Wedding day could not have gone any better from Janet’s perspective. She woke up too early but easily nodded off again for a good long sleep in. There was no way she would get a nap that day so I was glad she slept in.
After a shower and breakfast it was time to start getting ready. Courtney did a great job with Janet’s hair before I took her over to Heather’s where all the girls were getting beautified.
The plan was that Janet would hang out until Heather had her dress on so that the Mother of the Bride could get a sneak peak, but in true girl fashion, things were running behind schedule so that never happened. Laurel applied some make up on Janet, she totally doesn’t need it, and after watching the bridal party get primped it was time for us to gather some of the rest of the family and get out to the wedding venue.
The weather was perfect and the Britannia Yacht Club surprisingly beautiful. I had no idea there was such a beautiful spot in Ottawa.
The guys were on time and the girls fashionably late and no one seemed to mind as we took in the scenery. Janet had long set the goal to walk at Heather’s wedding and she achieved that in spades. I thought she might be able to walk part way down the aisle with Heather during the ceremony but there really wasn’t room to do that and Heather wasn’t feeling too stable in her shoes to support Janet if needed. The compromise was for Janet to meet Heather at the front and take a few steps with her to meet Allan. That part worked well and was all Janet really wanted as she got a nice hug from her new son in law and said “goodbye honey” to her daughter which brought peels of laughter from everyone gathered. A solid Janet moment.
I walked with Janet down the aisle after the ceremony so we could congratulate the newlyweds and Janet stayed on her feet for a good half hour after that as we took pictures and visited with family. The reception was held on the upper floor of the yacht club and since their elevator was not completed yet Janet had the use of a human elevator to get up the long flight of stairs. Four of us carried her in her wheelchair like she was Cleopatra and got her into the party where she wasted no time in getting a glass of wine going. The room was the perfect size and decorated nicely, the staff were very professional and friendly. Janet ate a good dinner and was pumped up to give her surprise speech. She wrote and had been trying to memorize a speech for Heather and Allan for about a month now. I was confident she could get it locked into her memory and practicing in a quiet room she was getting close. In a room buzzing with the excitement of a wedding there was no way. Even with the written speech in front of her Janet was too excited to stick to the script. She made her point well though and earned another standing ovation.
The highlight of this day for me in relation to Janet had to be when we got to dance together. The “official” first dance was just ending and no one had joined in as they had been invited to so I grabbed Janet and out onto the floor we went. Heather and Allan were thrilled someone was willing to get things started and Janet got more comfortable after the dance floor filled up. She was able to get a little hip action going as well as move her feet while holding my hand. It was very exciting and something I’ll never forget.
As the party got louder and the room hotter Janet called it a night around 10:30 or so. She did amazing all day and I know she will remember this day for a long long time as it meant so much to her.
Praying for a life filled with love and happiness for Heather and Allan and thanking Jesus for Janet and all she is able to do.
A very merry Christmas it was here today. There was no mad rush to the tree to open presents so Janet was able to get up when she wanted and enjoy a leisurely breakfast prepared by Laurel and Heather. Courtney joined us near the end and then we did the presents thing. Janet loves opening stuff but more enjoys seeing others react to what she gave them and although we have scaled things way back it was still a fun time.
The weather was nice enough for a nice walk around the neighbourhood before a late lunch. Janet was having a rather relaxed day up until that point and I thought the fresh air would be good for her. She was a little quiet as we watched basketball and snacked so to improve the chances of an enjoyable evening I had Janet take a one hour rest break. She probably slept for most of that hour but was awake when I went in to check on her and she seemed ready to make the rest of the day fun.
Janet helped a little with the dinner prep and did some really good standing for more than ten minutes while Laurel and Heather made dinner. With some lively Christmas music playing, Janet even got a few dance moves going while holding onto a countertop and briefly a couple times not holding onto anything. The music and business of the kitchen were good distractions to any discomfort Janet was experiencing and she even executed a well controlled decent back into her wheelchair. High Five!
Dinner was outstanding and the conversation around the table very enjoyable as we all relaxed and enjoyed wine and laughter. Janet participated fully and even after a more wine than she probably should have she was fully engaged in what was happening and had a really fun time. She surprised us all by calling her own bedtime at ten o’clock when she seemed to be going pretty strong. Good for her to recognize when she’s tired though and she did fall asleep pretty quick.
We hope you enjoyed your Christmas as much as we did. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow.
Renovation Day 67. A day of dramatic results today as Randy installed cabinet door and handles in the kitchen. Now we have to remember where we put things because we can no longer see them.
I got out to Connect and helped Janet get ready for the weekend and her appointment at OKAPED with Jeff. Janet seemed eager to go and reported a good day so far. Garrett mentioned he had her standing on her own for fifteen minutes this morning which is a major record. He was quite impressed and is excited to have Janet in an AFO so she can do even more.
Jeff is a very nice and smart guy who really took his time to assess Janet’s situation and to listen to her. I had hoped to walk out of the appointment with a product in hand or at least under construction but Janet will need something custom built and OKAPED doesn’t do the type of device Jeff feels Janet will need. He has referred her to Ortho Design, which is operated by a former colleague who is the best in the business around here. Hopefully we can get an appointment soon. Jeff did sell us an ankle brace that will be better than nothing over the Christmas break if it takes that long to get the AFO. Janet was pleased with the appointment and is happy we are making progress.
We stopped at home to get changed for the Connect Christmas party and we figured we’d give the new dress one more try and I promised not to get all stressed out about it. Janet had the brilliant idea of trying to put it on by stepping into it and wouldn’t you know it, victory!
We even got a nice red coat of hers onto her that she hasn’t worn in years so she was all decked out nice and fancy for the evening.
Because of the OKAPED appointment we were a little late arriving at the party and apparently missed the hot food. I was under the impression it was dinner but turns out it was just appetizers and all the hot things were gone by 7:15 when we arrived. Oh well, we had fun anyways. Karl, who has been off work injured for two months and hasn’t seen Janet in that long was there and couldn’t believe how well she is talking now and was shocked to see her stand. Janet stood with me for a number of pictures and was a bit of a celeb looking as fine as she did.
The best part of the night for me was when Janet agreed to try a little dancing. I am a terrible dancer but figured I could handle this as there would not be any footwork involved. Janet of course was a little timid but managed to lose herself to the beat a couple times and was swaying in time better than me. She doesn’t think she did that well but to have her even trying was huge fun.
All the partying really wore Janet out and after a little snack at home it was off to bed. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep, lots of energy and a positive attitude tomorrow and quick improvement in her control of her right leg.
Renovation Day 65. All quiet on the renovation front today as Randy worked from home again and all I did was finish readying the ensuite.
Today was team meeting day for Janet so I was out at Connect for 10am to join the conversation and Janet was waiting in the Den. I tried sneaking up on her but she’s getting smarter about that sort of thing and caught me before I got into the room.
Our discussion about and with Janet was a good one as she participated and responded appropriately throughout the hour. Brian, as Head Coach, led the meeting and provided reports from the coaches that couldn’t be there. Mary Lou is changing the focus of her therapy away from Speech to Reading and Writing. Janet’s speech is now at a point very close to “normal” so it’s time to bring in some other skills. Wendy, Cognition Coach, is beginning a training program with Janet to help her memory and to plan and be responsible for her daily activities. Delivering the envelope yesterday was part of that and this morning Janet successfully delivered a birthday happy face lollypop to Brian without prompting. One of Wendy’s tools she will provide Janet with is a daily journal type of book. I hope to meet with Wendy before her plan is implemented to see if using the iPad would be more appropriate. Given the choice, Janet would default to the book but she admits her writing is poor and that she’s getting better using the iPad. We will go with whatever has the most upside for Janet’s future. Nurse Jen wants to reinstate the Self Medication Program with Janet. We tried this a few months ago with zero success and feel Janet has progressed to the point where she should be able to gradually catch on to managing her meds herself. This ties in nicely with Wendy’s plan too. Tez would like to see Janet using a cane as much as possible so as soon as he tells me what kind she should have we will go cane shopping. He also wants Janet to continue her work in the pool. I think that means doing a little more than swimming in the deep tank so tomorrow we are going to try some walking and balancing in the kiddie pool. Curtis thinks its deep enough and we know for sure it is reasonably warm. For a few months now, myself and other family members have used Heather’s upcoming wedding as motivation for Janet to start walking. My pitch was I want to dance with her there and she has been pretty positive about trying to make that happen. Today Tez made that an official goal for Janet. Unassisted walking by June! Its very exciting to have that be a real goal instead of just wishful thinking. The team believes Janet can do it and she certainly wants to. The big challenge is her right leg and I followed up on the AFO situation today and hope to have an answer tomorrow as to when we’ll have it. Janet is kind of holding out for that to arrive before really getting going on walking practice. I can’t blame her seeing how much her right ankle rolls now.
That was a full morning mentally for Janet and she hung in there really well. I went to work at the church for a bit while she did the rest of her Wednesday activities. She was watching Ellen when I got back and said she had gone for a bike ride, had lunch and watched soccer on TV. She was in a good mood and quite chatty so I didn’t rush her off to the gym feeling it’s OK to change up the pace now and then. One of the kids presented us with a little drama via text message this afternoon and Janet and I had a good long discussion about how to respond and our plan actually got some good results. I feel blessed to be able to have discussions like that with her as she always was a great parent.
With dinner done and things settled down around the house, Curtis and I took Janet upstairs for some walking practice. She worked really hard but was using a lot of negative self talk and didn’t have Big Country there to cheer her on so had a few frustrating moments. Hopefully that type of work can take place during the day when she has more energy and hopefully we can get that AFO soon.
X Factor had already started by the time we were done walking and with Janet being tuckered out from the hard workout she barely made it through to the end of the show. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow.
Janet’s morning was rather routine today. Breakfast, Shuttle, shower, Standing Frame, lunch, then a little time with me to respond to an email from her dad. Janet hasn’t been typing on the iPad for a while and was quite reluctant to do it thinking she couldn’t. I need to keep working on this with her as I believe it’s an important skill and she’s not as bad at it as she thinks. She also doesn’t think she can read but yes she can.
Knowing tonight was the big turkey dinner for everyone connected to Connect, Janet agreed to a nap after the iPad work. I quickly painted her nails after she got up and we went to the Winfield Memorial Hall for the Fall Social. Janet went in saying “your going to know everyone and I’m not going to know anybody”. Before we sat down she had been welcomed by at least six people and had changed her tune to “lots of people are saying hi to me”. There were some little kids there and one at our table that kept Janet’s attention for a good part of the evening. The dinner was very good with Janet gobbling down a large portion of turkey. Pun intended. The staff had put together a slide show featuring all the residents from the past year. Janet said “there won’t be any pictures of me”. Two minutes in she had appeared four times with each one making her laugh. She was well represented throughout the show and wondered why because “I’m never out doing anything”. Funny how she perceives herself sometimes. Janet says she would have danced with me but “not to that music”. That’s a line I used to use while waiting for the scotch to take effect. I didn’t push the dancing on her and we got back to Connect in time to read a little, watch some TV and go to bed.
Today had a nice steady pace to it and Janet was good throughout. Praying for healing sleep and a willingness to try sledge hockey one more time tomorrow.