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.
Through most of her stay at Connect Janet has never been that outspoken. She’s mostly waited her turn to say anything and often feels like a bother if she asks for something. Not today. When she called me after lunch she couldn’t wait to tell me how she’d worked most of the morning with a girl “that wants to get a job here” and they talked a ton and she read The Hallo-Wiener to her and it was good. Janet was speaking confidently and intentionally and it was clear she was on another level.
The increased brightness continued after I got to Connect, particularly as dinner was wrapping up. Big Country had just consumed a worthy meal and noticed Janet eating grapes, his favourite. To prevent him from becoming bigger the staff regulate what he eats closely and said he’d had enough. Janet, acting more like a grandmother, attempted to sneak some grapes to Big Country when no one was looking. He persisted in asking and Janet persisted in advocating for him, not understanding why he couldn’t have any. When it became apparent she and he had lost the battle, Janet defiantly told Curtis and Chelsea, “you guys are crazy”. It was an impressive display of Janet speaking her mind and standing up for someone she cares about.
Academics were the theme for most of my visit with Janet today. I helped her prep for SheLife tomorrow, Big Country even joined us for part of that, and the evening was taken up with Games Night. For various reasons Janet hadn’t been to Games Night for a few weeks so I was expecting her to be a little rusty. I was wrong. She was quite enthusiastic about it and participated well, in part I think because of the absence of one person who likes to blurt out answers inappropriately. One element of Games Night is a challenge to everyone to remember “the word of the week”. One of the residents suggested this week’s word be “morgen”, German for morning. That changed into “guten morgen”, which Janet took great pleasure in teaching everyone to say with her high school German accent. She’s still got it. Janet actually admitted afterward that Games Night was fun and told Curtis that she liked it better without “so and so there”.
With Janet being in a good mood after Games Night I got her to walk down the stairs on the way back to her room. She did great, as she did with all her walking tonight which was mostly speed walking with me.
The dreaded day of Tez was upon Janet this morning but much to her relief Tez assigned his student to her and that lessened her complaining and she put in a reasonable effort. Janet’s attitude is becoming an issue however so Brian is sending an email to Dr. Miller ahead of Janet’s appointment with him next week to outline the four outstanding goals she is to achieve before coming home and asking for some strategies to help Janet through this final push at Connect.
Once again Janet didn’t nap today and therefore wasn’t that energetic this evening. Games Night was fun and Janet participated well for the most part. The best part of that was her agreeing to walk up the stairs on the way there and surprisingly back down them afterwards. I would have no problem allowing her to navigate the stairwell unsupervised now in either direction and I think Janet would do so going up but she’s still too nervous about the downhill trip. Today wasn’t filled with her best walking ever as she really seemed to be lacking confidence except that by the end of the night she willingly went cane free to get her meds.
In preparation for riding the Handydart one day I had Janet start to fill out the application form. After practicing on some scrap paper a little bit, Janet filled in her name, address and a few other basics in reasonably legible printing. There are some questions we weren’t sure how to answer so will talk to Brian before filling out the rest. I’m glad Janet is willing to try and do some printing now, it wasn’t long ago when her response was, “no, I can’t”.
Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and a Wednesday full of confidence.
I got an early call from Janet today as she told me she had made Tez mad at her enough to kick her out of “his class”. She said she was complaining and not doing what he wanted her to do and as she explained it all to me I could tell she had drawn a line in the sand that she was not going to cross this morning. I saved the pep talk for this afternoon. Good thing, as that’s when Janet opened up a little and admitted she was scared to walk all on her own as Tez asked her to and she doesn’t believe she can do some of the other things like go up and down steps. She was a much different person this afternoon, first for admitting all that, then for walking 400 meters at a quick pace, then dusting in the living room area, then volunteering to take the stairs on the way to Games Night. I couldn’t believe that one and she even said she wanted to “because it’s good practice”. Where was that attitude this morning?
Janet did great at Games Night, her best ever and she even smile as we talked about it during the walk back. Her reasoning was simple, “I was more into it tonight”. Its so hard to know what you’re going to get with her but the overall trend is still heavily on the improving side of things. We’ve lots to discuss at the team meeting tomorrow and look forward to hearing what everyone else thinks.
Praying that Janet rests well tonight and has a positive attitude tomorrow.
Tuesdays are usually work with Tez days for Janet and she kind of dreads that. This morning she knew that AFO lady was coming to see her and that her session with Tez would be delayed. Well, AFO lady came rather late and Tez wasn’t feeling well so Janet had an easy morning. AFO lady was happy to see how much stronger Janet’s right leg has gotten and as a result has ordered some parts for Janet’s AFO so it can be modified to be more flexible. To further illustrate her increased strength Janet really impressed me with her bike ride tonight going farther and at a harder setting than ever before. She even climbed all nineteen steps very well on her way to Games Night.
Games Night was more of a story time with Janet night as she read The Hallo-Wiener to the group. Curtis couldn’t even finish introducing Janet and explaining what she was going to do before she started reading. There was no hint of nerves or anything as Janet jumped right into it. Like her previous public speeches, Janet tended to ad lib a lot instead of reading each word. That got her confused more than once and disrupted her rhythm. The good news is she knows she does it and agreed to work on stopping it. The group enjoyed the story and were very encouraging to Janet afterwards. Janet said it was OK but needs to keep practicing.
Storytime with Janet.
Praying for a good night of sleep that provides lots of energy for tomorrow.
Today was a pretty reasonable Monday for Janet. Curtis coached her through the gym routine and challenged her to read The Hallo-Wiener to the Games Night group tomorrow. A challenge that Janet readily accepted surprisingly enough.
She had just made her way down to the living room as I arrived at Connect this afternoon and was quite chatty. We hung out there visiting with Wes and his wife Roz and got a surprise visit from former resident, Fred. He’s hear for a week away from Connect Langley and it was fun to have him around tonight. Janet liked how he livened up the place.
Chelsea and Karl, both from England, decided to make the house an English breakfast for dinner tonight. Sausages, baked beans, potatoes etc. You may have already guessed that didn’t go over well with Janet so she ate my shrimp linguini and I ate her sausages and beans. She sometimes is referred to as queen of the house and lived up to that tonight.
Janet may not be queen for long as we were told that a new resident moves in across the hall from Janet tomorrow and happily she’s a girl. Janet is looking forward to meeting her.
One exercise Janet did not get to this morning was the Shuttle so tonight I gave her the option of doing that or climbing the stairs instead. She chose stairs and went up and down all nineteen in good fashion, with a little sweat and a minimum of complaining. When given the choice of what to do the rest of the night Janet very nicely remembered there was tennis on TV so we watched some first round action of the US Open broken up by some speed walking to the bathroom and freestyle walking to get meds. A strong day.
Praying for an excellent night of sleep for Janet and the desire and ability to fully participate in her Tuesday.
Still bothered by her cold, Janet fought through Tuesday valiantly. Tez worked her hard this morning for the better part of two hours and has now instructed the staff to have Janet walk without her cane as much as possible. They are to use his method of “speed walking” whenever they have time to assist her. That involved leading Janet by the hand but at a very fast pace. I did it a few times with her tonight and found her pulling back in a resistance posture too much but her steps with both legs were almost equal. The goal is to improve her gait so that she is taking long strides with both legs and is confident with putting all her weight onto her right leg. There is improvement on that for sure.
Janet had a good nap this afternoon which really helped her get through the evening well. We sat in the sun from as soon as she got up until she was finished dinner. The warmth did her good and after a speedy walk up to Games Night Janet participated reasonably well. We did a speed walk back to her room then I let her cane walk herself to get her meds. By the time she was done her meds and the requisite chocolate, Janet was tuckered out and happily listened as I read to her before saying goodnight.
Praying for Janet’s cold to disappear and for her walking to keep on improving.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.