Janet, A Success Story. March 25. #TSJ

Those of you who have been on this journey with us from the beginning will be familiar with the name Houdieno. It was coined by our soon to be son in law Allan when Janet was doing everything in her power to escape from her hospital bed. She of course was physically unable to do so but was determined to try. This blog site is named in honour of that fighting spirit. Janet continues to work hard and desires to be better in every way. She hasn’t displayed Houdieno like behaviour in quite some time, until today.

I called Janet a couple of times during the day and each time she reported she was not feeling that great and wasn’t doing much. When I arrived at Connect I was seriously considering taking her home until she is rid of this stomach bug. As I discussed things with Jess, Chelsea arrived saying she had just helped Janet get her shoes on and that she was going to go to the bathroom. Janet routinely gets herself from bed to bathroom and out again using her wheelchair. You regular readers will remember I’ve mentioned feeling as though Janet is close to taking an unassisted step but has so far chickened out when asked. I guess she just didn’t want anyone watching because that’s exactly what she tried to do in getting to the bathroom. Janet stood up using the transfer pole, let go of the pole, took what must’ve been a couple of unassisted steps, grabbed the bathroom door for support and lost her balance as it swung open on her. I came into the room and found her laying on her back on the floor kind of upset and kind of laughing saying she hurt herself but not really. Chelsea and Jess responded and we helped Janet up and she confirmed she felt fine. Once sitting in her wheelchair I couldn’t help but high five her! Yes it was dangerous and she could have been hurt but as I asked her later, “how do babies learn to walk?” She said “they try and then fall down”. I had to remind her that they then try again and keep trying but hopefully with a little supervision.

That was an exciting start to my time with Janet today and her willingness to try other things earned her the right to stay at Connect. I didn’t mention the home idea to her. She was still feeling a little sick and had only eaten a piece of toast all day so I was surprised when she accepted the idea of a popsicle. Janet had always given her kids banana popsicles when they were sick and Laurel had suggested it over the weekend. When we got to the store the first thing we saw were banana flavoured popsicles and Janet laughed at the irony. She enjoyed it immensely and it got her started on a reasonably active evening.

Just what Dr. Laurel ordered.

Just what Dr. Laurel ordered.

Exercise has been out of the picture for four days now so I worked Janet pretty hard to get her on the bike for a bit. She agreed to five minutes, I programmed it for twenty and she went fifteen. Well done! That took a lot out of her and she lay down on her bed for half an hour until dinner was ready. I had to kick start her a little bit and once at the table she enjoyed a small portion of pasta and participated in the conversation nicely. She was also showing signs of grumpiness towards me so I know she’s getting better.

After a post dinner rest Janet went upstairs to participate in games night but wasn’t very focused and only answered one question. I did get to watch this time and think its a great concept that needs a little tweaking and with some coaching Janet can do quite well at it. Good for her for going tonight.

That was all the energy she had though and was sound asleep by 9:30 after we read for a little bit. Praying for the end of this stomach virus and continued determination to walk.

Oops #TSJ

Mary Lou was quite pleased with Janet’s speech abilities and participation level in their session this morning. I was surprised as Janet seemed to be quiet and talking a lot of Klingon with me. I came back to her room just as they were wrapping up and Mary Lou had Janet sing Row Row Row Your Boat for me and she did so nice and loud and clear.

Lunch was a bowl of vegetable soup and some med laced fruit lax. I was impressed with Janet’s ability to eat after the shape she was in yesterday. We then headed back to her room to wait for a visit from Brian the OT. Garret brought Janet’s laundry in while we were waiting so I had Janet try and put it away. She was definitely more confused than normal but was very willing to try and put things in the right places. Brian arrived in the middle of all this and watched Janet finish the job. We decided it would be good to label the drawers and cupboards to help Janet remember where things are. Brian then spent about twenty minutes with Janet trying to assess what her understanding of her situation is. He found it difficult to comprehend Janet today and I attribute that to still being in recovery mode from yesterday and hoping its not the anti seizure med. One of the side effects is confusion so we’ll have to see how this plays out over the next few weeks. Brian also commented on Janet’s vision challenges. I had planned on meeting with our eye doctor yesterday but that appointment got preempted so as long as Janet remains stable I will try and meet with him next week to discuss a vision test. I actual left to do some work around the house before Brian did his thing with Janet and before I left we agreed that he would put her into nap mode when he was done. We discussed getting rid of the hospital bed and decided that we would start eliminating bed rails to see if Janet can safely be in bed without them. Brian tucked her in and left the two lower rails down. He left the room at 2:10, Garret checked on Janet at 2:45, she was in bed but not asleep. Garret walked past ten minutes later and Janet was on the floor. Houdieno returns! She was fine, just a little scared and we had a good talk about it when I returned and Janet seems to think she can get out of bed whenever she wants to. She later demonstrated a similar feeling towards her wheelchair as she made two good efforts at getting out of it after dinner. Apparently our idea of a regular bed is a little premature. Oops.

Janet was getting up from her nap, she eventually did have one, when I returned at 4:30. She was being helped by Curtis who used a straight on pivot move to get Janet from bed to chair. I didn’t think it would work as it requires Janet to take a lot of the weight, she did it really well! She was also talking much clearer and I was able to get her to agree it was because she had a rest. One day that will really sink in. Dinner was a bowl of Clint’s chili that he made for everyone today. Clint is in his late twenties and has been a resident at Connect for seven months. He is very mobile and loves to cook so he runs the kitchen apparently. The chili was good. Suzanne stopped by for a visit and brought another care package with her. Thanks! Janet and her and a nice chat with Janet talking reasonably well considering the time of day and what she has been through. We said goodnight to Suzanne, made Janet’s bed and did all the other bedtime prep stuff before climbing in to start reading a book the Dr. Miller lent to us. Slow Dance by Bonnie Sher Klein, a stroke survivor who was just named to The Order of Canada. Interesting read so far.

Praying for more good rest and healing tonight and an active day of learning tomorrow.