Today was the good part of Christmas and the bad part of Christmas all rolled into one, in my opinion. That’s not how Janet feels though as she enjoyed her entire day. First on the agenda was our new tradition called the Mall Blitz. In the true spirit of Christmas we’ve all agreed to drastically reduce the number of presents and the dollars spent on them to where we draw names in the mall and race off to spend thirty dollars in thirty minutes on the person whose name you drew. Sounds like fun to a lot of you I’m sure and I admit, the concept is fine by me too. I only hate it when I’m actually doing it. Helping Janet was almost fun and she secured her gift really quickly but when it became my turn I did not have fun and wound up getting way too stressed which took my mind away from caring for Janet thereby missing an opportunity for a washroom break. Janet called her own break ten minutes later but by that time it was too late. That made me even madder but thankfully the kids stepped in and kept Janet entertained while I quietly fumed my way through most of the rest of the day.
Janet enjoyed a lively lunch table followed by wrapping presents with me while the kids did a grocery shop. She wrapped all of the presents we had and showed good command of the concept, picking out the paper she wanted for each one and folding with her one hand as well as I can with two. We broke the rules this year by getting stockings for those kids that are here as Janet really likes that part of gift giving and I want her to enjoy herself as much as possible. She helped me fill those then went and helped Laurel and Heather wrap some more presents. Watching her happily carry and place them under the tree was quite sweet.
We had talked a while ago about seeing a movie while the kids were here and tonight seemed the best night to try and do that. Janet was excited about the idea so after dinner we drove off to see Saving Mr. Banks. This was the first time in a movie theatre since Janet got sick nineteen months ago and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out the wheelchair area seats are pretty good ones and we picked a good Janet movie to see. It’s the story of Walt Disney and his pursuit of the rights to make the Mary Poppins books into a movie. Naturally there are scenes that include the songs from the movie and you can guess what Janet did during those. She wasn’t too loud as to disturb anyone around us but loud enough that Laurel could hear her from three seats away. Watching her sing with a big smile on her face there was no way I was going to tell her to stop. With no nap today I was a little concerned she might not make it through a two hour movie but she did so easily and loved talking about it afterwards with everyone. She was not able to catch on to the way the story was told but understood the basics and remembered Disneyland from the scenes there. It was a lot of fun and begin out doing something with then family like that is a good thing about Christmas. I now also know we can go to more movies with no real concerns.
After a little dessert and movie talk at home Janet called bedtime saying goodnight excitedly knowing tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a day of celebration tomorrow.
Today was Spring Fling day at Connect, the brain child of staff member Jess, and what a great idea it was. Technically it is Spring but we continue to enjoy summer like weather here, so much so I’ve had to resurrect Janet’s sun hat from last year. She still looks cute in it. She was also cute with her shirt saver on and a flipper in her hand as she helped Jess make pancakes for brunch this morning. For some reason she didn’t think I was coming to see her today and I’m not sure that she was upset about that at all. She seemed to be having lots of fun without me. Jess does a great job with Janet, always making sure she’s busy.
The staff set tables up in the parking lot and hired a guy to play guitar and sing while everyone enjoyed the sun and food. It was really nice to have all the residents and staff together with friends and family in a really positive environment. The highlights for Janet besides making pancakes were meeting Brian’s baby daughter Olivia and playing ladderball with me. There’s a Keek of her excellent throwing abilities. @larrylatour
By the time the Fling was over it was after one which meant either a nap then shopping and stuff or shopping and stuff then a nap. Janet of course chose the latter hoping to avoid the nap all together. She actually nodded off a little in the car on the way to the mall. Yes, the mall again. I realized we should have bought her a few more shorts when the girls were here as she doesn’t have any at home and I also wanted her to have a pair of sandals. After quick and successful stops at The Gap and Urban Trail we were headed home for a quick nap. I would have been happy with Janet resting for an hour or so then getting up for Church and a sushi dinner. She exceeded expectations and slept for over two hours which meant no Church and no sushi. We BBQ’d salmon instead, enjoying it outside then I got Janet into lounging mode while we watched Silver Linings Playbook which we both really enjoyed.
It was definitely late when I got Janet to bed but after her late nap today she did just fine and should have a good sleep. She continues to show improvement cognitively, saying some really intelligent and unsolicited things today. On the physical side, I’m not liking her left leg right now but will at least get her in the hot tub for a stretch tomorrow and see if that improves things. Janet drank all her Peg-Lyte today with no results yet. Sunday was her day last week so here’s hoping. Praying for a good sleep tonight and continued healing.
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.
Day two at home felt pretty hectic to me but I think it was a good one for Janet. I know she liked breakfast especially being able to enjoy a bagel and peanut butter along with an unlimited supply of coffee. Laurel kindly instructed me on how to make coffee for Janet so she doesn’t get all grumpy when we are home alone next weekend.
In preparation for John and Lisa’s wedding next weekend Laurel helped Janet find an appropriate outfit from her vast wardrobe and I was finally able to present her with the anniversary gift I got her last year which happens to accessorize her outfit quite nicely. We eventually got ready enough and headed out for a shopping expedition trying to find shirts, pants and PJs for Janet to have at home so I don’t have to pack a bag each Friday. We managed to find everything she needed including two pairs of slippers so she doesn’t have to wear her sneakers all the time and only paid retail for one item. Lunch was food court Chinese at the mall and even though it was the mall it was really nice having Janet out. We even saw Lorne from Connect there with Fred and Clint. I guess it’s the place to be.
We did a drive by of Invue on the way home so Laurel could get a glimpse and we could check the walkability of the neighborhood. From her three minute scan from outside Laurel thought it looked pretty good and Janet still remembers it being “very nice”.
Janet had a good long afternoon nap after saying she didn’t need one then enjoyed some time with Laurel while I made dinner. They got in a nice Skype chat with Heather who we are looking forward to seeing in person in two weeks. Janet impressed us by noticing that I spiced up the vegetables more than she would. They had more of a kick than she would have tolerated before but she was ok with them tonight. Dinner took way longer to prepare than I thought so we didn’t have much time afterwards but enough to watch some recorded American Idol while eating ice cream. My goal was to have Janet in bed long before 10:30 like she was last night and we barely made it by ten tonight. The good thing about that is she is asleep within minutes of being tucked in as opposed to restlessly squirming around and perhaps going into Houdieno mode and it gives me time to realize she is soundly sleeping.
Today was day one of going virtually tubeless. Connect is working with me to reach my goal of getting rid of Janet’s peg tube in two weeks. She is to drink all her fluids now with her tube being flushed with thirty ml twice a day only. Janet seems to have accepted the challenge and has really improved her water drinking. She still says she doesn’t like it but is taking bigger sips and drinking much faster overall. Yay. I also challenged her to swallow her lunchtime pill instead of me crushing it for her. She complains of the taste of the crushed meds so Laurel and I reminded her that if she swallows them whole she wouldn’t really taste them. She tried and got it down with the second sip of water. Janet has historically found it a challenge to swallow pills but was quite motivated to get this one. As soon as she is comfortable with the one little one at lunch we’ll try the three dinner ones. The horse pill at breakfast will have to wait till she reaches expert status.
Praying for a restful night of healing and an enjoyable day tomorrow.