There’s certainly been no lack of activity for Janet lately. The weather broke a little late last week and we were able to drive Courtney down to the coast where she left for Honduras yesterday after spending a few days with Ashley. We had dinner with them and Mike, Brittney and Ethan Thursday night then met my mom at Park Royal Friday along with Courtney and Ashley for a really nice visit and lunch.
Courtney, Mom, Janet, Ashley, Me
The ladies after a fun lunch.
This was the first legitimate road trip without the wheelchair for Janet! She did very very well walking everywhere we went, climbing two large flights of stairs at Stefanos and walking for about three blocks twice at Park Royal. The hotel we stayed at was easy for Janet to get around and I never once felt like we missed the wheelchair. She traveled well again and I look forward to our next adventure.
Around the house Janet has been helping out a lot and getting more confident in her abilities. We set some goals for ourselves and that has helped Janet overcome her resistance to a few things. Her big goal for 2015 is to walk without holding onto anything and since setting the goal I only have to gently remind her to let go now. She seems very willing to try for short distances and I hope she can get there but her strength and mechanics have to improve a lot to give her a chance. Janet would also like to be able to vacuum the house, “so you don’t have to”, her words, honest. We’ve yet to try this one but I think it’s achievable as are two others, walk out the front door to the street on her own and get herself ready for bed completely unassisted. The front door one will have to wait for the snow to be gone but the ready for bed one should be reached in a couple weeks. Janet shocked me the other night by managing to undo her bra by herself. That’s always been what I considered impossible but I should know better I guess.
The pool exercises are going well but I miss the workout Janet got on the bike before. I think the cardio aspect of that was a real benefit to her so we are keeping our eye out for a bike to have at home. There just isn’t time for another or an extended trip to H2O. Janet is often reluctant to go but pleased with herself after each visit and can see that she’s improving.
The calendar keeps filling and Janet seems happy with how things are going with the exception of the weather. Hawaii anyone?
IN JANET’S WORDS:
The drive down was fine and there was lots of fog on the road near where we were driving to. It was a bit scary. I managed to climb two flights of stairs at the restaurant we went for dinner at. It was hard work. The next day we met Judy at Park Royal and walked a lot there too which was not fun but the lunch with everybody was. I’m doing better with my exercises at the place I go to. The water was moving really fast this week and that is hard to walk in. Today we went to the place I used to go to and did a little sing along with Deb. I think she had fun and that is what matters. I was glad I wasn’t staying there and it was nice to visit people.
I know I said I wasn’t posting on Thursdays anymore but this one is special. Janet has officially achieved her laundry goal! Brian watched the video of Janet that was recorded Wednesday and enthusiastically credited her with goal number five. Janet is very happy and realizes she is one small step from being home full time. Here is the video, not the most exciting one I’ve ever posted but I hope you can appreciate the multiple tasks Janet had to string together to accomplish what most of us consider a pretty mundane chore. Happy!
We had our last team meeting at Connect this afternoon with the theme being move out planning. Janet is clear to go on the 28th or sooner and with the exception of a few minor details to cover off, its now a waiting game. The team is in agreement that Janet is not waiting very patiently and has been somewhat uncooperative a couple of days this week. With her out of the room I asked if there was a way that without rewarding bad behaviour Janet could come home sooner. It was always our intention that Janet finish strong at Connect by achieving goals before coming home. She’s done that except for the walking one which will have to be excused as her progress is too slow. In that light it was agreed that if Janet is willing to try hard at learning to pick up things from the floor and get to where she can do that consistently and without assistance, she can come home. Janet accepted the challenge and we will practice this weekend knowing she can do it and just needs to build the confidence to do it consistently. Brian will give her one more six minute walking test Tuesday so we have an up to date result for the next phase of physio. If all goes well, Janet could be home full time after SheLife on Wednesday!
Praying for Janet to sleep well tonight and enjoy a productive and fun Friday.
PS: Janet’s baptism is Saturday at 5:30 Trinity Church. She would love it if you could be there.
We are now another weekend closer to Janet coming home full time. There were not a lot of direct attempts at reaching the three goals she has left to achieve but Janet participated in many activities that helped her. Each day there was lots of walking, both freestyle and with me pulling her along. The cane was not used once all weekend and the wheelchair was used only for some long outside walks we took. Each day saw Janet do a 200 meter walk with today’s effort clocking her best time by thirty seconds. I’ve been pulling her along on these to try and get as close to the speed she needs to go but we’re still taking just over eight minutes to complete the route. Janet is still too scared to go any faster. Inside, Janet is showing signs of being less scared. She loves to cling onto whatever she can reach but hesitates much less now when approaching an open area and she has to let go of something. The confidence and stamina are building in the kitchen as Janet stood and helped there a lot this weekend. She’s also learning to get herself into better position before attempting a task. Previously she would start doing something the second she could reach it instead of getting herself strong and stable. Janet practiced her reading every day and continues to read faster and with more expression.
Friday night was the re start of our Small Group and we had a really interesting discussion with our three guests and Janet participated well and is looking forward to keeping this going on a regular basis. During our walk on Saturday we ran into a few of our neighbours along the way and had some interesting chats with them. Janet is getting to know more people around here and is liking them too. One of her KGH Rehab Pool partners was at Trinity Saturday night and spent some time reminiscing with Janet but she doesn’t remember much from those days. Tonight we enjoyed a yummy dinner and good conversation with Randy and Claudette, and Henrik and Sandi whom we haven’t connected with for a long time. Janet agreed it was a fun and interesting evening. All in all it was a fairly social weekend.
There were many positives for Janet this weekend, encouragement from others, recognizing improvement in herself and socially functioning at her highest level since this all started. Janet will still have long moments of silence where I wonder if she’s tuned in or not then she’ll contribute in a way that shows very clearly she’s been paying close attention and processing well too. Fun and encouraging to see.
Praying for a good night of sleep and an energetic and confident Monday.
When I got to Connect this morning Janet was walking around her room putting laundry away. She had a big smile on her face and couldn’t wait to tell me she had done her walking test with Tez. I surmised by her look that it went well but had to wait for Jess to find out the official result as Janet tried telling me she did 190 meters. That would be nice and I believe will happen one day but today’s official result of 92 meters is outstanding and Janet accepted the praise she was given by everyone we saw today. I think I’m just as happy about that as I am the numbers. Tez will ponder Janet’s performance for a bit then recommend a new Get Out Of Connect Goal which I anticipate will be 200 meters.
Nothing pleases Janet more than leaving Connect and she gave her signature fist pump as we drove away for the coast to visit Brittney, Ethan, Julian and Ashley. Janet was more than happy to spend four hours in the car and travelled really well today. Her wheelchair and cane were in the car but not used except for the wheelchair once when the walk was just a little too far. We left Connect at 11:45 and got home at 1am and Janet never slept a wink the whole time. The visit with everyone went well with Janet and I really noticing how much busier everywhere is in Vancouver compared to here. We had some great sushi for dinner but the restaurant was crazy busy and loud. We got to watch Ethan at his swimming lessons and the pool was crazy busy and loud. Our last stop was Menchie’s and it was very smily as usual, except for Ethan when we wanted to take this picture.
He was happy before this, honest.
Praying for a good night of sleep and a productive Friday.
Disappointingly, today’s appointment with Dr. Miller was postponed until next Thursday. Apparently there’s someone out there more important than Janet? That meant Janet could do her full workout this morning which she was actually ok about. Jess showed me a trick she’s been using to get Janet to walk faster. She puts her hands on both sides of Janet’s hips and gently pushes and without any resistance Janet speeds up dramatically. I’m not that good at it yet and Janet will only tolerate it for so long but I feel its better than me dragging her along.
Tez and I had a chat and agree that fear is Janet’s biggest obstacle right now and no one has any new tools to offer. He will assess her six minute walking test on Thursday then set a new walking goal for Janet to reach before leaving Connect. 400 meters just isn’t realistic in the time remaining. Janet is aware of all this and seems relieved there will be an easier goal set. Maybe that will lessen the fear?
After a couple of days delay, Cam made an appearance today and I brought Janet home this afternoon so we could have dinner with him. This was a cane and wheelchair free trip for Janet and she managed just fine. She was a big help prepping dinner again enjoyed the energy Cam brings to the house. There was a little complaining about going back to Connect tonight but that was tempered by knowing she gets dinner out and SheLife tomorrow then a quick trip to the coast and home for the weekend starting Thursday. Praying for a good sleep and an energetic Wednesday.
Another weekend at home that seemed to go by all too quickly. Friday was the fullest day of the three Janet had away from Connect. We attended the TEDx conference here and were treated to an afternoon of inspiring and thought provoking speakers.
TEDx Kelowna was held at the Kelowna Community Theatre, a venue we’d been to many times with Janet in her wheelchair. This time we braved it without. We lucked out and got VIP parking right at the front door so all Janet had to do was step up a curb then walk with me inside. I let her use the cane in case she wanted to roam on her own a little. That never happened of course so she could’ve free styled the whole day. For the first time, we sat in regular seats, on the aisle just a few rows down from the exit to the bathroom which was needed only once. Janet enjoyed most of the speakers as well as the hundreds of students from the Canadian Student Leadership Conference that brought great energy to the room.
Saturday started with the usual Skype chat with Mary/Gaga before practicing some household duties that are on Janet’s goal list. A nervous high speed walk outside followed with Janet complaining of being exhausted halfway through. I’m very hopeful Dr. Miller has some tricks up his sleeve to help motivate Janet or her walking just isn’t going to improve much. The trend throughout the weekend was one of nervousness and doubt even though Janet often did very well at times. For some reason she won’t accept that fact.
On today’s walk I let Janet set the pace a little more and got the same result. Her confidence level should have been reasonably high as prior to the walk she may have reached her goal of operating the cooktop and doing laundry and she read The Hallo-Wiener better than ever. Still scared, still doubting herself. I say may have reached those goals. Her attempts were recorded so Brian can see them as he is the judge for this category so we’ll have to wait for the official decision.
Janet was a great help in the kitchen this weekend, even tonight after going without a nap all day. She was able to enjoy some nice chats with neighbours on our walks outside, something that is really making it seem more like home for Janet instead of a nice place to escape to. There was only one small complaint about returning to Connect tonight and Janet was so tired when we got there she didn’t have the energy to complain anymore.
Praying for an awesome sleep and a confidence building week.
This is just a quick update to announce that Janet has achieved another of her “get out of Connect goals”!
Brian came over this afternoon to do an assessment with Janet around the house and gave Janet credit for being able to load and unload the dishwasher. She hasn’t quite got the controls mastered but I can’t think of when it would be necessary for her to use them so goal achieved!
The weekend is going well and I’ll post a full update tomorrow night. Go ‘Hawks!
There’s nothing like a little morning confusion is there? Janet called me as I was on the road heading for her Team Meeting and she said “they don’t think there is a meeting”. Turns out a few of the key people didn’t have this meeting in their calendars but Janet was going around telling them all there was one. When “they” realized Janet was right all was well and Janet received some well earned praise for being on top of things and she felt pretty good about being correct.
The meeting itself was productive and Janet was a full participant. Mary Lou said Janet is progressing nicely on her reading skills and sees no problem for Janet reading a story to pre school kids for Halloween. Janet is not excited about practicing writing but thinks she can give it a good go especially after she correctly said our address when asked. That’s the first time she’s gotten it all right that I’ve heard and she felt pretty good about that too. Brian is scheduled to visit the house on Saturday to assess Janet’s competence with certain activities there and I wouldn’t be surprised if we can check off another goal or two very soon after that. As far as the walking 400 meters in six minutes goes, that obviously is the biggest challenge Janet faces and hopefully she adjusts her attitude and works hard for Tez tomorrow and from now on. He was unable to attend this morning so I will follow up with him next week.
With the meeting done, Janet was free for the rest of the day so she could hang with her brother Mike who treated us to a wonderful lunch at The Fixx Cafe. It was a nice enough day that we could walk to the restaurant and Janet actually walked the first 100 meters so she got some exercise today. It was fun sitting in the sun enjoying good food and Uncle Monkey’s banter. Thanks bro’.
Janet had time for a quick nap before dinner then we watched AGT before heading back to Connect. There was no complaining about going back tonight and I think the meeting may have inspired Janet to buckle down and get after those goals. Besides she’s only there for the morning then it’s home for a busy weekend.
Praying for a sound night of sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.
Hard to believe August is over. The home stretch begins now for Janet as her goals for coming home full time get closer and closer. September promises to be challenging and busy but not without some fun too.
This past weekend Janet worked hard on her distance walking, each day doing a 400 meter circuit that her legs told her they felt. We weren’t focused on the timing so much as getting used to the distance and Janet did the first 200 meters using her cane then the last 200 holding my hand so she could pick up the pace a little. I had to coax her out the door to do these walks but Janet felt good about completing each one. Her stride continues to improve and will do so more once her AFO gets adjusted. For the first time ever, I was able to bring myself to not supervise Janet as she walked from the kitchen, down the steps to the garage and into the car by herself. I simply told her I’d meet her at the car and when I got there she was in it with a big smile on her face saying “I did it all by myself!” High five!
Relaxing was the desired outcome of the weekend for Janet again but I managed to get her to help out a lot in the kitchen and do as much for herself as possible. She practiced the laundry machines and the cooktop as well as getting the dog a treat. Janet is getting very good at rinsing and stacking dishes while I wash and can do most of the emptying the dishwasher except for some things she can’t reach to put away. We have some tweaking to do still on where kitchen stuff should go so Janet can access it and will consult Brian as soon as he’s able to come over and do an assessment for us.
Janet was able to relax and watch a lot of tennis this weekend and really gets caught up in the personal stories and struggles of the players as well as the drama of a good match. It’s a great sport for her to watch as she can follow the game well and really see the players as they aren’t covered by helmets and stuff.
Returning to Connect tonight went smoothly probably because Janet knows she’ll be back home Tuesday so I can take her to her Botox appointment Wednesday morning then we are going to Seattle for a few days to watch the Seahawks play some real football. So, a little pain and a lot of fun this week. Praying for Janet to sleep well tonight and have lots of energy for a productive Monday.
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.