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. August 24. #TSJ

There may have been some intention of having Janet really work on her walking this weekend but reality was there was too much fun to be had. She was on a high from the radio interview on Friday, (still is), as Saturday got underway with the Mary/Gaga Skype chat which took place during breakfast in the sunshine. After a little tidying up before the arrival of our friends Nancy and Jim from North Vancouver, there was one chance to get some walking in. To warm Janet up we took the dog for a lap around the neighbourhood then filed him away so Janet could focus on walking. We parked her wheelchair outside the garage and I gave her the target of walking to the pedestrian gate and back. A distance of 100 meters each way. Janet started out without her cane and I reassured her she could use it if needed. She didn’t need it until the first leg of the trip was almost done. She then made it all the way back using her cane and walking on pace to do about fifty meters every six minutes, which is very good for her being outside where she is not as confident. I’m confident she can reach her goal of 400 meters in six minutes by sometime in November.

With the work out of the way and a good rest completed our guests arrived and the fun could begin. The rest of Saturday consisted of a glass of wine in the sun, a great church service, a very yummy dinner and good company throughout. Janet did well the whole time mostly listening to the conversation. She was more animated and vocal today especially during a leisurely breakfast that she got waited on for, and she was darn happy about it. We then headed out to a wine tasting at Sandhill Winery and were pleasantly surprised by the experience. Janet and I agreed on our favourite wine and brought a bottle home. Before Jim and Nancy took off on the next leg of their adventure we enjoyed a nice outside lunch with them. Janet and I came away from this visit with friends smiling, laughing and genuinely grateful to have such good people in our lives.

There was one last piece of work for Janet today and she willingly accepted helping prep dinner. The sun seems to be setting much sooner these days so dinner was inside after a lively discussion about Christmas vacation with the bulk of the family. Looks like we’ve settled on San Diego, now its a matter of locking down a place to stay. Janet is excited but mostly to hang with the family so where we do it doesn’t really matter to her. She was not excited about going back to Connect tonight but was greeted as a celebrity when she walked in and that brought a huge smile to her face. She really believes in and is excited about sharing her story.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and an energetic Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 17. #TSJ Smoke and Fire

The big “Fun Day” Connect had planned for today was cancelled at the last minute as Interior Health issued an air quality advisory due to a lot of smoke in the area. There are a number of forest fires burning in the province and we’ve had smoky skies for a few days but no fires in the Kelowna area until this afternoon.

Fire across the lake to the west of us.

Fire across the lake to the west of us.

Janet and I clearly could see this one on the other side of the lake from us as it started during our drive home. As I write, over 2500 homes have been evacuated and Janet and I have offered the spare room we have to anyone that may need it.

Janet was not at all upset with the cancellation of Fun Day and thought she might be able to come home sooner but I convinced her to stay and get her exercises done and Garrett said she did great at all of them. When we got home we took the dog for a walk and that must’ve convinced Janet it was hot enough to go swimming because she accepted my suggestion with no argument. It also helped that we met Bonnie on her way to the pool and Janet always feels more confident when friends are around. Getting into and out of the pool was OK, a couple of slips but that’s why I’m there. After the initial shock of the 30 degree water Janet got comfortable and swam really well both on her back and tummy. I’m the one that needs to regain confidence so that she can swim more freely.

First time in the pool!

First time in the pool!

Initially we left the AFO and water shoes on but I think next time we’ll go without to prevent the slipping and make it easier to swim. Janet really enjoyed the swim and it set her up for a nice cool nap before dinner.

Our evening was quiet as we monitored the fire situation and watched So You Think You Can Dance. Both of our contestants are safe and Janet’s continues to be a stand out.

Praying for a safe night for those in the fire zone and for restful sleep for Janet leading to a productive Friday.

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

I caught Janet napping again this afternoon which is good as she really does function a lot better in the evening if she is rested. She wasn’t able to give me much detail about what she did with the first part of the day and I trusted her when she told me she did lots in the gym or “downstairs” as she calls it sometimes.

Our drive to the pre SheLife dinner was quite chatty for a car ride as Janet continued to try and tell me about her day. She struggled with details and getting the right word out and seems to be telling herself she can’t remember way too fast. I wonder if writing a note about each task as she completes it would help her remember it longer. Might try that soon.

Janet wheeled herself into her SheLife session tonight with me spying on her just to make sure she found the right table. She seemed more than happy to go off on her own. The session went quite long and Janet said the video they watched was too long but all the remaining ones are half the length so it should be fine. She said she was able to contribute to the discussion and enjoyed the evening. During the drive back to Connect Janet gave me a pretty good run down on what they discussed, much better than her earlier report on the days events.

Once back at Connect it was get ready for bed, read and say goodnight. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep that provides lots of energy for a busy tomorrow. Thanking Jesus for the community of friends we are able to do life with.

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

We are still in holiday mode here and our morning started late as seems to be usual but we had just the right amount of time to prepare for Joel and Kiko’s arrival for lunch. They are awesome friends and we are glad we could start off 2014 with them as our first guests. Janet was a little quiet during their visit again saying she didn’t know much about what we were talking about and didn’t know what else to discuss. I’m not liking this pattern and hope that with more exposure to guests in the house she will relax and be able to participate more. I think it’s still good that she listens to real conversation as opposed to always trying to tailor talk to her. Learning curve.

Janet was pretty zonked after Joel and Kiko left and had an almost two hour nap which allowed me to put away outside Christmas and get everything ready for her to help put away the inside stuff. That all took longer than anticipated but Janet was a big help with the tree decorations and she enjoyed the project.

Uncle Monkey joined us via FaceTime for dinner tonight and it was good to see and hear him and to know all is well with the Oakville Aitons.

With Christmas put away we decided to watch a movie before bed. Janet selected the genre, children and family, and we agreed to try the first one that popped up, Parental Guidance. We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it and Janet laughed more than I can remember her laughing at any other movie. That was almost as much fun as her singing through a film and a great way to end the day.

Praying for a good night’s sleep and lots of energy, a positive attitude and good control of her body for swimming tomorrow.

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

This is an abbreviated New Years Eve version of our blog update. The day started with a very nice visit with Scott and Nora at our house. We are blessed to count them as friends. Randy stopped by after that to formally close the renovation project. We thank him immensely for a job very well done. Janet and I attended a New Years party at one of our neighbours homes this evening where we wisely celebrated the new year on Eastern time so we are home eating ice cream as I write this then saying goodnight.

We sincerely wish you all the very best for 2014 and thank you for your love and support. Praying for a year of complete recovery for Janet and for our story to help and inspire many others.


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

No sleep in today but getting ready for breakfast seemed to take longer than normal so it was a little on the late side by the time we got that started. The house is a little fuller now that Cam is here and Janet enjoyed the extra activity this morning. Heather gave her mom a nice manicure after breakfast which included a trendy accent nail that Janet for some reason rejected. I thought it was cool but she felt it wasn’t her. Another sign of her getting better as a couple of months ago we could have gotten away with that one easily.

The afternoon was spent visiting with a few friends we haven’t been able to see in quite a while. Janet was happy to have a house full of people and the energy that brings. I think she may have been a little overwhelmed at times and it seemed like if things were too much for her she turned her attention to the Seahawks game. All day long she refused my offers of a glass of wine and that was likely a good call on her part as she was able to power through the day without a nap. I thought for sure she would crash soon after dinner but she got that second wind and made it through A Christmas Story when neither Heather or Laurel did. I think one thing that helped Janet gain that extra energy was a little time spent on the Karaoke Channel singing a few Christmas Carols. I asked her which one she wanted to sing and she simply said “just play one and I’ll sing it”. And that she did.

We are truly blessed to have a home with which we can welcome friends and family into and it was fun having good friends over today. Gatherings like that are far more valuable than any sort of Christmas present and are also an important part of Janet’s rehabilitation. Thanks to those that shared their time with us today. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep for Janet and more confidence in using her right leg.

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

Renovation Day 60. The electrician was here first thing this morning and finally completed the electrical work! Randy was here too and put in a couple more drawers, re installed the bathroom mirrors and built a wheelchair ramp at the garage entrance. A few weeks ago I had mentioned to the Strata my concern about condensation on some of the windows in the mornings. Valley Glass came by this afternoon and measured for the replacement of two of our windows and maybe more depending on what the Strata thinks. A good day of progress.

Because of the busy morning we were up early and its a good thing too. Once breakfast was done Janet and I started getting the place ready for our house dedication party tonight. Janet was a good assistant all day doing a variety of tasks from sorting to decorating, helping to cook, arranging furniture and cleaning.

We made a run for a few last minute groceries and to pick up some macaron from Sandrine. Janet hadn’t seen Sandrine for quite a long time and they had a brief but warm reunion with Janet saying to me with a big smile afterwards, “she’s really nice”. And she makes awesome desserts!

Janet faded soon after our late lunch and called her own nap time wanting to be as awake as possible for tonight. That was a good call as she slept for two hours and I think would have gone more if I let her but it was time to get really busy. There was still food to prepare and wine glasses to put out and Janet had to get into her new party dress. Despite our best efforts we got way behind schedule and with thirty minutes to go and Janet’s dress half on, the gate phone rang. Thankfully it was Courtney who went to work right away and saved our butts big time.

Janet was super excited about people coming over tonight and when the first folks arrived she opened the door and greeted them with an enthusiasm I’ve not seen in a long time. Her eyes sparkled all night with only a few moments where I noticed things maybe overwhelming her a little. According to Janet she liked all the people that were here tonight and they are “very nice people and fun, and our new neighbours are all very nice too”. It was an enjoyable evening and is hopefully the first of many more.

Still pumped up from the party Janet took a little while to wind down after the last guests left. We opened the cards and gifts that some people brought then watched a little TV until yawning became the thing Janet was doing the most of.

I feel tonight did Janet a lot of good. She was shown how a lot of grown up intelligent people love her, how many of those have been beside her since she got sick and how blessed we are to have a home with which we can welcome our family, old friends, new friends, and soon to be friends. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep.

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

Renovation Day seven and Randy deservedly took the day off. I pulled more staples out of the floor this morning then cruised in the sunshine to watch football with Janet.

Waiting for me in the living room Janet greeted me with a big smile saying she had waited for me so we could have lunch and watch the game, and that’s what we did with our jerseys on and feeling excited for Laurel and Raj who were actually in Seattle at the game. Janet almost made it to half time before getting tired and needing a nap. Her cold is still with her enough to sap some of her energy and she slept for an hour and a half, waking in time to see the last few minutes of an ugly Seahawks victory.

Nash was hanging with us at Connect for the afternoon and before we went to Mark and Veronica’s for dinner we had to drop him off at the house. He really enjoys being at Connect and Humberto especially likes him. I wonder if Connect needs a mascot? The good part about having to go home for a bit was Janet got to see it again and we went for a little walk around the neighbourhood to get some fresh air. Janet still likes the place and I’m really looking forward to being able to bring her home for a weekend soon.

Janet did a great job being a dinner guest tonight. Nice confident greetings to everyone, chatted with the ladies in the kitchen and did awesome at introducing herself and saying what she was thankful for. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and conversation and Janet wants to do more of that sort of thing so once the house is ready some invites will be going out. These more public appearances are good therapy for her. We got back to Connect in time to get ready for bed and I pray Janet has an uninterrupted night of sleep that heals her of her cold and gives her lots of energy for an active Monday.

This evening was a reminder of how blessed we are to have friends willing to share their home, food and time with us. Janet and I are thankful to all of you who read this blog, cheer us on, visit us, cook for us and spend time with us. God continues to place the right people in our lives at the right time and we are most thankful for that.