Janet, A Success Story. May 5. #TSJ

Its a good thing Janet got lots of rest over the weekend as today was a big work day for her. Jess had her in the gym and walking this morning. Wendy had her and the other residents filling out daily schedules that they need to follow and check things off as they complete them. Janet was not thrilled with that idea as she doesn’t “like people telling me what to do”. When I explained it was a way for her to map out what she had to do each day she was more accepting of it. All this info is on Janet’s calendar on her iPhone so I guess its time to teach her how to access that better.

Nap time was without sleep again for the most part and Janet admitted to being “out of it” as I helped her get up. To her credit she suggested doing something active to get herself going again so off to the Shuttle we went. Janet is slowly getting stronger and more able to control her right leg. The increases are minimal but there. Her effort was good and overall she showed stronger than a week ago. It took a lot of convincing but Janet got onto the Tilt Table next and tolerated it for thirty minutes. I was impressed by her ability to stand on her right leg for a count of four or five and pleased that she’s starting to recognize the benefits her left leg receives when she shares the load with the right.

Karl’s chicken curry was too spicy for Janet so we switched dinners tonight then started the real work, walking. Janet is pleased with her new shoes and I notice more stability for the left foot with them and we had a nice warm up walk from the kitchen to her room. That used to be the absolute extreme for Janet, now its a warm up. After a break and chat in her room we headed back to the kitchen to ask Chelsea if she would assist with the sling. Janet was nervous about doing this but is starting to understand the safety aspect of it and I think thats what allowed her to agree to do it tonight. Compared to her first attempt last Thursday she was a hundred times better tonight. After a forced fall to better understand the equipment Janet walked around the course really well and without complaining until she got tired. Her cornering was great and as long as she keeps momentum she walks quite well. Fear still controls her a little but I saw a lot of confidence creeping through tonight. The last walk of the night came as a trip to get her meds and feeding off that increase in confidence I had Janet free walk from her bed to the door of her room. She made it half way in what was her best free walk yet. I’m excited for what tomorrow brings as hopefully Tez will work on the sling with her and hopefully I can be there.

“Exhausted” after all that walking Janet was happy to sit down and reply to some emails. She typed one to her mom with very little help from me then voiced a couple of others as the concentration it took to type wore her out a little. Or maybe a lot as she was asleep before ten as I read to her.

Praying for continued improvement in Janet’s walking abilities and the confidence to keep working hard.

Janet, A Success Story. April 15. #TSJ

A nice bounce back by Janet today. No accidents, good workouts, good reading practice on her SheLife speech and even a little participation in Games Night.

Janet seemed in a good mood when I called her at lunch time. Jess had taken her to the lab for another blood test in preparation for her doctor appointment tomorrow and she had gone for a bike ride and some stretching. When I arrived at Connect I was surprised to find Janet in the living room “supervising” Brian and a wheelchair tech working on Big Country’s new wheelchair. She had napped a little bit and was eager to practice her SheLife speech so that’s what we did first. The more she read it the better she got and as long as she doesn’t over rehearse and has a good nap tomorrow afternoon she should do well.

Chelsea joined us in the gym to learn Janet’s Shuttle routine. I hadn’t seen Janet on the Shuttle for a while and was impressed with her effort. I’d say there is some improvement since last time. After dinner Janet managed a decent walk from her room to the lobby, which is about fifty feet away. I hope to talk to Tez about helping Janet to walk straight ahead instead of angling to the right as she mostly does. She doesn’t quite understand that she’s doing it even after I tried to show her how much shorter she’d have to go if she went straight. Anyways, it took a lot of convincing to get her to practice walking tonight but when she did she did well. I had her take a few steps holding onto me so I could gage how much she’s using the cane and there was hardly any pushing down on my arm leading me to think she could take a step completely free but she’s scared to try. The idea of practicing that in the pool crossed my mind but I didn’t mention it to Janet yet.

It was a struggle again to get Janet to go to Games Night and this time she didn’t participate much except for singing the Barney theme song during a guessing game. There was one more reading of her speech, which was too much that late in the day, then some email replying to do before bed. Praying that Janet is well rested, confident and focussed for all that she’s asked to do tomorrow.

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

Janet rang her pendant for help just as I arrived at Connect this afternoon. She had been lying down for a while so I figured she was wanting to get up and she was but she was a little confused in thinking it was Tuesday and that I hadn’t been to visit her Monday. I think she had a moment of really deep sleep that caused that disorientation as I didn’t sense anything the matter with her. The daily report I got from her was typical in that she said she went to the gym for a long time but couldn’t remember what she had done. Once she was up, the first thing she wanted to do was figure that out. Chelsea looked in her chart and it was noted that Janet had done everything except the Shuttle so she readily agreed to go and do that straight away to get it over with.

The encouragement I’ve been giving Janet lately has been to do her best at anything she’s asked to do and she did just that on the Shuttle. I was especially impressed with her use of her right leg. She was able to push out a good distance on her own then slowly let it go back but not all the way before pushing out again. That kept tension on her leg the entire time and I have to believe is a more efficient and effective technique. High five!

With a little bit of time before dinner Janet checked emails then asked me to read a bit while she was awake enough to pay attention. For the first time with this book I got some laughter from her along with some good comments on what was taking place.

The house had a movie night tonight and everyone gathered in the living room to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Janet has seen it before but until she saw the “bring out your dead” scene she didn’t remember it. She vaguely remembers giving coconut shells to her preschool classes and having them pretend to be horses but I remember her telling me how much the kids loved doing that not knowing the idea came from that movie. Janet laughed a few times but overall thought it quite the silly movie and it is.

Reading at bedtime went better than usual as Janet was more awake than usual after that good afternoon nap. We had a good talk about the positives from today and how she needs to try her hardest when working with Tez tomorrow. Praying that she follows through.

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

No phone call from Janet today, she was too busy. Tez had her in the gym and up at the parallel bars where Janet “walked” a couple of laps using a cane while in the sling. Tez insists that is the safest way and Janet didn’t complain much to me about it so maybe she feels a little better about it now. She did say the walking was very hard and she doesn’t think that’s the way to start really walking again. Janet says she will just “get up and go, in a couple of days”.

I could see Janet as I rounded the corner into the Connect parking lot as she stood in the Standing Frame. Its funny being able to see her like that, taller than she really is. Dinner followed the standing with Janet doing an excellent job cutting her ham with a rocker knife. Most meals don’t require such cutting so it had been a while since I’d seen Janet use the rocker and I’m impressed with her improved skills.

Janet asked to work on her SheLife stuff for tomorrow after dinner and I have to admit I found it a little overwhelming myself. We ended up just reading the associated Bible story which Janet followed well and asked some good questions of. She still doesn’t think she gets it but I can’t see what else there is to get. Her questions were exactly what I would ask and seem to be totally appropriate discussion points for her group. Hopefully things go well for her tomorrow night.

The only exercise Janet didn’t do before my arrival today was the Shuttle and she turned in another fine performance this evening which earned her the right to choose the rest of her night. Olympics it was and she really enjoyed the Slope-style skiing and the figure skating, so much so that there was no time left for reading. So ended a strong day for Janet and I pray she gets a solid night’s sleep and has a productive Wednesday.

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

I got a wake up call this morning. I always get nervous when I see Connect on my call display and Janet is not with me. This time is was her, sigh of relief, and she wanted to know if we were going to see her Dad for his birthday today. Hmmm. Dad lives in Ontario and his birthday is in June. Not sure why Janet thought that was happening but she was so certain of it the Jess let her call me. She never did figure out why but wasn’t really bothered by it either. Janet did mention she did not sleep well and she rang her pendant to get up at 5:45. By noon she was asking to have a nap. No kidding.

When I got to Connect this afternoon Janet was still sleeping, she woke briefly and wanted to get up but something told me to let her sleep a little more. I told her ten minutes and she slept for twenty then had good energy the rest of the day. Her gym session this morning went well and I got to take her on the Shuttle for the first time in a while before dinner. She showed a little more control of her right leg and without knowing it, pushed her heaviest weight with two legs yet. Speaking of heavy, Janet excitedly announced that she gained weight again last month and now thinks she’s really getting to be too big. No chance.

After a quiet dinner Janet did some of her Speech Therapy worksheets while I watched. She completed three pages of grouping things in categories and only got two questions wrong. High five! Her Skype conversation with Andrew was animated and happy. It had been a while since they’ve connected and even though Janet had trouble thinking of what to talk about a couple times, the conversation flowed well and Janet really enjoyed it.

While waiting to use the Standing Frame we finished reading Open. Janet and I both got a little emotional was we read the final pages and consider it to be one of the best biographies we’ve ever read. We were even able to watch a YouTube clip of Andre Agassi’s speech after his last match so Janet could see and hear the emotion from him and the crowd lucky enough to be there. A very fun reading experience. Next up is Nelson Mandela’s A Long Walk to Freedom.

Janet tolerated a good session with the Standing Frame while watching some Olympics then called her own bedtime. Praying for a long night of uninterrupted deep and healing sleep and a productive tomorrow.

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

It was back to the pool today for Janet after a couple of weeks off. Her complaining hasn’t changed and neither has her swimming ability except for the time she drank a little water from the deep tank and I had to pull her to edge so she could cough it up. Scarier for me than her. In the kiddie pool Janet did some great standing and knee bends with a decent amount of push from her right leg. There was a two year old girl in the pool at the same time as us and she made a point of staring down Janet every time she jumped in and she wouldn’t jump until Janet was watching. Kid magnet.

After a short nap Janet cooperated with me and did a good session on the Shuttle and a better one than yesterday on the bike. I’d say she’s making small gains on the Shuttle and the bike is going to take a while.

Ed Mitchell is a counsellor who comes in every Tuesday morning and facilitates a group discussion for the residents of Connect. Janet has been but is not really interested. Tonight Ed started a group for the spouses and families of the residents so I went to see what this guy is all about. Ed is a nice guy who is offering his services to help anyone who wants, unfortunately tonight me and Willie’s wife were the only two there. The intent is to meet once a month on Thursday evenings but I’m not sure I want to give up that time with Janet as all she did while I was there tonight was watch TV. Nice idea, but.

I convinced Janet to do forty five minutes in the Standing Frame before heading off to her room to plan meals for the weekend and read Open. She was disappointed we couldn’t watch any tennis tonight and didn’t last long with me reading either as she stared snoring four pages in. That’s a good thing and hopefully she snores all night. Praying for lots of energy and a positive attitude for tomorrow that enables Janet to keep working hard like she did today.

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

Janet had just let herself down from the Standing Frame as I walked into the living room at Connect this afternoon. She was in good spirits and knew it was time to get down. Jess said Janet had refused all offers to go to the gym today as well as the group chatting session that happens every Tuesday morning. Janet was pretty cranky about it all as we talked and could have used a nap but I vetoed that idea as she slyly used it as an excuse not to go to the gym. I spent the entire evening trying to convince Janet to keep working hard to reach her goal. I think I had some success as she agreed to a Shuttle and bike session before dinner. She did really well on the Shuttle despite being quite cranky but had the weakest one legged pedal on the bike she’s had. There was no hint of an ability to pull her leg back up after pushing down. On the flip side, her attempts to stand from her wheelchair were brilliant again today.

There certainly is no shortage of an appetite with Janet and even long time resident and professional eater, Chris, agreed she was giving him a run for his money. Janet finished dinner and an apple long before most folks were finished their dinner and she gets a real kick out of the attention given to her eating prowess.

Hanging out in her room for a bit Janet got caught up on some email correspondence and is getting good at using the voice to text function in Gmail. I had brought a jar of pennies to her room long ago with the intention of practicing counting and finally decided to do that tonight. Janet thought it was a silly idea at first but when paired with rolling them up to deposit in the bank she was all for it. I asked her to count out groups of fifty pennies and she did so very methodically, placing stacks of two side by side and counting the stacks periodically until she had twenty five of them. I was impressed with her mathematical ability and her only real challenge was in counting the stacks and that was mostly a vision thing. Once she learned to touch them as she counted she was fine.

The gym was too busy when we went down to try and do some of the new exercises for Janet’s right leg and that made her a little happy. She got to have me read a little before we went to watch some tennis. Janet sat very still and focused on the TV, not saying much or reacting much but when she did she came up with observations that were accurate and well timed. She laughed as we left to get ready for bed saying “I really like watching that for someone who doesn’t play”. When I told her they have wheelchair tennis and we should try it in the Spring, she retorted with “I won’t be in a wheelchair then”. Now that’s the attitude I want to see all the time.

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

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

Garrett and Karl ran Janet through a pretty busy first half of the day so when I got to Connect she was finishing a nap. The new exercise routine had been followed well we found out from Tiffany as Janet couldn’t remember exactly what she’d done other than stand on the two scales. The AFO continues to fit fine and once up from her nap Janet was eager to do more exercise so she could be done with it. She had a good workout on the Shuttle, all right leg stuff with me trying hard not to support her leg too much. Her one legged pedalling on the bike was noticeably better than yesterday and Janet was able to go at a steady enough pace to not feel it was stupid.

We stayed for dinner at Connect and Janet transferred nicely to and from the dinner table. Afterwards, we drove to UBCO to watch some basketball and I had Janet propel herself to our car then from the car into the gym. I don’t think she’s too thrilled about this new level of responsibility but she’s doing extremely well at it with the only obstacle being her fear of going too fast on a downhill part. Transferring from wheelchair to seat at the game was a little more challenging because of the weight of the AFO. Janet has to step up a one foot ledge to get to the seating level and needs a lot of assistance in doing so but made it. Our timing was perfect as it was halftime in the women’s game and we left at halftime of the men’s game. The games were entertaining with the women winning a close one and the guys holding an unexpected lead at the half. It’s just too late for us to stay for all the guys game though and their game is a little too fast for Janet to really follow. She gets the women’s game pretty good now.

Getting back into her wheelchair to leave UBCO was much easier than getting out as it was down hill and Janet confidently wheeled out of the gym in a nice straight line in front of quite a large crowd. I thought she might feel a little awkward doing that but not so. We finished the night off with some good tennis and ice cream and Janet being very pleased to be home.

Prying for a deep and re-energizing sleep and a productive tomorrow.

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

Janet was waiting for me in the living room at Connect in anticipation of our meeting with Tez this morning and waisted no time in getting on with it. The AFO seems to fit Janet well, she complained of a little irritation on her ankle bone last night but all was well today as she was wearing longer socks. Tez took her through the basics of getting out of her wheelchair, instructing Janet to get as far forward on the seat as possible before trying to stand. That works every time but Janet often forgets. Although walking all the way to the kitchen last night was a significant accomplishment, Tez wants to return to basics as far as Janet’s walking goes. She is still reluctant to put much weight through her right leg and has very little control of her right quadriceps, if any. We had Janet stand with each foot on a scale and she was putting about thirty pounds on the right leg, all the rest of her weight was through her left leg. Tez believes confidence is a huge part of this issue and has developed some exercises to help build strength in that leg and therefore confidence. For the next few weeks there will be no long walks but a lot of standing, Shuttle, bike and stretching work with the focus being on the right leg. The bike rides will consist of a warm up period using both legs followed by pedalling with only her right leg. Same on the Shuttle combined with everyday use of the Standing Frame and lots of free standing as on the scales. Jess joined us in the gym later and showed me the new mat exercises for Janet. Both involve “bridging” which forces Janet to activate her quads. These can be done at home too as can the standing of course.

That was a full morning so to give Janet a break I brought her home for lunch before her doctor appointment this afternoon. Her transfers in and out of the car with the AFO were excellent and I can sense Janet is more confident in those situations. The doctor visit was good with no major issues to discuss and Janet will return in March for a full check up, something she hasn’t had since well before she got sick.

Back at Connect Janet was determined to get her exercises over and done with so foregoing a nap it was off to the gym she went. After a warm up on the Shuttle, Tez popped in and coached us through what he’d like Janet to do on that machine. It was a huge help and a real eye opener to see just how little Janet has been using her right leg. I’ve always supported that leg while she’s worked on the Shuttle and realized today that that was enabling her to use it in a way that circumvents the quadriceps. Tez agreed that no support and the minimum weight is the way to go now and to try and force Janet to use those muscles. She had a very solid workout and I think will actual enjoy the Shuttle more using it this way. Next up was the Standing Frame and although she was visibly tired, Janet stood nice and straight for forty five minutes. After dinner we were back in the gym for some one legged bike riding. Again, we are back to basics here, at the lowest level and with me assisting on the upward part of each revolution. Janet didn’t enjoy this ride very much and I think measurable goals will be hard to show her for a while. I hope she hangs in there.

Janet was eager to read Open tonight and we were able to YouTube another scene out of the book to bring it to life again. Very cool. She didn’t last long watching tennis tonight after a physically demanding day. Praying for a deep and healing sleep tonight and a productive day tomorrow.

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

Mom and I arrived at Connect just after lunch and found Janet waiting in the living room for us. She was in good spirits and willingly gave Mom the tour which inevitably stopped by the gym. Janet reported that she had done some stretching in the morning and that was all, Garrett confirmed that, so with some mild protesting I got Janet onto the Shuttle. I haven’t had her on that machine for a long time and was pleased to see that where we usually start from is now too easy for her. The amount she can push with one leg remains about the same as before and she continues to get good extension despite the lack of Botox right now. Janet gave it a good effort and I felt better about her leaving for the weekend having done some strengthening exercise.

We took a long way home trying to give my Mom a look around Kelowna a bit. Probably took a little too long as Janet actually agreed to a nap when we got home. She was refreshed after her nap and we all had a brief Skype chat with Brittney. The connection wasn’t the greatest but it was nice to see her and Ethan.

Making pizzas was next and again Janet wasn’t following directions very well. I asked her to turn on the oven, something she’s done many times with no help, and she seemed to have no clue what she was doing. I got a little mad at her and intentionally didn’t ask her to do much more after that other than stir fry her chicken, which she did a good job of. She also built a good pizza for herself and ate really well but was quiet and a little distant.

With no real plan for the evening we decided to watch Mama Mia as Janet insisted she’d never seen it and I was intent on proving her wrong. As soon as she heard the opening music she remembered and was singing along. Her command of the lyrics to those songs is not great so her singing was a lot more reserved tonight but she enjoyed the movie and the quiet evening.

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep that provided lots of energy for a productive day tomorrow. Go ‘hawks!