Janet, A Success Story. July 30. #TSJ Sky and Water

Summer is time for fun and Janet has had no shortage of opportunities at fun, even though she disagrees on what most would consider fun. Take sailing for example. I think most of us would consider sailing on Lake Okanagan on a warm summer morning to be fun. Janet went this morning but said the only fun part was going for coffee afterwards. Whatever it takes I guess.

Fun opportunity number two today came late this afternoon in the form of a trip back downtown to watch the Snowbirds perform. I know Janet has no interest in things like this but combined with a walk along the lakefront and some street food for dinner it had the potential for fun especially compared to a regular night at Connect. With that in mind Janet made the trek back downtown with a bunch of others from her house and I would meet them and the fun would begin. Well, as it would happen, they were late leaving Connect, traffic was bad, there was no parking in the area we wanted to go to, the plan B area is closed due to an extreme fire hazard so plan C was put into effect. Of course by that time people were hot, the show was about to start and the fun possibilities were limited as the walk along the lake and the street food options were now gone. I promised Janet a nice dinner after and she did her best to “enjoy” the show. She did like the giant heart the team made and sitting in the sun but that was about it.

On your left Janet!

On your left Janet!

I gave Janet the choice of dinner after the Snowbirds were done and she chose to go home and have sushi so we could watch So You Think You Can Dance. Good choice because I doubt we would have gotten into any restaurant this evening as it was super busy everywhere.

Janet was a little drained after all the traveling back and forth, her exercises and being out in the sun a lot today so it was nice to chill at home and watch both of our SYTYCD contestants make it into the top ten. We got back to Connect in time to read a little and Janet was snoring before the end of the chapter.

Praying for a solid night of sleep for Janet and a fun Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 2. #TSJ Sailing Away

Yesterday,Garrett and I had tried to persuade Janet into going sailing with a few people today. She of course was having nothing of the idea but couldn’t argue with Garrett this morning as the weather was great and we had worked her enough that she felt she had to go. I don’t like pressuring Janet to do something she doesn’t want to do unless I feel its good for her and to venture out with people she likes into the sunshine is good for her. Later on she told me the sailing “wasn’t so great” but they all went out for coffee after and “that was fun”.

As it turned out, Janet could have pretty much stayed at the yacht club all day as the Sailing Association invited all of its users to a BBQ in honour of the naming of their new boat this evening. I met Janet and the gang there and we spent a nice couple of hours on the waterfront complete with food and wine.

The gang and Janet with her wine shooter. #thatswhatboatingisallabout

The gang and Janet with her wine shooter. #thatswhatboatingisallabout

There really wasn’t time to do much when we got back to Connect so I took Janet for a speed walk around the place. She wasn’t very happy about it but did very well, walking faster than I can remember and not stumbling at all. She did a good amount of freestyle walking as well including the trip to get her meds when she answered all of Chelsea’s questions as to what she takes correctly without help for the first time ever. She even got the day, month, date, year thing a hundred percent. High five!

Praying for a night of restful sleep and for more progress tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 14. #TSJ

Whew! What a day. The warmest day of the year so far and a perfect day for Janet to try sailing. I met her and the others at the yacht club this morning expecting to watch her for an hour or so then take her with me to run some errands but I actually got to go on the boat with her! I really enjoyed it despite the calm conditions, Janet enjoyed sitting in the sun but that was about all. I may try and convince her to go again as it’s an awesome way to spend a sunny morning.

Wes and Janet sailing along.

Wes and Janet sailing along.

Cool Connect Crew and cool Matt.

Cool Connect Crew and cool Matt.

From there we went to have Janet’s dress for the wedding hemmed. It was quite the production as we had to get Janet into the dress and shoes, have the expert pin where the dress should hang to then get her regular clothes back on. I don’t know how you women put up with stuff like that. We did a little shopping since we were out and enjoyed lunch in the sun at Janet’s request. By the time we got home she was exhausted and went for an almost three hour nap!

I was getting worried she’d never wake up as the clock moved closer to departure time for Heidi’s house but Janet finally woke up just before 5. All I could think of the last hour of her sleep was her Dilantin levels being out of whack and what sort of impact that is having on her. Janet’s doctor was not in today so I had made the decision to hold back a third of her dosage again tonight then get her levels tested tomorrow. When Janet woke up she seemed refreshed but was really warm and her left eye seemed a little relaxed compared to the right one. By the time she was dressed and had a glass of water she seemed fine. Praying for resolution to this tomorrow.

Heidi had all of her SheLife ladies over to her house for dinner tonight and I dropped Janet off there then went to work at the church. This is the first time I’ve left Janet somewhere far away from me and for an extended period of time. I know all the ladies would take good care of her and they did. Janet said she enjoyed the evening but everyone helped her a little too much. This marks the end of SheLife until September. It’s been a true blessing for Janet.

Curtis surprised us with a reduced dosage of Dilantin when we got to Connect. Apparently Janet’s doctor ordered the change and the pharmacy delivered it tonight. That is a bit of a relief knowing the doctor is aware and took action so I will hold off on testing until I hear from her. On the car ride to Connect Janet was able to tell me about her evening quite accurately and with good but a little quiet speech. I feel better about the situation tonight and pray she has a good night of sleep and an energetic and bright day tomorrow.

It’s late and I can’t think of a title. Hope you’ll read anyways. #TSJ


Even though Janet will complain sometimes of having to do the same things over and over again there are a lot of new things in her repertoire and this past week was full of them.

On the cognitive side Janet continues to become more aware of the moment she’s in as well as her overall situation. This past Monday while on our way back to Connect Janet took a big step by saying “I want to be a regular person”. The day had been very successful for her and included Janet doing a lot of “regular person” things and when I pointed all those out to her she seemed to accept that. I discussed this with Brian and he said that Janet accepting her situation is a big step towards continuing the recovery process. It’s only after someone acknowledges where they are at that they can really start to do something about it. Janet has done well so far so I see this as a positive sign of her maybe being able to work even harder as in not complaining about the gym or drinking water. That of course remains to be seen but maybe with everyone trying to get her living in the moment and pointing out her accomplishments she’ll start to believe in herself more. Her confidence is growing in her singing for sure and this week was her loudest by far. John called me into the room just five minutes after starting with Janet on Tuesday and she wowed me with a very loud rendition of Do a Deer. I asked Leslie and Gavin to come in after that and Janet sang loudly for them too. A couple of times this week Janet started singing along to performances on The Voice, most notably The Swon Brothers rendition of Danny’s Song. She sang it again for us with John and was very confident in doing so. Her Skype conversations this week were solid but she’s getting bored with the whole thing and often feels she has nothing to say. I can help her with that part but am going to stop scheduling calls so they are more spontaneous and less of a chore. One night I worked with Janet from her Speech Therapy booklet and was impressed at how well she did naming opposites and matching categories. She continues to express her opinion more and more, unfortunately its more when she’s angry about something that she’s at her most demonstrative. Still, I see more and more of the former Janet coming out.

Physically Janet is really impressing me and some of the staff at Connect as well. The Botox really should be worn off now but we continue to get good flexibility from both legs and tonight Janet stood in the Standing Frame for one hour at ninety degrees and complained very little. The lack of complaining can only mean it didn’t hurt that much and that is cool. Garrett worked with Janet in the gym tonight for the first time since he got back from his vacation and he had all great things to say about Janet’s performance especially with the extension she was getting on The Shuttle. That’s a key one as the more she can extend the more strength she can build. She’s very confident in her pole transfers now and has no problem standing and holding onto the pole for a minute or two and can shuffle her left leg around pretty well. There’s still not a lot of control on that right leg but I still have hope for the future. On Monday Janet reached another swimming milestone by making her first unassisted 180 degree turn while swimming on her back. She smiled the entire time and of all the physical activities Janet does, swimming is by far her favorite. As much as she likes it though, Friday afternoons aren’t working well for her as she’s too tired so for now I’m canceling those sessions. We will use our pool at home on the weekends to compensate and continue with Mondays at KGH. As we were leaving KGH one day we snuck up on Rob the PT and I asked Janet to kick him. She happily obliged but did so with her right leg. First time I’ve seen her try that move. It was all from the hip but a very deliberate attempt to use that right leg. High five. Tez had Janet try walking in the sling at the parallel bars and said that went well enough to continue doing it. Janet found it very hard and I think until she gets more control of her right leg it will be a very difficult exercise for her.

Janet was scheduled to go sailing this morning with the Disabled Sailing Association but the weather was kind of iffy so the outing was cancelled. Janet isn’t really excited about it but I think it would be good for her to try so maybe next week. In lieu of sailing Jess took Janet to a pottery class today and reported that Janet enjoyed it and has started making a bowl. Janet says she didn’t like it and it was boring so we’ll have to see who wins out next week. I hope she continues to go as these activities will help get her mind off of the trips to the gym she dislikes so much.

We spent Sunday afternoon at City Park in the sunshine cheering on those getting baptized in the lake. Janet really enjoyed the outing and was fascinated by all the support each person getting baptized had. Sunday also marked the first conversation Janet’s had with her dad in a couple of years and thanks to Skype it went quite well. Not a lot was said as neither have great conversational skills right now but it was great to make that connection again. The weekend ahead promises more adventure as Leslie and Gavin are here until Sunday meaning we get to do fun things we wouldn’t get to do otherwise like winery touring, and the weather is supposed to be Okanagan hot finally.

Praying for Janet to continue getting stronger, louder and more confident.

Sailing Along. A week of fun and success for Janet. #TSJ #fish #Nanaimo #Duncan

This has been quite the busy week for Janet, full of accomplishments and adventure. Each day can show improvement in many areas but can also show the lack of progress in others. The trend however continues upward.

Speaking of up, Janet now has two stripper poles in her room and she is using them to stand up virtually unassisted. All she needs is some prompting to get started and once she’s up, some help in stepping or pivoting to her wheelchair, bed or toilet. The staff work with Janet daily both in the gym and her room practicing her sit and stand moves and its really paying off. Alana kindly trained me today so I can incorporate pole transfers into my time with Janet so she gets even more practice and I get less wear and tear on my back and arms. In the gym, the bike has been out of commission for a few days but Tez feels she’s ready to ramp up the leg strengthening program and has put her back on The Shuttle. Curtis took Janet there last night and reported a very successful return to the machine that caused so much stress before. Janet was able to do way more than previous, proving her increased leg strength. Hopefully she remembers that and continues to build on it. The staff continue to stretch Janet daily as well and I continue to do so in the hot tub with good results. The Botox does seem to be wearing off and I can see another dose or two in Janet’s future. Despite the diminished Botox affect, Janet is able to stand nicely in the standing frame although she doesn’t enjoy it one little bit. We try and get her in there every evening for as close to an hour as she’ll tolerate and she is being very cooperative about it. Again, I hope she recognizes the benefits and keeps it going.

The one form of exercise Janet continues to thoroughly enjoy is swimming. She tries to tell me she’s not excited about going but every time she hits the water there’s a big smile on her face and all the tension leaves her body. Swimming on her back is her favorite and with my help in turning she can do ten lengths before showing any signs of tiring. On her tummy she’s easily doing a length with no shortage of breath. Janet is turning into a bit of a celebrity at the KGH pool as she was being loudly cheered on by the folks waiting for their turn on Thursday and swam so well that even pool man Jim praised her when we got out and he hardly ever says a thing. On Monday I tried having her stand on her own, take a big breath, put her face in the water then push off with her legs. First time and every time she took off swimming like a fish no problem at all. The standing part only lasts a second of course but its long enough for her to take a big breath and go. High five! Walking with control of her right leg continues to be a struggle and I’ve switched methods to where I’m bringing her right foot along while she moves and steps with the left. At least she gets the rhythm of walking and we can make it the whole length of the pool like that. I’ve even had her try it on land a couple of times and its worked well but I want Tez to see it before I do it anymore with her just to ensure I’m not risking an injury. We haven’t been in our pool at home too much yet as Janet oddly enough prefers the hot tub and that’s fine with me as she benefits from that immensely.

I seem to spend a lot of time talking about Janet’s physical recovery so lets see if I can focus on the cognitive for a bit here. A couple of things stand out right away, most notably her conversational skills. More and more often now Janet will initiate a conversation either by asking a question or making an observation and she’ll often give very intelligent if not correct answers to your questions now too. The various Skype chats she participates in each week show this. One with Cam last week and one with her mom yesterday went particularly well. Janet even remembers portions of those chats now a couple of hours later. I find her to be less likely to converse when there’s lots of people around but she does enjoy listening to others chatter and I think will gain the confidence to jump in eventually. Her voice may be getting slightly louder now and she is talking more intelligently. As long as she is reasonably awake I can talk to her a little bit in the car where before there was no chance of hearing her. I was shocked to see how well Janet can write now. The last time I tried with her she was doing a lot of loop de loops for everything but when asked to write Heather’s birthday card she produced this on the envelope and an equally good job on the inside.

20130612-235405.jpg Janet was very determined to write the card for Heather and it was that determination that made her attempts successful. I had her practice only a half dozen times or so and could clearly see she had the idea. Printing is much better than writing for her and she needs to work on how she holds the pen. Janet says she hasn’t been practicing but obviously she has and its working. I took Janet shopping for Heather’s birthday present and she did a great job of looking at all the options and deciding what would be best for Heather. She even showed genuine concern for the amount of money being spent. That was nice to see and is very much the former Janet.

Along with the successes in the pool and gym Janet had a good adventure this past weekend as we took a roadtrip to Nanaimo to visit my mom. The four hour drive to Horseshoe Bay was easy as Janet slept most of the way.


The ferry ride to Nanaimo was alright save for a little toileting issue. We arrived at mom’s in time for happy hour and later enjoyed a nice walk on the pier where the yachts participating in the Van Isle 360 were tied up for the night.


We enjoyed the hot tub in mom’s building before lounging a little leading into bedtime each day so all weekend Janet never missed her leg stretching opportunities. Saturday saw us all head south to Duncan for lunch and a visit with our friends Terry and Joy formerly of Kelowna and CedarCreek Estate Winery.


Terry is now Vineyard Manager at Averill Creek Estate Winery and we thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the tastings there. Who knew the Island would have such a beautiful winery with some pretty decent wine?

A very enjoyable afternoon! Mom joined us for the ferry ride back to Horseshoe Bay on Sunday and we met Ashley for lunch before the long drive to Kelowna. What a nice surprise to be able to sit outside in the sun in North Van!

The drive home was good with Janet being quite chatty for the first couple hours and nice and sleepy the rest of the way. Janet went for her first hot tub in the dark when we got home and that was a very relaxing way to end a fun weekend.

Monday was back to reality day. I did let Janet sleep in and her pool sessions were very strong. Unfortunately for her she had a dentist appointment right after swimming but she was a good patient and allowed so much work to be done that her next appointment has been shortened as a reward. In between the pool and dentist Janet very seriously thanked me for “the grand program” I have us on. I wasn’t sure what she meant at first but she said it was for taking her to all these appointments and things. That was very sweet.

After a well deserved nap at home and with the dental freezing worn off Janet and I enjoyed a nice dinner outside then reluctantly headed back to Connect. It was such a beautiful evening and we were enjoying it so much it was very hard to get motivated and out the door. Janet very gamely got into the standing frame once we got there and lasted a decent thirty minutes. The stripper pole had been installed in her bathroom while we were away and on the first attempt Janet observed that “it’s too far from the dance floor”. I’ve no idea where that came from but it was hilarious. Saying goodnight that night was tough as I was enjoying being with Janet more so than usual.

Jess and the staff often have challenges getting Janet to nap in the afternoons still and they know Janet will only do so if I lay down with her sometimes. To make things easier for her, Jess made a drawing of my face and taped it to the extra pillow on Janet’s bed. I like the resemblance and Janet likes having me with her all the time.


Today was another solid day for Janet as was the whole week. I continue to pray for complete healing and for continued increase in confidence and strength.