Nine hundred eighteen days ago Janet suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm that kept her in hospital then a rehab facility until today. That was then. August 2012
This is now!
Janet is home!
I asked Janet if she was thinking of today as a day of lasts or a day of firsts and she quickly responded lasts. She couldn’t wait to get out of Connect and reminded me throughout the day that we don’t have to do this anymore and don’t have to do that anymore. There were lots of fist pumps, whoo hoo’s and huge smiles. Goodbyes are difficult for me so I was glad that Janet handled those today. I’ll be better at it next week when we go back for a farewell lunch. Janet gave everyone a nice hug and thank you as we departed this afternoon with the only emotion being happiness although she did admit in the car that it was a little sad to say goodbye as “they are good people”. Indeed.
This was not the start of any vacation for Janet, we had an appointment with Alyssa at H2O right after a quick lunch and she put Janet through a little fitness assessment so she can start building a program for her. Janet seems impressed with the facility and likes Alyssa so for the time being it looks like working out there a few times a week will be fine and may even include some pool time. Janet has agreed to try that once.
Tuckered out after the emotion of her last day at Connect followed by the fitness assessment Janet enjoyed a good nap before dinner then we took off for the church and the last SheLife session until the new year. Janet is grateful for the love and support she gets from her table mates and took a lot of compliments about her baptism testimonial tonight. She came away from the evening feeling pretty good and was quick to remind me that we were going home not back to Connect. Deserving of a treat, Janet stayed up a little late to watch The Voice and have some ice cream. Now she is snuggled up in her own bed in her own home ready to begin a new chapter.
Praying for a restful night of sleep and an energetic Thursday.
This morning, Janet successfully picked up Garrett’s phone from the floor thereby earning herself an early exit from Connect. Tomorrow Janet is moving home!
Needless to say she is very excited, as am I, and most of our time together today was spent getting ready for her departure. Brian stopped by right after nap time and Janet attempted to show him her picking up technique but wasn’t quite able to get it so she will make another attempt in the morning at making it official. The result won’t affect her coming home as that’s already been awarded to her so there’s no pressure.
While we were packing we had a surprise visit from our friend John. He finally got into the care facility he was hoping for just down the road from Connect and seems really happy about it. His move plays into Janet’s plan to help Debra with her Speech quite well as now we can come out and visit John at the same time. Janet asked Debra this morning if she’d like to do a little singing with her and she though that was a great idea. I don’t think Janet will want to start going back to Connect for that too soon but she is quite excited about helping Debra out.
Earlier in the day Tez had Janet do two six minute walking tests. The first one was using her cane and Janet went 95 meters. The second was freestyle and Janet made it 101 meters that time. She is very pleased to have made it over a hundred and that is a nice result to take to H2O for the next phase of her physio therapy.
Packing her stuff and removing decorations from Janet’s room was a bigger project than anticipated but she was very happy to help and excitedly told Heather on the phone that everything was off the walls. She did a great job separating things and even managed to donate a couple of items instead of throwing them out.
We studied a little of Janet’s SheLife materiel before Games Night where Janet engaged more than usual knowing this was her last one. When I mentioned that it will be hard for me to say goodbye to the staff Janet instructed me to “just go, bye bye” waving your hand as you say it. I know she appreciates them all and will say proper thank you’s soon but all Janet can see right now is getting out of there. As I said goodnight tonight she was like a little kid on Christmas Eve, super excited that it was her last sleep there, so much so, I’m not sure if she’ll actually sleep.
Tomorrow is the day we’ve long been working for and Janet deserves it to be happening now. I pray that she rests well tonight and enjoys her last visit to the Connect gym in the morning and that her homecoming is as special as she believes it will be.
Talkative Janet was going strong again today. I went out to Connect for what I thought would be the end of lunchtime but Janet and the others were just getting going on their meals. Janet was excited to see me, knowing she was going home for the afternoon, but instead of rushing through her meal she kept jabbering away with Wes and Brad. She was having fun and was in good form, nice to see.
During the ride home Janet was able to accurately tell me about her day so far and in a voice I could hear easily over the car noise. She sure has come a long way. She braved a cool walk with the dog before calling her own nap time at home. After helping me make a salad we enjoyed an early dinner discussing SheLife and our Christmas trip to San Diego. I’m trying to get her to stop agreeing with every suggestion I have for activities there so she can pick some herself but I think its a little too far away yet for her to really focus on it.
SheLife was good tonight according to Janet. The most impressive part for me was her calling a bathroom break in the middle of it. Maybe she is making progress on that reluctance to interrupt something. Back at Connect Janet learned that it is not a hotel after all as even though her laundry was being done when we left this afternoon, it was not put away and her bed wasn’t made when we got back. She actually expected it would be but did a good job putting her clothes away and helping me make the bed. Dare I say, a little more confident on her feet?
Praying for a long night of sleep and a confident Thursday.
As soon as Janet’s exercises were done this morning we met with Brian, Mary Lou and Jess to review Janet’s get out of Connect goals. There are only a few remaining, read to the pre school kids, operate the laundry machines, walk 200* meters in six minutes. There is an asterisk beside the 200 meters as Tez has not confirmed that as the number, in fact there is an asterisk beside all of Janet’s goals as even the ones she’s achieved don’t indicate mastery of any particular task. Everything is a work in progress and the target for Janet is to get a good baseline of abilities while at Connect. She’s well on her way to being home by the end of November.
Since SheLife was tonight, I took Janet home after the meeting. We made a stop at the grocery store on the way and Janet helped choose what to buy. She then helped make her lunch and did a great job helping with dinner after her nap. It was nice to be home for the afternoon and we realized that Janet now spends more time at home than she does at Connect. Hearing that, pleased Janet and I hope she can use that the next time she feels crummy about being there.
In trying to promote Janet’s independence I had her walk freestyle across the room to her table at SheLife tonight. She was nervous of course but did it just fine, in fact she didn’t use one piece of furniture for support along the way. Janet said she was able to contribute to the conversation and was all smiles when I picked her up. I’m really pleased she can be part of such a great group of ladies.
Praying for a good night of sleep and for a confident Janet tomorrow.
A happy Janet called me this morning wondering when I was coming out to see her. Not sure why she was so happy as it had been a routine morning for her with the exception of no Speech with Mary Lou. Janet usually likes those sessions so it wasn’t like missing a workout with Tez. She wasn’t pleased that I would be a while as Cam and I were busy cleaning out his car and doing laundry. Janet fully understands what thats like though and so do some of you.
Janet was sitting on the edge of her bed when I got to her room, ready to get up from her nap. She had partially dressed herself and is getting better at that week by week despite complaining that its too hard. Still in a good mood she agreed to practice her six minute walk test before leaving for dinner and SheLife. The course that Tez had laid out in the upstairs hallway had been partly destroyed so I had to guess where the thirty meter turning point was before starting Janet on her way. I followed close behind her the whole way and in six minutes Janet unofficially traveled ninety five meters. Or ninety or eighty five, somewhere in that ballpark. A significant improvement over the last time and much better than I expected. Janet was going for it the whole time and was pleased with the result herself. Now she just has to give that same effort tomorrow with Tez and every other time she’s walking.
To kick off another season of SheLife Janet and I stopped for Chinese Food before going to the church. This was the first wheelchair free visit to the Asian Pear and Janet did a great job serving herself at the buffet and cleaned her plate with very little spillage. Quite a difference from the first time we went there. The welcome for Janet at SheLife was warm as expected and she was really touched by how caring the ladies there are to her. Tonight was more of a get to know each other night rather than study time so Janet was able to talk a lot about her summer activities and more. She had a good time and is glad to be back.
There was one more chance to see Cam before he heads to North Vancouver tomorrow and that just happened to include some frozen yogurt. We tried a place called Goji’s which is right close to the church and we all found it to be quite yummy.
Praying for Janet to have an overflow of confidence in her ability to do anything she puts her mind to.
I picked Janet up today just as she was finishing her lunch and brought her home for the afternoon as we were going to the church this evening. Janet’s morning had been pretty routine and she was as eager as ever to get out of Connect.
To take advantage of our time at home and before she got too tired I asked Janet to get a pot of water boiling on the cooktop to see if she could do it without coaching. If I was grading her out of ten I’d give her an eight on this attempt. I’m not quite ready to give her credit for achieving that goal yet, she’d need a ten out of ten, but expect to this weekend. Next up was a 400 meter walk and although she did it, the speed is still slow and the nervousness continues to control Janet. I’m really pleased she agreed to do it and she didn’t argue about being cane-less in the house either. In fact she was also wheelchair-less for this entire outing. Pretty cool.
The coolness continued when we got to the church. The event was a Small Group info night and we hoped to recruit a few people into ours. Instead, it turned into a bit of a SheLife reunion for Janet as most of her table mates were there and hadn’t seen her all summer. Nor had they seen her walking around on her own. Very cool. SheLife starts again next week so this was a good teaser for Janet in what’s to come.
Back at Connect we got to meet the newest resident in Janet’s house, Brad, who just arrived from West Vancouver a few minutes ahead of us. Seems like a nice guy with a good support team around him. Should liven up the dinner table nicely.
Praying that Janet has a sound night of sleep and has lots of confidence to work hard tomorrow.
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.
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.
When I checked in with Janet at lunchtime today she was sounding quite cheery and energetic. Her morning had been good and included a long walk, Janet said to the gym, Jess corrected it was to the living room. The fact that Janet was excited about it is great and she continued to act positively when I got to Connect to take her to SheLife.
I arrived early thinking we’d go bathing suit shopping but an old pair of shorts and one top still barely fits Janet and will do for tomorrow so the shopping can wait for some rainy day. Tez wants Janet to wear her AFO in the pool with some water shoes on her feet and I forgot to take them to Connect so we went home to see if any fit and decided to stay for our first outside dinner of the year.
Al fresco dining in April. #whywelivehere
The water shoes will do for tomorrow. I mentioned Janet was in a pretty positive mood and one example was her eagerness to walk from her room to the car. It was if she expected to do that and never even mentioned her wheelchair. It was fun walking out in the sun with her and we did it again at church as Janet walked from the car to her table at SheLife, a distance I later stepped out as 215 feet. By far her longest yet and it included going up two ramps, one about 30 feet long. Her steps were strong and deliberate most of the time with a little more wobbliness than I’d like but that will change. The fact she had the energy to go that far is impressive.
With a big smile on her face Janet excitedly told me how she “actually contributed tonight”. She managed to talk about patience and how she could be really angry or sad about what’s happened to her but she’s not. It was a fun car ride back to Connect as Janet talked about the positive things in her life.
My time with Janet today was very refreshing and uplifting and a great antidote to what had happened earlier. My cousin and second cousin both work at the mill in Nanaimo where the shooting took place this morning and there were some anxious moments in waiting to hear if they were OK. They are but were shaken by what took place. We also received word that our friend Wendy in Nanaimo is in ICU after a botched procedure to remove kidney stones. Janet’s table prayed for her tonight and I ask you to do the same.
Remember those toileting issues Janet was having recently? They appear to be gone, at least for now. Janet had just rung her alarm when I walked into her room this afternoon. She had been in bed for an hour and a half, not sleeping she says, and needed to go to the bathroom. Often this requires some pretty fast action but today she said there was time to put her AFO and shoes on and I actually had her walk to the toilet. She held it all the way and walked back out when finished. High five!
After a little chat and opening a very nice card made by our neighbour Bonnie, we headed out for dinner and SheLife and arrived at the church with lots of time for a bathroom break and some walking. Janet did the same distance she’d done the first time walking into SheLife and did it considerably faster tonight. I’m still not happy with her tendency to walk a little sideways but she’s working on it. Janet enjoyed the session tonight and was happy she got to share Willie’s story with her table. Other than that, she said she didn’t say much but enjoyed listening to the discussion.
Back at Connect while Janet was taking her meds and enjoying some Easter chocolate we watched another TEDx talk from Dr. Grahn. This one was on the myth that listening to Mozart makes you or your baby smarter. There is one line in the talk that I thought really pertained to Janet, watch it and let me know what you think it is.
Praying that Janet realizes full and complete healing soon.
During my lunchtime phone call with Janet I encouraged her to have an early nap as we had to leave earlier than usual to get in a doctor appointment before SheLife. No surprise that when I got to Connect, Janet was hanging out in the living room and telling me she couldn’t sleep. Oh well, I was confident the adrenaline would keep her going and it did, she even managed a 23 minute walk down the hallway before we left.
Her doctor doesn’t feel there is anything physiological causing Janet’s “accidents”. She feels it’s more likely Janet is distracted or stressed at the time, which makes sense in a lot of ways looking back on the incidents. The plan for the next little while is to ask and encourage Janet to go to the bathroom more frequently and assure her that it’s OK to stop what she’s doing and go. She reminded us that although Janet is improving overall, the rate of improvement will not be constant. There will be moments of decline but overall the trend will continue upwards. I’m glad we went to the doctor about this and now I can be more patient and understanding going forward. As a side note Janet’s Dilantin levels were nicely in the therapeutic range so it’s safe to say that is not a contributing factor.
The doctor’s appointment ran late leaving us very little time for dinner and we arrived at Trinity with just enough time for a pee break and a quick run through of Janet’s speech. She was pretty amped up heading into this as were her table mates.
After her run through
She did a fabulous job standing at the podium confidently and speaking clearly and loudly. Janet ad libbed a lot of it, maybe in part because I forgot to give her her reading glasses, but mostly because she really wanted to speak to the ladies rather than read to them. It worked and she made all of the points she wanted to make. Here is the video.
And here is her original script. SHELife Speech
Janet was very pleased she made her speech tonight and was surprised at the reaction she got. I’m not. As I said goodnight I told her she was awesome and her reply was, “I’m wasn’t awesome but sure was on tonight”. Indeed you were Janet.
Praying thankfully for all that Janet has accomplished, for everyone that has helped along the way and that this is only the beginning of more improvement.