Janet settled into her one full day at Connect just fine, working in the gym with Curtis and Tez this morning. She did a six minute walking test and was unhappy with her result. I don’t know the official result but Janet told me 90 something, which means little or no improvement over the last time. She recognized she hasn’t been working at it and said she does want to walk faster. Maybe this will spur her on a little, I doubt it though, at least not until she’s settled in at home. Tez had Janet walk up and down the stairs and Janet was very happy he didn’t get her to put her right foot first when going down them. It is the proper technique to use the weakest first in a downhill situation but Janet truly can’t do that yet so has to go with whatever works.
Overall Janet was OK with her workout and after a nap joined me in opening some snail mail and chatting with Jess and Chelsea. Games night was cancelled tonight due to a staffing switch. Janet was pleased with that and was more than happy to work on her SheLife workbook and watch some YouTube. We had some emotional conversation about two young ladies with inoperable brain tumours and the different approaches they are taking (took) to their diagnosis. The stories of Lauren Hill and Brittany Maynard brought a lot of questions to Janet’s mind and I think it was good to watch them and allow those questions to come out. I could feel Janet forcing her thoughts away after a while but I think the time we spent on that may have helped her realize her position a little better. I made sure we ended the YouTube session with lots of laughs courtesy of the Whose Line Is It Anyway gang.
Praying for a solid night of sleep for Janet and a positive and energetic Wednesday.
As soon as Janet’s exercises were done this morning we met with Brian, Mary Lou and Jess to review Janet’s get out of Connect goals. There are only a few remaining, read to the pre school kids, operate the laundry machines, walk 200* meters in six minutes. There is an asterisk beside the 200 meters as Tez has not confirmed that as the number, in fact there is an asterisk beside all of Janet’s goals as even the ones she’s achieved don’t indicate mastery of any particular task. Everything is a work in progress and the target for Janet is to get a good baseline of abilities while at Connect. She’s well on her way to being home by the end of November.
Since SheLife was tonight, I took Janet home after the meeting. We made a stop at the grocery store on the way and Janet helped choose what to buy. She then helped make her lunch and did a great job helping with dinner after her nap. It was nice to be home for the afternoon and we realized that Janet now spends more time at home than she does at Connect. Hearing that, pleased Janet and I hope she can use that the next time she feels crummy about being there.
In trying to promote Janet’s independence I had her walk freestyle across the room to her table at SheLife tonight. She was nervous of course but did it just fine, in fact she didn’t use one piece of furniture for support along the way. Janet said she was able to contribute to the conversation and was all smiles when I picked her up. I’m really pleased she can be part of such a great group of ladies.
Praying for a good night of sleep and for a confident Janet tomorrow.
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 proved her trooper status again today, getting up in time for a farewell breakfast with Heather, Cam and Gina, Leslie and Gavin. The goodbyes didn’t produce as much tear water as I thought they might and we made it to the airport in plenty of time to start the long journey home.
I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with Janet’s stamina for flying and for the help we got along the way. Dare I say the Westjet ground crew in Toronto were even “too helpful” today. I had to almost argue with them to stop them from giving Janet a ride on their golf cart to our connecting flight. We had lots of time, she needed a bathroom break and we wanted to get some food. I know its fun riding a golf cart and all but.
Courtney’s car was parked at our house so that gave us the chance to go home for sushi before the dreaded trip back to Connect for Janet. The weather here is gorgeous so we ate outside and reminisced about the last few days. We all agree that it was a great trip and the best wedding we’ve been to.
Chelsea made Janet’s arrival at Connect pleasant by coming outside as soon as she saw us and giving Janet a big hug. Janet was too tired to really chat and was sleeping by 10:15. No surprise there as that’s 1:15 her body time.
Praying for a safe and on time honeymoon flight for Heather and Allan Monday and for lots of energy for Janet as she transitions back to “work”.
Today ended up being Janet’s sleep in day and good thing. She never would have made it through the Superbowl without a nap otherwise. She managed to make her coffee and toast by herself before having a good Skype chat with Leslie. I noticed Janet correcting herself a little more now, saying no in answer to a question by default then switching to the correct answer seconds later. Good to see.
We continued our scrapbooking type work and finished off the one with all the greeting cards in it. The big project now is photographs and to start we are going to digitize them all and Janet was quite happy to sit by the scanner and place photos on it while I operated things on the computer end. The photos we did today were of school age Janet and it was fun trying to figure out how old she was in each picture as most are not dated. I think she guessed fairly accurately. One photo puzzled us more than others. Can you find her in this one? We have different opinions.
Our strata had an information meeting in regards to a large landscaping project facing us and I wanted to go but Janet didn’t so I risked leaving her alone for forty five minutes and she was quite happy to do so. When I got back she was watching the Superbowl Pre-game show and had really enjoyed the interview with Denver head coach John Fox. She said he seems like a nice guy. I’m glad she was that tuned in while I was gone not just staring blankly. Apparently she even went to the bathroom on her own. I know she is capable of that so I believe she did. High five!
After a quick chat with the Calgary gang (plus Ottawa and Costa Mesa) it was time for some football. Janet had never been upset we weren’t going to a party or having anyone over to watch the game so she was ready but neither of us was ready for what we witnessed. Janet stayed interested throughout and made lots of intelligent comments along the way. It was nice to watch quietly with her.
The return to Connect keeps getting more and more difficult, for both of us I think. Janet was a little crabby and just wanted to get ready for bed and read even though it was only 8:30. I didn’t expect going to the gym or anything but thought she could at least help set her calendar for the week. Nope, bed it was, and ten minutes into the read she was sleeping. It’s like she willed her way through the football game then crashed. It was a good day all around and I think she’ll have a solid week. Praying for full and complete healing and thanking Jesus for every minute I get to spend with my beautiful wife.
Another good night of sleep for Janet and a good start to the day even though I insisted she have some fruit and yogurt for breakfast. I know she’s tired of it but I believe the yogurt is very good for her so want her to have it at least every other day. Janet complied but then eagerly made her coffee to really start her day. We watched a recorded version of an Aussie Open tennis match featuring Canada’s Genie Bouchard during breakfast, the first time Janet has seen her play, and now we are both fans.
Leslie was due up for a Skype chat and Janet conversed well even acknowledging when she was ready to stop. After a little standing we set about assembling the first “scrapbook” from Janet’s memorabilia pile. She selected a bunch of greeting cards she had kept over the years, most from me, and glued them into an old photo album which we placed in the book case. Janet enjoyed that activity very much which is good because there is a ton more to do.
I think Janet was feeling a little guilty about always having grilled cheese for lunch so she accepted my offer of pancakes and when I offered her jam or honey she correctly asked instead for maple syrup. Nice catch. To maximize our time for the Seahawks game we decided to make all the stuff for our pizza dinner ahead of time. Janet gathered ingredients, stir fried chicken and onions and built both pizzas except for grating the cheese. She also was a good help in prepping the salad. With all that done we were able to don our jerseys and focus on the game right until halftime. Janet was really excited at the beginning but drew quieter as the game wore on. This is the second day in a row without a nap and I find that unless we are super busy with something Janet really does get too tired to function. She closed her eyes a couple times during the second quarter but dinner perked her up and she was right into it the rest of the way even chanting DEFENCE and clapping my hand in an effort to help us win. It worked! Even being tired Janet managed some really good observations about the game, especially the difference in play between the first and second halves. She was just as thrilled with the victory as she was with the numerous text messages flying around and the phone call she got from Mary/Gaga as the celebration began.
It wasn’t much of a celebration for us as we headed back to the reality of Connect. Each time gets harder for me and I know Janet dreads it too. I did encourage her to do a little Shuttle and bike workout once we got there and she put in a strong effort which she seemed mildly please with. Her transfers today were mixed as she continued to falter with the mechanics of getting to a standing position. There were enough good ones to keep from being concerned and hopefully an increase of activity at Connect tomorrow will help.
After reading a little bit of Open, Janet was very ready for sleep and promised to try and work hard tomorrow. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and thanking Jesus for a quality weekend.
In major league baseball they call the last day of a series, Getaway Day, as the teams leave that city and travel to the next one. It was getaway day at our house today as Janet returned to Connect after an enjoyable Christmas break. I think we both felt the impending separation and were a little quiet because of it. Janet was nicely distracted by a Skype call with her mom this morning followed by one with Heather a little while later. Janet wisely cut that conversation short to go to the bathroom, something she has been reluctant to do on occasion with unpleasant results. I took the opportunity to give Janet a bath so she wouldn’t have to endure one at Connect tomorrow. The combination bath/shower worked well with Janet only complaining of cold in the last two minutes or so.
There was more football to watch today but neither of us were too interested. It felt more like we didn’t know what else to do. Janet did manage a very nice standing and walking session. Using my hand as a cane she walked about twelve feet to the patio door, grabbed the door knob and turned herself around then walked five feet to the couch. There, she held onto the back and side stepped her way back to her wheelchair. Half way through she complained of being exhausted but she persevered and flashed a little smile as she plopped back into her wheelchair. That was her longest walk in the house for sure and was accompanied today by some really strong moves in getting to a standing position from sitting without the use of a transfer pole or me. Janet is definitely strong enough to do this now and I plan on talking to Brian this week to see what he thinks about taking the poles away. At least I think its time to restrict their use to holding on while standing, not for getting up.
Janet helped make a very nice dinner for us tonight and we enjoyed it with a glass of wine as we fought off sadness, knowing she had to go back to Connect. The car ride out there was surprisingly fun. I managed to get Janet singing and laughing about the highlights of the Christmas break and she was in good spirits as we made our way to her room. She didn’t’ hesitate at all about going for a bike ride and gave me orders not to make it too hard. Apparently I did though and she got pretty grumpy during her ride. That all changed once she was done and we shared some of our Christmas chocolate. Once in bed I read some of Open to her and that brought laughter and lots of excited comments like, “I love this book”, and “its like you are right there with him”. Makes it a lot of fun to read and with Janet in a good mood it was easier to say goodnight.
Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep, lots of energy and a positive attitude for tomorrow.
Another good nights’ sleep for Janet and a good start to the day this morning. She knew it was Monday and that we’d being going back to Connect later, she knew there was something else, just couldn’t get the word swimming out. We got to the pool in plenty of time and the first session was alright with Janet’s right leg doing its own thing instead of what she was trying to get it to do. Her walking was not as strong as last week partly because of that right leg or maybe totally because of it. Some days she just seems to be overly buoyant and today was one of them. Janet tried really hard to get her feet down to the pool floor from floating on her back but had a heck of a time today as they just wanted to stay near the surface. Tez joined us for session two and was happy with Janet’s sense of balance and her ability to swim. What he observed from her walking challenges confirmed the need to really go hard at making that right leg stronger. He reinforced that with Janet and will do the same with the Connect staff.
As we were leaving KGH I had Janet drive by what I thought was the room she described to me a week ago or so. No bells went off though and she didn’t even really remember telling me about a room before. I will have to strike sooner next time she does something like that.
Janet built herself a nice sandwich for lunch once we got home then agreed to try and have a nap. I should have bet her as she of course didn’t think she’d sleep but she did for a little bit and helped me start making dinner before having a late Skype chat with Andrew.
The return to Connect was smoother than I expected and Janet cooperated nicely in going on the Shuttle and into the Standing Frame. This was not her greatest Shuttle performance ever but considering the time of day I’ll take it. She tolerated the Standing Frame very well and we enjoyed some interesting conversation with Kieran, a new resident from North Vancouver who’s mom’s name is Janet so he calls Janet mom. He’s twenty four and very positive and Janet liked him as soon as they met. Janet stayed up a little late because of the Kieran conversation but that was a fun way to end a good day. Praying for rest that brings lots of energy and strength for tomorrow’s activities.
Monday, a day to get back into the “normal” routine. Janet apparently was too tired to jump back into her routine so took it pretty easy today with just a short workout in the gym and a little bit of reading for Speech. The rest of her time before I arrived was spent hanging out in the kitchen and living room mostly just watching what was going on. She was pleased to see me when I got there and seemed upset that she hadn’t done much but when she was reminded of what she was offered and attempted she agreed she was kinda tired. That led to a more than an hour long sleep with some of the loudest snoring I’ve ever heard from her.
I was prepared to let her sleep until 4:30 but she woke up just after four and wanted “to do something”. She managed to get herself up from laying down on the bed and elected to go and see if she could help prep dinner in the kitchen. She flat out refused my offer of playing games or reading. Just not into “school” today at all. It’s a good thing we went to the kitchen when we did as the guys had made another beef stew but there was plenty of time to prepare something else for Janet. Bob made her a nice chicken and pasta dish while we laughed at the movie Happy Gilmore. Janet wasn’t too thrilled by the pasta dish and was kind of jealous of the leftover enchilada I had brought for me. I continue to struggle with this dinner thing. I want her to participate in the Connect dinners and she really wants me to eat with her. If I bring my own dinner then she’s going to want that instead of what Connect has made, evidenced tonight. If I bring her dinner all the time then she’s somewhat disconnected from Connect. I think I’ll stick to eating when I get home for now.
After dinner we got a Skype call into Andrew and I was pleasantly surprised at how well Janet spoke to him. She had been pretty quiet and gurgley before that but turned it on nicely for Andrew. We listened to some music after that as I tried to find some she could sing along to. She was all over a couple of Brian McKnight songs and very readily agreed with me that she likes muscley black guys that can sing. I’m OK with that as I tan pretty good in the summer so I just need to work on the singing part and I’ll be fine.
Lights out at 8:30 for a tired but content Janet. The chat with Andrew and the singing before bed really seemed to brighten her spirits and I think set her up for a good nights rest. Praying for an active day of learning tomorrow.
A rare morning start for me today as I wanted to be sure we were able to Skype Cam for his birthday. Janet was finishing her after breakfast bio break and was quite cheery about it all when I arrived. This is the first time in a while I have seen her early in the morning and was impressed with how bright she was and how well she was talking. Garrett said that was typical. I was also impressed with how straight she stood up in the Arjo type machine that Garrett was transferring her with. All she needed was skis and poles and away she’d go. We ended up Skypeing Cam from a slightly noisy gym but Janet managed to sing happy birthday to him. Even after about four perfect practice runs she still called him Andrew when it came time for the real thing but she is no longer singing Karaoke style. It’s all her.
Janet’s workout was actually pretty good including a real strong effort on the Shuttle. Janet set a personal best doing seventeen reps with one band with her right leg only. She got good extension most of the time and was visibly working hard. First time I’ve seen the effort in the face. A very welcomed sign. By the time we were done in the gym it was lunchtime and Janet ate well as expected after a good workout. I took her to the laundry room after lunch to transfer her clothes from the washer to the drier. She very confidently did that chore then we got ready for our appointments downtown.
The meeting went well but ended sooner than I thought it might so we had time to use up before our next appointment. We spent that time talking about Invue and looking at it from a block away. I used that time to check Janet’s vision a little. She for sure could see vehicles approaching us and crossing in front of us. She could see Invue and commented that there was a lot of big windows but couldn’t zero in on details like the large concrete pole running through all the west side balconies nor could she see the light pole kitty corner to us. I think this is all associated with her processing challenges and not an inability to actually see something. When we finally got into the building Janet had no recollection of having been there before but still said it’s pretty nice and she would like to live there. With the help of Courtney’s boyfriend, Mike, we are putting forward two proposed changes to the balcony door to the Strata Council. If they say no then we forget about Invue as it would not be fair to Janet to not be able to access her own balcony by herself.
Because Janet did so well in the gym this morning I allowed her to come home for dinner when usually she would be back in the gym for another workout. We had a little snack as we had been out for a while and we really had no clue what to get for a snack while out. Laurel got in on a Skype call and I had to keep coaching Janet through it as she was getting pretty tired. So much so that by the time I served dinner I thought she was going to fall asleep in it. After a few mouthfuls she seemed to gain enough energy to make it through the rest of the evening. As I was getting her ready for her after dinner bio break I could tell she was really full and when I got her onto the bed she commented, “are you OK with girls that eat too much?” The only proper answer was to laugh. I made sure we headed back to Connect in good time as I want Janet well rested for the weekend coming up. The drive back was the most fun one yet as Janet asked to listen to the XM channel that plays all these old sappy love songs. I placated her but asked her if she thought there was a channel that played songs you could sing along to easily. She immediately started singing to the song that was playing and continued for four or five more. They were all familiar songs of course but she still surprised me with her knowledge of the words and melody. I always hated the thought of family sing songs on car rides but this one made me smile.
Praying for a night of rest and healing, and an active day of recovery tomorrow.