reading

Janet, A Success Story. November 5. #TSJ Goaal! #4

Finally, there was a chance for Mary Lou to watch the video of Janet reading The Hallo-Wiener to the kids at Stepping Stones Preschool. She approved of Janet’s effort and officially credited her with achieving that goal!

Here is a video clip of Janet reading. I wasn’t able to upload the entire eleven minute story but this will give you an idea of how Janet did. The beginning was very strong then she struggled for the last two thirds of the book, keeping a smile on her face most of the way through and managing to keep the kids attention. Well done!

That was the biggest excitement of the day. Janet enjoyed SheLife tonight and was happy to be home this afternoon where she did a great job operating the cooktop and stirring our stir fry for dinner. Janet did have a little scare first thing this morning as she fell coming out of the bathroom. According to her, “I just lost it”, and there are no marks or real pain resulting from it. She is complaining of a sore back when she steps up or down a step though so we will monitor that. Janet told me she didn’t call for help or try and get up, she just lay there waiting. Garrett suggested that for the rest of Janet’s time at Connect they teach her how to recover from a fall and or call for help. Great idea.

The staff have been working on Janet picking things up from the floor and that paid off tonight. Janet tosses her PJs from the armoire to her bed each night and tonight she missed. That meant doing a serious squat to pick them up and she did! Janet was nervous of course and unsure of the technique so it took a little prompting from me for her to get down low enough. She was quite happy afterwards and should be.

Praying for the soreness in Janet’s back to stop after a good night of sleep and for a successful video shoot of her baptism testimonial tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. October 22. #TSJ

Today was the big reading day for Janet and she got herself pretty wound up about it. She called me before lunch sounding really anxious and wondering when I was coming to get her. I calmed her down and explained how the day would unfold and she agreed to try and rest a little before I got there. That’s where I found her an hour later and I helped her get ready to go. She was excited but nervous.

When we got to the preschool Janet met her first challenge, a flight of twenty stairs. Pretty steep too but Janet gathered her energy and using my hand as a railing because the real one was too low, she made it all the way up just fine. Inside, it was all very familiar territory for Janet. So much so that she didn’t really even want to look around saying, “its the same old stuff”. It wasn’t, but it was familiar. About twenty, three and four year olds were gathered at Janet’s feet, and with a teacher holding the book, Janet dove right in. She started off great! Nice and loud, engaging with the kids, then something happened that threw Janet off and she never really recovered. It wasn’t a case of going to fast or making it up as she went along, she just seemed to loose focus enough to take her out of her rhythm. She made it through the book and the kids were very well behaved the whole time so based on that I think she passed. We’ll let Mary Lou watch the video and decide officially.

Janet was very relieved when it was over and not too happy with the way she read but agreed that she did it and the kids didn’t tune out so that was good. The experience did take a lot out of her though and once we got home she called nap time and slept for a good hour.

Once up I put her to work in the kitchen where she did a great job chopping and stir frying stuff for chicken fajitas. I never thought it would feel as cool as it does to stand at the kitchen sink with Janet and wash dishes but it does and I told her so tonight. That got the predictable self doubt response but hopefully inside it told her how well she’s doing. Janet got to relax and watch The Voice with some ice cream before driving back to Connect tonight and didn’t even complain about that. A successful day for Janet and one she can build on for the future. She worked hard to get ready for that reading gig and can be happy with her accomplishment.

Praying for a restful night and a confident and energetic Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. October 21. #TSJ

Let’s start with the big news. Janet is coming home for good November 28th! It is becoming more and more obvious each day that Janet is losing her willingness to participate at Connect. She simply doesn’t want to be there anymore and is putting in the bare minimum of effort. After an earlier than usual phone call from Janet this morning, during which she sounded kinda down, I texted Brian and asked him if he thought that was a good date to bring her home. He concurred and Janet and I met with him and Tez this afternoon to make it official. They both had received reports from the staff that Janet was less cooperative lately and Tez says that her physical progress has slowed to the point where coming home a month “early” isn’t going to make much difference. He is confident that Janet will continue to improve, at a slow pace, and as long as we stay on top of the tone in her right hamstring she has a good chance of doing some decent walking. Janet is relieved to know there is now a firm date in place and will be counting down each day I’m sure. 37 as of Wednesday.

Nothing could overshadow that news of course but today was good for Janet in other ways too. She participated well at Games Night this evening and walked up and down the stairs in the process. I was able to convince her to do that knowing she’ll have to do similar at the preschool tomorrow. Chelsea invited Janet to read The Hallo-Wiener to her for practice and she started off great then had a really difficult time for the last half of the book. Hopefully that’s the bad read before the great one tomorrow. Janet’s dressing and undressing skills continue to improve and tonight I only had to help with her bra and lining up her PJ shorts so that she got her legs in the correct sides. The rest she did unassisted and quite quickly.

A lot is going to change over the next five weeks and I’m excited to get on with it. Janet is too and I pray she uses her remaining time at Connect to her fullest advantage.

Janet, A Success Story. September 28. #TSJ

Another weekend at home that seemed to go by all too quickly. Friday was the fullest day of the three Janet had away from Connect. We attended the TEDx conference here and were treated to an afternoon of inspiring and thought provoking speakers.

Cheryl Bernard

Cheryl Bernard


TEDx Kelowna was held at the Kelowna Community Theatre, a venue we’d been to many times with Janet in her wheelchair. This time we braved it without. We lucked out and got VIP parking right at the front door so all Janet had to do was step up a curb then walk with me inside. I let her use the cane in case she wanted to roam on her own a little. That never happened of course so she could’ve free styled the whole day. For the first time, we sat in regular seats, on the aisle just a few rows down from the exit to the bathroom which was needed only once. Janet enjoyed most of the speakers as well as the hundreds of students from the Canadian Student Leadership Conference that brought great energy to the room.

Saturday started with the usual Skype chat with Mary/Gaga before practicing some household duties that are on Janet’s goal list. A nervous high speed walk outside followed with Janet complaining of being exhausted halfway through. I’m very hopeful Dr. Miller has some tricks up his sleeve to help motivate Janet or her walking just isn’t going to improve much. The trend throughout the weekend was one of nervousness and doubt even though Janet often did very well at times. For some reason she won’t accept that fact.

On today’s walk I let Janet set the pace a little more and got the same result. Her confidence level should have been reasonably high as prior to the walk she may have reached her goal of operating the cooktop and doing laundry and she read The Hallo-Wiener better than ever. Still scared, still doubting herself. I say may have reached those goals. Her attempts were recorded so Brian can see them as he is the judge for this category so we’ll have to wait for the official decision.

Janet was a great help in the kitchen this weekend, even tonight after going without a nap all day. She was able to enjoy some nice chats with neighbours on our walks outside, something that is really making it seem more like home for Janet instead of a nice place to escape to. There was only one small complaint about returning to Connect tonight and Janet was so tired when we got there she didn’t have the energy to complain anymore.

Praying for an awesome sleep and a confidence building week.

Janet, A Success Story. September 22. #TSJ

This Monday went quite well for Janet. Chelsea kept her very busy during the morning, exercising in the gym, walking all over Connect including up the stairs, and even making lunch. When Janet called me she didn’t complain about stuff like she often does, she did acknowledge a mistake with making lunch that she laughed about. Instead of pouring soup into a saucepan to warm it up she dumped it into a steamer pot, the part with the holes, you know what happened next. Thankfully Janet was laughing and she even seemed pleased with her physical therapies, at least pleased they were over with.

Chelsea had just finished painting Janet’s nails when I arrived on the scene. I could tell it would be an early night as Janet hadn’t napped and was not considering it then either. Knowing she’d done a lot already I let her set the pace for the run up to dinner. She checked her email, I read a newspaper column to her, she read The Hallo- Wiener to me then she walked cane free to the kitchen to set the table and grate some cheese. Her reading today was pretty good especially the first and last thirds of the book. There was a lot of ad libbing in the middle for some reason. Janet resisted the idea of walking cane free but was happy to help in the kitchen which was a nice change. Her reward was some time in the sun before dinner.

After a good after dinner walk up the stairs and through the hallways all Janet wanted to do was watch the football game. Thankfully Jess and Karl hung out with us for a while so there was good conversation to be had. As much as I love Janet’s interest in football, this game meant nothing to either of us and I don’t want her relying on TV to get her through her free time. We talked about things to do in the evening when Janet comes home and she agreed with Jess’s suggestion of a cooking or baking class once a week and Karl suggested getting involved as a Big Brother and Big Sister to spend some time out in the community with a kid. Good ideas and if any of you have other suggestions we are all ears, and eyes.

Janet enjoyed an extended phone call from Cam tonight that made her laugh and gave her a nice boost of energy and a lift of confidence before walking off to get her meds. She’s gaining more and more independence with her nighttime routine but doesn’t seem too motivated by it. We talked about Janet trying the Handydart to go from Connect to SheLife or to her Dr. Miller appointment at KGH. I know she could do it but she was very resistant to the idea tonight and didn’t buy into the argument for doing things on her own. We’ll keep working on it.

Praying that Janet rests well tonight and dismisses her fear of working with Tez so she can try her best at whatever she’s asked to do.

Janet, A Success Story. September 21. #TSJ

For a weekend with nothing much scheduled, it sure was busy, or at least seemed so.

Janet’s weekend was cane free. She is doing well enough without it that we even left it at home when we went to church Saturday night. There is still a fair amount of grabbing onto furniture and walls when possible, especially when Janet is tired. At her best she will go quite a distance completely free. Speaking of distance, I decided to push Janet this weekend with her 400 meter walk. I haven’t noticed much improvement in her speed and there is still a lot of complaining about being exhausted 200 meters in, so to try and increase her conditioning and to keep her walk interesting, I challenged Janet to do a complete lap of the complex. That worked out to 560 meters on Saturday which was completed in 32 minutes. Janet held my hand the whole way but I did not pull her along at all. Today the lap measured out at 510 meters and lasted 27 minutes. A nice little improvement. I’m not sure this is the right plan of attack and will hopefully consult Tez this week. At least it was something different to do on a nice sunny day and Janet knows now she can walk around the whole neighbourhood. High Five!

The one scheduled event was a visit Saturday morning from Janet’s former pre school boss, Carolyn. One of Janet’s “get out of Connect” goals is to read The Hallo-Wiener to a pre school class and we wanted to meet with Carolyn so she could get an idea of how Janet is doing and make sure its appropriate for Janet to pursue this goal. Carolyn was impressed with Janet’s reading skills and how well Janet is doing overall despite the read not being anywhere near Janet’s best. She was nervous all morning before the visit even to the point that her mom sensed something was wrong during their Skype chat. Janet passed the test though and is scheduled to appear at Carolyn’s pre school October 24th.

One goal may have been achieved this weekend and is awaiting Brian’s approval. To test Janet on the operation of the cooktop I asked Janet to make me a grilled cheese sandwich Saturday afternoon. I recorded it so we can show Brian and he can assess Janet on it. Janet still needs some prompting as to which buttons to press so I’m thinking she may need one more weekend of practice. Same goes with the laundry. We are still developing a good system for Janet to be able to load and unload the washer and drier but she’s learning the controls quite quickly. It could be a double gold medal weekend coming up.

We spent as much time out in the sun as possible this weekend as the forecast shows this to be the last of the sun tanning weather for the year. That included watching the first half of the Seahawks game outside today but I wasn’t able to convince Janet to go for a swim. It was more than warm enough and would have been fun to do on the first day of Fall but she was only interested in the game. Not that that’s a bad thing.

This was a weekend that saw Janet moving around the house and helping out more than ever before and I’m happy she is willing to do so. Her confidence is growing in household activities, we need to foster that same growth in her walking and she’ll be all set.

Praying for a deep and restful sleep and a productive and happy week.

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. 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. August 26. #TSJ #Storytime

Tuesdays are usually work with Tez days for Janet and she kind of dreads that. This morning she knew that AFO lady was coming to see her and that her session with Tez would be delayed. Well, AFO lady came rather late and Tez wasn’t feeling well so Janet had an easy morning. AFO lady was happy to see how much stronger Janet’s right leg has gotten and as a result has ordered some parts for Janet’s AFO so it can be modified to be more flexible. To further illustrate her increased strength Janet really impressed me with her bike ride tonight going farther and at a harder setting than ever before. She even climbed all nineteen steps very well on her way to Games Night.

Games Night was more of a story time with Janet night as she read The Hallo-Wiener to the group. Curtis couldn’t even finish introducing Janet and explaining what she was going to do before she started reading. There was no hint of nerves or anything as Janet jumped right into it. Like her previous public speeches, Janet tended to ad lib a lot instead of reading each word. That got her confused more than once and disrupted her rhythm. The good news is she knows she does it and agreed to work on stopping it. The group enjoyed the story and were very encouraging to Janet afterwards. Janet said it was OK but needs to keep practicing.

Storytime with Janet.

Storytime with Janet.


Praying for a good night of sleep that provides lots of energy for tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. August 25. #TSJ

Today was a pretty reasonable Monday for Janet. Curtis coached her through the gym routine and challenged her to read The Hallo-Wiener to the Games Night group tomorrow. A challenge that Janet readily accepted surprisingly enough.

She had just made her way down to the living room as I arrived at Connect this afternoon and was quite chatty. We hung out there visiting with Wes and his wife Roz and got a surprise visit from former resident, Fred. He’s hear for a week away from Connect Langley and it was fun to have him around tonight. Janet liked how he livened up the place.

Chelsea and Karl, both from England, decided to make the house an English breakfast for dinner tonight. Sausages, baked beans, potatoes etc. You may have already guessed that didn’t go over well with Janet so she ate my shrimp linguini and I ate her sausages and beans. She sometimes is referred to as queen of the house and lived up to that tonight.

Janet may not be queen for long as we were told that a new resident moves in across the hall from Janet tomorrow and happily she’s a girl. Janet is looking forward to meeting her.

One exercise Janet did not get to this morning was the Shuttle so tonight I gave her the option of doing that or climbing the stairs instead. She chose stairs and went up and down all nineteen in good fashion, with a little sweat and a minimum of complaining. When given the choice of what to do the rest of the night Janet very nicely remembered there was tennis on TV so we watched some first round action of the US Open broken up by some speed walking to the bathroom and freestyle walking to get meds. A strong day.

Praying for an excellent night of sleep for Janet and the desire and ability to fully participate in her Tuesday.