Janet was back to “work” in a hurry today. She had all of her physical therapies completed by lunchtime and seemed OK with it all. Usually when that happens I’ll hear some complaint about how “terrible” or “hard” it all was but when I called her today she was all giggly sitting out in the sunshine after lunch.
It was obvious to me when I got out to Connect that Janet had worked hard her first part of the day as she never woke when I went into her room and stayed sleeping for another twenty minutes. Still no complaining when she woke up and with a hint of eagerness she walked down to the dining area to set the table. The complaining started soon after. I’ve been having Janet do as much without her wheelchair as possible and there is a lot of walking involved in setting a table. As she got tired, the whining started, but she persevered and was rewarded with a bit of Happy Hour in the sun that included a Skype chat with Heather. The conversation went well considering all Janet wants to talk about is the wedding.
We hung out in Janet’s room most of the rest of the night with Janet practicing reading, writing an email and listening to some music. Heather had shared the song she will be walking down the aisle to and Janet asked if I remembered what songs we used at our wedding. I was confident I knew the walk in song, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, but not the first dance one, Only Know I Do. Thankfully Laurel was on the ball and gave us that one. Janet still likes them both and sang along knowing a lot of the words.
The walking Janet did tonight was of mixed quality with the really good stuff happening at the end, which is a relief as some of her earlier stuff was not pretty. I think maybe she was a little tired from the morning and took a while to warm up. Wearing her sandals, I can see her toes and am a little concerned how the right ones curl up when she’s walking. Janet can’t move them herself much so we may need to find a way of keeping them stretched out if Tez thinks its a problem.
Janet’s speech and memory were outstanding tonight and she gave me probably her best summary of her day ever, nailing everything up to and including dinner. Interesting how the most recent stuff she couldn’t come up with. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a bright Tuesday.
More history was made today! Janet achieved a wheelchair free afternoon and evening! I’m more excited than she is of course and had to take time to explain the significance of it to her. I don’t anticipate ever being totally without the wheelchair but hope Janet can now see her way to being able to get around the house on her own without it. The amount of walking she did today was comparable to yesterday and Janet was quite worn out by bedtime, physically at least. The only complaining she did was towards the amount of freestyle walking she was asked to do. There were a few “tantrums” which she quickly passed off and got on with the walking and actually did some of her strongest yet.
There was more good news. Janet’s doctor called to say her Dilantin level is right where we want it to be and she therefore doesn’t need a blood test next week. Janet is relieved by that and I think if we can keep her hydrated her levels should stay good.
Dare I say there’s even more good news? Janet admitted that Games Night was “alright” tonight! There was the usual protest leading up to it then for some reason Janet participated her most ever, giving good answers to Family Feud questions, correctly guessing Spiderman in a name the celebrity questioning game then getting right into the Heads Up version of Act It Out. Janet always liked Charades and this was a simple version of that. She even smiled while playing.
Today, like most days, was full of good news. Janet told me that a student took her to the gym this morning and “used” her to practice some physio therapy techniques he is learning. They worked on stretching Janet’s right arm then had her do some step up exercises which she was quite excited about. Tez is hopeful this will increase Janet’s use of her right leg with which I’ve noticed an improvement this week.
This all sounds pretty rosy and that’s the way it was today. Praying for more of the same tomorrow.
Jess and Janet were waiting outside Dr. Miller’s office when I got to KGH this morning. Janet was very bright and chatty and that continued throughout the appointment. Dr. Miller can’t seem to stop himself from telling Janet how much she has progressed overall but more importantly how her improvement increases even from the time between each visit. Janet accepted most of the feedback with only the occasional “I don’t believe it” and the odd “I’m glad you think so”. Dr. Miller is not just feeding lines to Janet and is truly amazed at where she’s gotten to especially in light of how far post injury she is. He mentioned, I think only half joking, that “we should do a case study on you”. There is a theory out there that people only recover for three to six months after a brain injury such as this and Janet has proven that theory false as most of her cognitive gains are being made 15 to 21 months later. It wouldn’t surprise me if Janet gets an opportunity to share her story to the medical community somehow soon.
Following the Dr. Miller session Janet wheeled herself over to the physio department to say hi to Moira whom we haven’t seen since Janet stopped using the Rehab Pool. Surprisingly, Moira spent half an hour catching up with Janet and even had her demonstrate her walking abilities. The visit was full of praise and encouragement for Janet but she started to fade near the end as throughout the chat with Moira, there was a pretty steady stream of people saying hi to Janet as they passed by and she found that to be a little overwhelming. After lunch at home she reluctantly went for a nap from which I had to wake her in time for her next appointment.
Janet’s AFO has been causing a small abrasion on her ankle bone so we went to ask Birgit if she would remedy that today and she did. We were back at Connect in time for a bike ride which a now tired Janet did fairly well on. We spoke to Tez prior to hitting the gym and he said not to focus too much on the one legged pedalling and let Janet do her thing to get some cardio benefit and insert the one legged method at the beginning and end of each ride. There is no strength building benefit to pedalling with one leg but it is crucial for teaching the brain to communicate with her right leg and get it working better. Tez worked a lot with Janet last week and said she can put way more weight through her right leg than she’s allowing and through repetition we need to get her using it more. Janet complained of being too tired at the start of her ride and still did 2.5 miles in thirty minutes. I was glad she powered through that so I didn’t have her try the one legged thing. Next time.
The Botox is having an amazing effect on Janet’s right arm. I can’t remember the last time I was able to get her arm in this position with no pain. Very cool.
After dinner Janet dutifully got into the Standing Frame while watching Olympic highlights then replied to a couple of emails. She, for the first time, was able to use the speech function of Gmail without assistance from me and produced a couple of authentic Janet emails. She even stayed awake for a good forty five minutes while I read to her in bed saying, “the book is getting better, I like it”. Today was a great day for Janet with a lot of reasons to feel better about herself.
Praying that Janet’s confidence in herself increases and she continues to prove the theorists wrong.
I arrived at Connect a little after three today and was chatting with Janet and Jess in the living room when Tez dropped by. He asked Janet if she wanted to show me what they had done earlier. She agreed thinking he meant on video. When Jess came down the hall with a cane I was shocked and Janet got a little nervous.
During her Physio session this morning Janet was standing on her own and noticed Wes’s cane beside her. She grabbed it and took a step much to everyone’s surprise.
I’m unable to upload video from Connect so I’ll post it in the regular update later. Glory to God and go Janet!