Janet, A Success Story. October 8. #TSJ

As soon as Janet’s exercises were done this morning we met with Brian, Mary Lou and Jess to review Janet’s get out of Connect goals. There are only a few remaining, read to the pre school kids, operate the laundry machines, walk 200* meters in six minutes. There is an asterisk beside the 200 meters as Tez has not confirmed that as the number, in fact there is an asterisk beside all of Janet’s goals as even the ones she’s achieved don’t indicate mastery of any particular task. Everything is a work in progress and the target for Janet is to get a good baseline of abilities while at Connect. She’s well on her way to being home by the end of November.

Since SheLife was tonight, I took Janet home after the meeting. We made a stop at the grocery store on the way and Janet helped choose what to buy. She then helped make her lunch and did a great job helping with dinner after her nap. It was nice to be home for the afternoon and we realized that Janet now spends more time at home than she does at Connect. Hearing that, pleased Janet and I hope she can use that the next time she feels crummy about being there.

In trying to promote Janet’s independence I had her walk freestyle across the room to her table at SheLife tonight. She was nervous of course but did it just fine, in fact she didn’t use one piece of furniture for support along the way. Janet said she was able to contribute to the conversation and was all smiles when I picked her up. I’m really pleased she can be part of such a great group of ladies.

SheLife "groupie"

SheLife “groupie”

Praying for a good night of sleep and for a confident Janet tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. September 10. #TSJ Uncle Monkey

There’s nothing like a little morning confusion is there? Janet called me as I was on the road heading for her Team Meeting and she said “they don’t think there is a meeting”. Turns out a few of the key people didn’t have this meeting in their calendars but Janet was going around telling them all there was one. When “they” realized Janet was right all was well and Janet received some well earned praise for being on top of things and she felt pretty good about being correct.

The meeting itself was productive and Janet was a full participant. Mary Lou said Janet is progressing nicely on her reading skills and sees no problem for Janet reading a story to pre school kids for Halloween. Janet is not excited about practicing writing but thinks she can give it a good go especially after she correctly said our address when asked. That’s the first time she’s gotten it all right that I’ve heard and she felt pretty good about that too. Brian is scheduled to visit the house on Saturday to assess Janet’s competence with certain activities there and I wouldn’t be surprised if we can check off another goal or two very soon after that. As far as the walking 400 meters in six minutes goes, that obviously is the biggest challenge Janet faces and hopefully she adjusts her attitude and works hard for Tez tomorrow and from now on. He was unable to attend this morning so I will follow up with him next week.

With the meeting done, Janet was free for the rest of the day so she could hang with her brother Mike who treated us to a wonderful lunch at The Fixx Cafe. It was a nice enough day that we could walk to the restaurant and Janet actually walked the first 100 meters so she got some exercise today. It was fun sitting in the sun enjoying good food and Uncle Monkey’s banter. Thanks bro’.

Big Brother

Big Brother

Janet had time for a quick nap before dinner then we watched AGT before heading back to Connect. There was no complaining about going back tonight and I think the meeting may have inspired Janet to buckle down and get after those goals. Besides she’s only there for the morning then it’s home for a busy weekend.

Praying for a sound night of sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. July 24. #TSJ

Janet and I met with her team at Connect early this morning and found it to be a productive time. Everyone is supportive of the idea of Janet setting goals to reach before leaving Connect as opposed to choosing a specific date and there was good discussion around what to set as goals in each area. The outcome is as follows;

– Walking- Janet wants to walk “like a regular person”. When asked to define that she said “being able to walk without standing there not knowing what to do”. Tez will use the 6 Minute Walking Test to measure Janet’s progress. The low end of “normal” for that test is 700 meters in 6 minutes. Today Janet did 27 meters. She likely will be tested a couple more times before setting a specific target to reach before leaving Connect.Tez recommends Janet use her cane to gain speed and confidence in walking. She is reluctant but was encouraged to hear that its a temporary thing. Janet used the cane for her last two walking trips at home tonight and although it didn’t speed her up she felt OK with using it.
– Steps- Janet would like to be able to climb and descend three steps on her own using only a handrail. Tez agreed she can likely do that very soon and will have the staff take Janet on the stairs at Connect next week.
– Reading- Janet wants to be able to read to three and four year olds with expression. Mary Lou says she’s making good progress and that is an achievable goal.
– Writing- Brian and I would like to see Janet be able to write her name, address and phone number on a form and be able to leave hand-written notes for people. Janet sees the value in that and will work with Mary Lou to get there.
– Home Chores- Janet would like to be able to load and operate the washer, drier and dishwasher as well as be able to operate the cooktop. Brian will come to the house one day soon to assess Janet and coach her on how to improve with those tasks.
– Toileting- Janet would like to be independent in her toileting routine. The staff have been training Janet and will coach me so I can help Janet at home.

Like I said, it was a productive meeting. The day only got better as Janet was able to come home for the weekend before lunch. We took advantage of the cool weather to stop and get Janet a couple new bathing suits and I think we did pretty well. You may see them this weekend. Janet napped while I went to the grocery store with the list she helped create then in the spirit of going after those goals I put Janet to work. We pitted two pounds of cherries for freezing, she pulled the stems off all of them and pitted some. She ordered quesadillas for dinner and chopped peppers, onion and mushrooms then built each quesadilla for us. After dinner she rinsed the dishes while I washed. She did all of this with no wheelchair in sight and standing for some of it.

Our neighbour, Bonnie came over for a post dinner glass of wine and a chat. She told us she had just baked three cherry pies and Janet got all excited saying that is her favourite pie. It must have been from her childhood because I don’t remember liking pie at all. Bonnie kindly agreed to bake one more. Smooth move Janet.

I’m looking forward to a fun weekend of involving Janet in as many household tasks as possible and walking a lot. Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and giving thanks for all we have been blessed with.

Janet, A Success Story. May 28. #TSJ

Another wheelchair free night for Janet even though she was pretty tired. I woke her up when I arrived then she went right back to sleep for twenty minutes before I had to wake her so we could get ready for a chat with Brian. She was sleeping really warm as for some strange reason, she was in bed with all her clothes on. Of course she was then cold once she got up. Silly.

Brian hasn’t been in the picture much lately and I wanted to touch base with him on a few things ahead of next week’s team meeting. The better Janet gets the less involved Brian is. That’s good but we miss having him around more. He covertly watched Janet walk from her room to the Den freestyle and was genuinely impressed. We had a good talk and I’ll fill you in on details after the team meeting.

In order to help plan out the rest of the evening Janet walked to the kitchen area to see what house chore she was to perform today. It was her turn to empty the sanitizer and put the dishes from it away. She bravely started doing so without even asking for her wheelchair and confidently used the counters to support herself as she manoeuvred around the kitchen. I stood by in case she misjudged a turn or a step but I was not needed. High five!

That task took a lot of energy out of Janet and she was happy to sit in the living room for a few minutes waiting for dinner to be ready. She got there completely on her own and I sense a real spike in her confidence and there seems to be an expectation on her part to do things like walk to a chair and sit down without help. Awesome.

Janet’s day of exercises was heavy on stretching and light on strength and conditioning but with her feeling tired tonight I let her pick one of the three things she should have done and she chose bike. When I suggested the Standing Frame would be easier she stuck with the bike as she at least likes it a little bit. Her ride was solid as was all of her walking tonight especially the trip to get her meds. She was stepping nice and straight and I noticed for the first time her right footed steps were sometimes heel first as opposed to the ball of her foot. I think that is a significant sign of improvement and I’ll watch for it more.

To complete her wheelchair free night Janet performed her night routine walking and standing on her own. It’s really cool to see her standing at the sink brushing her teeth after so many months of her sitting in her wheelchair like a little kid. Love it.

Praying for a long night of restful sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.

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

Interior Health is in the midst of a project aimed at identifying what information a stroke patient and or their family needs and when would be best to provide that information. Today the lady in charge of Acquired Brain Injury for the Okanagan and a fourth year Social Worker student were at Connect to get feedback from those willing to share. Janet and I attended and I was very impressed with how involved Janet got in the discussion. The line of questioning, I thought was rather ridiculous as they asked about day one through seven of a stroke incident. Not one of the patients in the room remembers day one through seven and Janet doesn’t remember month one through month seven so what the heck. Janet very clearly explained that to them and also commented on what she feels she needs now and heading into the future. She surprised me by saying she has flashes of memory from something in a hospital but doesn’t know what it is. This is the biggest example of her taking ownership of her situation that I’ve seen. High five!

Garrett took Janet to the gym right after the meeting and did some stretching then I assisted with some Shuttle work. Janet is certainly at a higher energy level in the morning than she is at night and even said so herself. After a light lunch we took off to KGH to visit John. Unfortunately for us he was sound asleep when we got there but we had a nice visit with Chantelle, one of Janet’s former PT’s who’s now working the ward that John is on. I took Janet over to 4B where she spent such a long time and gave her a good look at her old room to see if there was any memory there at all. Her answer was no and she didn’t remember Jacque, the head nurse either but we had a nice visit with her anyways.

Janet had the privilege of spending a little time at home today which consisted of a short nap followed by a home made dinner then it was off to SheLife. Janet was very prepared for tonight’s session as Heidi had wisely emailed a couple of questions for everyone to try and answer. I was able to help Janet with them and then have her try and remember her answers a couple times each day leading up to tonight. Heidi says Janet shared a lot tonight and Janet seemed pleased with herself afterward. Tonight was also different in that I didn’t stay and help with the Tech Team. It was our Strata’s AGM and I felt it was important to be there so I left Janet at Trinity and went to the meeting. It felt a little weird but I knew she was in good hands and I think she liked the increased sense of independence. She’s also very much accepted the idea of having her own phone and is quite excited to receive calls. If you wish to have Janet’s number please email her your request and I’ll have her send it to you. Be patient when you call, you won’t always get an answer and it may be good to call back a minute or so after your first attempt. The best times to call most days are between 9am and 10am, noon and 2pm and 6 and 9pm.

Praying for a solid night of rest and an energetic Thursday.

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

Renovation Day 65. All quiet on the renovation front today as Randy worked from home again and all I did was finish readying the ensuite.

Today was team meeting day for Janet so I was out at Connect for 10am to join the conversation and Janet was waiting in the Den. I tried sneaking up on her but she’s getting smarter about that sort of thing and caught me before I got into the room.

Our discussion about and with Janet was a good one as she participated and responded appropriately throughout the hour. Brian, as Head Coach, led the meeting and provided reports from the coaches that couldn’t be there. Mary Lou is changing the focus of her therapy away from Speech to Reading and Writing. Janet’s speech is now at a point very close to “normal” so it’s time to bring in some other skills. Wendy, Cognition Coach, is beginning a training program with Janet to help her memory and to plan and be responsible for her daily activities. Delivering the envelope yesterday was part of that and this morning Janet successfully delivered a birthday happy face lollypop to Brian without prompting. One of Wendy’s tools she will provide Janet with is a daily journal type of book. I hope to meet with Wendy before her plan is implemented to see if using the iPad would be more appropriate. Given the choice, Janet would default to the book but she admits her writing is poor and that she’s getting better using the iPad. We will go with whatever has the most upside for Janet’s future. Nurse Jen wants to reinstate the Self Medication Program with Janet. We tried this a few months ago with zero success and feel Janet has progressed to the point where she should be able to gradually catch on to managing her meds herself. This ties in nicely with Wendy’s plan too. Tez would like to see Janet using a cane as much as possible so as soon as he tells me what kind she should have we will go cane shopping. He also wants Janet to continue her work in the pool. I think that means doing a little more than swimming in the deep tank so tomorrow we are going to try some walking and balancing in the kiddie pool. Curtis thinks its deep enough and we know for sure it is reasonably warm. For a few months now, myself and other family members have used Heather’s upcoming wedding as motivation for Janet to start walking. My pitch was I want to dance with her there and she has been pretty positive about trying to make that happen. Today Tez made that an official goal for Janet. Unassisted walking by June! Its very exciting to have that be a real goal instead of just wishful thinking. The team believes Janet can do it and she certainly wants to. The big challenge is her right leg and I followed up on the AFO situation today and hope to have an answer tomorrow as to when we’ll have it. Janet is kind of holding out for that to arrive before really getting going on walking practice. I can’t blame her seeing how much her right ankle rolls now.

That was a full morning mentally for Janet and she hung in there really well. I went to work at the church for a bit while she did the rest of her Wednesday activities. She was watching Ellen when I got back and said she had gone for a bike ride, had lunch and watched soccer on TV. She was in a good mood and quite chatty so I didn’t rush her off to the gym feeling it’s OK to change up the pace now and then. One of the kids presented us with a little drama via text message this afternoon and Janet and I had a good long discussion about how to respond and our plan actually got some good results. I feel blessed to be able to have discussions like that with her as she always was a great parent.

With dinner done and things settled down around the house, Curtis and I took Janet upstairs for some walking practice. She worked really hard but was using a lot of negative self talk and didn’t have Big Country there to cheer her on so had a few frustrating moments. Hopefully that type of work can take place during the day when she has more energy and hopefully we can get that AFO soon.

X Factor had already started by the time we were done walking and with Janet being tuckered out from the hard workout she barely made it through to the end of the show. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow.

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

From a secret location very close to Janet.

The first major event of today was this morning’s team meeting. These are held every couple of months to ensure we are all up to date on how Janet is progressing and to evaluate her goals in each area of her rehab. Janet has been present at all of these meetings to date with today being the first time she really spoke out and lead the discussion in part. Her voice was loud and clear and the comments she made were appropriate and allowed for feedback from the group. It was really encouraging to witness. Our time with Tez yesterday took care of a large chunk of the agenda and allowed for more time spent on topics that usually don’t get much time. Mary Lou continues to be impressed with Janet’s Speech improvements and will be retesting Janet very soon to see if a different approach to Speech is warranted. The thought is that one to one therapy may no longer be the best method and some sort of group situation may be better. When I informed the team that Janet is starting the She Life program at Trinity tonight they were thrilled to hear that and thought that would be a perfect next step. Overall the meeting was a big success especially with Janet participating so much.

Jess took Janet to the gym then she chose to get the Standing Frame done as well. She spent forty five minutes standing nice and straight with no table to lean on and weight going through both legs. Her right arm relaxed enough to almost completely straighten out too. I think that’s a good thing but will check with Tez to make sure its not too hard on her shoulder. A light lunch signaled the end to a busy first part of the day and with a busy evening looming Janet agreed to a nap.

To make the most of the outing to church we left early to do some shopping for the new house at the mall and were very successful in our efforts. There was time for a stir fry dinner before going to the church and Janet was well fed and ready for the evening when we got there. Janet was greeted by lots of friendly ladies as we wheeled in and she was made to feel very comfortable. Heidi escorted her to her table and promised to “take over” from me for the evening. Almost two hours later I got a text from Heidi saying they were done and found Janet still smiling and in a good mood at her table. She said “it was fine” and “I’m glad I went and met all those ladies”. That’s more than the best feedback I could have hoped for from Janet and she is looking forward to returning next week. I am too as I get to serve with the Tech Team again, not that I need anymore projects but I’ve really missed hanging with Dave, Joel and the rest of a very talented and inspirational team of people.

I sensed Janet needed a little time to wind down when we got back to Connect so we watched X Factor before getting ready for bed. Turned out to be a good call as Janet enjoyed the show then fell asleep almost as we finished our prayers. Once again I was able to list a lot of successes for Janet today and she gave very little resistance to my list. Either she was too tired to argue or she’s starting to believe me a little more. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow’s activities and thanking Jesus for continuing to place the right people and right opportunities in our lives at the right time.

Finally, most of you figured out which car Janet and I bought. It is a 2012 Subaru Outback that was taken on trade only thirty minutes before we showed up at Anthony’s Subaru to look at an older model they had. The car only has 15,000 kilometers on it and so far seems to be a really good choice. Janet can get in and out easily. She can fasten her seatbelt without assistance and her wheelchair fits in the back no problem. The dual zone climate control actually works so her side of the car can be ridiculously warm as she likes it and mine can be comfortable. As soon as I figure out the Bluetooth function for my iPhone I’ll be really happy.


Permission to Sleep Through a Meeting. Janet does what most of us want to. # TSJ

Janet is really catching onto this napping idea. I encouraged her and the staff yesterday to have her nap right after lunch today so she would be awake for the two o’clock team meeting. I arrived at 1:30, Janet was sleeping after Jess put her down a little before one. I quietly went into her room at 1:55 and she was very deeply asleep. So much so that she didn’t wake up until I came back in after the meeting at 3:20. I can remember many meetings in the past I would have loved to sleep through, not this one though but I’m glad she did. With over two hours of nap time I was expecting a very bright Janet. That’s not exactly what I got but there were some bright moments.

Heather requested a Skype chat and I thought Janet would be raring to go like she said she was. We connected with Heather about twenty minutes after Janet woke up and I think she could’ve used another twenty as she was very quiet and not focused in the conversation at all. She kept playing with the game boxes and other things on her desk and just wasn’t participating so we ended the call sooner than anticipated.

We made our way down to the kitchen to see if Janet could help with dinner. Her laundry was there for some reason so we took that back to her room and she very diligently put it all away. Strange how she enjoys that task so much.

Chris made a nice BBQ chicken dinner for everyone and we had an enjoyable time at the table. Janet wasn’t talkative at all but I could sense she was enjoying the chatter and she certainly ate well including ice cream for dessert.

Janet accepted Garrett’ s offer to go to the gym tonight and I made sure to praise her for that decision. She came back with a little more energy than when she left and Garrett was pleased with how things went, more so than Janet was. She chose to use her energy to watch some YouTube before bed and really enjoyed that and had some good comments about what we watched.

The team meeting today was a good sharing of information and planning for the next couple of months. Overall the team feels Janet is progressing as expected, slowly but surely. We talked in depth about the Dilantin overdose and all agreed they saw signs of its affect on Janet. I still think her levels are high but we won’t know until her next blood test which is next week. There is still concern about the spasticity in her legs and Tez is motivated to throw every available treatment at her to try and gain some improvement. I expect Janet to be cleared for the pool tomorrow and hopefully start some hydrotherapy next week. There may be a way to bump up her Botox appointment but I need some cooperation from CPP and the good folks at Pharmacare first. It was mentioned that Janet is transferring using the sliding board quite well and Garrett reiterated that tonight saying she did her best one from wheelchair to table mat yet. Jess agreed that Janet loves to be involved in household activities and will try and get her doing more. The other big issue of course is the afternoon nap and all agree that Janet needs one and I think finally Janet is acknowledging that as well. Brian will start to transition Janet out of the hospital bed and that might help Janet feel better about napping if its in a real bed. I’m very pleased with the people that are caring for Janet and I think she is too. Yes, she’s progressing slowly but she’s come a long way her three months at Connect.

Praying for a restful night that provides healing and lots of energy for an active day tomorrow.