music therapy

Endurance. Janet gets through a busy day. #TSJ

Jess had Janet all set to go this morning and Janet seemed quite enthusiastic about the day ahead. We arrived at the KGH pool in plenty of time, in fact while we were waiting after getting changed Janet complained that we were “doing nothing”. She agreed it was better to be early than scrambling around at the last minute and I reminded her the pool won’t wait for us. Right on time, Jim arrived and into the water we went.

The sensation of floating still brings a smile to Janet’s face and a calm feeling to her in general. She’s happy to try all the exercises I’ve been given for her although I think she’d be OK with just floating around in the warm water for as long as she wanted. We started on her back trying to get the legs kicking with me supporting her instead of the inner tube. Janet started slow but got it going alright after a few minutes. With the inner tube she really got her left leg going crazy. The most range and fastest movement I’ve seen from it ever. Unfortunately the right leg was nowhere close to keeping up but I could see and feel her trying. We tried a couple variations of standing exercises and Janet did well intermittently with both. I need more coaching on those for sure. For something new, I had Janet try floating on her tummy. She didn’t mind being in that position but I found it hard to keep her face out of the water while keeping her legs in a place where she could try kicking or straightening them. Again, more coaching needed or at least a pool noodle. Overall today’s session was better than last week but the thirty minutes seemed like five. Very glad we are going twice a week starting Monday.

On our way out of KGH we did our now usual lap through rehab saying hi to a couple of familiar nurses and having a nice chat with Connie. Janet is trying really hard to have meaningful conversations with people but still echoes and has trouble remembering short term things. The effort to converse is way better though and that played well into being ready for Music Therapy with Stephani. Conveniently she lives only a few blocks from the hospital so we arrived there in plenty of time as well and Janet and her got started right away. I sat out of the room they were working in but I could hear everything and could tell Janet was enjoying it. There is a little more purpose to Stephani’s session than with John and I think today was a good first go at it. I was concerned Janet would be tired or hungry but she was just fine and sounded pretty good at times.

First day music therapy

First day music therapy

Next up was a much needed haircut with Chelsea after a quick stop at the dentist to make an appointment for Janet. She had not been to that office since the day of her aneurysm and thankfully does not remember the place at all. She was warmly welcomed by Collette and Colin, both of whom make it as much fun as possible to go to the dentist. By the time we arrived at the salon Chelsea was ready for Janet who gave her a nice big smile after I carried her into the shop. Apparently Janet has a history of falling asleep during haircuts and today was no exception. About ten minutes in with Chelsea working on the back of Janet’s head, I noticed her eyes closed, only for a minute or so until the blow drier came out, but she was nodding off. Janet powered through and allowed Chelsea to set her up for a pretty nice look in the future as her hair grows in just a little more. Janet was pleased with the results and we headed home for a late lunch.

It was well past nap time and we were just eating lunch but Janet was doing fine. She even had a reasonable Skype chat with her mom afterwards, talking fairly loud at times. Before we knew it it was time to get back to Connect and when we arrived Janet elected to put away laundry and make her bed instead of eat like everyone else was. She did a good job helping make the bed but needed a fair amount of cuing to find the right drawers for her clothes. I’ll put that down to the long day without a nap. She managed a good dinner and a little chat with Bob and Dwight then at 7:30 said she was ready for bed. Her nighttime routine went better than this morning as she knew not to brush her hair with the toothbrush and got the toothpaste open herself and did a really good job rinsing her mouth and taking her meds.

Lights out came early after a busy but fun day. Janet seemed pleased with her day, questioning how well she did but acknowledging she did a lot. Praying for a good rest tonight and a strong workout in the gym tomorrow and fun at Fred’s going away party.

Music to My Ears. More singing for Janet. #TSJ

Today, Janet, Mary Lou and I met with a music therapist, Stephanie. I’ve long been searching for an accredited MTA that could work with Janet and thanks to Brian and friends we found a possibility. The timing as far as Janet goes could not be better as she seems to have fully rebounded from her Dilantin overdose and is offering much more in the way of starting conversations and expressing her opinions. Stephanie outlined how she would work with Janet and although similar to what John does she has a more clinical approach and will aim for the same goals Mary Lou has for Janet. Namely, increasing the volume of Janet’s voice and improving her ability to find and use appropriate words. The meeting went well and Janet seemed to like Stephanie so dependent on what exactly she proposes I think we’ll give it a go. Janet will still do the sing along stuff with John as every little bit helps and Janet has fun with him.

I convinced Janet to have a nap after the meeting and she did so for over an hour and a half giving her good energy for the rest of the day. She had a good Skype chat with Leslie and is excited about the possibility of her and Gavin coming out for a visit at the end of June. In fact she could hardly stop talking about it every time she was asked a question about her family which seemed to happen a lot today. I grilled her after she woke up from her nap then Garrett and Connie started in on her after her nighttime gym session.Janet is much more confident in her answers now and needs less prompting to get them correct.

We sat outside for happy hour again and Janet was very chatty and maybe even a little restless as she kept working her left leg to move her chair back and forth. Once she moved ahead while drinking her water, hit the patio railing and spilled a bunch of water all over herself. She thought that was very funny and it was. Connie was in the house this evening after her trip to England. We had a nice chat with her about her trip and Janet was really glad to have her back and enjoyed hearing about her trip.

It took a lot of convincing to get Janet to go to the gym with Garrett tonight but eventually she relented and of course came back all smiles and somewhat accepting that it was good for her. Garrett is very good with Janet and we are blessed to have him working with her. He reported that Janet did well with her stretches tonight even getting onto her tummy herself and staying there for three minutes or so with no discomfort. Previously it was a huge struggle to get her onto her tummy and she always seemed in a little pain while she was there. This is a nice improvement that Janet credits to “doing it lots of times”. High five!

To help her wind down and enjoy the rest of the evening I got her a cup of tea and we watched some Ellen on YouTube. Janet laughed out loud at a couple of the clips and was genuinely touched by one of the sappy ones we watched. That’s the most reaction I’ve gotten from her watching YouTube and speaks to her continued rise in brightness.

This was another encouraging day with Janet. She was strong on all her transfers today, she talked well 90% of the time I was with her, participated well in the meeting with Stephanie and Mary Lou excitedly reported that “Janet is back and then some” in regards to her speech therapy. It had been a tough few weeks for Mary Lou when Janet was going through the Dilantin overdose so it was nice to see her all fired up again today.

Praying for a night of deep rest and healing that brings lots of energy for tomorrow.


Janet surprised me this morning by greeting me with a huge smile as she sat in the living room at Connect watching CNN. She said she had a good breakfast and was having a good morning so far. In anticipation of the appearance of Tez the Physio Therapist, we headed down to her room and had a little chat and played a math game on the iPad. Janet impressed me with her recognition of patterns and grouping from smallest to largest. I realized we forgot to weigh Janet yesterday so I asked Garrett if we could do that. Janet has gained again so I think it’s safe to say we are done with tube feeds. Next step is to get her drinking water well enough to get rid of the peg tube altogether.

Mary Lou dropped by to see if Janet had any time for a little Speech session. I left them at Janet’s newly installed desk and chair and when I returned a half hour later they both had big smiles on their faces and gave an encore performance of a vocal exercise they had just done. Janet was nice and loud and clear and was very much enjoying the singing aspect of this session. I will try and get music therapy man in soon as Mary Lou thinks that would be really good for Janet.

It was clear by this time that Tez was not going to appear before lunch so we headed to the kitchen and I blended and heated some vegetable soup for Janet. It was actually pretty good and she ate all but a few spoons full. We got word that Tez would appear between 1:30 and 2:00 so we hung out in Janet’s room for a while reading and talking. To speed the arrival of Tez I put Janet on the toilet and like magic he appeared. All I had heard about Tez before was he was an Aussie. Usually I know what that means and I was looking forward to ribbing him about being the last therapist to see Janet and being late today etc. He’s not your stereotypical Aussie and although I think I will eventually be able to give him the gears today was not the day as he was all business.

As the lone PT at Connect it is Tez’s job to create programs for all the residents there. This afternoon was his chance to see what Janet can do and can’t do and figure out what to work on to help her recover the most physically. He came in with pretty much a blank slate, not relying on Janet’s chart and only using a few key things that Moira had passed on to him. Since Janet had just gotten out of the bathroom and was sitting on the edge of the bed it was the perfect opportunity to watch her transfer using the sliding board. We then went down to the gym with Garret and Lorne in tow and Janet transferred onto the table mat. Tez talked to her for quite awhile about what she felt she could do, what she liked to do prior, what she wanted to be able to do and about a wide range of other things. I was very impressed with Janet’s responses to his questions and her engagement in the conversation. I only had to correct her a couple times and elaborate on a few things otherwise she handled it all remarkable well. It was then time for the let’s see what you can do test and after a thorough workout, sometimes painful, Tez said “your going to be fun to work with” and “I usually put together a program pretty quick for people but I’m going to give yours some long thought”. He seems truly intrigued by Janet’s case and I think sees quite a bit of potential for her. His short term goals are to protect the functionality she has now and start building strength in her legs and arms. Long term will be discussed at the coaches meeting next Thursday but likely will be similar to Brian’s. Independent transfers and walking short distances, maybe some use of that right arm. It was a very interesting session and a tough workout for Janet at times but she realizes the importance of it and I think will respond well to whatever program Tez comes up with.

We finished in the gym just after three and I decided to bring Janet home for the rest of the day. She enjoyed playing with Nash again and is getting really good at telling him what she wants him to do. He is learning to put the ball on the floor where she can reach it so they actually can have some decent play time. We sat by the fire and watch the start of the Fiesta Bowl and Janet remembered she was cheering for the Oregon Ducks as soon as I reminded her of their nickname. Dinner was a bowl of pasta and meat sauce which Janet ate with gusto. Ice cream followed and then after helping me fold laundry she had another dessert, one of Laurel’s Turtle Squares.

Bob and Chris were watching the game in the living room when we got back to Connect and Janet wanted to stay and watch with them for a bit. We stayed until the end of the third quarter then got ready for bed. Another busy day for Janet and I asked her to recap it for me before I said goodnight. She was able to tell me most of what she did in chronological order with a few names different than reality. Breakfast was lunch, our home was Ontario and her room was Bolivia. That’s still the best recap I’ve had from her and she is no longer giving the automatic “terrible”, or “nothing” answer to my questions. Nice.

Praying for a restful night and a productive day tomorrow.