Janet, A Success Story. May 6. #TSJ

I think I’ve figured out how to get Janet to sleep earlier, work her butt off. Today was a marathon of walking for Janet starting with Tez in the sling this morning. He took her up there right after breakfast so there wasn’t time for me to get there but all reports, even from Janet, are that it was a good session. Besides walking the laid out course Tez pushed Janet from behind at times and had Jess pull Janet quickly from in front at times as well. Both techniques designed to help Janet with momentum. She even did a little free walking with them.

When I arrived this afternoon Janet had just gone to bed but needed the bathroom and after that disruption really never got to sleep. As we talked about the day I realized I had forgotten to request a trip to the lab for her this morning so we decided to go before dinner. I challenged Janet to make the trip without her wheelchair and she walked from her room to the car, from the car down a switchback ramp then down a long corridor to the lab entrance. The tech saw her coming in walking and cheered her on. Janet repeated the course after getting stabbed, thereby completing her first wheelchair free outing!

After a rest in the sun Janet agreed to get her bike ride in before dinner and walked from the patio to her room. I let her wheel to the gym but set the bike to level five instead of four and she set a new distance record of 3.4 miles in 30 minutes that included three hills. High five!

Dinner got devoured, no surprise, while we practiced Spanish with Big Country. Janet even pulled out some German she learned in high school and a little French. Janet had walked to the dining area and therefore had to walk back to her room afterwards. She started to complain a little of a sore right foot on the way to her room so I took her shoe and AFO off for a bit to have a look and give her a rest. There are no pressure points that I can see and she walked well up to the Pool Room for Games Night following that brief breather. The feature game of the evening was Heads Up which once everyone got the hang of being able to shout out clues when they wanted, was a lot of fun. Even Janet enjoyed.

The walk back to her room was clearly pushing the limits but before she was done for the night Janet walked free style from her bed to the bathroom door! She kept saying she couldn’t do it after each couple of steps then low and behold she was there. Awesome!

Janet really wanted me to read to her but after all that walking she fell asleep within a few minutes of me starting. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep.

Janet, A Success Story. April 15. #TSJ

A nice bounce back by Janet today. No accidents, good workouts, good reading practice on her SheLife speech and even a little participation in Games Night.

Janet seemed in a good mood when I called her at lunch time. Jess had taken her to the lab for another blood test in preparation for her doctor appointment tomorrow and she had gone for a bike ride and some stretching. When I arrived at Connect I was surprised to find Janet in the living room “supervising” Brian and a wheelchair tech working on Big Country’s new wheelchair. She had napped a little bit and was eager to practice her SheLife speech so that’s what we did first. The more she read it the better she got and as long as she doesn’t over rehearse and has a good nap tomorrow afternoon she should do well.

Chelsea joined us in the gym to learn Janet’s Shuttle routine. I hadn’t seen Janet on the Shuttle for a while and was impressed with her effort. I’d say there is some improvement since last time. After dinner Janet managed a decent walk from her room to the lobby, which is about fifty feet away. I hope to talk to Tez about helping Janet to walk straight ahead instead of angling to the right as she mostly does. She doesn’t quite understand that she’s doing it even after I tried to show her how much shorter she’d have to go if she went straight. Anyways, it took a lot of convincing to get her to practice walking tonight but when she did she did well. I had her take a few steps holding onto me so I could gage how much she’s using the cane and there was hardly any pushing down on my arm leading me to think she could take a step completely free but she’s scared to try. The idea of practicing that in the pool crossed my mind but I didn’t mention it to Janet yet.

It was a struggle again to get Janet to go to Games Night and this time she didn’t participate much except for singing the Barney theme song during a guessing game. There was one more reading of her speech, which was too much that late in the day, then some email replying to do before bed. Praying that Janet is well rested, confident and focussed for all that she’s asked to do tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. April 3. #TSJ

Today was a bit of a roller coaster for Janet, starting with a down hill bit as Jess took her to the lab for another test of her Dilantin levels. They are still low so her doctor has ordered an increase back to the dosage she was on before. There is no obvious reason for the fluctuation and hopefully we can get it stabilized soon so Janet doesn’t have to get stabbed so often. Still going downhill as far as Janet is concerned, she went to the gym for a bike ride. The upper part of her right leg has been sore for a couple days according to Janet so the workouts have been light. She equates it with the stretching session she had earlier in the week and she may be right. If not, it might be off to the doctor, Janet’s favourite thing to do.

I think lunch started a bit of an uphill ride for Janet as she seems to be enjoying everyone’s company around the table and does like the new lady, Angie. When I spoke to Janet on the phone I got a little feeling I was interrupting something she was enjoying and she’d rather be doing that. First time for everything I guess.

The downhill part started again when I arrived and Janet was ringing her pendant to get up from a nap she never had. She was in good spirits and very chatty but you could tell she hadn’t slept and needed to. It wasn’t going to happen though so up she got and I had her walk to the bathroom and back. No real change there although she is using her right leg less now because of the soreness. To avoid more walking Janet asked to help Angie get dinner ready and she eagerly made a salad for everyone. This was the first dinner in a long time where the table was full and Janet enjoyed the banter. Things were looking up.

Facing the prospect of a long walk after dinner Janet elected to practice some hand writing first. Mary Lou has given her a lined workbook to practice individual letters in and Janet can do most, reasonably well. I have no idea how to teach her proper technique so I just point out where she’s consistently good and where she changed the appearance of the same letter and for now that seems fine. Writing seemed to ease her fears of going for a walk and after a little pep talk from Chelsea she set out for the living room and made it a little more than two thirds the way there, over fifty feet, before insisting she was “exhausted”. I believe she could have made it as I saw saw continued improvement in her steps but the drive just wasn’t there tonight.

The roller coaster went downhill fast after that and Janet was sleeping within minutes of hitting the pillow before nine thirty. She couldn’t even get her prayers out she crashed so fast. I’m praying that tonight she enjoys a deep and healing sleep so that tomorrow is a day of nothing but ups.

Janet, A Success Story. April 1. #TSJ

It was all serious business for Janet this morning, no April Fools jokes and a trip to the lab for some routine blood work. It was a good thing she went to the lab as it was learned that the levels for her anti seizure medication are on the low side. Her doctor agreed with my suggestion that we re test before changing the dosage again, so Janet gets to get stabbed again tomorrow.

One thing went in her favour this morning as Tez was not at Connect today so the usual Tuesday hard core workout never happened. Janet did go to the gym and got some stuff done so all was not lost. When I arrived this afternoon Janet was wide awake in bed and looking really tired. She couldn’t sleep and since we were going to a concert tonight I really wanted her to be rested so we just hung out and chatted in her room with me hoping she’d drift off but it never happened. A little happy hour time in the sun seemed to do as much good as a sleep would have and after a little walking session and dinner we took off for the concert.

Janet has never been much of a concert goer but she had a lot of fun at the Levite Summit a few weeks ago and said she’d like to go to a concert so I held her to it. We went to see The City Harmonic at Willow Park Church, a smaller version of Trinity. I had no idea what to expect or how Janet would react. The show was quite good and Janet enjoyed it although it was “really loud”. There were not a lot of sing along songs as this band is not too well known by us but they are excellent musicians and Janet was into it most of the time, especially when a three year old girl was dancing in the aisle beside her and looking at Janet like, “come dance with me”. Big smiles from Janet. Here’s a little clip to give you an idea of how cool Janet is.

We were back at Connect with minutes to spare before curfew and I said goodnight to a smily Janet, praying for a good night of sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow.

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.

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.