hot tub

Janet, A Success Story. June 1. #TSJ

This morning was more mellow than Saturday morning and Janet was able to get through breakfast well before the weekly Skype chat with her mom. In fact, we were able to watch Genie Bouchard win her fourth round match at the French Open before the mom call and Janet was pleased to be able to do so. She’s a fan.

From what I heard of the conversation with Mary/Gaga it went well and Janet even ended the call properly on her iPad, something I’ve been trying to teach her for a long time. After some suntanning time we drove out to see John and go for a walk with him. Janet noted he seemed a little down compared to last time so we left him with a promise to take him for lunch next Saturday in hopes that gives him something to look forward to. We were then able to eat our lunch outside before Janet’s nap time. Have to get her tanned up for the wedding you know.

After her nap we walked up to check out the pool. I wasn’t able to convince Janet to swim but she was all over going for a hot tub. As you can see in the picture the first step in is a doozy with the four others not much better. Janet made it in OK but getting out was no fun at all. I was over confident in what Janet is able to do and attempted to assist her in walking out. She just doesn’t have the strength to tackle large steps like that and if one of our neighbours wasn’t there to help me get Janet out, we might still be there. I’ll be carrying her out from now on. The pool steps are not as large so hopefully Janet can manage those ones better.
Janet Hot Tub

Janet’s conversation skills are certainly improving as evidenced by her striking up a chat with the lady in the hot tub (the one that ended up helping us) and then by having an excellent Skype chat with Andrew. Her speech and recall were outstanding today. There weren’t too many walking opportunities but she did make it up and down our ramp a few times.

Our arrival back at Connect tonight was later than usual as we lingered over dinner, America’s Got Talent, and ice cream before making the trek. Janet says she doesn’t mind it when she gets there its more the thought of having to go back that bugs her. This is a short week for her though as she gets to come home Thursday and stay for the weekend on account of a few appointments Thursday and Friday. She’s happy about that.

Praying for a restful night of sleep, lots of energy all week and a willingness to work hard.

LarryJanet Hot Tub

Janet, A Success Story. May 1. #TSJ

What a difference going to the pool in summer weather. So much easier as Janet isn’t wearing fifteen layers of clothes to change out of and into and she’s not already cold before getting near the water. There were even bigger differences in her abilities today as opposed to a few months ago when she last went, such as, walking down the ramp into the kiddie pool with me leading then walking up it on her own using the handrail all the way to seating herself in a wheelchair. Walking down the stairs into the hot tub and up again using the handrail with me supporting at the hips. I used to have to carry her into the hot tub. High five!

Today’s agreement was for kiddie pool and hot tub only and I stuck to that as the whole point was to give Janet a safe environment to walk on her own in. It took a little while to get loosened up and confident but after a few attempts and some coaching from Tez Janet walked on her own for five or six steps at a time. She fell a few times and didn’t seem to mind at all and I think that eased her fear a little. For the most part she did a good job of pushing down with her right leg. The experience was good and in talking afterwards Janet was receptive to trying the sling once to compare.

That opportunity came sooner than Janet expected when she walked from her room to the kitchen after a nap to ask Curtis if he would help her before he left for the day. To Janet’s dismay, Curtis agreed. The difference in Janet’s walking in the water and using the sling is night and day so I had to rescind my offer of her choosing one or the other as the sling is just a million times better for her. She is scared and pouted a lot the first attempt but persevered and turned in an excellent walk around the ten foot square the sling allows her to travel in. Janet stood on her own for over five minutes arguing for us to take the sling off not even realizing she was standing on her own. She thinks that somehow it is holding her up and affecting what she does but its all her and on the last lap I think she started to realize that. She put good combinations of steps together, made really nice turns and corrected her balance well a few times. She lost it a few times too and I think started to understand how the sling prevents her from falling and nothing else. After a lot of sweat and hard work Janet completed what will now be a daily routine at Connect for her and should help her to make significant gains in walking on her own.

Having worked so hard today I gave Janet a pass for good behaviour and brought her home tonight. Along the way we stopped at the mall to do some shoe shopping. The lady that built Janet’s AFO stopped by Connect this afternoon and gave some advice as to the types of shoes Janet can wear with the biggest rule being no heals. For casual shoes, pretty much anything that fits will be fine and for the wedding it’s a lot more complicated. Janet is wanting a dressy shoe for that but is restricted by needing pretty much the whole shoe to open up in order to get it on her AFO. We found some that were close, one pair actually went on but just weren’t stylish enough for her. We may try more tomorrow.

Praying for strengthening of Janet’s right leg and confidence to keep working hard.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #Seahawks #SeavsJax #LastDay #WNTW

The last full day at San Michelle Rd for Janet.
San Michelle Rd.
I thought it might be more nostalgic than it was,I think I’m starting to feel the emotion more than Janet is. The first part of the day was the usual breakfast while watching the Green Bay vs Cincinnati football game and as soon as breakfast was done we switched gears and started packing. I was concerned Janet would not have enough to do and feel like she was contributing but managed to keep her busy until Skype time with Heather. I talked more than Janet did for once as I think she was a little overwhelmed by all the packing and stuff going on. Lunch took place as the Seahawks vs Jacksonville game started. Knowing this game should be a blow out for us I didn’t make special plans to watch the whole thing. We had it on in the background as we packed, Skyped with Leslie, packed, took a break and packed some more. We got a lot done today and by four o’clock Janet was ready for a nap and the Seahawks were winning easily.

I got Janet up in time for a brief visit from our friend Randy. He presented us with a pretty cool concept for our kitchen at the new house. It would be nice and open and easy to access and use for Janet and that’s the whole point. I will show Brian the plan and as long as he doesn’t see anything glaringly wrong from his OT perspective we’ll go ahead. I offered Janet wine with her last dinner here but she declined so that leaves more celebratory wine for when we move into the new place.

We managed a little more packing tonight before the final hot tub which lasted extra long as Janet was getting all worked up about her exercises at Connect being too hard and her not getting any better. We had a really good talk about it all and I was able to point out a lot of improvements that Janet actually agreed with which in itself is an improvement. Ice cream finished off the night along with an episode of What Not to Wear (Janet’s choice) that I actually found interesting as it was a behind the scenes episode. It wasn’t as interesting to Janet though as she was asleep before the final reveal.

My plan was to do some standing exercises with Janet today but we never got there at all and I noticed her right leg being a lot more relaxed this afternoon. I wonder if there is some benefit to resting a little more? During her standing transfers today her right foot was much flatter on the floor than yesterday too. It could be she felt warmer today or more rested I don’t’ know but I was a little relieved to see it.

Praying for a good night of healing rest and for lots of energy for tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #floor #sytycd

Garett and Karl report that Janet’s morning was very busy as she did the full routine in the gym plus the Standing Frame along with some Speech and a shower. She was ready to go when I arrived and remembered we were stopping along the way but couldn’t remember what for. It was to check out flooring options for our new house and gave us our first test of the porter wheelchair. I try never to judge anything after only one attempt so let’s just say I’ve yet to be impressed. There will be more opportunities tomorrow. Our visit to Nufloors was a success with our salesman scheduled to meet us at the new house Tuesday morning to get accurate measurements. He will bring the sample of the flooring Janet chose so we can see it in real light. Janet surprised me with what she decided on and showed some real thoughtfulness in her decision making. Her descriptions of all the samples we saw were accurate and insightful. I was very impressed and like the new wheelchair you’ll have to wait to learn what she chose.

Once we got settled at home we decided to start packing while we waited for Cam and Gina to return from wine touring. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Gina this morning and Janet was eagerly awaiting her chance. Two boxes later they arrived and the sizing up began. Just kidding. We’d heard so much about Gina we felt like we knew her already and she’s quickly fit right in. Pizzas were on the menu and Janet did her best job yet at chopping peppers and tomatoes. She was a little quiet during dinner but when asked said, “they are being loud enough”. In other words she was enjoying listening.

After a good stretch in the hot tub the evening concluded with SYTYCD and ice cream. A long and active day with Janet and she handled it very well for not having had a nap. The cognitive gains continue, please pray for her right leg to join the party.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #moving #skype #hottub #botox

Janet seemed to have one of the best nights’ of sleep she’s had in a while last night. She was asleep before prayer time and I don’t recall her waking until around seven this morning and then she promptly fell back to sleep until nine thirty. Good for her, except that gets our day off to a late start but I’m happy she slept. That sleep probably gave her the good strong voice and brightness she displayed during our Skype chat with Leslie. Fun to listen to.

For work today we decided to finish off Laurel and Heathers’ old room which went quite smoothly as it was mostly a matter of bagging things and getting them out of there. That leaves two major rooms still to be purged, Cams’, which we’ll tackle when he’s home next week and the garage, which will wait till much closer to moving date.

After lunch we drove to what we think would be nice as our future neighborhood and went for a walk. It was nice to be out in the sun and fresh air and that set Janet up nicely for an afternoon nap. Heather was next on the Skype list and Janet was into it enough that I could leave them chat and start dinner. We finished in plenty of time for a relaxing hot tub followed by watching AGT with Janet’s legs in the extenders. With almost two months to go before the next round of Botox I’m a little concerned about the amount of tone in Janet’s legs. It seems like the effect is wearing off sooner this time or things are just different, I don’t know. Her functionality seems the same with a little more command of the right leg and that is good. The hamstrings however seem tighter than they should be at this point. I’m looking forward to Tez joining us at the pool tomorrow and getting his opinion on it all.

Praying for a restful and healing sleep and thankful for the relaxing sunny day we had today.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out. #tsj #sailaway #roadtrip #blueberries #nanaimo #kelowna

In order to catch a ferry that would get us home in time for church tonight I actually had to set the alarm on my phone so we’d be up in time. It wasn’t too early, 7:30, and Janet was very good about it. We were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and take our time packing and we said goodbye to my mom at 9:15 and drove off to the ferry. Good thing we went early as that sailing was eighty percent full when we got there and totally full fifteen minutes later.

The ride across was pleasant and uneventful and after a stop for pizza and a salad in Caulfeild we hit the road.

Janet did a great job eating in the car and we made good time for our pit stop in Hope. Our timing there was great. The gas pumps were super busy so I took Janet inside for a pee break surprised to find the washroom empty and by the time we were back outside there was no wait to gas up. I wish all pit stops were that smooth. Janet slept on and off the rest of the way taking one last pee break at the Tourist Info Centre just before West Kelowna.

We arrived at church five minutes before service time and are really glad we went. This weekend, instead of a message taught by one of our talented pastors, Jason Hildebrand acted out the story of the Prodigal Son. It was brilliant. Here’s a link to a YouTube clip that gives you an idea of the experience. If you ever get a chance to see him do the whole thing, do it.

Janet and I decided on Boston Pizza for dinner and I’ve never seen Janet eat so much. All but one slice of her Mediterranean pizza plus most of the Santa Fe Salad we shared and she still had room for ice cream later. That’s my girl.

Once home it was into the hot tub then the PJs to watch SYTYCD before bed. Janet’s ability to travel has definitely improved since our first roadtrip and we are also figuring out how to do things better as well. This adventure was a good one and we look forward to a day off tomorrow. Thanks again to the Nielsen’s and my mom for helping with the blueberries. Praying for lots of rest tonight and a fun day tomorrow.

Stop and Go. A back and forth week for Janet. #TSJ

Early on in this journey I referred to what Janet and the rest of us were going through as a roller coaster. That analogy still applies but thankfully the peaks and valleys aren’t quite as dramatic or long lasting as they used to be and Janet’s rate of ascent is steady.

Her most obvious gains continue to be seen in the gym and during physical activities in general. Janet’s reluctance to go to the gym continues but her resistance to it is less dramatic and I’m hoping she’s starting to notice the positive results herself. I’m with Janet mostly for her bike riding sessions and can report that each day she sets a personal best for distance travelled. Today she made it .71 miles. Her rides are thirty minutes long with the focus on building speed in the hope of being able to add more resistance at some point as that would mean a significant increase in her leg strength. Janet’s tolerance for the standing frame isn’t improving much from what I’ve seen with those sessions maxing out at forty five minutes to an hour.

There is tremendous value to it though and we saw a great example of that over the last couple of days. Monday night I was unable to get the frame set up optimally for Janet so she had a very short session. When I got her into bed and stretched her legs out as I always do they were very stiff. Tuesday night with Curtis’s help we got things set up nicely and Janet had a good long session standing nice and straight. Her goodnight leg stretch was a hundred percent better and I made sure she knew it. Since the installation of the stripper pole in her room Jess has been working with Janet on transferring from bed to wheelchair and vice versa using the pole.

As Janet gains strength she’s getting better and better at the transfers. I still do a pivot transfer with her but no longer have to carry her weight as much as I used to and she can let herself down into her chair using the arm rest. My arms and back are liking this improvement. The team continues to work with Janet on sit to stands at the parallel bars and I’m noticing nice improvements in her ability to get up out of her wheelchair because of that work. All this exercise is paying off for sure and to prove it, Janet for the first time I know of rolled all the way over from one side of her bed to the other today! This may not sound like much but when you consider all the muscles you need to use to accomplish a move like that its very impressive for Janet. It wasn’t long ago that laying on her tummy would start her crying and she pulled off today’s maneuver with relative ease. High five!

Personal bests are also being reached in the pool with Janet now able to swim one length on her tummy. We haven’t yet figured out how to get her to breath so she can swim longer but its pretty exciting she can go that long holding her breath and propelling herself that far. Her right leg continues to mostly do its own thing in the pool and is impeding her progress for sure. I’m looking at ways to help her regain control of it but don’t see anything obvious. Janet’s attitude towards the swimming sessions remains positive but she is much more excited about hot tubbing, even asking a couple of times this past weekend if we could go. I feel truly blessed to have the ability to provide that for Janet as it is so therapeutic in so many ways. I’ve noticed and increase in the range of motion for her right shoulder and arm as well as her wrist and attribute that to the hot tub. Walking in the pool remains a challenge due to the uncooperative right leg but we practice each session and Janet is still willing to work hard at it. This past Monday after a good walking session I wanted her to swim on her back a little but she couldn’t. Seems she totally forgot how and it wasn’t till the next session that she figured it out again. Weird.

So far I’ve told you lots of positive things so let’s do some negatives now. Janet’s chronic constipation got to her again this past weekend and we ended up with a nice long visit to the ER because if it. The doctor was unable to get anything to move that night so put Janet back on the Resotran that had just run out a couple days prior. It works great and Janet is for now going regularly but the problem is not solved and we continue to wait for this illusive “urgent colonoscopy”. Restoran is not a drug you want to be on long term as your body can become dependent on it and you may not regain control yourself ever and that would not be cool. Pray for the colonoscopy and a visit to the GI unit soon. KGH treated us well that night although slow and I found it a little surprising to be driving home in the daylight at 4:15am. This past Tuesday we finally had our meeting with Dr. Adams the neurologist. He ordered an EEG for Janet just prior to our appointment with him and it was really cool to see how that is done. Janet had twenty nine electrodes on her head as they measured the various electrical discharges from her brain. Dr. Adams confirmed there are some epileptic discharges occurring so he is keeping her on the Dilantin probably forever. That’s not the news I was hoping for but at least now we know and we also know there is no other drug out there obviously better than Dilantin. My concerns have diminished as Janet is making cognitive gains and the side effects have diminished since she got into a therapeutic range with that drug. Dr. Adams described Janet as high risk for another seizure but is confident the Dilantin is working as she’s been seizure free for five months now. He does not see a need for Janet to visit or have an EEG on a regular basis but made himself available on an as needed basis. I liked him and was impressed he remembered us from five months ago.

Back to the fun stuff. On Friday we enjoyed a nice lunch visit with Jim and Nancy Church, long time friends from North Vancouver, always good for a laugh and intelligent conversation.

We also had a voice call with my youngest daughter Brittney who lives in Edmonton and I was impressed with Janet’s conversational skills during that call. She was loud and articulate and seemed genuinely pleased to hear from Brittney. On Saturday we realized that only two of the dresses in Janet’s closet fit her and neither is wedding appropriate so Laurel has agreed to shop around for something Janet can wear to her and Raj’s “wedding” here in July. Janet is excited to finally be a part of her daughter’s nuptials.

Sunday started late after spending the night at KGH then we had to try and get some Resotran for Janet and Jen from Connect was a huge help with that. While we were out there I put Janet through her paces on the bike and standing frame and she did very well at both considering how tired she was. Back at home she really wanted to finish watching Les Miserables after it was interrupted to go to the ER, so we did and Janet was surprisingly tuned in to it. She even caught a line that I missed. Impressive. We both were in tears by the end of course but thoroughly enjoyed it. Monday was a great outside day. We had lunch outside after swimming then went for a really nice walk that evening at Connect. Janet was able to play I Spy much better than the last time we tried and really enjoyed the warm evening. She went to bed very giggly in her new bed that night. Tuesday was Skype day with calls to Mary Gaga, Andrew and a special one to Heather on her birthday. Janet impressed me by explaining to Heather how sorry she was for not getting her a present yet and that she is getting one soon. She did that all on her own and with great conviction. Nice.

The week ahead is setting up to be fun and busy. I’ve switched Janet’s swimming from Friday to Thursday so we can go to Nanaimo for the weekend, then there is the usual Monday swimming followed by a trip to the dentist. I think I’ll have a very tired Janet on my hands by Monday evening. Praying for continued physical healing and cognitive gains and thanking Jesus for all we’ve been blessed with.