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.