Janet, A Success Story. October 23. #TSJ

Today was pretty quiet but productive for Janet. She completed her workout by just after eleven this morning then called me in hopes I was on my way to get her. Not quite, but soon after that I found her lying on her bed “not sleeping” waiting for me. She didn’t know what to pack to take home with her and I was a little upset that she hadn’t made an effort. Then I realized there was nothing but her meds to take since we have duplicates of most things at home now. She’s smarter than I think sometimes.

Brian stopped by to hitch a ride home with us and he watched some video of Janet doing some laundry. She was hopeful he would approve her for that goal but her familiarity with the controls isn’t quite there yet. Something to work on this weekend.

Janet was happy to have a nap when we got home then after doing some planning for her homecoming she did another stellar job helping make dinner. One goal this weekend is to not have late nights followed by late mornings so Janet will be lights out at her Connect bedtime so we can have a productive Friday.

Praying for restorative sleep, an increase in confidence and no fear about walking fast.

Janet, A Success Story. July 16. #TSJ Dining Out

Another surprise phone call from Janet this morning, this one at 9:45 as she waited for Mary Lou’s Speech class. Janet had just practiced reading The Hallo Wiener and seems to be gaining confidence in her ability to read it. There were lots of laughs during our conversation and I’m happy Janet thinks to call on her own now.

The Connect bus ride to The Asian Pear was uncomfortably hot, even for Janet, as the A/C was not working on the bus. When I went onboard to help her off, sweat droplets poured off her right arm from under her splint and her back was pretty wet. 40 degrees and no A/C will do that. The heat didn’t affect anyone’s appetite though as the group took advantage of the “all you can eat” format. Even Janet had seconds, of vegetables of course.

A very "full" house.

A very “full” house.

It was a good outing for everyone and the return trip was much nicer for some as Janet and I took Wes and Angie (those without wheelchairs) in our air conditioned car which they greatly appreciated.
Who says 4 o'clock is the hottest time of day.

Who says 4 o’clock is the hottest time of day.

Our evening was spent creating our weekend grocery list and reading in addition to practicing for the Connect Fun Day tomorrow. Janet is all against it of course so in order to get her to sign up for some games I had to prove to her how well she can throw things. We still have the little basketball we used to play catch with in Rehab so I had her throw that at me a few times and as expected she has a cannon. She is signed up for the bean bag toss, ladder ball and bocci. I expect medals.

Praying Janet sleeps well tonight and has a positive attitude for a fun Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 15. #TSJ

To further prove the progress Janet is making I witnessed her make a phone call without any help at all using her iPhone. She methodically performed each step and successfully called me as I sat a few meters away from her. I haven’t been coaching her on the use of her phone much and she’s not getting many calls either so I’m not sure how she figured this out but even she was quite happy about it.

Happy was the word of the week for Games Night and the mood Janet was in all day I think. The exercises went well according to her and were completed before lunch. Jess took her for some routine blood work and Janet didn’t even complain about that, probably because it got her out of the air conditioning for awhile. Even her toileting went well today.

After her nap and setting the dinner table we sat outside and chatted for forty five minutes. Twenty minutes into that we were both sweating but Janet was determined not to go back in until she had to. She did go in for dinner then went right back out again after to warm up.

Games Night was the closest thing to unhappy for Janet today as everyone seemed a little off their game tonight. It was still good she went and the trip upstairs was a good walking workout. She asked me to help her walk to get her meds after that, I said no but I’d walk with her, and instead of refusing to go at all, Janet told me not to bother and off she went on her own. Love it!

Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and has lots of energy for a productive Wednesday. She’s already excited about the house trip to The Asian Pear for dinner.

Janet, A Success Story. July 3. #TSJ

I got my phone call from Janet much earlier than typical today as she very excitedly called me right after Genie Bouchard won her semi final match at Wimbledon. Janet watched the last half of the match during her breakfast and was super excited Genie won, so much so that we are getting up early Saturday to watch the Championship live. Janet is liking both the game of tennis (“it’s played in a nice warm, clean place”) and the person that Genie seems to be (“a nice and intelligent good looking person”).

Another thing that got Janet all excited today was getting to come home for the weekend. Garrett commented that Janet really took the initiative in regards to her exercise routine this morning by walking up to him on a couple of occasions and asking if she could do something. According to Janet she was motivated by not only wanting to get them done but by the prospect of coming home. Whatever works.

Tez was in the building today and offered a few tips on walking. I’ve been nagging Janet to stop hanging onto walls and furniture while walking freestyle and Tez says not to worry about that as long as Janet isn’t leaning onto things for support. If it’s for security purposes its fine. I asked him about Janet walking barefoot for a few steps and he thought that wasn’t the greatest idea but if Janet wants to do so using her cane and carefully stepping out with her right foot so it lands flat on the floor, fine. We brought the cane home in case she wants to try. The motivation for this is to refrain from using the wheelchair as much as possible including first thing in the morning and when going to the bathroom after having gotten into bed at night or after a nap. Sounds like it may be a little too soon to really go after.

Janet was a big help at dinner time tonight, preparing a veggie stir fry by herself except for getting the very heavy frying pan out and turning on the cooktop. I could have sat back and drank wine while she cooked. Maybe tomorrow.

Praying for a long night of reenergizing sleep and a productive Friday.

Janet, A Success Story. June 26. #TSJ Early Weekend

When Janet called me after lunch today I could sense right away where she was steering the conversation to. Yesterday she repeatedly asked if she could come home early for the weekend since its going to be such a busy one. I made her the usual deal of getting all her therapies done by lunchtime then we’d talk. She couldn’t tell me fast enough that she’d done just that then asked again if she could come home. How could I say no and why would I?

Janet agreed to a nap before I picked her up though and she was just getting up when I arrived. We are having some of the Connect staff over for a BBQ tomorrow so there was work to be done as soon as we got home and getting dinner was first up. Pizzas are a good project for Janet to help with and she loves eating them so that was dinner tonight. We are developing a good routine around pizza making. Janet, in her wheelchair, is able to get a lot of the ingredients and turn the oven on and she’s awesome and putting the sauces on before building the actual pizzas. It used to be that half of her toppings would end up anywhere but on her pizza. Not so now, she is creating masterpieces.

For the BBQ Janet was pretty insistent on having a dessert and wanted to make a carrot cake, her favourite. My baking past is not pretty so I was a reluctant participant in our effort tonight but I must say the end result looks pretty good and the icing is awesome. Janet broke eggs and mixed things together for the cake really well then decided to chat with Laurel for a bit while I figured out the icing. After catching up a little on our So You Think You Can Dance watching, Janet iced the carrot cake before going to bed.

Because of all the kitchen work, Janet was in her wheelchair more than I would’ve liked tonight but that is the best way for her to be able to help. She did stand to ice the cake and had to walk up the two steps from the garage when we got home today as I’ve taken away the wheelchair ramp. There is a grab bar on her left side and using that she effortlessly got up both steps. High five! I may not put the ramp back if going down the steps is just as good.

Praying for a night of reenergizing sleep and a fun Friday.

Janet, A Success Story. June 20. #TSJ Wedding Eve

I used to write how Janet seemed to be on a roller coaster during the first months of her recovery and today could very well be summed up as that. It started a little later than planned as it took longer for the morning routine than usual but by 9:30 we were having breakfast with Janet’s dad, Doug, and his wife Joan. It has been four years since we have seen them in person and Janet was very excited to do so. Doug suffered a stroke a year before Janet’s aneurysm which made him even less of a talker than he used to be but Janet and Joan kept the conversation going really well and it was an enjoyable start to the day.

Wanting to get out in the sun, Janet and I went for what was to be a nice exploratory walk with the option of finding me some new sunglasses. After a two block false start (Janet needed her sweater) we maneuvered along the very bumpy sidewalks for almost an hour. Janet wasn’t enjoying it much because of the bumps and said she needed to go to the bathroom. I love it when she initiates that task and hate it when she doesn’t make it to the toilet in time. We were less than three minutes from the time she mentioned it to the time she was getting out of her wheelchair, but it was too late. I was most unimpressed, as a large part of the morning had already been spent in the bathroom and I have no idea what brought on the increased need to go. Back to the hotel we went, now late for our lunch date with Mary/Gaga and Keith and by the time we did catch up to them the sun had pretty much left the area we were to have lunch in. It was still nice to hang out with them for a while even in the shade.

While Janet tried to nap, I got to do laundry. At least there was a soccer game on. Janet had her eyes closed for maybe twenty minutes and probably didn’t sleep at all so got up to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Things seemed to be improving toileting wise and after getting dressed with hair by Courtney and make up by Heather, off we went. Allan’s parents hosted the rehearsal dinner at their house out in the country a little bit and it was a nice change from the bustle of Ottawa. Most places we’ve been to on this trip are not wheelchair friendly and I found it easier to have Janet walk into the house tonight rather than try and lift her wheelchair up the steps. She did a great job stepping up again, with lots of support but doing more of the work than she’s been capable of before. People were helpful in getting Janet down the steps at the back and out onto the grass where the sun was. The rehearsal was short and sweet and we learned Janet is going to have a tough time walking with Heather down the aisle so I will likely be there for support too. Janet really enjoyed sitting out in the sun for dinner watching the dogs play, the chipmunks hop around and the dogs chase the chipmunks. People kept asking us if the bugs were bothering us and we had to respond with “what bugs?” Janet and I were bug free until the sun disappeared but it was time to head for the hotel then anyways.

So, a good start, a bad middle and a good finish to the day for Janet. The toileting challenge seems to have corrected itself and we are all focused on making tomorrow an enjoyable one for Heather and Allan. Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and is fully able to participate and enjoy tomorrow. Praying also for God’s blessing on Heather and Allan.

Janet, A Success Story. June 18. #TSJ Birthday

Full day in Ottawa number one didn’t go as planned mostly because of a late start. Janet didn’t get to sleep until at least 1:30 last night so I was in no hurry to have her get up this morning. We did need to get going on the missing wheelchair project though. The company I rented from apologized for their screw up and offered to drop one off today free of charge. Problem was, that wouldn’t happen until around noon and we wanted to drive to Montreal for the day. We decided to go pick up a wheelchair from their office and hit the road from there. Bad call. I selected the wrong location on my GPS and after getting relatively close to the right location we ran into a major construction project which had traffic backed up for miles. Rather than slog through it I hoped the GPS would find an alternate route, apparently there isn’t one, so by about 12:30 we finally had the wheelchair in our possession and decided it was too late to do Montreal as we were all tired of being in the car by that time.

Wanting to at least say we went to Quebec we opted to go to Gatineau and the Museum of Civilization. Janet loved the Children’s Museum and found some of the other areas interesting. We visited the museum when we were here four or five years ago, Janet didn’t really remember any if it nor has she any real memory of the other Ottawa landmarks so it’s like the first time all over again.

It is field trip season so the museum was packed with school kids exhibiting every level of interest in the place imaginable and that was at times entertaining and at others annoying.

When in Quebec I feel you’ve gotta have some poutine and Janet agreed to pose with some as long as she didn’t have to eat it.


Janet had hung in there really well for that first stint of the day and after a short rest at the hotel it was time for dinner out with the family. Mary and Keith arrived this afternoon as did Cam and we all met for a nice meal topped off for some of us by an Ottawa staple, Beaver Tails!

There were limited opportunities for Janet to walk today and I notice that when she does she’s not as good at it so there may be a few trips up and down the hallways tomorrow as Janet has some serious walking to do on Saturday.

Today was Janet’s birthday and true to form, the older you get the more parties you have. We went out for a nice birthday dinner last Friday with Bonnie and Toly, today Janet received birthday wishes from some of you and tomorrow there is a big family bash at Heather and Allan’s. Janet doesn’t like a lot of attention for her birthday but she deserves it.

I have to end on a positive note and I want to start with a shout out to our friend Nora in Chicago. Cam’s girlfriend Gina is stuck there tonight due to severe weather that has cancelled dozens of flights. When we got in touch with Nora she already had a full house of “stranded” people but was willing to make room for another. Cam and Gina chose another option but I want you all to know how blessed we are to have friends willing to step up like that. Another shout out goes to the random customer who got up from his table at Starbucks to open the door and let Janet and I walk through on our way for a bathroom break this morning. A small act of kindness like that made a huge impression on us. Thanks random thirty something middle eastern dude in a suit!

Praying for a great night of sleep and for Janet to have lots of energy tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. June 13. #TSJ

Friday the thirteenth turned out to be pretty “lucky” for us. Janet was awake fairly early so was able to have a shower. I tried having her get her breakfast while walking about the kitchen but that seemed a little too much yet. She was willing to try at least.

After running through our clothes for the trip we agreed there were a few things we both could use so we took advantage of the rain and went to the mall. Janet was very excited that we both found the things we went there for in relatively quick fashion. By the time we were home Janet had done a lot of walking and helping out so I made her a sandwich while we watched a little World Cup soccer.

Dinner tonight was a special evening out with our neighbours, Bonnie and Toly. We had hoped to walk the two blocks to The Fixx Cafe but the weather didn’t cooperate so we drove and Janet walked well through the parking lot and negotiated a three inch curb very nicely. She also gobbled up her dinner pretty quick saying it was “delicious”. That’s high praise from Janet.

Twice today I had Janet doing assisted walking in public places and each time she did so with lots of confidence. Not long ago you would get some resistance to the idea or at least a lot of looking around for who is watching. Not today, and that makes it more fun.

We are easing into running on Eastern Time so our clocks are on Alberta time tonight and we’ll switch to Central Time tomorrow and hopefully be on Eastern Time for Monday so that it’s not a big shock when we arrive in Ottawa Tuesday. I want Janet to be able to enjoy every minute she’s there.

Praying for a good night of sleep and a productive Saturday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 18. #TSJ

Janet’s day started with a couple of Skype chats back to back. First up was Leslie followed by Mary/Gaga. Both conversations went well with Janet needing minimal help along the way. Because we got up so late, shower time had to be after the Skype sessions so by 12:30 we were ready to start our day. On a whim I had Janet try walking freestyle from the bed to the dining table and she did it with only one pause to hold onto me briefly. That’s thirty feet all on her own folks! She repeated that a couple times during the day then bested it by ten feet going all the way to the bathroom. There was no mention of a sore foot until after dinner tonight and Janet walked a lot today so I think the couple days of minimal walking did her some good and the problem could be just new things being used a little too much. Janet complained a little tonight at Connect but not as much as before.

That was the highlight of the day except for Janet doing a nice job helping to make dinner. She was bright and cheery and talkative all day, showing no signs of having too much Dilantin in her now. I hope she has enough.

The ride back to Connect happened too soon again but it didn’t take long for Janet to settle in. Jess was working tonight and talked with Janet for a fair bit as soon as we arrived and that really helped. Praying that Janet has a restful night of sleep and wakes up with a positive attitude and lots of energy and no soreness tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. April 30. #TSJ

When I checked in with Janet at lunchtime today she was sounding quite cheery and energetic. Her morning had been good and included a long walk, Janet said to the gym, Jess corrected it was to the living room. The fact that Janet was excited about it is great and she continued to act positively when I got to Connect to take her to SheLife.

I arrived early thinking we’d go bathing suit shopping but an old pair of shorts and one top still barely fits Janet and will do for tomorrow so the shopping can wait for some rainy day. Tez wants Janet to wear her AFO in the pool with some water shoes on her feet and I forgot to take them to Connect so we went home to see if any fit and decided to stay for our first outside dinner of the year.

Al fresco dining in April. #whywelivehere

Al fresco dining in April. #whywelivehere

The water shoes will do for tomorrow. I mentioned Janet was in a pretty positive mood and one example was her eagerness to walk from her room to the car. It was if she expected to do that and never even mentioned her wheelchair. It was fun walking out in the sun with her and we did it again at church as Janet walked from the car to her table at SheLife, a distance I later stepped out as 215 feet. By far her longest yet and it included going up two ramps, one about 30 feet long. Her steps were strong and deliberate most of the time with a little more wobbliness than I’d like but that will change. The fact she had the energy to go that far is impressive.

With a big smile on her face Janet excitedly told me how she “actually contributed tonight”. She managed to talk about patience and how she could be really angry or sad about what’s happened to her but she’s not. It was a fun car ride back to Connect as Janet talked about the positive things in her life.

My time with Janet today was very refreshing and uplifting and a great antidote to what had happened earlier. My cousin and second cousin both work at the mill in Nanaimo where the shooting took place this morning and there were some anxious moments in waiting to hear if they were OK. They are but were shaken by what took place. We also received word that our friend Wendy in Nanaimo is in ICU after a botched procedure to remove kidney stones. Janet’s table prayed for her tonight and I ask you to do the same.