Janet was surprised to see me this morning as she had forgotten about swimming. Jess reported that they tried to go to the gym but it was busy so the only activity Janet got this morning was Speech with Mary Lou. Apparently that went well with Janet talking nice and loud and clear as she practiced asking questions instead of answering them like she mostly does.
Our drive to KGH was chattier than usual but in the pool Janet seemed a little tired and had zero command over her right leg. I wish I knew why this happens and how to prevent or correct it as it was tough for Janet to do her standing and walking exercises in our first session. The second half hour was better though and I was able to let go of her as she floated on her back for a couple of seconds. Same thing with standing on her own. It took a long time to get there but she was able to stand for a good five seconds a couple of times. Walking continued to be a challenge as her right leg was largely unresponsive.
While walking back to the car we were stopped by Monica, the transition nurse from 4B. She was very excited to see Janet and amazed by her progress as she had not seen Janet for probably seven months now. Janet had no clue who she was but enjoyed the compliments. Monica mentioned to me how she and her husband had gotten their Power of Attorney done and updated their wills after watching what Janet and I have gone through without a POA in place. She even told the story to a colleague the other day and they are going to get theirs done now too. If any of you married folks reading this don’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place and up to date wills, get on it. You never know what’s going to happen and things can get really messy without that paperwork.
We deviated from our intended lunch destination choosing to support a local business that I spotted along the way, Deli City Cafe. Good thing too as while we were ordering we saw our friend Roger who was just finishing his lunch there. It was nice to see his big smile and to know things are going well for Carrie and he. I wanted to get Janet back to Connect in case we could see the wheelchair guy so we ate our lunch once we got back there but no wheelchair guy. That did allow for a late nap for a tired Janet and I got her laying down a little before four. What was planned as a quick siesta turned into a two hour nap as we both fell asleep until six o’clock. Not sure what that was all about for me but I must’ve needed it.
Bob took Janet to the gym after dinner and she actually went without arguing. Bob mentioned Janet’s lack of command of the right leg but said all else was good. Janet seemed pleased and was ready to watch some playoff basketball. It was a good thing she had that nap as the game was really good and she was actually able to stay up to watch it all as it ended around 10:15. For the first time Janet was able to repeatedly tell me the score of the game and she is starting to understand some of the rules again too. I had her lounging in her wheelchair the whole game and was able to get both legs quite straight and she was comfortable the whole time. I noticed when I put her to bed that her right leg was toasty warm just like her left one, often it is quite cold, even icy sometimes. She was able to move it on command quite well to put her PJ’s on too. Maybe the lounging helped?
As I said goodnight I reminded Janet that Laurel will pick her up around lunch time tomorrow and bring her home to see Heather and me. She said, “I hope I remember”. I’m sure she will. Praying for rest and healing and lots of energy for tomorrow and the weekend.
Even with house guests Janet managed a nice sleep in this morning. Katie and Sarah took off for Calgary at 8 o’clock Connah(Katie’s last name)time which is 8:25 to the rest of us. Janet and I wish them well on their adventure.
Our morning was relaxing and stress free with Janet eating a big breakfast, Skypeing with Heather and doing a little online house hunting with me. We even managed a pretty good stretching session. During which we talked about how we could get her in and out of the pool and hot tub and I made a brief attempt at carrying Janet from her wheelchair down to the floor of our bedroom and quickly saw that there is no way I’m doing that because even if I got her down I’m not convinced I could get her back up. We read in Slow Dance where the lady was sliding out of her chair and landing on the floor butt first. Janet is not there yet and even if she was the getting back up part is still there. I’m open to suggestions y’all.
After polishing off a hamburger for lunch Janet fought me a little about going for a nap despite the fact she was falling asleep in her wheelchair. For the first time ever that I can remember Janet verbally threatened me. She said, “this will cost you a lot of money” as I was laying her down on the bed. She explained that if I loved her I would let her stay up. I got mad at her for the threat then laid beside for literally two minutes until she was sound asleep. Janet uttered another negative comment during the chat with Heather expressing her lack of confidence in her ability to stand. That one was familiar to former Janet and it could be that she is becoming more understanding of her situation. We got to keep focusing on the positives.
I woke Janet up a couple hours later and she was refreshed and recharged enough to play with Nash, drink half a glass of water then help me make dinner. We decided on linguine and clam sauce and Janet was the biggest help to me in the kitchen to date. With minimal supervision she chopped an onion, opened cans of tomatoes and clams, poured those in the pan for me. Added all the spices to the sauce, chopped peppers, tore lettuce and very casually broke snap peas in half with her thumb. She was very happy with her contribution and to celebrate we enjoyed a 2008 CedarCreek Pinot Noir which also motivated her to drink her water.
During a bio break after dinner I was having a tough time getting Janet’s pants down as she had gotten a little sweaty sitting in the sun. With no prompting she let go of my shoulder and reached down to push the left side of her pants over her hips. High five! That was a huge help and as she played it down I reinforced it as proof the visits to the gym and the stretching are paying off as she could not have done that if her legs weren’t so strong. At bedtime she did it again but in reverse as she helped pull her pants up. Very cool.
As we watched The Voice tonight Janet lounged in her wheelchair which gave a good stretch on her legs while she ate ice cream. Today was not an active day physically but I think Janet’s brain got a decent work out as did her fine motor skills. Praying for lots of rest tonight and a bright day tomorrow.
Sunday felt like another sleep in day and as nice as that would have been I wanted Janet to be a little more active than yesterday so I woke her up around 9:15 and we started our day. It’s amazing to me how quickly the time goes by when you plan to go somewhere. Yesterday, no plans, time didn’t matter much and it seemed to move as it should. Today, plan to leave for church by 10:40, we were eating breakfast by 9:45, lot’s of time right? Started the car at 10:47 and by the time we got to church our favorite spot was taken so we had to sit on the other side of aisle. Turned out to be fine and Janet enjoyed the service and the visits from Tim, Kiko, Karina and Rachel afterwards but the biggest smiles were for my former CedarCreek colleague Gord and his baby boy, Ben. Janet got to hold him and really enjoyed her time with the little guy. You can see a video clip on Keek, @larrylatour .
When I bought Janet’s anniversary ring there wasn’t enough time to size it so we went over to the mall after church to drop it off and have a Food Court lunch. As much as I dislike the mall I feel it is good for Janet to experience it once in a while and it was fun showing her all the food options and letting her pick which one to go to. She chose a Vietnamese place that was actually pretty decent. We sat near a family with babies and Janet was able to smile at them off and on in between mouth fulls. It was a worth while trip and set Janet up nicely for a stretch and a nap when we got home.
Her nap was inconsistent so I let her stay in bed until 5:30 to ensure she had enough energy for the evening. Not that we had any great plans, I just don’t like it when she crashes at eight o’clock or earlier. Janet chose salmon for dinner with vegetable fried rice and we watched a little of the Junos and The Voice with a Skype chat with Laurel thrown in between. It was good timing on the chat as it gave Janet a little energy boost and showed Laurel and I some more short term memory gains for Janet. Laurel asked her what she had done this weekend and without hesitation Janet said, “well, it was our anniversary…”. She knew we went out somewhere and that she got something but couldn’t name those things. She also talked about looking at Laurel and Raj’s wedding pictures and said she was sad she wasn’t there. Once again, a moment that would have brought a complete meltdown before but resulted in only a minor choke up this time. After the Skype session I praised Janet on her memory and that brought the tears. Seems realizing she can do these things now is upsetting to her. I guess she views them as simple everyday things that she ought to be able to do easily but I’m still going to give her positive feedback when I can.
Bedtime came after a bowl of ice cream and since Janet had lounged in her wheelchair for a couple hours tonight I didn’t put her through any stretching. Praying for a good rest tonight and lots of energy and flexibility for the pool tomorrow.
Now that Janet’s had her legs Botoxed her visits to the gym are even more important than before and are more frequent too. Tez coached the Connect staff through Janet’s routine for the next month and it amounts to almost constant hamstring stretching. Ideally four visits a day to the gym, a couple of which will just be twenty minute leg stretches but still a trip to the gym. Today, Janet put up the usual verbal argument against going but went calmly each time and performed well. I think the increased activity is showing results already as her standing transfers were two hundred percent better today than they were on the weekend. She seems physically stronger and mentally more confident as well.
Brian walked me and the staff through the features of Janet’s new wheelchair this afternoon with the most notable improvement other than the color being the “lounging” function. As you can see here,
Janet can sit with her legs up in this chair which allows for a hamstring stretch while she’s chilling watching TV or something. When I first put her in that mode tonight she said it felt “stupid”. She accepted it soon enough and spent over an hour that way before going to the gym with Garrett and Kari before bed. That workout ended up being more thorough than I expected but Janet wasn’t complaining at all. She couldn’t really complain to me at first anyways as I hid on her when I heard her coming back. Garrett was asking her family type questions and Janet was responding nice and loud and clear. I stood behind her as Garrett ran her through a lot of who’s who type questions and Janet did her best to find the right answers. She for sure knows everyone but has a hard time pulling the names out without some cues. When given the family picture she did very well at pointing to and naming most everyone in it and knew that Ashley is the one missing from the photo. That made me feel a little better about her vision but not as much as her next move. I stayed hidden behind her until Garrett and Kari left then Janet started looking for me and when she turned her head way to the left she “saw you out of the corner of my eye”. Nice to hear she can do that.
I had a lot to do today and didn’t get to Connect until three. Janet was resting when I got there and I started getting her up just before four. She had two gym sessions between then and bedtime, which is getting later and later it seems, but my time with her was still limited today. I can say that it was a good day for her with lots of activity, definite physical improvements, a funky new wheelchair and lots of laughs. Tomorrow is very busy so I am praying for a restful night that renews her strength and energy.