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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 #BigCountry

I called Janet at noon today mostly to get her some practice answering the phone but also to see how her morning had gone and to offer some positive feedback. Her morning was still happening as she was up at the parallel bars with Tez and not exactly thrilled about it. She was laughing to Garrett as she hung up from talking to me so maybe the call lifted her spirits a little. Jess informed me later that Janet had done well up there and for the first time had put an equal amount of weight on both legs when standing on the scales. That’s a significant achievement that I praised Janet about all night.

After a short nap I helped Janet get up so she could do the Standing Frame at the same time as Big Country. This was his second day using a custom built frame and its pretty cool seeing a seven foot guy standing up. Janet was sufficiently distracted by Big Country and with me cleaning and trimming her finger nails that she stood for over an hour before realizing she was allowed to get down.
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There was a little arguing about having to do the Shuttle after dinner but Janet caved relatively quickly and had a good workout. We spent a lot of the evening reading and responding to emails before watching a couple of I Love Lucy episodes to wind down the night. Janet remembered Lucy, Ethel and Ricky but needed some help with Fred. She laughed a few times and got a real kick out of the clothes they wore and the old fashioned telephone they used.

Praying for complete healing and a massive increase in confidence.

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

I got a wake up call this morning. I always get nervous when I see Connect on my call display and Janet is not with me. This time is was her, sigh of relief, and she wanted to know if we were going to see her Dad for his birthday today. Hmmm. Dad lives in Ontario and his birthday is in June. Not sure why Janet thought that was happening but she was so certain of it the Jess let her call me. She never did figure out why but wasn’t really bothered by it either. Janet did mention she did not sleep well and she rang her pendant to get up at 5:45. By noon she was asking to have a nap. No kidding.

When I got to Connect this afternoon Janet was still sleeping, she woke briefly and wanted to get up but something told me to let her sleep a little more. I told her ten minutes and she slept for twenty then had good energy the rest of the day. Her gym session this morning went well and I got to take her on the Shuttle for the first time in a while before dinner. She showed a little more control of her right leg and without knowing it, pushed her heaviest weight with two legs yet. Speaking of heavy, Janet excitedly announced that she gained weight again last month and now thinks she’s really getting to be too big. No chance.

After a quiet dinner Janet did some of her Speech Therapy worksheets while I watched. She completed three pages of grouping things in categories and only got two questions wrong. High five! Her Skype conversation with Andrew was animated and happy. It had been a while since they’ve connected and even though Janet had trouble thinking of what to talk about a couple times, the conversation flowed well and Janet really enjoyed it.

While waiting to use the Standing Frame we finished reading Open. Janet and I both got a little emotional was we read the final pages and consider it to be one of the best biographies we’ve ever read. We were even able to watch a YouTube clip of Andre Agassi’s speech after his last match so Janet could see and hear the emotion from him and the crowd lucky enough to be there. A very fun reading experience. Next up is Nelson Mandela’s A Long Walk to Freedom.

Janet tolerated a good session with the Standing Frame while watching some Olympics then called her own bedtime. Praying for a long night of uninterrupted deep and healing sleep and a productive tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out. #phonecalls #cleaninghouse #chicago

Well here we are again, one week after the last update, so much for my plan to be more prolific with this.

In a lot of ways this was a fairly quiet week for Janet. No weddings, no road trips, no huge signs of progress that warranted an immediate blog update. When I look back at my notes though, its clear it was a good week.

Janet continues to show massive improvement in her cognitive abilities, especially with short term memory. She more frequently knows my name now although this week I’ve been Dennis, Bert, Julie, Ralph and Ted but mostly Larry. When asked now, I see Janet thinking before speaking rather than blurting out the first thing that pops into her head. A few times she’s even said “I forget” instead of calling me something she knows is wrong. We can now talk about events that took place in the morning with Janet able to describe a little bit about them and if the event was big enough she can even talk about something a day or two before hand. Her memory is not yet filing things in chronological order as evidenced by an emotional outburst one day when she thought for sure Laurel and or Heather were to be visiting her. She was so sure of it she called Laurel and me wondering why no one was there with her. She wasn’t able to reach Laurel but the call to me consisted of lots of tears of confusion and frustration. On the flip side, when asked what she wanted to do one morning, she remembered without prompting that she wanted to reply to an email sent from her friend Annette a couple days earlier. For some reason, probably old memory, Janet insisted on hand writing a letter so I gave her a blank greeting card and a pen and left her to it. Twenty minutes later she’d managed a decent note. I could read about a third of the words she wrote which is really good considering I couldn’t read much more of Janet’s writing even before she got sick. Janet has always had a strong sense of commitment and loyalty and so the obligation to reply stuck with her. She’s not great at filling a page yet but always has a good idea of what she wants to say and is improving her typing skills each time. I’ve noticed her vision is better the more awake she is and have noticed that applies to me too. The glasses are on now.

Janet was a big help in getting our house and yard cleaned up for a showing this past Saturday. For the first time she was able to vacuum on carpet and did a great job dusting some areas down for us. A sense of purpose is huge for Janet and I love seeing her eagerness to help with projects like that. Lorne had her vacuuming the living room at Connect this morning and said Janet had a smile on her face the whole time. I wish there was more I could get her to do. Yard work is great as long as Janet can reach what she’s to be working on and unfortunately most of our weeds don’t grow that tall. During the showing we went for a long walk along a route we hadn’t taken since Janet got sick. She remembered a lot of it and loved looking at all the nice homes. Nash was having trouble with the heat and distance and Janet was quite concerned about him. Thankfully he drank water from the lid of her water bottle and that comforted Janet. The thought of selling our house is dominating our time together and Janet both enjoys thinking of what the next house will be like and is somewhat reluctant to see the current one go. She’s very astute at recognizing how it doesn’t make sense to stay here much longer. My body thanks her for that.

Janet’s reading skills are improving as well. Laurel and Raj sent a thank you note following their wedding and Janet read most of it to me unassisted. I could especially understand the parts she read without crying. She’s had some real emotional moments lately, I think from a greater awareness of her situation. I sense a little bit of her feeling she needs to contribute more or be able to do more for her family and doesn’t fully understand the kids are all grown up and out doing their own thing. A few times when driving home and I ask her what she wants to do she’ll respond with “whatever everyone else is doing”. She doesn’t get upset when I tell her its just her and me but for a moment I think she was back in time and there were kids living with us. Janet is living more and more in the present though and confirmed that today when I allowed her to answer a stupid call from her bank. They asked why she hadn’t reviewed her banking needs with them for over a year and if something had happened to cause that. She told them flat out, ” something big happened with my health”. The guy on the other end heard that and repeated it but couldn’t deduce that maybe that was why he had been having trouble hearing Janet for the duration of the call. She was conversing very well with him just not very loudly. Hopefully it was enough to prevent another call.

The gym remains Janet’s nemesis and best tool at the same time. Her strength is gaining noticeably, especially on the Shuttle. Garret suggested a slightly different position for Janet’s legs on the Shuttle and it allows for a much longer extension, now up to thirteen inches, and Janet is able to push more weight too. She absolutely hates the Standing Frame but I think has resigned to knowing she’s got two sessions a day in it and as long as she feels she’s in control of how long she in it for she’s ok. There hasn’t been a lot of swimming lately but what Janet’s done has been good. The hot tub continues to be a happy place for her and the time when I get the best stretch of her legs and right arm. Noticing some nice improvement in her right shoulder and the Botox is working well with her finger flexors. We went to see Julie at the hand clinic for a follow up visit and she was surprised at how nicely Janet’s hand is doing. Julie did not expect to be able to adjust the splint yet but with Janet tolerating it well and her hand being nice and open, she was able to mold the splint to allow an even more relaxed position for Janet’s hand and said we don’t need to come back to see her unless something is wrong. Good news.

Team Save Janet has expanded into the Windy City!

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Thanks Brenda for carrying the colors there and if anyone else has a picture wearing your gear in a far away place I’d love to see them.

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Praying for Janet to keep getting stronger, especially her right leg. Praying for restoration of the use of her right arm and hand and complete restoration of her vision. Thanking our Lord and Savior for the healing he has brought and for all of you who continue to pray and support Janet and I.