Janet, A Success Story. March 22. #TSJ

This day didn’t turn out the way Janet or I had hoped at all. Laurel arrived on time this morning, picked up by Jaq and Suzanne who were on their way to the coast. Unfortunately Janet had woken up at 6:30 feeling sick and spent the rest of the day on the toilet or with her head in a bucket. There are no signs of flu and I’m confident this is just some nasty little stomach thing that will go away by tomorrow. After quite a few naps Janet managed to keep down a half can of Fresca as well as her meds before going to bed a few minutes ago and is sleeping soundly as I write.

Praying for a full and fast recovery and a fun day tomorrow.

This was a false alarm but sums up Janet's day.

This was a false alarm but sums up Janet’s day.

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

Renovation Day 72. Randy installed the glass doors on the remaining cabinets today and I think only has a small job in each bathroom before declaring the renovation complete. Yeah!

Janet did her regular morning routine which included a bike ride and some stretching after a shower and breakfast. She told me she handed out the last of her Christmas cards and did some comprehension work with Mary Lou.

As far as Janet is concerned the day didn’t really begin until Laurel arrived at Connect and the two of them went out for lunch and did a little Christmas shopping. Laurel said her mom did well at choosing and paying for the items she chose and Janet seemed pleased with herself and was all smiles about it when they got home. Janet was a little worn out though and agreed to try a nap for a bit. I think she did sleep for half an hour or so and gained more energy as she ate dinner and watched the final performance show of X Factor.

The deal was if we stayed home for dinner and watched X Factor then she’d have to go to the gym when we got back to Connect and that’s what she did. Since she rode the bike in the morning and did a little walking at home the Shuttle was the best option for tonight. Janet of course didn’t like that idea but cooperated and put in a very strong effort. Her extension is now a consistent twelve inches and occasionally nears thirteen. She managed some good pushes with just her right leg even with more tension on there than she’s used to. There were protests at first but once she realized she just had to try her best she bore down and worked hard. We tried a little balancing board after the Shuttle and got some decent pushes with her right leg then as well. Janet has trouble bending her knees which I think is what you have to do on that board but she tried hard and had a good rhythm going for a while.

I’m not sure if the staff have started Janet’s self medication program yet but for her evening ones I’ve only had to ask Janet questions around what time it is and she clues in that she needs her meds. She doesn’t hesitate at all to find a staff member and ask them for her drugs, medicine, meds, medical things, pills, special things or some other word close to that. We will work on the names of each one over the Christmas break and also see if she can remember to ask for them without prompting. I think she can in the morning for sure.

We all watched a little TV so Janet could wind down and she called bedtime a little earlier than normal after a pretty busy day. Praying for a good sleep tonight and lots of energy tomorrow as well as a safe and on time flight for Heather.

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

Renovation Day 56. Randy was here for a good chunk of the day putting the finishing touches to a lot of the drawers. Janet, Laurel and I did a lot of decorating. The house is really looking like a home now.

Janet woke up this morning feeling good but complaining about being a little sore. I think the mattress we got is too soft so I’m going to see if we can switch to something firmer. Janet also finds it hard to adjust her positioning in bed. I thought it was mostly because I had her on the opposite side from what she’s used to but we tested the other side this morning and found the same result.

After breakfast we all got started emptying the last few boxes and filling shelves. Laurel was a big help in hanging paintings and pictures with Janet making good choices on what goes where. It was steady work for the balance of the day and Janet hung in there and contributed the whole time. She did have one lapse in judgement when we unpacked a little statue and I claimed it was from her mom and Keith and she thought she bought it. We put a Blizzard on the line and called Mary/Gaga to settle the bet. I won. Janet was a little frustrated with losing but showed how much she’s thinking these days by commenting that she has no money and asking how she’d pay for a Blizzard. Laurel and I assured her that she has money, our money, and she seemed fine with that for now. Janet has raised this concern before and even asked if she should get a job soon. It would be awesome if she got well enough to work at something one day but I reassured her that she doesn’t need to work.

All the thinking that goes into decorating wore Janet out a little and she agreed to a nap before going for an early dinner so we could drop Laurel at the airport. Janet is always sad when the kids leave after a visit, especially a short one like this but Laurel will be back for Christmas in a couple of weeks and that allowed Janet to hold back the tears.

Our plan upon returning to Connect was to watch the Seahawks game but since they were dominating the Saints right from the start I convinced Janet to get in a bike ride then watch the second half. Her ride was decent, breaking the two mile mark and pedalling at level 2.5 the entire thirty minutes. A pretty good warm up for what I hope will be a strong day tomorrow.

The football game was a blow out so we watched The Voice with Wes and Kieran with Janet being pretty quiet as she wound down from a busy weekend. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and lots of strength for an active day tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 54. Randy installed all the shelves in the kitchen and by the fireplace and finished the drawers in the Island. That allowed us to load the new pots and pans as well as one big box of other kitchen stuff and tomorrow we can do a bunch more. Yeah!

After a good night’s sleep Janet was ready to get up a little later than her usual time and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in anticipation of doing some work before Laurel’s arrival in the afternoon. Janet accepted the job of vacuuming the furniture which is easier here with the central vacuum but still a good workout for her. Between that and putting away stuff in the kitchen it was a busy morning.

Janet was very excited that Laurel was arriving today and demonstrated that with a big smile and a shake of her fist as we pulled out of the garage to go get her. We stopped and grabbed take out at Urban Fare to eat at home as Janet was really wanting Laurel to see the place. She gave her the tour as soon as we got there and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and looking for recipes to do some baking tomorrow.

Laurel’s alma matter, UNBC, was playing at UBCO tonight so we drove in the wet snow to see that game. Susanne met us there and Janet really enjoyed the evening. The game was entertaining and Janet loved talking to her daughter and friend instead of just me. The game was webcast and Laurel’s former coach was watching in Prince George and messaged her to say she saw us and that Janet looks great. Indeed she does and Janet got a kick out of the fact someone saw her from so far away, especially someone she knows. Thanks for the hello Loralyn, that was cool.

The dinner choice was Janet’s and she wanted Asian Pear and was very conscious of not eating as much as she did last time, remembering her sore tummy afterwards. Janet ate well and I had the opportunity to tell her how much she’s improved in that area as I saw her calmly sitting there eating and drinking. I used to be quite stressed when we first were able to go out, worrying how much she would spill on herself, would she choke, could she even pick up the food on her plate. Tonight she served herself from the buffet and I think dropped one snow pea on the floor. She’s come along way!

I had heard that was interviewing Kevin Durant today and since he was Janet’s favourite basketball player prior to getting sick I though we would try and watch it. Turned out to be a very interesting and inspiring message, check it here if you like. We all gained respect for him as a person and Janet connected with his statement that you have to work at growing spiritually. For fun to end the evening we tried out the new Karaoke Channel on TV. Once I got used to selecting the songs it was kind of fun and I think we will make this a regular thing to keep Janet’s vocal exercises going.

The first full day at home for the weekend was a good one with Janet staying bright and with it all day. We ditched her wheelchair footrest this morning, at least for when she’s in the house, and so far so good. For most outside trips we’ll still use it but I figure if she’s starting to walk she better start using that leg to propel her chair as well.

Praying for a good night of rest that brings lots of energy for tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #seahawks #snf #dqblizzard #camping

Janet slept well last night and was pretty lively this morning enjoying breakfast conversation with Laurel while I helped a couple load our bed onto their trailer. I placed an ad to sell our bed a couple days ago not wanting to get stuck moving it and had seven enquiries about it just like that. I guess I priced it right. Tonight then is our first night of “camping”. Janet napped this afternoon on the downstairs sofa bed and is snoring on it as I write this. The only hassle about this arrangement is I have to carry her downstairs but there’s only two more nights for her in this house so its no big deal.

There weren’t quite as many trips to the bathroom this morning but Janet was still busy there and by the time she was done and our bed was gone it was pretty much lunchtime. There was time for a little exercise though and Janet did some good standing on her own. I had hoped she’d demo some of the yoga she did at Connect the other day but no go. Her right foot wasn’t cooperating that well today but I think we gave it a good little workout.

We elected to bring home sushi for lunch and enjoyed it outside on another beautiful late summer day. Courtney and her friend arrived just as we finished, to haul away more of our stuff. Glad we can find a home for things, now the house is really starting to look like we’re moving.

Laurel for some strange reason wanted to go back to Calgary today but she owed me a Blizzard from a previous NBA bet and it was time to settle. Of course Janet benefitted too as we all tried the new Snickers Blizzard. Janet says it was the best ever, I say Skor still rules.


Janet and I considered going car shopping after DQ but she wasn’t feeling that well so I got her home and into bed for a good nap. She was well rested and ready to watch the Seahawks beat the 49ers on Sunday Night Football and we had a good Skype chat with Andrew during the one hour lighting delay. Halftime was the perfect time for a hot tub and we spent the fourth quarter with Janet’s legs in the extenders and her remembering she’d had a Blizzard earlier so denying herself ice cream tonight.

Praying for lots of rest and a stronger and more responsive right leg.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #LaurelandRaj #lunch #standing

As expected, Janet got up fairly early this morning knowing she could visit Laurel and Raj. Her night was somewhat restless with a good start and a not so good middle. The morning with Laurel and Raj was good though and Janet seemed quite bright and happy the whole time. Laurel went through some of the memorabilia we had found and shared a lot of it with Janet and that produced a lot of laughs. Laurel and Raj treated us to a nice lunch at Joey’s before they started their drive to the coast. Janet got quiet at the restaurant as the lack of sleep caught up with her. It was still a nice time and Janet ate well saying “that’s way better than what I get at school”. Connect has been referred to as school a lot lately and I guess that’s ok.

Once back at Connect a very tired Janet hung in there for our meeting with wheelchair guy. I think we’ve finally started the final bit of test driving and should have something to buy in the next few weeks after one more modification. Sounds like Janet has selected the color of the chair already, pink. She very willingly headed to bed for a nap right after the meeting and slept for a short while then was awake more than sleeping for the next hour. That gave her enough energy to say “let’s get done what I have to get done”. Meaning, lets go to the gym. With a much better attitude and me not distracted by my phone, Janet had a great Shuttle workout, followed by a good little standing session and some good stretching with Garrett. After dinner she said she wanted to do the Standing Frame so she could be done and she handled almost an hour in it nicely. That left us a little time for a walk and some YouTube before the tiredness crept back up on Janet.

Another solid day with signs of improvement. Praying for an active and productive tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #LaurelandRaj #home #purging #meltdown

Jess reports Janet had a very busy first part of her day, doing lots of work in the gym, Speech with Mary Lou and helping Jess make biscuits for tonight’s dinner. Tez mentioned he wants Janet’s work on the Shuttle to focus on her right leg as she really needs to build strength in it. She did the full workout as well as lots of sit to stand exercises. Janet said she didn’t help much with the biscuits but it sounds like Speech was incorporated into the process as she did say she read the recipe out loud. There hasn’t been much change in Janet’s volume level but the memory keeps improving even if she struggles to find the right words. Tonight she retold the story of the lunatics at the London Drugs parking lot on Monday correctly stating “we were only in there ten minutes…” then carrying on with a somewhat jumbled but accurate description of the encounter. Pretty impressive I think.

I snuck up on Janet as she wheeled from the living room and followed her to the kitchen sink and almost out the door to the patio after I got to Connect. She couldn’t quite get the door open herself but gave it a good try. We had a nice talk in the sun for a bit and since she had just gotten out of the Standing Frame decided to do a Shuttle session then hit the road for home as Laurel and Raj were coming in tonight for a brief visit. I didn’t get the sense that Janet was particularly tired prior to getting to the gym, that sure changed in a hurry though. My original thought was for her to have a rest, dinner, gym then go home. Should’ve stuck to that as Janet had enough of a meltdown in the gym to warrant a time out for an hour after Garrett managed a little stretching with her. She definitely was tired as she slept for almost an hour but I’ll take some blame for the meltdown for not being focused on her when she was on the Shuttle. I need to ignore my phone when working with her like that.

Janet made a nice recovery after her nap. She of course said she wouldn’t sleep and when I checked her after thirty minutes she was right out. We stopped at Save On and got a bunch of groceries on the way home then built our own sandwiches for dinner. I’m having to help Janet less and less with this sort of thing as long as we can take the time needed for her to figure things out. I’ve never had her try the squeeze bottle of mayo before but she quickly figured out how to open it, she just isn’t strong enough to do it completely. Before Laurel and Raj arrived we had time to sort through a few more boxes from under the stairs and these made Janet a little sad. Most were filled with stuff she was saving for the possibility of her opening her own pre school one day. She repeatedly said “I guess I’ll never be a pre school teacher again”. No tears but close and I really felt for her but I also know its really good she acknowledges things like that and it reminds me of the need to keep her contributing to our life and hers at Connect. She needs to feel useful.

Laurel and Raj arrived just after nine and we enjoyed a nice visit before bed. They are on their way to the coast for a wedding so we’ll see them for half the day tomorrow before its back to work for Janet. There were lots of positives today even with the little meltdown and Janet of course was very excited to see Laurel and Raj. Praying for lots of rest tonight and a fun day tomorrow.

Mother’s Day. An emotional day for Janet. #TSJ

Mother’s Day. Janet and I don’t usually make much of Hallmark holidays but I sensed this one would be special for Janet and it was. As we were finishing breakfast I read, or at least attempted to read a poem written by Laurel and emailed to Janet this morning. Laurel really should know how difficult it is for me to read sappy things like that and when Janet started crying five words in, that was the end of me too. It seriously took me twenty minutes to read fourteen verses to her in between the watery eyes and running noses. I tried to laugh through it to get Janet to laugh but no. Tears tears and more tears. And that was just the start of our day.

The service at Trinity was of course designed to honor moms and following a very entertaining take on Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, the message was delivered via a table discussion with four next gen members of our church. They told stories of what it was like growing up in their homes and some of the comments resonated deeply with Janet and brought more tears. The comments that really hit her were about values and practices that Janet always fought hard for as a mom and to hear them validated by a group of young people was very powerful. She was still in tears long after the service ended and it took a visit from Kiko and Joel to cheer her up.

At home the Skype marathon began with Cam who we have not been able to connect with for a while. Janet was surprised that he remembered it was Mother’s Day. Heather was next followed by a voice call to my mom. Determined to avoid a nap Janet agreed to go for a swim and a hot tub. Knowing the Rehab pool is 36C I brought ours up to 32C hoping Janet would be comfortable. I think there’s something wrong with my thermometer because that 32C felt more like 52C but Janet of course loved it. I quickly learned that I need some different exercises for our pool as its only three feet deep in the shallow end and slopes dramatically to the deep end so there’s not enough water to work with in one end and too much in the other. Janet did manage to float on her back all by herself for five seconds today even recovering twice in that time when her face dipped below the surface. Next time the water will be cooler and I’ll have a better routine for her.

The hot tub’s 38.7C felt cooler to me than the pool I think because its supposed to be hot where I’ve always liked the pool to be refreshing. Once again I got a really good stretch on both Janet’s legs in the hot tub and set her up nice for a long lounging session this evening in her wheelchair. That came after a Skype chat with Laurel who apologized for the tears this morning then a voice call to a surprised Mary/Gaga.

Dinner was take out from our go to sushi place where Brian and his family were having dinner when we got there to pick ours up. Brian went out to see Janet and she identified him as Gary. When I got back to the car she told me Jimmy came to say hi to her. Oh well.

Janet was determined to watch The Voice with me tonight and I could see her fighting to stay awake for it all. She managed barely and was asleep before I finished our goodnight prayer. Today was an emotional day for Janet. It was also one of those days where you look back and think it was really busy but it seems like you didn’t do much. What we did do was great though. We are proud of our family, blessed by our friends and our church and grateful for the progress Janet is making. Praying for a healing and restful night providing lots of strength for tomorrow.

Happy Easter! An emotional day indeed. #TSJ #Heisrisen

This morning was what Easter Sunday ought to be, in my mind anyways. Bright, sunny, full of excitement with an air of celebration. I had to wake Janet up so we could start our day on time and with a big smile she told me she was ready. With Laurel’s help we had breakfast done and were all dressed ready for church ahead of schedule. I was anxious to get there knowing it would be packed and there is really only the one seat that’s best for Janet. We were first in line at the door leading to that seat and a short while later were all settled in. I had to ask Janet one more time if she was excited to be a part of the service and seeing herself on the side screens. She played it down and I wonder if we were asking her too often about that. I wanted her to be happy about it and understand the potential for touching a lot of people and I think she gets that and just wanted to not think about it. The team at Trinity did an outstanding job with this weekend’s services and Janet showed no signs of nodding off today at all. The music kept her clapping or singing throughout and when it came time for Wayne’s message she was as tuned in as I’ve ever noticed her. Our video was the last of the three to be shared during the message and as soon as it started Janet broke down. She cried throughout which made me cry and I’m still not sure why she was crying. My best guess is the release of a lot of pent up emotion over the whole thing and perhaps some worry as to how it would be received. Those were things I was certainly feeling so I can only hope she was feeling the same as that would be cool if she was able to think ahead like that. I showed her the video again at home and she watched it through without tears then when I asked her what she thought she said “it makes me want to cry”, so she did. One comment she managed this time was she felt she “did bad”. Totally not so. See for yourself here. Her feeling like that makes no sense for the first time she saw the video as she was crying before she was even on the screen. It was easy to calm her as I could remind her of the dozens of people that stopped and thanked us for sharing our story today. Most of them people we don’t know at all. One gentleman who had been at the service prior to the one we went to had tears in his eyes as he told me how our story had touched him. Janet agreed that we hope people are inspired by the video to understand how quickly life can change and to honor the commitments they have made to others.

Before Laurel and Raj set off on their drive back to Calgary we enjoyed a quick lunch in the sun with them at Red Robin.

Raj,  Laurel, Janet, Larry

Raj, Laurel, Janet, Larry

That was a great way to decompress from the day so far and enjoy a last chat until the next time we see them. Laurel will be back at the beginning of May with Heather to do some wedding dress shopping and Janet is excited about that. Knowing they would see each other soon there were no tears at the parking lot goodbye. A first I believe!

A little bit in denial about the need for a nap, Janet was sleeping by 2:30 and I had to wake her at five so we could enjoy dinner together before heading back to Connect. Once the cobwebs cleared she was able to help me make a salad but I’m going to have to get her doing some bicep curls in the gym again as I sense she’s a little weaker than she ought to be. We watched and really enjoyed The Voice during dinner. Janet couldn’t pick a clear favorite contestant but Blake Shelton remains her obvious favorite coach as she laughed out loud to a few of his antics. The ride back to Connect was pleasant as I got Janet singing a little bit but I was kind of dreading leaving her there tonight. This weekend at home was a good one and I sense a little more awareness from Janet and even though her speech is still too quiet there were a number of times she came up with comments and answers that really impressed me. The only breakdowns she had were when she was simply too tired to do anything else, the video reaction exempted. She didn’t protest but I don’t think she was all that excited to go back tonight either. I reassured us both by reminding her she’s there to get better and she agreed.

Praying for rest and healing tonight and thanking the risen Christ for all we have been blessed with.