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. October 6. #TSJ

All day long Janet’s focus was on getting things done so she could watch the Seahawks play on Monday Night Football. Tez has a new student working with him whose worked with Janet on her stretching a couple of times now. She says he’s nice but isn’t totally sure of what he’s doing. Janet is more than willing to tolerate that as long as she doesn’t have to work too hard. Things seem to be getting done though, including some walking. After her nap I took Janet for a walk up the stairs and on the six minute course. There was a lot of complaining that ended with some acceptance of a good result. With me pulling her along, Janet did 200 meters in just under seven minutes. That’s the fastest yet but was with help and on an inside course. Still, it may boost her confidence a little.

After setting the table and grating a bunch of cheese Janet sat down for an enjoyable Skype chat with Andrew. Janet had a fair bit to say once she warmed up and really enjoyed getting caught up on Andrew news. Dinner was in the living room so we could watch the game and that of course made up the rest of the evening. Love having a football fan for a wife.

Praying for a restful night of sleep and lots of confidence for tomorrow’s activities.

Janet, A Success Story. September 7. #TSJ LOUD

It feels like forever since I posted on this blog so this may be a little wordy. Janet and I had a great almost week together at home and on the road as this seems to be the summer that never ends. That’s a good thing.

Janet went for her Botox appointment last Wednesday morning and tolerated the needles well. Dr. McCann is happy with her progress and will keep her on a four month rotation. It was clear we need to keep treating Janet’s right hand finger flexors as well as her right hamstring. Dr. McCann also gave Janet a referral to an outpatient physio program that is run out of the local Rec centres as opposed to the hospital so we will see if that will work for her once she’s home full time.

The first stop on our road trip was Bellingham Washington. The idea was to break up the driving to the Seahawks game on Thursday to allow for a rest period for Janet before the game. Janet was a good passenger for the five hours it took to get to our hotel with a few bathroom breaks along the way and a very short wait at the border. Driving to Seattle Thursday was a breeze with no bathroom breaks during that two hour trip and we were pleasantly surprised to find our room ready for us even though it was only 12:30. Janet agreed to a rest before going out into the football madness.

Quite a few years ago Janet went to her first Seahawks game and she didn’t really like it much as it was loud and “mean”. A lot has changed since then and Janet is a true fan who joined right in on all the game day fun. Even as we arrived at our hotel the streets were full of fans heading to the pre game festivities so by the time we joined them it was hard to manoeuvre Janet in her wheelchair without running into someone. Janet was amazed by the number of people in the area and marvelled when she first saw the stadium. The weather could not have been better but to be safe Janet wore jeans and sat on a little jacket that she ended up wearing for the last ten minutes of the game. Janet chose to enter the stadium early and watch the teams warm up rather than stay in the crowds outside. Good call as we were able to familiarize ourselves with the washrooms and I gave Janet a good tour of everywhere she could go in the stadium. She declined to walk down to field level though. Maybe next time.

Ready for some football!

Ready for some football!

The game itself was so much fun with Janet getting right into it being as loud as she could. I think she was as entertained by the crowd as much as she was by the game which she spent most of the time watching on the giant video board as it was hard for her to sort out what was happening on the field. As opposed to her first game Janet enjoyed the action and still can’t get over how loud the crowd is. It was a great experience and we may have to start a tradition of going to the home opener every year.
Our view of the action.

Our view of the action.

It's LOUD!

It’s LOUD!

This video will give you a little sense of what it’s like at the game. There’s nothing like being there though.

We took the long way home on Friday, after spending some time on the Seattle waterfront and at a favourite beach of ours in Bellevue then taking I-90 over the mountains before heading north to home. Janet had a tough time after leaving the beach as she was tired and never really got control of her need for bathroom breaks so that made for a long trip that also wasn’t as scenic as I had hoped.

Everyone has a pic like this right?

Everyone has a pic like this right?

Meydenbauer Beach Park

Meydenbauer Beach Park

With just enough rest Friday night we welcomed some long time friends of Janet’s to the house Saturday afternoon. Diane and Blake were in the area and stopped by for a nice visit that meant a lot to Janet. I could see the wheels turning as the discussion centred around kids and friends. After church Janet insisted on watching the finale of So You Think You Can Dance as she wanted “to see my guy win”. He did! I owe Janet a Menchie’s treat and very proud of herself for picking the winner. High five! To cap off the weekend Courtney hung out with us this afternoon to watch some tennis and get us caught up on her life. Always nice to have her around.
A nice visit with friends Blake and Diane.

A nice visit with friends Blake and Diane.

Another summer vacation is over for Janet and there were no complaints about this one not being relaxing enough and there wasn’t much protesting about returning to Connect tonight. Janet did a four hundred meter walk this afternoon and on our way back from the beach I was able to demonstrate the speed she needs to go to get 400 meters in six minutes. She was rocked by that a little and I think will put in a solid week of work as she wants to be home full time soon.

Janet, A Success Story. July 22. #TSJ

All on her own, Janet called me earlier than usual this morning to say she’d just worked a little with Tez. She thinks its very important to tell me things like that right away so I know she’s being productive. Somewhat true.

By the time I got to Connect this afternoon Janet was surprisingly still sleeping and continued to for almost an hour before waking refreshed and ready for action. Her day had been busy enough to not have had time for a bike ride so off we went to get that in before dinner. Janet complained a little once she got pedalling but by the end she was quite proud of how well she’d done. Her walking to the gym and back was excellent as it was all the rest of the night too.

Everyone else had finished dinner by the time we got to the kitchen which was OK because it allowed us to dine outside in the sun instead of inside in the air conditioning. Janet was not thrilled with the prospect of attending Games Night, I think mostly because she knew she had to walk there and back. Tez has decreed to the staff that they are to have Janet walk everywhere possible now, using the wheelchair as little as possible. That’s something I’ve been practicing for a while now so Janet shouldn’t notice much of a difference. Once Games Night got rolling Janet jumped right in and fully participated and ended the evening on a real high by being “it” for a game of Where What Who. The person who is it thinks of something to be in a certain location around the world and the rest of the group asks questions leading to their guessing what you are thinking. Usually people guess something or someone far away, Janet thought she could fool everyone by choosing herself and she did until Big Country somehow guessed correctly to everyones laughter. Janet was quite happy with herself and called that the highlight of her day. I thought the highlight should have been when I told her we got tickets to the Seahawks home opener but she put that third, behind her game playing and me coming to visit her. Awww.

Praying for a good night of sleep for Janet and continued healing.

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

Before bringing Janet home for the weekend I spoke to nurse Jen about a medication Janet has been on for a long time that may not be necessary any longer. It is given with breakfast and usually mixed in with Janet’s fruit and yogurt. We agreed to not use it this weekend then alternate days at Connect with it for a couple of weeks to see how it goes. Janet has been complaining of having to have fruit and yogurt every morning so with the lack of medicine this morning she was finally allowed to go without. She thoroughly enjoyed her toast and coffee and that was all, except for a glass of water of course.

It was such a nice Spring like day here we couldn’t resist the chance at a walk before the Seahawks game started. It was windy in spots along our route but even then still warm enough for Janet to tolerate it. Mom enjoyed seeing the neighbourhood and meeting a few of our neighbours who were out in the sun too. We got back in time for pancakes and kickoff and enjoyed a good first half. I gave Janet the opportunity to get some exercise during halftime thinking she’d do a little standing and take a few steps. She ended up using the entire fifteen minutes to circumnavigate the couch including side stepping along the back one and a half times. It was an excellent performance and certainly her longest walking session to date. I’m now even more anxious to get that AFO on her on Monday.

New Orleans made a game out of it in the second half and Janet and I were on the edge of our seats right till the end. I actually thought she may have jinxed things when she said out loud that Seattle might lose this game. Yikes. It wasn’t the case thank goodness and Janet gave one of her patented fist pumps when the deal was done.

We won!

We won!

Right after the game we headed off to church with Courtney meeting us there. Janet propelled across the parking lot again but went a little too far left and started going downhill faster than she’d like. I was right there of course but she is still nervous about that kind of thing. She conquered that fear a little by guiding herself down to our seats on her own. Her transfers were solid tonight and she stood for a decent amount of time.

After chatting with a bunch of people and a bathroom break we all went to dinner at The Minstrel Cafe and enjoyed some good food, wine and music. It was too loud to talk much however but still fun and a pleasant way for my mom to end her visit here.
We are glad she was able to be here and see our new house and how much Janet has progressed and it’s always good for Janet to hangout with someone other than me and to hear their positive comments about her.

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep that provides lots of energy for tomorrow.

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

A noticeably quieter day today as it is now just Janet and I at home for the rest of the holidays. We were up a little late last night and had to move through breakfast rather quickly in order to make it to church for eleven this morning. Janet has now graduated from needing a wheelchair designated pew so we sat in the second row and I parked her wheelchair in the lobby. Her transfer to the pew was one of her smoothest yet as I had her lined up well for some easy side stepping. Quite a number of people came by to say hi before the service and Janet is always amazed at how many people know her. Our friends Scott and Nora are in town from Chicago and Nora chatted with us for quite a while commenting that she reads the blog daily. Janet is always amazed to hear people say that and I love it when someone other than me tells her as I get to reinforce to her how many people care about her. That’s why you read this blog. Right? The socializing continued after the service as well with Janet enthusiastically greeting people as we came across them. Confidence is building?

After the standard grilled cheese lunch and once the Seahawks game was well underway Janet had a good Skype chat with her mom. She was able to offer some good detail from memory and added more with a little prompting.

Things started catching up with Janet later this afternoon and she actually fell asleep on the chaise lounge during the football game. It was only for fifteen minutes or so and needed. She woke with enough energy to get through the rest of the day nicely but only wanted to watch TV. I did get her to practice a few sit to stands from her wheelchair and she continues to improve with those but I am noticing a little less control of the right leg and wonder if we are seeing the Botox wearing off. It’s about that time, if not past it. Could also be the lack of exercise compared to normal. Never the less, her transfers are improving.

Our evening entertainment tonight was the classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. No idea why we decided to watch it other than Audrey Hepburn was gorgeous. We found some of the story lines strange but overall enjoyed it and Janet got to bed at a decent hour all set for a good night of sleep. Praying for full and complete healing.

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

Renovation Day 69. A day off for me and hopefully Randy too.

Janet and I were up a little late last night and therefore up late this morning. I woke up a few times to see Janet peacefully at rest until finally at 9:40 she opened her eyes. I don’t mind the odd sleep in day but will have to watch that over the Christmas break as it’s not a good habit for Janet to be in. The whole being at home thing has been quite relaxing this weekend and that’s good.

Relaxation was the mode of the day today and with the Seahawks game on in the background Janet did a great job making her toast and coffee. I had to cue her as to where some things were but other than that she did it all on her own. She then had a little Skype chat with Heather followed by some actual watching of the football game.

I convinced Janet to help me sort through the inside Christmas decorations as I know we have way too many and I wanted to be prepared for when the decorating takes place later this week. We did a good job purging and are now ready for Friday when both Laurel and Heather will be here and the women can do their thing.

In order to get in a little exercise I challenged Janet to walk from the dining table to the couch. A week ago there would have been significant protest to that challenge but today with her ankle brace on there was no hesitation in trying. I think she did really well. Her grip on me was tight but only to hold on to and not so much to transfer weight through like she used to. The ankle brace seems to have given her a confidence boost at least. A little later I had her walk from the bed to the toilet and she did so admirably. Our plan is to meet with Tez Tuesday so he can coach us on proper technique and hopefully provide advice on a cane. I think Janet is ready to use one for practice at least.

The thought of going back to Connect tonight didn’t make either of us happy at all. All the Christmas talk and decoration sorting along with The Santa Claus being on TV made it very hard to justify going back tonight but we did, after the movie. Janet remembered the film was shot in Oakville and recognized some of the parts of town which made watching a little more fun. Janet shocked me by asking to go for a bike ride once we got back to Connect at 9:20. She said it would help her sleep. Good call. Once in bed I read a few pages of Open to her and said goodnight as she seemed content and ready for sleep.

Thanking Jesus for the time we got to spend together this weekend and for the continued healing and strengthening. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and lots of energy for tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 27. A day off for Randy and a few hours of vacuuming drywall dust for me. Painting starts tomorrow! Here’s a few pictures of what things look like today. There will be big changes this week.



When I got to Connect I just had time to help Janet out of the bathroom then into her jersey to watch the Seahawks game. I made a comment while helping her sit on the couch that this shouldn’t be much of a game but we’ll watch a little anyways. My thoughts were Seattle would win easily, boy was I wrong. Janet continues to improve her football knowledge and despite the shaky performance of our team it was fun watching with her and we were both relieved with the win.

After sitting for most of the game Janet agreed to a bike ride and enjoyed it as much as possible by singing along to a few of the songs on the radio. She admitted to Heather during a Skype chat that she likes the bike and it get her “hair going”. As long as she enjoys it.

The majority of the evening was spent reading Not a Fan which generated some interesting observations from Janet. It was hard to read to her tonight as she sat with her eyes closed most of the time and I had to ask her what I just said often to make sure she was still with me. She was and retained a lot more of the story than I expected. I think that id we can read the chapters to be discussed at SHElife the day before she should be in a good position to contribute.

The Botox is already kicking in on Janet’s right hand and wrist as I was able to stretch her fingers out with virtually no pain and same with the wrist. The effects on the right leg should become apparent in the next couple of days especially if she keeps working hard.

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep that provides lots of energy and a positive attitude for tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 22. Closets framed in both bedrooms, countertops installed and preparation for painting is underway.

I arrived at Connect just after three to be told Janet had just gone down for a nap. Jess had taken her to KGH this morning where I met them for our regular meeting with Dr. Miller. Janet was bright and cheery and Dr. Miller continues to be “amazed” with her progress. She was praised for her ability to enunciate, stay on topic, recall from short term memory and for her sense of humour. The meeting was very positive and Janet finds Dr. Miller easy to talk to. Swimming with the group at the Y, attending SHElife and Singing With John were noted as very positive things to be doing and Janet actually admitted to liking the bike riding she’s been doing lately. Dr. Miller emphasized the usefulness of the iPad and encouraged Janet to become more proficient with it as a means to gaining more independence. He suggested taking notes on it to help her remember things and liked my suggestion of Janet learning to use the communication tools available, even the camera. I of course am all over Janet stepping up her iPad use but she is balking right now as she thinks she can’t do it. Baby steps.

After a good chat with Brian I went into Janet’s room and she was awake so we had our post nap chat in which she told me that singing with John was fun but she was unable to tell me any of the songs they sang. She knew of the plan to carve pumpkins after dinner and agreed to a bike ride beforehand. It was another record setting performance and this time Janet was actually a little winded afterwards. High Five!

We were late for dinner due to the late nap then bike ride so it was pretty much just us and Big Country at the start then Danielle got Wes carving his pumpkin which was quite entertaining. Here’s the resulting masterpiece. WesDaniellePumpkin

Janet cleaned hers out and I traced the image we decided to try and create. It turned out pretty good with some serious help from Danielle. SeahawksPumpkin


With SHElife coming up tomorrow I wanted to read some Not a Fan with Janet so she had it fresh in her head to discuss. The result was an awesome discussion on do we know about Jesus or do we know Jesus. Makes me kind of want to be at their table tomorrow night, Janet was really into it. I asked her to make notes on the iPad so she’d remember for tomorrow but she chose the old fashioned pen and paper routine. She wrote down four sentences then realized she couldn’t read her writing and stopped. Instead of switching to the iPad she insisted on watching The Voice so that was that. Half an hour into our TV time Janet was starting to fade and sat there for quite a while with a mouth full of water. She was out of it enough to have an almost scary choking episode. Since it was only water she was able to clear it but it took some effort and I cautioned her seriously to stop holding water so long in her mouth before swallowing. She didn’t seem phased by it at all and thinks I’m silly for being so concerned.

Paying for a great night of sleep and an active day of learning tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 21. Things are really taking shape now as Randy has begun work on the countertops and almost completed the crown moulding. I put in a couple of vents for the wine cabinet and cut out some drywall where the washer used to be and removed the supply lines etc. Three weeks from today our stuff gets moved in!

Jess reports that Janet had a very busy morning and Janet confirmed that during our post nap time chat. She was very bright and chatty and once I got her tuned into the start of the day she was off and running. Breakfast, she was very proud that she had coffee, the gym, no comment, helping Jess bake cookies, fun and they look really yummy but they are for Halloween, grocery shopping with Jess and one of the other residents, lunch, she helped Big Country to eat his, once a mom, always a mom. Janet was asked to use the Standing Frame while helping with the cookies but refused so I told her she was doing that with me like it or not. Willie apparently came to the lunch table with his shirt saver on backwards and Janet found that to be very funny, still laughing about it as she told me.

After that great chat it was time for a bike ride and Janet did her best ever, making a mile in twenty five minutes. She actually smiled at the end and when I reminded her of that at bedtime she smiled again and said “I know”. There was no argument about doing the Standing Frame after the bike and part way through she pointed out to me that she was putting weight through her right leg. She was and again she smiled about it. Who is this woman?

The dinner table tonight was very lively as Kieran was talking up a storm about this that and everything. The rest of the table was playing along for the most part but clearly getting tired of it when Big Country in his very soft calm voice said “Kieran, shut up”. I’ve never heard such loud laughter from everyone and it lasted a long time, in fact Janet and I laughed about it again at bedtime. That shot earned Big Country a happy face lollypop.

Janet and I spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching “the worst football game” we’ve ever seen. Thankfully Seattle won but it was so ugly we switched to The Voice at eight o’clock and just checked the game from time to time. Janet clearly likes The Voice better than football and sang along to a couple of the songs. Kieran and Wes joined us for a bit and that was fun.

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and for today’s brightness to continue forever.