he is the judge for this category so we’ll have to wait for the official decision.
Janet was a great help in the kitchen this weekend, even tonight after going without a nap all day. She was able to enjoy some nice chats with neighbours on our walks outside, something that is really making it seem more like home for Janet instead of a nice place to escape to. There was only one small complaint about returning to Connect tonight and Janet was so tired when we got there she didn’t have the energy to complain anymore.
Praying for an awesome sleep and a confidence building week.
This Monday went quite well for Janet. Chelsea kept her very busy during the morning, exercising in the gym, walking all over Connect including up the stairs, and even making lunch. When Janet called me she didn’t complain about stuff like she often does, she did acknowledge a mistake with making lunch that she laughed about. Instead of pouring soup into a saucepan to warm it up she dumped it into a steamer pot, the part with the holes, you know what happened next. Thankfully Janet was laughing and she even seemed pleased with her physical therapies, at least pleased they were over with.
Chelsea had just finished painting Janet’s nails when I arrived on the scene. I could tell it would be an early night as Janet hadn’t napped and was not considering it then either. Knowing she’d done a lot already I let her set the pace for the run up to dinner. She checked her email, I read a newspaper column to her, she read The Hallo- Wiener to me then she walked cane free to the kitchen to set the table and grate some cheese. Her reading today was pretty good especially the first and last thirds of the book. There was a lot of ad libbing in the middle for some reason. Janet resisted the idea of walking cane free but was happy to help in the kitchen which was a nice change. Her reward was some time in the sun before dinner.
After a good after dinner walk up the stairs and through the hallways all Janet wanted to do was watch the football game. Thankfully Jess and Karl hung out with us for a while so there was good conversation to be had. As much as I love Janet’s interest in football, this game meant nothing to either of us and I don’t want her relying on TV to get her through her free time. We talked about things to do in the evening when Janet comes home and she agreed with Jess’s suggestion of a cooking or baking class once a week and Karl suggested getting involved as a Big Brother and Big Sister to spend some time out in the community with a kid. Good ideas and if any of you have other suggestions we are all ears, and eyes.
Janet enjoyed an extended phone call from Cam tonight that made her laugh and gave her a nice boost of energy and a lift of confidence before walking off to get her meds. She’s gaining more and more independence with her nighttime routine but doesn’t seem too motivated by it. We talked about Janet trying the Handydart to go from Connect to SheLife or to her Dr. Miller appointment at KGH. I know she could do it but she was very resistant to the idea tonight and didn’t buy into the argument for doing things on her own. We’ll keep working on it.
Praying that Janet rests well tonight and dismisses her fear of working with Tez so she can try her best at whatever she’s asked to do.
Attitude is everything and Janet had a good one today. As I drove Brittney and Ethan back to New Westminster Janet called me to say she had just done her stair climbing with Curtis and that she went up and down TEN steps! She seemed genuinely pleased with herself and she should be, her goal was three steps set only a couple of weeks ago and already she’s at ten. High five! After the call, Brittney said Janet sounded good on the phone and she’s right. I didn’t really notice it at first but there was a much more confident tone and lots of volume to her voice and she carried the conversation well.
It wasn’t until six o’clock that I made it out to Connect and Janet was sitting out on the patio waiting for me with a big smile and a fist pump. Fortunately for me, her dinner hadn’t been served yet so we had time to visit before dining together. Janet’s confidence level stayed high all evening which enabled her to engage in good conversation with the other residents as well as the staff. She dictated some emails and discussed in depth our weekend as grandparents. It almost seems like she’s reached another level and it will be interesting to see if the trend continues.
Thank you to those of you that prayed for our friend Gary. He made it through the surgery and will be in ICU “a bit longer than usual” so keep praying please.
Praying that Janet gets a good night of sleep and is able to officially check off her stair climbing goal tomorrow.
For some reason there seemed to be a little tension amongst the guys in Janet’s house at Connect today. She told me that “so and so” were arguing during breakfast and she voiced her opinion which got her “in trouble” with Jess. Janet actually seemed proud of what she’d said and her and Wes had a good chuckle about it this afternoon on the patio before dinner. I like that Janet is confident enough to speak up.
The first part of the day was busy for Janet, getting all her exercises done. She told me the bathroom situation went OK but not perfect. I decided to let her try and return to normal while I was with her tonight and she did perfect. She also did a great job setting the dinner table, needing only one prompt from me and impressing a staff member who hasn’t seen Janet in a couple of months at how dramatically she’s progressed. I am also gaining confidence in Janet’s walking abilities to the point where I can leave her alone to walk down the hall or move about in the kitchen and she appreciates that no one is hovering over her anymore.
Since the cupboards were pretty bare at Connect tonight Janet and I took a quick drive to a nearby orchard to buy some cherries and peaches to share after dinner. Janet did well walking on the straw ladened field we parked the car on and stepping up onto the porch where the fruit was begin sold from. I like these realistic settings for Janet to rehab in. We then went for a long walk in the setting sun around to the other side of Wood Lake. It’s nice to have time to enjoy the surroundings as opposed to always doing some formal rehab. Janet is pretty set on not doing anything formal when I’m around as she works hard to get things done early in the day so she “can have fun” with me. That works.
Praying for a good night of sleep for Janet and a Tuesday filled with progress.
For once I felt totally OK in not having anything planned for the day and allowing the goal to be relaxation and it worked well. After quite a busy Friday and Saturday Janet had a relaxing and enjoyable Sunday which of course made it really difficult to take her back to Connect tonight.
Janet had a great Skype chat with her mom this morning and as I listened in from a distance I noticed Janet needing a minimum of cueing in answering questions and she stayed on topic really well. She performed equally well as we chatted with Scott and Nora from Chicago this afternoon. Janet was thrilled to discuss the wedding and family with someone else and loved seeing and talking to two awesome people. She even thinks its cool there is technology that allows us to do such things. We are blessed.
Slowly I am gaining confidence in my ability to back off and let Janet walk around the house on her own. She did that a lot today with varying degrees of success but never a hint of falling. I’m trying to give her space in hopes she’ll feel more free and her confidence will increase. So far I’d say its working as each time she reached her target area there was a big smile on her face and I don’t even have to ask her to walk anymore, she knows to do it and even said tonight that she “makes herself” do it. Love it!
Our relaxing day ended at Connect with Janet accepting she needs to get back to “work”. The fact she will now be coming home for weekends on Thursdays helped just a little too. Praying for a fun, progressive and productive week.
Another wheelchair free night for Janet even though she was pretty tired. I woke her up when I arrived then she went right back to sleep for twenty minutes before I had to wake her so we could get ready for a chat with Brian. She was sleeping really warm as for some strange reason, she was in bed with all her clothes on. Of course she was then cold once she got up. Silly.
Brian hasn’t been in the picture much lately and I wanted to touch base with him on a few things ahead of next week’s team meeting. The better Janet gets the less involved Brian is. That’s good but we miss having him around more. He covertly watched Janet walk from her room to the Den freestyle and was genuinely impressed. We had a good talk and I’ll fill you in on details after the team meeting.
In order to help plan out the rest of the evening Janet walked to the kitchen area to see what house chore she was to perform today. It was her turn to empty the sanitizer and put the dishes from it away. She bravely started doing so without even asking for her wheelchair and confidently used the counters to support herself as she manoeuvred around the kitchen. I stood by in case she misjudged a turn or a step but I was not needed. High five!
That task took a lot of energy out of Janet and she was happy to sit in the living room for a few minutes waiting for dinner to be ready. She got there completely on her own and I sense a real spike in her confidence and there seems to be an expectation on her part to do things like walk to a chair and sit down without help. Awesome.
Janet’s day of exercises was heavy on stretching and light on strength and conditioning but with her feeling tired tonight I let her pick one of the three things she should have done and she chose bike. When I suggested the Standing Frame would be easier she stuck with the bike as she at least likes it a little bit. Her ride was solid as was all of her walking tonight especially the trip to get her meds. She was stepping nice and straight and I noticed for the first time her right footed steps were sometimes heel first as opposed to the ball of her foot. I think that is a significant sign of improvement and I’ll watch for it more.
To complete her wheelchair free night Janet performed her night routine walking and standing on her own. It’s really cool to see her standing at the sink brushing her teeth after so many months of her sitting in her wheelchair like a little kid. Love it.
Praying for a long night of restful sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.
A rare thing occurred today. I snuck into Janet’s room this afternoon and for once she was sound asleep and she never even woke up as I entered so I snuck back out to let her rest. She rang her pendant about twenty minutes later as she needed to go to the bathroom. Apparently she called for help a short while after I left last night for the same reason and that is an encouraging sign.
The day up to that point was once again busy for Janet as she completed all her therapy sessions with the exception of the Shuttle. After a freestyle walk to the patio for some sunshine and then setting the dinner table it was off to the gym to complete that task. I intentionally made it quite hard for Janet wanting to really workout her right leg. She did well but happily pedalled away when done.
Our evening together was quiet with Janet checking emails, reading in preparation for our Small Group session tomorrow night and standing on one leg for as long as she could. I’m looking for ways to get her to trust her right leg more and figured if she stands on it alone she’ll recognize more what it can do. Janet surprised herself in begin able to lift it high to stand on her left leg and also to stand on the right one for a few seconds. She was hanging onto the transfer pole for support while doing this so not all her weight is going through her legs but some confidence was definitely gained. More was built near the end of the night when she walked from the bed to the bathroom without me hovering over her. She also never once argued about walking today.
Praying for continued strengthening physically and mentally.
Is the tide of doubt changing? Janet actually said she did well walking in the sling this morning and she repeated that descriptor tonight. Her confidence in walking is for sure getting better and she is more willing to free walk now albeit for relatively short distances. The pain in her right foot apparently has shifted from above her arch to the area where the leg becomes the foot and is only present when she puts weight on it. I asked Chelsea to note it in Janet’s chart in hopes that Tez can be made aware and talk to Janet about it.
As I walked into Janet’s room this afternoon she only woke long enough to say she’d had a big sleep then went right back to sleep again for a good twenty minutes. Her day had been pretty busy so I let her call most of the shots tonight. After setting the table for dinner we spent a nice time in the sun on the patio and Janet was upset with herself for not being out in the sun earlier. There was no hesitation in going for a bike ride after dinner and Janet set another record riding for 3.6 miles. I snuck her into a higher level of resistance too and she didn’t even notice. High five!
Walking with me this evening was good but not her best. She complained regularly about being in pain while hanging onto me but when free walking she was quiet and did very well. I think that as long as that pain goes away Janet could free walk forty or fifty feet very soon.
Janet chose to just hang out in her room most of the evening doing some reading, coin rolling and chatting. Her reading seems to be improving and could be a lot better if she’d remember to turn her head all the way to the right in order to see everything on the page or screen. When I read to her in bed tonight she actually stayed awake for the whole hour and gave some good feedback on what we read.
Praying for immediate healing of the pain in Janet’s right foot and for a productive Tuesday.