Janet, A Success Story. August 10. #TSJ No Relaxing Here

Return trips to Connect have often been difficult and unhappy for Janet and tonight’s was near the top of the list in unhappiness. There was no crying or pouting or complaining just a clear stating of the fact that Janet feels like her “vacation, was not very relaxing”. She’s right and that was never the intention. I think it all boils down to nine days going by too quickly and a little bit of Janet forgetting some of the things she did. We had a good talk about it all and I was able to leave her smiling and seemingly content. She has a chance to officially achieve one of her goals this week and I think she’s looking forward to doing that.

The final phase of Janet’s “vacation” started Thursday as we said so long to my mom and hello to Brittney and Ethan.

Not too sure is he?

Not too sure is he?

We had no idea what to expect from this adventure and were impressed at how well Ethan travelled from New Westminster to Kelowna. Janet did too but that is becoming old news. Overall, our weekend went well and by the end of the day today Janet found a way to connect with Ethan a little more. You could probably guess it was through reading and teaching but even Janet was surprised when she realized she was using an App with Ethan that I used with her during her first year at Connect. Its a word association game that Janet now knows and Ethan is improving on.
Teacher at work.

Teacher at work.

The rest of the weekend Janet was pretty much the innocent bystander, she didn’t want to swim when we went to the pool but enjoyed watching Ethan and noted his improvement after day two. We spent a fair bit of time at various beaches and Janet enjoyed watching the goings on there, I just wish she could participate more.

With a two year old and a dog in the house our at home routine became a little chaotic at times so Janet got waited on more than usual and there was no protesting from her on that one. She still did well getting her breakfasts, it was lunch and dinner that lacked involvement. Her walking was great and even Janet commented she’s getting better at coming up the steps from the garage.

All in all it was a positive weekend and a productive if not relaxing time away from Connect for Janet. Praying for a restful night of sleep and an energetic Monday for Janet.

PS. Tomorrow, (Monday), our friend Gary goes in for open heart surgery which is scheduled for 1:45pm. Please keep him, Barb and the medical team in your prayers.

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

Janet and I met with her memory coach, Wendy, this afternoon to make sure I’m teaching Janet how to use her iPad the same way Wendy is and to make sure Janet is clear on what the goals are. I was relieved to learn I’ve been doing things pretty much the way Wendy wants other than giving Janet a few more steps than she’s probably ready for. Janet likes Wendy and seems to have resigned herself to learning this technology as its a fact of life now. Wendy’s technique is all about repetition in small steps and I think Janet will respond well.

Our next appointment was at Ortho Design with Birgit for a fitting of Janet’s AFO. Janet was nervous going into the appointment, fearing what she would be asked to do. There was no reason for her fear and the appointment went smoothly. I was expecting some magic to occur when Janet got the AFO on and stood up but was quickly shown that like learning the iPad, this will be a slow process.
Janet was scared as she attempted her first steps and for five minutes or so I was contemplating asking for a refund, then she found her rhythm and you could see the confidence build. With me playing the part of a cane she walked in a continuously improving manner for a good fifteen minutes covering a distance of about forty feet or so. With some coaching from Tez and a lot of practice as well as some nice loose hamstrings I’m confident Janet will make significant progress. Birgit is making some final tweaks to the AFO and I’ll pick it up Wednesday for Janet to start using for real.

Since she had done “everything” with Jess in the gym this morning and completed that nice long walk with Birgit, Janet was looking forward to a “quiet evening”. I went along with her request and after dinner we completed an iTunes playlist for her to use when singing with John who has been running out of material to use with her. They now have printed lyrics of twenty five songs and can play them on Janet’s iPad to help learn the tune. It took a while to build the playlist as Janet started singing along to each song I played for her and I just couldn’t stop her in the middle of them. She gets so much joy from singing.

One of our favourite sporting events is the Australian Open tennis and we watched some of that tonight for our TV time. That set things up really nice for a good long read of Open which mentioned some of the players that are now coaching in the Aussie Open and also a commercial that Andre Agassi shot in 1990 and we were able to watch on YouTube. A great way to bring the book even more to life.

This was a good day for Janet and once again I left her smiling and happy and looking forward to tomorrow. Praying for a solid night’s sleep and a productive Tuesday.

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

Today was sleep in day as we had no set agenda at all and I planned on giving Janet full reign on how the day was spent. In preparation for working with Memory Coach Wendy, I helped Janet make a to do list for the day on her iPad and she then had to choose which item to tackle first and so on. She’s still resistant to the whole idea and at one point mentioned she wished she had been born sooner so she wouldn’t have to learn all this stuff.

The first task Janet chose was to reply to some emails she had been putting off. I thought I’d have to do much more assisting than I did and Janet was very persistent in typing her replies herself. She did reach a point where she said it was just too much for her so we tried the voice to text feature in Gmail. This was a really cool lesson for Janet as the words Gmail heard were not always what she thought she was saying so it forced her to speak slowly and really think about the pronunciation of each word. She could instantly see if she got it right or not. I think we’ll do this more just for fun.

Next up was meal planning for the rest of the weekend then a trip to the grocery store. Janet flipped through the Slow Cooker recipe book and wants to try a Minestone Soup tomorrow. We tried an Italian Vegetable one the other day with Joel and Kiko and it turned out a little crunchy so hopefully lesson learned. Janet helped pick out vegetables at the store with me and was ready for a nap by the time we got home.

Our evening was quiet with Janet’s favourite pizza for dinner followed by some very necessary nail cutting and painting finishing off with the requisite movie. Tonight’s film was Midnight in Paris. One I know I’ve seen before and I think Janet too but it would have been pretty close to when she got sick and she didn’t remember it at all. It was a little ironic as she talked earlier about being born too late and the movie’s premise is about wanting to live in a past era. Janet thought it was funny and a little weird.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 23. Randy accomplished a lot today mudding and taping the new closets and the area where the washer used to be. I did more prep for painting. It’s coming along.

When I got to Connect this afternoon Jess told me Janet went down for a nap half an hour earlier so I left her be for a while in hopes she would sleep. When I finally went into her room she was laying there with a big smile on her face as she knew it was me trying to sneak in. She said she didn’t sleep at all and wished I was there earlier. I used that as an opportunity to tell her if she knew hoe to use her iPad she could’ve messaged me that she was awake. She saw some value in that but wasn’t ready to start learning just yet.

Janet’s day up until that point seems to have been one of refusal as she refused lunch and refused a shower but she agreed to a bike ride before leaving for dinner and SHElife. Once again she beat her personal best easily, even after saying “I don’t think I’m going to do well this time” as she started. She looked very confident and has good technique on the bike and I dare say looks as though she’s enjoying herself.

Having not eaten very much for lunch I made sure we ordered lots of sushi tonight for Janet and she certainly didn’t refuse any of that. All fuelled up I dropped her off at SHElife with a few ideas of what to talk about if given the chance. Two hours later she was still engaged in conversation with Heidi and smiling. Janet says she enjoyed the evening and managed to contribute although not all of what we talked about ahead of time. I’m very glad Janet has the opportunity to attend this program and connect with other ladies. Good stuff.

It was nine thirty by the time we rolled into Connect so Janet got right onto her meds then got ready for bed. Praying for a night of deep sleep and healing that provides tons of energy for a busy and fun day tomorrow.

#TSJ Breaking News. Janet stands unassisted.

I’m very excited to tell you all that at 10:42pm PDT today, Janet stood unassisted!

We had finished getting ready for bed and while transferring from wheelchair to bed I had her stand up nice and tall while I held onto her. This is a common end of the day thing and I try to see how much of her weight she can take. Tonight felt different right from the start and her feet looked to be planted firmly on the floor so I let go and could feel her trying to keep her balance. It took a couple of tries then she actually stood there all by herself for maybe two or three seconds. She repeated it twice then I gave her a rest so I could set up the iPad to record it in case I was dreaming. Here’s the video, not the best angle but what do you expect at this hour?

This Girl is on Fire! A quote from Garrett, nothing to do with Alicia Keys. #TSJ

To my disappointment, Janet was waiting for me in the living room when I arrived at Connect a little before three today. I had told her last night I would be in AFTER her nap and that I wanted her to have her nap before I came to see her so we can do more together. She seemed to get that last night but had no concept of it today. Lorne said she flat out refused the nap even after nodding off in her wheelchair. I was a also a little disappointed she was not using the lounging function of her wheelchair so as to stretch her legs. Lorne did say he got Janet to the gym this morning along with a new volunteer, Joel, and they went through Janet’s complete workout. He said she was a little stiff which I found surprising but she had just had a shower and gets quite cold afterwards so probably tensed up because of that.

Janet didn’t argue with me about taking a nap and she slept right to five o’clock when we went out into the sun for happy hour. Dinner was late tonight so Bob offered to take Janet to the gym beforehand and she agreed based on being able to play poker after dinner. Unfortunately the gym was in full use when they got there so Janet had to wait till after dinner. Garrett took Janet for the second attempt at the gym and had a great workout with her bringing her back saying “this girl’s on fire tonight”. He sure had Janet laughing and had run her through all the family questions and was very impressed with her answers tonight. It’s not just me noticing the cognitive gains recently as sing along John mentioned an improvement in Janet’s memory today as well. I peaked in on a little of Garrett’s workout with Janet and he had her on her tummy laying flatter than I’ve seen in a long time and she was quite comfortable. Her left leg still wants to pop up when in that position so Garrett put a small weight on it to hold it down. Seemed to work. Back in the room the questioning continued with Janet answering quickly and correctly ninety percent of the time. She was even able to describe a little of her workout. I demonstrated to Garrett how much better Janet is standing these days and I was able to get her up to a point where I was barely hanging onto her and she stood for a good thirty seconds. That’s a long time for Janet and a huge improvement. She was even happy with it.

Missing poker because of the gym didn’t seem to phase Janet at all. There were so many positives coming out of the workout that she couldn’t help but be pleased and when offered the choice of watching the last of the poker, reading, watching TV or playing a game on the iPad, she chose the iPad. I guess she knew she was on a roll and wanted to keep it going. The first game involved reading sentences which were displayed on two lines of about six or seven words each. She did very well reading them as I pointed to each word and she followed. We moved onto the game where she has to identify the object pictured. There are a series of clues that can be given and tonight Janet got three or four pictures right with no clues at all and a lot correct with one clue that is spoken in a complete this sentence format and I was very impressed by how many she got that way. By far her best performance on that app. She asked to stop after twenty minutes or so and was ready for bed after quite a busy time this evening.

Praying for lots of rest that brings lots of energy for an active day tomorrow and for Janet to cooperate at nap time.

Devious? Janet planning to avoid the gym. #TSJ

I took my time going out to Connect today as I had an appointment to look at a Condo then get my haircut so I figured on arriving near the end of Janet’s nap time. She was waiting for me in the living room with a cup of juice in one hand and a big grin on her face. Former resident, Clint, was there to meet with his “worker” so it was nice to see him. Janet was not showing any signs of needing a nap so we hung out for a while chatting to Clint and Jess reported she had had a good day so far. Lorne had her in the gym “for a long time” and Mary Lou did some speech with her. She ate a large breakfast and lunch and hadn’t argued about drinking yet. She did argue about nap time though. After all the updates and chit chat we headed to Janet’s room for a bio break and were talking there afterwards when Garrett stopped by to ask Janet if she was going to have a nap or help prep dinner. In one of the quickest and surest responses ever, Janet loudly said “help with dinner” and was wheeling out the door immediately.

Dinner tonight was the roast chicken that Janet helped to spice up yesterday and she was given the task of chopping some asparagus and some potatoes to go with it. Using a rocker knife she needed no help with the asparagus and a little downward pressure from me on the potatoes. She then set the table and was visibly pleased to be doing these things, repeatedly asking in a loud voice if there was anything else she could do. Not sure where all this energy was coming from but I’ll take it.

We had to wait a while for the chicken to cook so I read some Slow Dance to Janet and once again there were a lot of similarities to note and this time they centered around rehab and the importance of Physio Therapy. Towards the end of dinner Janet was given the choice of going to the gym or the coffee house down the road to listen to some music. Normally she would reject a social activity like the coffee house but when it was placed against going to the gym the decision was easy. As we headed to the car I mentioned to her that this is the second night in a row where she hasn’t had to go to the gym. Janet said “ya, it’s great!” So much for what we read earlier, or maybe she remembered the part about rest being just as important? Garrett took Derick and Humberto and new staff member Keri (new to Janet’s house) and Janet and I followed in our car. Unfortunately when we got to the coffee house it was closed as they only do the live music thing on the first Wednesday of each month. The others went for a drive to Kelowna and Janet and I drove around Lake Country a bit since we are still rather unfamiliar with it. We managed to get up high on the hill to the east of town where there was a nice view looking down to where even Janet could see Connect. We also explored the area near Wood Lake and were disappointed at how inaccessible the waterfront is there. Most of the beach is privately owned and the one public area is not wheelchair friendly at all. Made me appreciate all those walks to the beach last summer at KGH even more.

I thought Janet would crash early tonight since she had no nap and she did fade a little during our drive but once back at Connect she wanted to play a game on the iPad. She chose the math game and did amazingly well for the first fifteen minutes or so, actually the best she’s done with me. Maybe it was the lollypop she was enjoying while we played or maybe she’s just getting smarter in her old age. I was impressed. That brain exercise did use up the last of her energy for the day and she very willingly got ready for bed but not until she was able to bite that lollypop into oblivion. It was quite difficult for her but when she finally did it she smiled with satisfaction.

Thankful for an enjoyable time with Janet today and the spark she had. Praying for rest and healing tonight and a successful session in the pool tomorrow with lots of energy for the rest of her day.

Getting Better. Janet improves tonight. #TSJ

When I called Connect this morning Lorne was in the process of getting Janet up. Jess told me they decided to let Janet sleep in till nine and that she seemed fine, having slept through the night. When I arrived to take her to the lab she was having a late lunch and seemed pretty chipper. She wasn’t doing too well with feeding herself but she managed and after a pee break we went to the lab. No crying this time as I guess she’s finally getting used to being stabbed.

Upon our return to Connect Janet seemed relatively bright still and agreed to play a game on the iPad. She chose math and did surprisingly well lasting about fifteen minutes with that game then I switched her to a naming game that she succeeded at as well. I took a chance at asking her if she wanted to lay down for a rest after half an hour and she quickly agreed. Two hours later and a little past her dinner time she was recharged and ready to go. It was her night to help with dinner but rest is far more important right now so Humberto took her spot and everything was dished out and ready when Janet got to the table. She was clearly doing much better than yesterday, smiling at the conversation and eating well.

Curtis took Janet to the gym for a late night stretch which I thought would be short considering the time but Janet came back grinning and feeling proud of herself after eight o’clock and had enough energy to watch some of the hockey game with Chris and Humberto before going to bed.

I’m very impressed by the improvement in Janet today and especially with her interactions with others. For the last while she’s not shown any interest in the other residents but that flipped around completely today. She’s still not conversing with them but she really enjoyed listening to the chatter and reacted with smiles when appropriate. Janet’s talking to me was much clearer today with no major occurrences of Klingon but her volume level was really low. Her toileting routine was very good and I’m feeling a little like nurse Jen may be right about Janet adjusting to the Dilantin. Anxiously awaiting the test results and answers to my many questions.

Praying for another good night of rest and healing and a day of learning and progress tomorrow.

Math. Janet smartens up. #TSJ

Jess was just putting Janet to bed when I arrived this afternoon. They had been in the gym with Tez and Janet was nodding off so they called the session short and Janet wasn’t complaining at all. The day had been a full one to that point. That was her third trip to the gym already, having gone with Jess after breakfast for the usual stretching then with Garrett just before lunch for some good Shuttle work then with Tez so he could get her on her tummy to stretch those hamstrings. They also tried the transfer belt but that’s when Janet started nodding off. More work on that next week. Mary Lou spent time with Janet this morning as well, working out of the new Speech workbook. Apparently Janet was a little tired during that session as well but overall had a good first part of the day.

Since she was headed for bed just after two I anticipated a nice long nap in hopes she would recover for a good evening session. I got my wish this time as she slept for a good two hours and was noticeably refreshed afterwards. I really think she’s not sleeping well at night for some reason and hopefully she’ll snap out of it soon as she normally does.

It took Janet the better part of an hour to come fully awake after her nap and she made a good effort at getting up from bed and “stood” really well for me transferring to the toilet. While she waited for dinner I gave her the med book and asked her to get Bob to get her meds for her. She thought about it way too much and by the time Bob came asking if she was ready for her meds she was a little confused and needed quite a bit of coaching to get through the process. Janet really enjoyed the dinner prepared by Chris especially the asparagus in cheese sauce but as expected was more excited about the Tootsie Roll for dessert. Unfortunately there was no Ladies Night tonight as this would have been a good time for Janet to try it out as she was pretty bright still. She was denying she wanted to go but I think would have a good time once there. Maybe next week. Surprisingly she agreed to play the math game on the iPad and she did remarkably well, the best she’s ever done with me at both answering the questions and tapping and swiping her way through the various levels of the game. She still neglects the right side of the screen a little but not as much it seems. It was fun watching her and only having to help occasionally and it was especially nice to see a little confidence showing in her.

Praying for a solid nights sleep that brings healing and lots of positive energy for tomorrow.

Charlie #TSJ

After last night’s confusion Janet was clear on who I was this afternoon but wondered why I was there. She thought we were going out for “dinner”, meaning lunch. She actually refused to have lunch today, telling the staff she was going out. I reminded her its tomorrow we’re doing that and she seemed to remember then. Jess reported that Janet also refused a shower this morning. I told Jess not to give in to Janet on that one. It’s nice to ask but she needs to be showered regularly and if Monday, Thursday is the deal then that’s what it is. Jess agreed and will shower Janet tomorrow regardless of Janet’s willingness level. Janet did have a good stretch in the gym this morning and seemed at least willing to consider a return trip this afternoon for some strength training.

Thanks to an error at the lab last week, Janet had to go back for another blood test today. Her doctor’s office called to say the lab had done the wrong test. So that meant Janet got to go out for lunch after all. I drove her to the lab and asked them what went wrong. They confirmed that the test performed last week was for a drug with a slightly different spelling than Janet’s as it was incorrectly entered in the computer. Great. We stopped at Tim Horton’s to grab a sandwich for Janet which she devoured back at Connect. We had a good little Skype chat with Andrew after that. Janet had some difficulty putting sentences together but her volume level was decent. Bob took her to the gym for a little Shuttle work, Janet was reluctant to go but did so I hope believing its good for her.

It’s been a while since I did any formal “school work” with Janet but managed to get her doing some matching and reading on the iPad after the gym. I think she got into it because she could tap her way through some of it instead of just staring at pictures or cards on a table. She did amazingly well I thought. Big improvement. She didn’t think it was a big deal but was happy enough to try some reading next. I was very impressed with her ability to follow a sentence and get most of the words. The last time I had her read to me she was clearly going three or four words in then jumping down to the next line. Today she was going the entire seven or eight words then getting the first word of the next line but not the whole line. She sometimes would make up words she thought should follow the word she just read but would correct herself when I called her on it. Janet still didn’t think it was a big deal but I made sure to heap praise on her. High five!

While staff member Carl cooked dinner, Janet set the table for everyone. I had to coach her along a little and she gave a solid effort, clearly liking being able to contribute. The highlight of the day came when Carl brought in his seven week old dachshund puppy, Charlie.

20130218-220735.jpg So cute and so tiny. Janet loved him and I actually did too. He slept in my arm during dinner.

Janet elected to watch a little tv before bed and faded rapidly. Her former peg site is healing really well and not bothering her at all. She had a good toileting day and a pretty successful day over all. Praying for rest and healing tonight and a productive day tomorrow.