memory

Janet, A Success Story. August 27. #TSJ

Today was rather routine for Janet. Speech with Mary Lou this morning involved practicing reading and Janet said Mary Lou was pleased at how Janet had read The Hallo-Wiener to the Games Night group. I convinced Janet to read it to me tonight and for the first time I noticed her realizing she’d missed a word or two then going back to read them. The improvement is not in her remembering to read all the way to the right but in recognizing that what she just read makes no sense without those other words. Janet has probably read this story enough now that she knows what its supposed to say so it’ll be interesting to see how she does with some new material.

Lots of walking was the substitute for the Shuttle during gym time today. Janet commented to me that she has a habit of reaching back at whomever is pushing her from behind when trying to get her to walk faster. She understands that its a trust thing and will try and learn to not react that way. Her cane walking to me is still rather slow but her gait is improving as she manages to get her left leg more forward each step. I hope we can work on the distance walking a lot this weekend.

Taking advantage of the hot weather we went for a nice walk after dinner and watched some soccer before treating ourselves to an ice cream cone from the little stand at the corner store. We stayed out on the patio until dark as it was so nice outside and so artificially cold inside.

Janet did a great job with her end of day report to me, getting everything right, even names of people, up until the late afternoon. Its odd to me how she can remember the morning so clearly but not a few hours ago unless I give her clues. Still getting better though.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and a productive Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 27. #TSJ

Another summer weekend comes to a close and it was a good one. Not a lot of activity as far as going out or having people over, just quality time together in the sun. Janet said the highlight for her was the salmon dinner we had tonight. It was yummy but I think the highlight for me was taking Janet out to see John today and having her lead the conversation after we stopped at a store and Janet walked with her cane the whole time there. It felt like she was more independent to me and I hope she’s feeling the same way. Janet is at least very willing to use the cane now and realizes it will help her become a faster walker and her memory has improved to the point where one tiny prompt from me can set her story telling for a couple of minutes.

Speed wasn’t really present all weekend as Janet is still nervous about walking. Her stair climbing improved each day and this is the least she’s used her wheelchair by far. It is still very much needed for walks to Menchie’s and such but not around the house at all. Janet cane walked into church but I had to lead her the last bit as she was going so slow we risked not being seated before the service started. We had lots of time as we left the building and Janet made that trip completely on her own. Slowly but she made it.

I pretty much dragged Janet to the pool today for a swim and she whined and complained until she got used to the water then I could hardly convince her to leave. Getting in and out was a little better today as she went with no AFO or shoes. The in part still needs work but getting out has been mastered.

Janet practiced her reading a fair bit this weekend and says she’s getting better and from what I heard I’d agree. There was even a little practicing of her handwriting which was nice to see, its getting better too.

The weekend ended up having lots of ways of suggesting to Janet that the goals she set last week are very achievable and I pray she has the attitude and ability to work hard at them all this week.

Janet, A Success Story. July 2. #TSJ Sailing Away

Yesterday,Garrett and I had tried to persuade Janet into going sailing with a few people today. She of course was having nothing of the idea but couldn’t argue with Garrett this morning as the weather was great and we had worked her enough that she felt she had to go. I don’t like pressuring Janet to do something she doesn’t want to do unless I feel its good for her and to venture out with people she likes into the sunshine is good for her. Later on she told me the sailing “wasn’t so great” but they all went out for coffee after and “that was fun”.

As it turned out, Janet could have pretty much stayed at the yacht club all day as the Sailing Association invited all of its users to a BBQ in honour of the naming of their new boat this evening. I met Janet and the gang there and we spent a nice couple of hours on the waterfront complete with food and wine.

The gang and Janet with her wine shooter. #thatswhatboatingisallabout

The gang and Janet with her wine shooter. #thatswhatboatingisallabout


There really wasn’t time to do much when we got back to Connect so I took Janet for a speed walk around the place. She wasn’t very happy about it but did very well, walking faster than I can remember and not stumbling at all. She did a good amount of freestyle walking as well including the trip to get her meds when she answered all of Chelsea’s questions as to what she takes correctly without help for the first time ever. She even got the day, month, date, year thing a hundred percent. High five!

Praying for a night of restful sleep and for more progress tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. June 30. #TSJ

June left with a bang today as Janet showed amazing progress on the cognitive side of things. She called me after she’d finished her lunch and I got a sense that she was having a good day right away. She was laughing and speaking very clearly. Her first question was “did I catch you at lunch?” Usually there is no question at all, I am often expected to ask questions. She then launched into a speech about how she’d done all her exercises and been sitting in the sun and how excited she was that everyone from the house was about to walk over to the beach. All that with no prompting.

I fully expected to find Janet sleeping or at least about to get up from her nap when I got to her room at Connect. Not so, she was just wheeling out of it, saw me, and waved with a big smile on her face. She happily told me she didn’t have a nap and I figured that would come into play later. It did, as this was not Janet’s best night physically but that didn’t matter as it was stellar cognitively. She did manage a good walk to the kitchen to set the table. There was too much reliance on hanging onto things as she walked around but the job got done with just a few reminders along the way. We sat in the sun until dinner was ready and our conversation flowed well with Janet initiating sometimes. She did a great job in chatting with Andrew on Skype after dinner, sounding loud and clear and finding key words with a minimum of hesitation.

Janet continues to be a little frustrated with her reading skills and tonight did well as long as I helped her look all the way to the right. She definitely now lasts longer before the frustration sets in. The best part of the day came at the end when I always ask Janet to give me a rundown of her day. Most often she’ll get the first few things then kind of give up and say she doesn’t remember. Tonight she went non stop from getting up to going to the beach before I got there. Very impressive and encouraging. I’m praying Janet realizes the progress she has made and is continuing to make and that there is no stopping until she is fully healed.

Janet, A Success Story. June 23. #TSJ Back to Work

The transition back to “work” for Janet seemed to go real well as when I got to Connect late this afternoon Janet gave me one of her best daily run downs ever. She seemed very bright and her memory was working almost shockingly well. According to her, all her exercises were done and the report she gave me was so good I didn’t feel a need to verify it.

By the time we were done talking and Janet was up and dressed it was dinner time. We ate outside in the beautiful 28 degree sunshine while the rest of the house sat in the freezing cold air conditioning. They think we are crazy. I think Janet may come home sooner if Connect is going to be so ridiculously cold.

In keeping with her increased brightness, Janet, on a number of occasions started walking around her room unassisted and without being asked. Her confidence level has never been higher I don’t think and it translated into me sometimes not even watching as she moved about her room. Considering she barely freestyle walked at all in Ottawa I was really surprised she attempted and did it so much today. Near the end of the night she relied on me more, even to the point of refusing to go to the kitchen from the living room for a cookie. Because I wouldn’t hold her hand she turned around in the middle of the floor and walked back to the couch, turned and sat all by herself. She thought she was depriving me of something I wanted her to do when in fact she practiced turning and sitting without hanging onto anything. I could not have gotten her to do that voluntarily and may have discovered a new strategy.

We spent some time reading and catching up on emails. Janet did a good job on all fronts especially typing where once she got warmed up was even hitting the space bar without prompting. A new thing for her.

The wedding of course is top of everyone’s discussion list with Janet and she was thrilled to sit and share some pictures with Chelsea and Karl tonight. She gets a little excited when doing things like that and sometimes skips over some detail she ought to point out and forgets names but all in all she did a good job describing each pic. She very smoothly recounted the great job Courtney did with her hair and laughed along with the rest of us at the pig tails that were put in to hold some hair out of the way for a bit. It’s nice to hear Janet laugh at things like that instead of commenting on how “awful” she thinks she looks.

The process begins

The process begins

Funny but cute too

Funny but cute too

Final touches

Final touches

Ready!

Ready!

Praying for another outstanding day tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 29. #TSJ

Janet is getting too smart for me. As we returned from an evening walk outside she remembered it was time for her meds and as we passed the med room, Chelsea was in it, and got her meds for her, so Janet got out of her last freestyle walking trip of the day. I’m happy she remembered the meds without prompting and am OK without the walk as she had done a lot today as it was.

Earlier in the day Janet had worked with a student, Sara, whom she obviously liked because she introduced me as we walked down the hall to go do dinner prep. Janet rarely remembers to introduce me to anyone and almost always forgets their name, not this time. Lasagne was on the menu tonight and Janet did a great job helping Chelsea with it. By far her best cheese grating and veggie chopping she’s done yet. Getting stronger.

In the spirit of getting stronger Janet agreed to a Shuttle session before dinner to complete her daily physio work. I wasn’t expecting much after walking her all the way to the gym but to finish off her session she pushed a set with the most weight ever for her. High five!

Since the physical part of her day was done we spent the evening on cognitive stuff again. Counting and rolling quarters first, which showed me that Janet’s math skills and her dexterity are not lacking in any way. I wanted her to practice some writing and we looked at the daily schedule she had written out this morning. It was definitely not her best effort and she couldn’t even read most of it tonight. Her explanation was that she was eating breakfast and was called away to go and write it out so she didn’t want to do it. Looked like it too.

The book we are reading, Unbreak My Heart, is much more Janet’s style and she is enjoying it so far, even giving me a good summary before reading tonight. Its nice to hear her laugh and comment as I read instead of snore. Praying for a solid night of sleep for Janet that prepares her well for a fun weekend.

Janet, A Success Story. April 8. #TSJ

I arrived at Connect this afternoon to a very tired looking Janet hanging out in the living room. She said she slept but it sure didn’t look like it. That didn’t stop her from making a nice salad and setting the dinner table at Chelsea’s request. You think she knew I was lining up some exercise for her?

At my suggestion earlier in the day Janet did some walking in addition to her regular gym stuff and after dinner tonight I was able to get her to walk farther than I anticipated. She made it from her room to the Den very nicely and didn’t complain once the whole way. Despite a lot of resistance we went to Games Night following the walk. Janet feared not knowing any of the answers to the “stupid” games played and said she would only go to watch. On the very first question, Janet piped up quickly with the correct answer and did so a number of times during the evening. According to her, even with that success, “it was not fun”.

The last few days have been great for Janet both physically and cognitively. Her walking, in my opinion is improving, her short term memory is getting better too and she almost always can tell me the day, date, month and year, a skill Dr. Miller was encouraging a few months ago and I think we can now say has been achieved. Janet had another blood test today checking her Dilantin levels and they came back fine. All these positives are helping to grow Janet’s confidence to the point where she says she’s going to try and walk the last part of the way to her table at SheLife tomorrow. Can’t wait.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and a positive Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. March 10. #TSJ

As I walked into the Connect dining area Janet looked up from her dinner plate and loudly said, “You’re late!”. I was later than usual but had told her that was likely today as I was bottling wine at CedarCreek. She remembered the bottling part and forgot the late part. Janet described her day as “OK so far” and we deduced that she still had the Shuttle and Standing Frame to do and Janet wanted to get them done as soon as possible. That didn’t mean she was happy about doing them.

The gym was busy and that gave Janet a chance to cheer Big Country on as he worked on the Shuttle. The machine is just barely big enough for him and it’s pretty cool to see him all stretched out on it. When Janet got her turn I think she was motivated by Big Country’s efforts and put in an excellent performance pushing the most weight ever with me. Outwardly she was kind of mad about it all but inside I think she knows she did well and is getting stronger.

The Standing Frame was met with grumbling and fortunately requires no real effort once she’s up and standing so even with a negative attitude she gets an awesome hamstring stretch.

With the dirty work over the rest of the night was Janet’s and it started with watching a little bit of The Voice then turned into reading as the commercials were just too annoying. We’ll watch at home on the weekend. The Bill Cosby book we are reading is turning into nothing but a rant by Bill so we’ve shelved that one and are on the lookout for something entertaining. Suggestions? One good bit of reading tonight was an email from Heidi in regards to the upcoming SheLife meeting. When I told Janet about the email she immediately brightened up and asked “is it about Wednesday?” That may not seem too important to you but I can’t recall another instance of her connecting a future event with the present like that. I was very impressed by her correct association of the message and the enthusiasm with which she responded to the content. I think she will be well prepared for this meeting. Another example of Janet putting two and two together came when I asked her what she’s going to do tomorrow. We had gone over her calendar a few hours earlier and she remembered the event we added which was to work on her Speech Therapy worksheets. High five!

Praying for a Tuesday of progress.

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

Following our tradition of not participating in “Hallmark Holidays”, Janet declined to go to the Connect Valentines Party this morning and instead went to the gym. That’s my girl! She was in bed but awake when I went to pick her up this afternoon and we headed home right away.

Janet knew what the basic plan for this weekend is and listed off the main items for me. Her memory keeps on improving. When I gave her options for after dinner tonight she chose to watch the Olympics. My suggestion of a night without TV was met with laughter and a “yeah right”. The former Janet would have been all over that.

After choosing what to have, Janet helped me make dinner before settling in on the couch to watch the Men’s Figure Skating which we had recorded. We were both disappointed with the performances overall but Janet still enjoyed watching it all and had some poignant comments about some of the skaters. It’s fun to watch things with her that she is actual paying attention to.

Today was a bright day for Janet with excellent memory skills, good transfers and lots of smiles. We’ve discontinued her watch alarm reminder for meds time and she asked for her pills with just a little prompting from me tonight. Praying for a good night’s sleep and a fun day tomorrow.

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

A smiling Janet greeted me as I arrived at Connect late this afternoon. She had just gotten up from a nap where she actually slept and I could tell. She was very bright and spoke well as she excitedly told me she had done a big workout in the gym this morning. There was no arguing with me when I suggested she was only telling me that so I wouldn’t make her do more tonight. Janet truly did have a good session with Curtis and Garrett this morning doing everything except the Standing Frame. Curtis worked on free standing with Janet in an area no where near a transfer pole and Janet did very well. A couple of times lately I’ve noticed her free standing while pulling her pants up or down but I haven’t said anything to her as I don’t want her to be thinking about it. I love that she’s doing it and I feel she’s getting closer to taking an unassisted step. It may be using an undesirable technique but I sense it coming.

After a lively dinner Janet wanted to get the Standing Frame over with and stood for an hour quite comfortably. The rest of the night was hers and after checking her emails which gave her some reading practice she counted out some pennies to be rolled. Her math skills are excellent and as long as she takes her time she can count accurately as well. For each roll she laid out stacks of two pennies in a five by five grid confidently answering that there were fifty pennies there. She has rolled eleven rolls of pennies so far and quickly calculated that is $5.50. Sounds like enough for that Blizzard she owes me.

Last night as we were reading Janet complained that the light in her room was too bright for her while she’s laying there listening to me so I asked her to remind me next time and I’ll turn it off, to my surprise, tonight she did. She also knew right away that SheLife is tomorrow and there were a number of other intelligent comments and strong displays of short term memory tonight too. Fun times.

Praying for full and complete healing and a positive day tomorrow.