Janet was hard at work in the gym when I arrived this afternoon. This was Simon’s first day working with her and he was getting some good results. Garrett had Janet in the gym in the morning to do a good stretching routine and now she was back for a more active workout session. Simon had her doing some leg exercises then Tez came in and helped get Janet onto her tummy for a hamstring stretch and some more on command leg movements. Then came the big test. Yesterday Tez had Janet kneeling on her own a little bit so he was going to try that again. With Garrett watching her back, Tez lifted Janet to a sort of push up position on her way to kneeling. We noticed how strongly Janet was pushing with her left arm so Tez decided to try and have her do a push up. The tears started immediately and Tez let her down a little and Janet responded by pushing part way up. You couldn’t call it a push up but there was an effort there for sure. On her knees the tears were still flowing as they would for the rest of the workout. Undeterred and knowing the tears were a lack of confidence rather than pain, Tez and Garrett gradually let go of Janet until she was kneeling completely on her own. She was able to lift her head and straighten her back so she was up nice and tall. Very impressive and according to Tez, much improved over yesterday. Simon held out some colored pieces of paper an arms length away from Janet and she was able to reach out, grab them and pass them off to me on her left side. Major high five! She cried each time she did it but again, not from pain. At least that’s what she told us. Finally sitting on the edge of the table mat, Janet could relax a little. But not for long. I had told Tez I was doing mainly standing transfers with Janet and he wanted to see her stand as he was surprised to hear she was “stepping” with her left leg. Considering how tired Janet was she stood really well with me, impressing Tez enough that he pulled out a couple of scales and placed them under each of her feet and asked her to stand again to see how much weight she was carrying herself. The left leg registered about forty five pounds and the right leg not quite half that. Pretty darn good and more than Tez thought she could do. One final task for Janet was to transfer herself from the table mat to her wheelchair using the sliding board. Janet didn’t understand how to get onto the board but once she was there it was an easy slide onto the chair. Visibly relieved, her gym day was over and she wheeled her way out and left me chatting with Simon and Tez.
I found Janet in her room ready for a bio break. Success. Our before dinner activity was reading a card and looking at some photos that Gillian had sent us as a thank you from her wedding. Janet surprised me by reading a fair number of the hand written words in the card and a little of the inscriptions on the backs of the photos. When she first started reading I noticed she was only reading the first two or three words on each line so I had her follow along with her finger and she was able to go seven or eight words before losing focus. She did a good job of identifying people in the photos, even Gillian’s husband Josh, whom she’s never met. There’s that improved short term memory again.
Dinner was a fail tonight. Beef stew which I knew would be a challenge and I tried to convince her she liked all the ingredients. No go. I rescued her with half a peanut butter sandwich and a bowl of pears. She is looking forward to making pizza at home tomorrow.
Back in her room it was time for a birthday Skype with Laurel. Janet very loudly and clearly sang Happy Birthday to her right off the top of the call and carried on a good conversation for almost half an hour. Janet is no longer rambling on about nothing. When she does ramble it’s because she is stuck on a word and she is clearly trying really hard to say something constructive. She is even getting mad at herself a little now when she can’t find the right word. So far it is all with a smile on her face. Speaking of smiles, there was another noticeable improvement today. Since very near the beginning of all this I have been randomly trying to tickle Janet, notably at her armpits where she used to be quite sensitive. Up until this evening I had gotten no response. Someone taught Janet to raise her left arm when she is coughing to help her cough bigger. She was doing that tonight and I tried to tickle her and got an immediate pull away reaction with her telling me “stop that, it…” she couldn’t find the word but agreed with tickles. Not sure of the significance but I’m taking it as a positive.
Janet did most of her bedtime prep herself and before I was half way through our prayer I felt her hand relax and she was asleep. Quite the day. Janet is showing signs of improvement in a lot of areas and I think gained some confidence the last couple of days. Praying for a restful and healing night and a fun day of learning before heading home for the weekend tomorrow.