football

Believing in Herself

The Superbowl hangover has worn off and the sun is shining making Janet’s spirits higher. Of course the hangover was not alcohol induced but caused by that devastating interception thrown in the final seconds of a great game. Being a pretty serious Seahawks fan Janet was a little down after that loss. Our friends Janice and Rod watched the game with us and having them around made it easier to cope for sure. Janet wisely observed that the game is just entertainment and we were greatly entertained all season.

Is this football food? Barely.

Is this football food? Barely.


JanetJaniceSuperbowl

Entertaining is not the word used to describe Janet’s visits to H2O, however her attitude and performance is improving. Yesterday the river was flowing very fast so it was a real struggle to walk in both directions. I assisted Janet the vast majority of the time as it wasn’t safe for her on her own in most places. The more she walked the better she got at it and for the last ten minutes walked on her own in a relatively calm side pool. Believing in herself seems to be a key component to her success and she seems to have to generate that belief herself or get feedback from someone she hasn’t seen in a long time. Case in point, today’s visit with Sandrine. It had been four months or so since they had seen each other and Janet was a little hesitant to stop by today. Afterwards, she was thrilled that we did, commenting on how nice Sandrine is. The two of them certainly do click and Janet’s energy level rose noticeably as soon as Sandrine appeared. Hearing how much she has progressed from Sandrine surprised Janet and I believe she accepted that feedback much better than from anyone else lately. Janet impressed us with the questions she asked and the way she conducted herself the whole time.

In the spirit of growing Janet’s independence as well as believing in herself I dropped her off at the library this morning for the Living With Stroke seminar. She was OK to give it a try on her own and had Shirley, the lady we give a ride to, for support if needed. Janet was excited to watch the little kids at story time before heading in for the seminar and told me later that someone had to come and get her as she was still watching the kids as the seminar started. When I arrived to pick her up almost two hours later she and Shirley were waiting in the foyer and Janet was all smiles feeling pretty good that she’d done that on her own.

For your information I am in the process of moving this blog to a self hosted website, brainaneurysmsurvivor.com which is up and running now although not at full speed. Check it out and stay tuned for the official launch. This site will likely be active for another week or so.

Praying for an increase in Janet believing in herself and to find some more opportunities for her to do things on her own.

Janet, A Success Story. November 16. #TSJ

Janet is home for an extra night this weekend as she has a doctor appointment tomorrow morning so this will be a short update.

The last few days have been very positive for Janet. Friday we hosted our wine club and Janet said it was a lot of fun, more so than usual but not because of the wine she drank. She said she just felt more relaxed and able to contribute. Saturday of course was baptism day and that was amazing. I’ll give more detail as soon as I can link you to some video of it, hopefully tomorrow. Janet had a large cheering section, including Cam, and her testimony and courage had a positive impact on a lot of people. Today was pretty chill watching football with Cam and walking to Urban Fare for lunch with him. Janet tolerated the minus three temperature better than Cam and this is the third time we’ve been able to walk in the cold. I think as long as its sunny and not windy we can still go out. Nice!

Not much progress has been made on the picking things up off the floor front but we’ll keep trying. Its just a fear thing. Praying for a good night of sleep and a productive Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. November 9. #TSJ

Only two more Sundays of taking Janet back to Connect, thank goodness. She handled tonight’s return well as her weekend was relaxing and entertaining and there was no time for a nap today so she was too tired to complain. A couple from our Small Group joined us today to watch the Seahawks game and that made for an enjoyable Sunday. Janet enjoyed the mixture of football talk and family talk and contributed well with both.

Neither day at home this weekend was too structured. Saturday night was different from the usual in that Courtney was home for dinner after church and we watched a movie together too. We are enjoying having her around and Janet is benefiting from having someone else to talk to. Friday we stopped by the church to do a walk through of the baptism tank. Janet did a great job walking up the steps, down into the tank then back out again. I’m confident she can handle it for real on Saturday and we thank Dave for taking the time to let Janet try that in advance. She was pretty pleased with herself for being able to do it. Our Small Group met Friday night and Janet participated well and even asked the group a question on her own for the first time. She wanted to hear everyone’s take on the Brittany Maynard and Lauren Hill stories and was rewarded with some good conversation. That was a good demonstration of Janet’s memory improving along with her confidence to initiate conversation.

Thursday night Janet recorded her baptism testimonial video. It was understood that she’d be able to use a teleprompter but it wasn’t ready when her time to shoot arrived so we tried feeding her two or three sentences at a time. That was a struggle for Janet but she made it through for the most part. By the time the teleprompter was ready Janet was tired of the whole thing so struggled reading from it too. Jody, the videographer, will work his magic and Janet’s story will come out loud and clear. There’s no magic needed to make Janet look good though.

Under the lights again.

Under the lights again.


Janet was a big help around the house this weekend as is becoming the norm. We didn’t take any formal time for exercise so all of Janet’s walking came associated with practical tasks. Talking with her tonight, she was happy about that but admitted she wasn’t moving around as easily. She disagreed that it was a result of a more relaxing weekend but resigned herself to the idea of using the indoor track at CNC sooner rather than later. Winter is supposed to arrive this week so the days of walking outside seem to be done and Janet needs to keep moving. I think she’ll be OK with it as long as we don’t overdo it.

Praying for a week of progress.

Janet, A Success Story. October 27. #TSJ

The goal today for everyone was to take some pressure to perform off of Janet and let her do her thing. It seems to have worked. Jess reported that the day was good in that Janet participated well in her therapies. When Janet called me she seemed satisfied with her day so far but unsure of how things would play out the rest of the day. She wanted me to hurry up and get there but I needed time today to step back a little and prepare myself for a new approach.

Janet was up from her nap when I arrived and met briefly with the new Communications Assistant for Connect who is doing a story on Janet’s visit to Okanagan College for a newsletter. Once a star always a star I guess. I didn’t “push” Janet for anything at all this evening. We chatted and responded to emails before dinner. Janet interacted really well at the dinner table and then amazingly agreed to walk the stairs with Chelsea afterwards. Her neighbour Debra is struggling with her Speech Therapy and Janet really wants to help her so we talked about that with Chelsea and I think Janet will approach Debra tomorrow to see if she’s willing to work with her. Janet is quite aware of her previous struggles and wants to give back. We showed Chelsea some of the Speech apps that Janet used to use and even played a few of them. Janet found it amusing that she was unable to correctly do a lot of them only a year ago. The evening was rounded out watching the fourth quarter of an entertaining football game with Wes, Brad and a new volunteer, Hannah who remembered me from being at a friends house a couple weeks ago, went to UBCO with a friend of ours and probably played basketball against Laurel years ago. She will be helping in Janet’s house Monday evenings for a while and seems like a great addition.

Janet walked using her cane all evening and I allowed that in hopes she feels more in charge of herself. Chelsea and I did encourage her to take longer strides if she’s going to use the cane and that was the extent of any nagging. Since was on think for yourself mode, it was pleasing when she remembered her meds all on her own.

As I was saying goodnight to Janet tonight she was very happy about how her day had been, especially the evening with me. She was relieved that I didn’t make her “do all sorts of things” and she promised to keep trying to get better. That clearly can only happen on her terms and my new role may have become clearer tonight. I believe Cam called it “husband”.

Praying for another good night of sleep for Janet and the confidence to have a productive Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. October 6. #TSJ

All day long Janet’s focus was on getting things done so she could watch the Seahawks play on Monday Night Football. Tez has a new student working with him whose worked with Janet on her stretching a couple of times now. She says he’s nice but isn’t totally sure of what he’s doing. Janet is more than willing to tolerate that as long as she doesn’t have to work too hard. Things seem to be getting done though, including some walking. After her nap I took Janet for a walk up the stairs and on the six minute course. There was a lot of complaining that ended with some acceptance of a good result. With me pulling her along, Janet did 200 meters in just under seven minutes. That’s the fastest yet but was with help and on an inside course. Still, it may boost her confidence a little.

After setting the table and grating a bunch of cheese Janet sat down for an enjoyable Skype chat with Andrew. Janet had a fair bit to say once she warmed up and really enjoyed getting caught up on Andrew news. Dinner was in the living room so we could watch the game and that of course made up the rest of the evening. Love having a football fan for a wife.

Praying for a restful night of sleep and lots of confidence for tomorrow’s activities.

Janet, A Success Story. September 22. #TSJ

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.

Janet, A Success Story. September 14. #TSJ

As promised, this was a busy weekend and Janet handled it all very well. There was limited time for napping but lately it seems as long as she gets some sort of chance to rest a little she can recharge and function fine for the remainder of the day.

My mom arrived for a weekend visit Friday afternoon having hitched a ride from Nanaimo with her good friends Mo and Betty Ann. It was fun having them here for dinner and Janet really enjoyed the conversation.

Betty Ann, Mo, Janet, my mom.

Betty Ann, Mo, Janet, my mom.


It proved a good set up for our wine club gathering that immediately followed. Janet continues to show a minimum of interest in learning about wine but really enjoys the house full of people and the energy that brings. Saturday we took my mom to the Farmer’s Market and enjoyed roaming around in the sunshine for an hour before bumping into nurse Arlene from Janet’s KGH days seconds after doing the same with Kiko. Arlene reminded us as Dr. Miller has, how meaningful it is for them to see the progress their former patients make. It’s a real motivator for them and hearing positive things from folks like Arlene impacts Janet differently than hearing it from those of us around her every day.

Brian came to the house Saturday afternoon to assess Janet’s abilities with some key activities there and to provide suggestions on how to improve her situation around the house. Our new deck is pretty much finished so there is now just one step from the living area to the deck and Janet is able to negotiate it with a minimum of help. Brian recommends a railing to aid Janet on the way out and some sort of grab bar for the way in. Our handyman will do the railing soon and I’ll scope out a grab bar. Being able to come and go from the deck all by herself will be huge for Janet, providing her with more independence. Coming into and out of the garage is going pretty well right now and only needs one additional grab bar plus some minor adjustments to Janet’s positioning which we practiced with success today. I mentioned Saturday that the goal of loading and unloading the dishwasher has been achieved and operating the cooktop could happen next weekend. The washer and dryer will take a little more practice and maybe something to sit on while Janet transfers clothes from one to the other. Not her wheelchair.

The only long walk Janet got in on Saturday was at church and that went well. I have to remember she’s walking way faster than before so we don’t need to leave the house so early as we end up waiting too long for the service to start. Good problem to have. The evening was rounded out with dinner at home with my mom and Courtney. Janet for some reason got all upset about the idea of going to Menchie’s after, saying she doesn’t like it anymore. Not sure where all the negativity came from and it reminded me of her episode with Tez last week. As soon as she was half way finished her bowl of froyo, the smiles were back.

We drove my mom to Peachland this morning to meet up with her ride back to Nanaimo and enjoyed a nice chat with the ladies in the sun at Bliss Bakery before getting back to the house for the Seahawks game. It was way too nice to sit inside and watch football so we rigged things so we could sit on the deck and watch the game through the windows. Worked fine and also allowed Janet to sit outside to Skype with a bunch of family gathered at Leslie and Gavin’s today. It was cool for her to be able to connect with them all in one shot like that.

There was finally time for a 400 meter walk today and it came when Janet would’ve been better off napping. She pushed through like a pro and went for a nap right after. The rest of the evening seemed rather sombre as Janet knew she was headed back to Connect again. By the time I said goodnight she was virtually asleep and accepting of being there and thankful the week ahead has a routine schedule. Praying for a solid night of sleep that provides lots of energy for Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. September 7. #TSJ LOUD

It feels like forever since I posted on this blog so this may be a little wordy. Janet and I had a great almost week together at home and on the road as this seems to be the summer that never ends. That’s a good thing.

Janet went for her Botox appointment last Wednesday morning and tolerated the needles well. Dr. McCann is happy with her progress and will keep her on a four month rotation. It was clear we need to keep treating Janet’s right hand finger flexors as well as her right hamstring. Dr. McCann also gave Janet a referral to an outpatient physio program that is run out of the local Rec centres as opposed to the hospital so we will see if that will work for her once she’s home full time.

The first stop on our road trip was Bellingham Washington. The idea was to break up the driving to the Seahawks game on Thursday to allow for a rest period for Janet before the game. Janet was a good passenger for the five hours it took to get to our hotel with a few bathroom breaks along the way and a very short wait at the border. Driving to Seattle Thursday was a breeze with no bathroom breaks during that two hour trip and we were pleasantly surprised to find our room ready for us even though it was only 12:30. Janet agreed to a rest before going out into the football madness.

Quite a few years ago Janet went to her first Seahawks game and she didn’t really like it much as it was loud and “mean”. A lot has changed since then and Janet is a true fan who joined right in on all the game day fun. Even as we arrived at our hotel the streets were full of fans heading to the pre game festivities so by the time we joined them it was hard to manoeuvre Janet in her wheelchair without running into someone. Janet was amazed by the number of people in the area and marvelled when she first saw the stadium. The weather could not have been better but to be safe Janet wore jeans and sat on a little jacket that she ended up wearing for the last ten minutes of the game. Janet chose to enter the stadium early and watch the teams warm up rather than stay in the crowds outside. Good call as we were able to familiarize ourselves with the washrooms and I gave Janet a good tour of everywhere she could go in the stadium. She declined to walk down to field level though. Maybe next time.

Ready for some football!

Ready for some football!


The game itself was so much fun with Janet getting right into it being as loud as she could. I think she was as entertained by the crowd as much as she was by the game which she spent most of the time watching on the giant video board as it was hard for her to sort out what was happening on the field. As opposed to her first game Janet enjoyed the action and still can’t get over how loud the crowd is. It was a great experience and we may have to start a tradition of going to the home opener every year.
Our view of the action.

Our view of the action.


It's LOUD!

It’s LOUD!

This video will give you a little sense of what it’s like at the game. There’s nothing like being there though.

We took the long way home on Friday, after spending some time on the Seattle waterfront and at a favourite beach of ours in Bellevue then taking I-90 over the mountains before heading north to home. Janet had a tough time after leaving the beach as she was tired and never really got control of her need for bathroom breaks so that made for a long trip that also wasn’t as scenic as I had hoped.

Everyone has a pic like this right?

Everyone has a pic like this right?


Meydenbauer Beach Park

Meydenbauer Beach Park


With just enough rest Friday night we welcomed some long time friends of Janet’s to the house Saturday afternoon. Diane and Blake were in the area and stopped by for a nice visit that meant a lot to Janet. I could see the wheels turning as the discussion centred around kids and friends. After church Janet insisted on watching the finale of So You Think You Can Dance as she wanted “to see my guy win”. He did! I owe Janet a Menchie’s treat and very proud of herself for picking the winner. High five! To cap off the weekend Courtney hung out with us this afternoon to watch some tennis and get us caught up on her life. Always nice to have her around.
A nice visit with friends Blake and Diane.

A nice visit with friends Blake and Diane.


Another summer vacation is over for Janet and there were no complaints about this one not being relaxing enough and there wasn’t much protesting about returning to Connect tonight. Janet did a four hundred meter walk this afternoon and on our way back from the beach I was able to demonstrate the speed she needs to go to get 400 meters in six minutes. She was rocked by that a little and I think will put in a solid week of work as she wants to be home full time soon.

Janet, A Success Story. July 22. #TSJ

All on her own, Janet called me earlier than usual this morning to say she’d just worked a little with Tez. She thinks its very important to tell me things like that right away so I know she’s being productive. Somewhat true.

By the time I got to Connect this afternoon Janet was surprisingly still sleeping and continued to for almost an hour before waking refreshed and ready for action. Her day had been busy enough to not have had time for a bike ride so off we went to get that in before dinner. Janet complained a little once she got pedalling but by the end she was quite proud of how well she’d done. Her walking to the gym and back was excellent as it was all the rest of the night too.

Everyone else had finished dinner by the time we got to the kitchen which was OK because it allowed us to dine outside in the sun instead of inside in the air conditioning. Janet was not thrilled with the prospect of attending Games Night, I think mostly because she knew she had to walk there and back. Tez has decreed to the staff that they are to have Janet walk everywhere possible now, using the wheelchair as little as possible. That’s something I’ve been practicing for a while now so Janet shouldn’t notice much of a difference. Once Games Night got rolling Janet jumped right in and fully participated and ended the evening on a real high by being “it” for a game of Where What Who. The person who is it thinks of something to be in a certain location around the world and the rest of the group asks questions leading to their guessing what you are thinking. Usually people guess something or someone far away, Janet thought she could fool everyone by choosing herself and she did until Big Country somehow guessed correctly to everyones laughter. Janet was quite happy with herself and called that the highlight of her day. I thought the highlight should have been when I told her we got tickets to the Seahawks home opener but she put that third, behind her game playing and me coming to visit her. Awww.

Praying for a good night of sleep for Janet and continued healing.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #Twelve

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.