routine

Janet, A Success Story. December 22. #TSJ

Seems like forever since I’ve been here and I must admit the break has been nice. It was getting hard to find things to talk about on a daily basis for sure and now that Janet being at home is “normal” I have to dig deep for a weekly talking point. I think “normal” will be it for this one.

We are definitely into a routine around the house, not the most productive routine but one that has Janet responsible for some basic duties and helping out with others. She is improving with her abilities in the kitchen and has taken easily to building her own sandwich for lunch, all the steps, unassisted, with the exception of needing help to open the mustard sometimes. Janet is happy to put things away and do light duty cleaning but is reluctant to try the big things like vacuuming. Soon, I hope.

The exercise routine is ok and I hope will get better in the new year. Janet is doing really well in the pool, already graduating to walking forwards and backwards without the pool noodle. Today I took her into the River Run for the first time and she handled it better than I thought she would. The Botox has completely worn off now and I notice Janet losing some control of her right leg even out of the water. We didn’t make it all the way around the river as it got too deep for Janet at one point and she was not wanting to swim. Next time. Her attitude about going to H2O hasn’t improved much but once there she does good things and comes away telling herself she did good so hopefully with some more time and recognizable improvements for her she’ll be more willing to get out the door.

The best part of Janet’s new normal is the relaxing evenings she’s been enjoying. We’ve watched movies, The Voice and of course our beloved Seahawks. Janet looks forward to those couple of hours to be entertained and is far more engaged in what she’s watching than ever before. I will still pause and explain things to her periodically only now she actually gets what I explain and I love her reaction at the end of a good movie or game. It’s totally appropriate to what happened and often includes her patented fist pump.

The fist was pumping tonight after the Christmas Eve service at Trinity. Janet really really enjoyed it, more than any event I’ve taken her to lately minus the Seahawks game. The music was great and the drama portion easy for her to understand and see. We went tonight as we are off to San Diego for eight days tomorrow. Janet is super excited about this trip and the very un-normal Christmas this will be. Stay tuned for pics and other things.

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your love and support. Peace.

Janet, A Success Story. December 10. #TSJ #Independence

Its still too early to nail down any sort of routine for Janet living at home full time. Each week brings different appointments and responsibilities so in that regard Janet has been kept busy in various ways. Since the craziness of her homecoming weekend there hasn’t been a day without something significant going on.

I’ve backed off on taking Janet to H2O as often as I’d like as there is already some resistance developing and I want Janet to want to go. It’s not always fun working out but I hope to get her to the point where she sees the benefit and is willing to go without hesitation. The times we have been have taught us it takes a lot longer for her to go through every element than we thought. If Janet does everything on her list, it’s a good two and half hour outing, which is fine, we just have to figure out how to fit things into the rest of the day.

A friend of ours recently asked if we would meet with the mother of a young lady in KGH who is going through a similar situation that Janet did. Janet was all over the opportunity to share and encourage and has twice been to the young lady’s room to read to her or just hang out. It has been very cool to watch Janet in that hospital room knowing she was there two and a half years ago. She’s handling it very well and wants to go regularly, each time we are there also provides an encounter with someone who cared for Janet back then. She has received lots of “wow, look at you” and “you look great” and “I’m so happy to see you”. So much so that I think she’s actually starting to believe those compliments. Janet laughs each time we meet someone as it happens all over the hospital and she repeatedly comments that “we can’t go anywhere without being recognized”. Celeb.

Continuing in the spirit of sharing and encouraging, Janet went back to Connect today to sing with Debra. She dreaded the drive out there even though she was only visiting. Too many bad memories still. When she arrived though, it was all smiles. We spent a half hour with Debra singing Christmas songs and Debra would like to do it again next week and Janet is happy about that. Singing was an amazing tool for Janet and I can see the benefits to Debra already as she smiled and laughed a lot.

Christmas Sing Along with Janet

Christmas Sing Along with Janet


A major goal for Janet being at home is to be as independent as possible and she took a huge step in that direction today. I’ve left her home alone a few times so far for various lengths of time and with different projects to attempt. Tonight, at her request, she was to make chocolate haystacks while I worked at the church for a few hours. Never before have I even considered leaving Janet to cook anything unattended but she was really wanting to try this, so after dinner, a reading of the recipe and a walkthrough of the procedures, I left. To fill out the time I would be away Janet chose to watch a movie then do her baking. I fully expected a phone call anytime the whole time I was away and was tempted to call her myself but didn’t. When I got home three hours later Janet was standing at the sink with a huge grin on her face washing the pot she’d used for the haystacks. The house smelled like chocolate and a nice collection of tasty treats were cooling on the island.
MMMMM

MMMMM


She did it! She followed the recipe, except for the coconut, operated the cooktop and cleaned up after herself, all by herself! Amazing! So happy!
Success!

Success!


With all that said, things are going well at home so far. Our Christmas vacation to San Diego is approaching and that will become the focus next week I’m sure. Alyssa and I hope to get Janet in the pool Friday as well as find a way to make exercise more fun for her. Praying for Janet’s confidence to keep growing.

Janet, A Success Story. July 29. #TSJ Shot on Goal

To Janet, lately, her days seem to be pretty routine and uninteresting. In the past I’ve mentioned the perceived slowness of her progress. That seems to have flipped recently as I can see improvements almost daily and Janet is having a tough time recognizing them. The first part of today was routine for Janet with the exemption of having to walk everywhere. That appears to be paying off as her first trip down the hall with me was faster than any of her walks yesterday. It then took every bit of convincing I had in me to get her to leave the sunshine and try some stairs before dinner. I insisted because I think this is the goal Janet can accomplish before all others and pretty quick. Her goal is to be able to walk up and down three steps using only a hand rail for assistance. After the long walk down the hall Janet approached the stairwell with trepidation, then, as soon as she saw the nice wide steps and the handrail she easily climbed the first two and with an extra effort made it up the third one. I then helped her turn and walk across to the other side so she could grab that handrail and try going back down. Janet admitted she’s scared about going down so I stood right in front of her and had a hand lightly on her back for reassurance. She made it but needs to overcome that fear before marking that goal as achieved. Today was a great first shot on goal!

After her morning workout Janet said she practiced her hand writing for about an hour. She’s not happy with her abilities in that area but again, I’m seeing notable improvements. Tonight was Games Night and Janet was her usual enthusiastic self. Actually she’s gotten more accepting of the event and does quite well for the first forty minutes or so then tires. To give you an idea of what Janet’s longest walk at Connect is I recorded this time lapse video of her walking back from Games Night to her room. It’s too fast to see any improvement in her technique but you can sure see how much more distance she can cover. In real time this took five and a half minutes.

Praying for a great sleep and for Janet to be confident doing all she is asked to do tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. July 7. #TSJ

Getting back into her routine at Connect seemed easy for Janet today. She completed her exercises by lunchtime except for the Standing Frame and got some sun tanning time in before nap time. Yesterday I had asked her to check and see if Jess could drive her to the Dr. Miller appointment tomorrow and Janet remembered to do that. Her memory is steadily improving as is her walking ability. After helping her up from nap time I had her walk to the kitchen to set the table and she did so quicker and more confidently than ever. She did use the wall for security purposes a few times but it seems that letting her do that is actually building her confidence rather than making her dependant on that “crutch”. Janet got the table set in record time and made some really nice 180 degree turns in the process, something she has long struggled with.

Escaping to the warmth of the patio after her chore was done Janet and I hid out there until dinner was ready and Karl and Chelsea agreed to back off on the damn A/C. Janet continued her excellent walking after dinner before getting in the Standing Frame. After properly repairing her wheelchair we were able to go for a nice sunset walk around the neighbourhood. To end the day, Janet had one more round trip of walking to do to get her meds and even though she was getting tired she did very well. No signs of falling and a good steady pace. She was sweating by the time she got back to her room but I think happy with her accomplishments, especially naming the meds correctly with only minor hints.

We are reading a Judy Blume book now called Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I’m not sure where we got the recommendation but its working out much better than the Toni Braxton story. This one is funny and fast paced and full of young girl things that Janet easily relates to. She had lots of good giggles tonight and that always makes it a little easier to say goodnight. Praying for a good rest tonight and for a good visit with Dr. Miller tomorrow.

Back to Business #TSJ

According to Garrett, Janet had a great first half of the day eating a good breakfast then going with him to the gym for a workout on her right arm and shoulder. Garrett says that went really well with good range of motion from her arm and shoulder. Carl did some Speech with Janet and he says that went well for about twenty minutes then Janet seemed to get stuck repeating a couple of words and seeming tired. She did tell him she’s married to Larry and has daughters named Heather and Laurel and a son that starts with S. Two out of three ain’t bad. When I arrived this afternoon Janet had just fallen asleep in the living room watching tv with the staff. She woke up five minutes later, smiled and laughed that she was sleeping but agreed to go lay down in bed for a rest. By the time I got her to her room she was denying she agreed to rest and being quite defiant about it. I laid her down anyways and joined her, ten minutes later she was snoring and slept for an hour and a half. I think the busy weekend took a bit of a toll on her.

When Janet finally woke up we went to the gym and had a strong leg workout. Her tone in some ways seemed less today so maybe the day off yesterday helped? I spent a lot of time stretching and am using all standing transfers now so I didn’t have her stand at the stripper pole today. I did get her on the Shuttle and she did her best yet. Sixteen reps at two bands, five reps at three and ten reps with one band using her right leg only. She still got all upset at the end but seemed to quickly realize the good that machine is doing once I explained it to her.

We were late for dinner on account of the workout and had the table to ourselves. Janet ate well and was happy to head back to her room afterward to play the Sesame Street matching game. I put the cars on the easel Brian had brought for her and that seemed to improve Janet’s ability to see them. She did very well, getting through about two thirds of the deck before tiring out. We then listened to a Stuart McLean story which brought us to bedtime.

A solid day for Janet and good for her to get back to a little routine around Connect. Praying for an active day of learning tomorrow and restful and healing night tonight.