Janet is often at her best when sharing and today she was doing her best to help some students learn about what she’s gone through the last couple of years. Carly, one of the staff at Connect, invited a few residents to visit her former program at Okanagan College so the students could get a first hand look, and feel, of some of the conditions their future “patients” will have. Janet loves this sort of thing and told me the students she spoke with were very nice and wanted to learn. She was in the class for a couple of hours letting students flex her arms and legs to experience the tone she has and talking about the positive effects of Botox.
Janet and the Therapist Assistant Class.
Carly saved me a trip to Connect by bringing Janet to OC. I met Janet there with her wheelchair and we walked home via the grocery store. She was pretty wound up after the session at the college and went the rest of the day without a nap. Needing only a quick reminder as to which buttons to tap on the cooktop, Janet made steamed broccoli all by herself as part of our dinner tonight. She did everything, including chopping it and filling water in the pot and figuring out when it was done. High five!
The rest of the evening was pretty chill as there is another busy weekend ahead of us. Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and has lots of energy for tomorrow.
This is one of those days where I could just post a video and let it speak for itself but there is more to today than that. Janet continues to amaze.
The first part of her day seemed routine and she was giggly and doing fine when I called at lunchtime. She was awake in bed when I arrived a few hours later and was happy to open a package from her mom while I did some light maintenance on her wheelchair. In addition to some Easter treats, the package contained info on a lecture Mary Gaga and Keith had attended given by Dr. Jessica Grahn, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies music. Check out her talk at TEDx Waterloo, it’s fascinating and we’ll be checking into her studies more as we all know Janet has benefitted hugely from music during her recovery.
We spent our pre dinner time talking and learning and after a good dinner I challenged Janet to walk back to her room. Her acceptance was reluctant of course but for once there was no real complaining during the walk. She asked a few times to stop at the Den and complained once of feeling a little dizzy. I asked her to stop and stand tall and stretch a little then she was able to power on, reaching her bed in a record smashing thirty five minutes! Her technique has improved for sure, larger steps, much larger steps with her right leg, and managing to stay on a better angle. Janet was visibly pleased when it was over, both that it was over and that she had done it. Chelsea and Curtis stopped by and encouraged her a little and when Janet stood up for a reason I can’t remember, I felt prompted to ask her to step to me without hanging onto anything. Without hesitation she made three steps toward me in succession. Chelsea agreed to be camera operator and here’s what happened next.
Janet repeatedly said she was not going to Games Night but she did and she participated well and said it was OK afterwards. Willie stopped by to tell us he was able to share his story at his church this weekend. There seems to be a lot of that going on lately. Good stuff.
After Janet shared and ate more Easter chocolate it was reading time and we shared a lot of chuckles from Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Feeling very blessed for the gains Janet is making and praying for Janet to be a willing participant in everything she’s asked to do tomorrow.
I hope everyone enjoyed as blessed an Easter as we did. It was awesome to linger this morning having nothing scheduled until a Skype chat with Leslie at 11. Janet called time to get up when she was ready and because it was Easter, I served her breakfast. Of course she wouldn’t stray from her toast and coffee except she’s added a small bowl of fresh fruit the last couple of days and I hope that trend continues. The talk with Leslie seemed to go well until some technical issues arose. I stayed away trying to have Janet fully engaged and responsible for the conversation. She seemed pleased afterward.
A couple of days ago I mentioned I would try and have Janet take some steps unassisted. She has made a few attempts with success on three occasions. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to capture them on video as I need to be right there with her and can’t control when she’ll take a “free step” so the camera angles have not been good. Hopefully we can get some this week at Connect. Janet is still very scared of trying it and doesn’t believe in herself yet but I’m going to keep pushing the envelope as we’ve now seen that she can do it.
Heidi and Jack graciously invited us for Easter dinner today and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon on the deck with great food and conversation. We are blessed to know them both and call them friends. Great day!
Returning to Connect was a possibility after Heidi and Jack’s but it was too early so I brought Janet home for a while longer and we enjoyed a stroll around the neighbourhood. One of the nice things about living here is you are pretty much guaranteed to see some of your neighbours when you go out and we saw a bunch this time which is good for Janet as she hasn’t been able to connect as much as I have. Neither of us were hungry for dinner so we scanned a bunch more pictures into the computer which Janet really enjoyed and did a good job of dating for me. She was quite giggly after singing her way back to Connect later and eagerly shared her Easter chocolates with those that were around. We read and talked and by 10:30 she still wasn’t asleep despite the lack of a nap but there were lots of yawns so I’m sure she’ll rest well.
Praying for a week of strengthening and confidence building.
Sunday started out well and ended really strong. Janet has bounced back from whatever was bothering her the last few days and by tonight was at her brightest ever it seemed.
I let her sleep in a little this morning then she got her water, meds and coffee all by herself while I showered. Usually I’m watching as she gets her breakfast but today I let her go on her own and she did fine. Our plan was to have pancakes and Janet helped me make the batter but the egg we used was from a carton that expired in February and we added too much milk so it was back to toast and peanut butter. Janet took part in the weekly Skype session with her mom and enjoyed that conversation.
The first walking attempt of the day was a good one and I continue to see improvement, especially in Janet’s ability to step with her right leg. The weather was nice enough to walk around and hangout outside for a little bit this afternoon and Janet helped me with some landscaping ideas before her nap. A half hour is better than nothing and Janet got up feeling pretty good and executed a really good walk from the bathroom to the dining table. She seems to be even gaining some speed although I’m not timing her yet.
Janet helped build a salad and we enjoyed a nice dinner with pretty amazing conversation lasting well into return to Connect time. After Janet’s surprise announcement yesterday that she wanted to share her story at SheLife I thought that would be it for amazing announcements for a while. Wrong. I helped Janet take some notes on what she wants to talk about and that lead to some very interesting comments and questions from Janet centred around what happened to her, why, how amazing it is that so many people have supported her along the way and how much she has improved. She’s finally accepting that truth and I was able to reinforce it today by showing her some old video of her 4B and Rehab days. Janet took it all in and really processed it well, asking very poignant questions without getting too emotional. A couple of hours later and Janet had a very clear picture of where she’s been and how she’s gotten to where she is today and I think it’ll stick with her now. She wants to meet Dr. Redekop and thank him for performing the surgery that gave her a chance and was intrigued by my stories of the incredible nurses at VGH ICU and would like to meet them too. I’m not sure if any of this is possible but we’ll try to make it happen. The hardest part of this journey for Janet to understand is why so many people stepped up and did so much to support her. She’s still lacking confidence but is immensely grateful to all of you for all you’ve done and I believe you’ll be hearing more about that from Janet herself soon.
Praying that Janet has a most excellent sleep and a productive Monday.
A much better day for Janet today in all areas. Only one toileting accident, some really good walking and good participation in the things we did today. I am somewhat relieved, especially in regards to the toileting thing and am still keeping an eye on her right leg. Janet didn’t complain of pain as much as yesterday and when I put her to bed tonight she said it felt fine. Cautious optimism.
Her walking was borderline exciting today as there were moments when she was pushing down nicely with the lower part of her right leg. A lot of the time she more or less drags it into position but a few times today there were strong and deliberate steps taken.
We managed a visit with John today finally. He has moved to a care home and is not too happy about it. This is a temporary stop while he waits for a room at the facility he’d like to be in. We pray that happens soon. Janet had a nice little chat with him at his dinner table and also with his table mate, a former pre school teacher from Ontario.
The highlight of the day in my opinion was when Janet “woke” from her afternoon nap, that was just a rest. She said that someone at SheLife said they would be having some of the ladies share their stories to the whole room and Janet “…would really like to tell my story”. She said a little of what she’d like to talk about and it was very sweet and insightful. I’ve prayed lots for her to be willing to share and am excited she may get an opportunity soon. The first step was to clarify what was said at SheLife so Janet emailed Heidi to find out. Who knows, maybe she’ll be writing this blog soon instead of me.
Praying that Janet has another great night of sleep so that she has energy and strength to keep on improving tomorrow.