singing

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

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much stuff there is to do in getting up in the morning and each time Janet and I get up I think we are off to a good start on the day. That is until I look at the clock and see its taken forty five minutes to get to where we are having breakfast and it’s no longer early morning. In fact, not far from here, it’s no longer morning at all. Such was the case today but it was ok as we had a very adaptable schedule.

The first commitment was the weekly Skype chat with Mary/Gaga who had to wait a little beyond her scheduled time as we were watching the women’s championship match from the Aussie Open and wanted to wait to pause at the end of a very exciting first set. Janet conversed well but asked me for help on more than her usual number of questions. The only reason I can think of for that is she was really caught up in the tennis and couldn’t think of much else. We watched the rest of the match after Skypeing and when I asked Janet what she wanted to do next she said, relax, as “I was all nervous about the tennis”.

We did practice a little standing and walking even though Tez said not to walk. I’m scared Janet will forget how so I’m going to have her do a little anyways. When we purged our old house we filtered out a lot of Janet’s recipe collection but were still left with a large stack of paper. I’ve slowly put some of the recipes into an app on Janet’s iPad but there are a lot to go. Thankfully Janet’s friend Janet F. asked for a recipe today so we were able to enter it and then email it to her. Janet read me the ingredients as I typed and then she dictated the email to Janet F. Another project started. Yeah.

Janet did a good job making her lunch today then opted for a nap before church. She slept for an hour and a half and was a new person when she woke. During our drive to church she was quite stern about informing me that she was not propelling herself in from the parking lot as it’s “too hard”. Janet has been using the words “too hard” a lot lately when trying to get out of something. Each time I explain she’s done before what she’s being asked to do therefore it’s not “too” hard. She might be starting to agree. Naturally she very competently wheeled herself into church and did an excellent transfer into her seat. The music tonight had Janet standing and smiling and singing away for all but one song and she even leaned over to me after the first one to say “that was a fun song”. Cathedral Made of People by Downhere if you want to check it.

We enjoyed a quiet evening at home, making dinner together and watching The Breakfast Club. Janet was on point the whole time and enjoyed the movie. It is a classic. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep, full and complete healing and a productive tomorrow.

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

The Singing With John “concert” was at full volume when I got to Connect this afternoon with Janet smiling and singing one of the new songs we provided to John. He doesn’t know many of them and seemed a little overwhelmed but when you see and hear Janet singing them you just want to work with her. One song in particular, John even congratulated Janet on being in tune! Big Country joined in for a little bit and his voice is gaining strength along with Janet’s.

Jess reported that the day had been very busy so far with Janet getting in a good bike ride, a good stretching session and some laps walking around the parallel bars. On top of that, Tez spent some time with her doing some new exercises designed to strengthen her right leg and help Janet gain control of moving it forwards and backwards and to the side. Walking moves. We are skipping swimming this week in favour of a coaching session with Tez and the new AFO. Should be fun.

After putting away her laundry and helping to make her bed Janet agreed to an attempt at napping. She slept for about an hour and then was able to complete a good session on the Shuttle before dinner. Her overall leg strength is improving and more notably her right leg is gaining strength slowly. She worked hard to push the heavy weight I gave her and she did well. The increased strength is helping her transfers as well which was proved by the excellent one she did at the dinner table, earning her a round of applause from Big Country. As she was starting to get ready for bed she popped out of her wheelchair almost effortlessly to a standing position and looked at me with a big smile. I asked her what that was for and she said “I didn’t think I could do it”. Silly kid.

Janet read a little of Open to me tonight for a change. Just one paragraph but she nailed all twenty eight words, needing prompting on just one. That’s the best stretch of reading she’s done with me and she repeated it hours later. Nice. Reluctantly she agreed to a Standing Frame session before bed and tolerated it for forty five minutes. I can see where not being able to straighten her right leg is hindering her walking so anything we can do to stretch those hamstrings will help. Janet is not happy about being put back in the Standing Frame and wants to ask Tez on Thursday if its necessary. We both know what he’ll say but I think its good for her to ask.

It really was a busy day for Janet and even with the nap she was tired enough to call bedtime at 8:30 and by 9:30 with me reading to her she was asleep. Praying for a night of rejuvenating rest and a day full of energy tomorrow.

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

I’m keeping this one intentionally short as its Christmas and all. Janet had a good day, a little quiet but she said it was a good one. The kids walked with her to the local Starbucks in the sunshine and Janet really enjoyed that. The girls helped her get dressed for church and Janet is really starting to enjoy wearing dressier clothes again. She looked beautiful tonight and made it through until after ten without a nap. There were moments where I wasn’t sure she would make it and I nagged her a little about drinking water hoping that would keep her energy up. She had enough energy to get mad at me for nagging her and I guess that’s a good thing. At church Janet stood the longest she has yet and said afterwards that she intended to stand longer tonight. High five!

Joy to the World

Joy to the World

Joy!

Joy!

I feel truly blessed to be able to have Janet home for an extended stay this Christmas and am especially happy with how well she is able to participate in our family activities. As an example, we played a little Pictionary tonight and Janet drew a couple of things that her team guessed correctly and she even gave enough good clues that her team guessed correctly on one turn of Catch Phrase. Not only that, Janet can recite a fair bit of Twas the Night Before Christmas by heart too. We did one attempt with me prompting her from the book and I never had to give her more than three words and she would complete the next two or three lines. Such a massive change from a year ago when she had just transferred to Connect.


Janet and I wish you all a very blessed Christmas!

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

Today was the good part of Christmas and the bad part of Christmas all rolled into one, in my opinion. That’s not how Janet feels though as she enjoyed her entire day. First on the agenda was our new tradition called the Mall Blitz. In the true spirit of Christmas we’ve all agreed to drastically reduce the number of presents and the dollars spent on them to where we draw names in the mall and race off to spend thirty dollars in thirty minutes on the person whose name you drew. Sounds like fun to a lot of you I’m sure and I admit, the concept is fine by me too. I only hate it when I’m actually doing it. Helping Janet was almost fun and she secured her gift really quickly but when it became my turn I did not have fun and wound up getting way too stressed which took my mind away from caring for Janet thereby missing an opportunity for a washroom break. Janet called her own break ten minutes later but by that time it was too late. That made me even madder but thankfully the kids stepped in and kept Janet entertained while I quietly fumed my way through most of the rest of the day.

Janet enjoyed a lively lunch table followed by wrapping presents with me while the kids did a grocery shop. She wrapped all of the presents we had and showed good command of the concept, picking out the paper she wanted for each one and folding with her one hand as well as I can with two. We broke the rules this year by getting stockings for those kids that are here as Janet really likes that part of gift giving and I want her to enjoy herself as much as possible. She helped me fill those then went and helped Laurel and Heather wrap some more presents. Watching her happily carry and place them under the tree was quite sweet.

We had talked a while ago about seeing a movie while the kids were here and tonight seemed the best night to try and do that. Janet was excited about the idea so after dinner we drove off to see Saving Mr. Banks. This was the first time in a movie theatre since Janet got sick nineteen months ago and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out the wheelchair area seats are pretty good ones and we picked a good Janet movie to see. It’s the story of Walt Disney and his pursuit of the rights to make the Mary Poppins books into a movie. Naturally there are scenes that include the songs from the movie and you can guess what Janet did during those. She wasn’t too loud as to disturb anyone around us but loud enough that Laurel could hear her from three seats away. Watching her sing with a big smile on her face there was no way I was going to tell her to stop. With no nap today I was a little concerned she might not make it through a two hour movie but she did so easily and loved talking about it afterwards with everyone. She was not able to catch on to the way the story was told but understood the basics and remembered Disneyland from the scenes there. It was a lot of fun and begin out doing something with then family like that is a good thing about Christmas. I now also know we can go to more movies with no real concerns.

After a little dessert and movie talk at home Janet called bedtime saying goodnight excitedly knowing tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a day of celebration tomorrow.

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

I never got a chance to talk to Randy today but I am declaring the renovation complete as of yesterday! Seventy three days of hard work by Randy to turn a nice house into our home. Thanks and great job!

Jess and Garrett thankfully put Janet through her paces this morning knowing this was the last chance before the Christmas break. A shower, the Shuttle, the bike, stretching, a full meal deal and Janet seemed pleased about it in telling me how it all went. She knows she needed to take advantage of the opportunity before coming home. The atmosphere around Connect has been very positive lately and combined with the goal of coming home has helped Janet to stay focused. Everyone from her house was in the lobby taking a group photo when I arrived and Janet very loudly invited me into it. Her voice has really improved over the last month and I credit the singing, including the antics at the dinner table with Big Country.

We got all packed up and made the snowy drive home with Janet getting excited when she recognized we were on a street very close to the house. After a happy reuniting with Heather and some lunch the girls got down to the business of decorating.
HJLDecorating
There was singing and laughing and in the end, a very Christmassy looking home. Janet contributed by directing Laurel and Heather at times and by hanging ornaments on the tree. It sounded like fun and wore Janet out just enough that she agreed to a little siesta before dinner. Laurel and Heather made dinner for us tonight and it was really nice to sit down and enjoy a home cooked meal. I reminded Janet her wheelchair is for moving around in and if she’s going to be in a certain spot for a long time she should be in a real chair. Following that policy Janet did a lot of standing transfers today, most of which were pretty good and I’m sure will improve over the holidays. One thing that has improved for Janet is her awareness regarding going to the bathroom. As long as she’s awake she is able to get to the toilet on time almost always, certainly enough to try going without the pull up briefs she’s been wearing for so long and switch into panty liners during the day. Today was day one and it was a success.

Neither of the girls had seen the Carrie Underwood version of The Sound of Music yet so Janet was all over watching that with them after dinner. I’m sure this marks well past the hundredth time Janet has seen some version of the story and she seems to enjoy it equally each time, singing almost word for word the whole way through.

Today was a good start to Christmas for Janet and tomorrow promises more excitement as Cam arrives in the evening. Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and a fun day tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 61. A day off, I hope, for Randy. A day of decorating and organizing for Janet and I.

Our house finally felt like a home Friday night when it was full of friends and it felt like a home this morning as Janet and I slept in big time. For once there was nothing scheduled until church in the evening so we took our time getting up and having breakfast with Janet admitting she didn’t wake up at all overnight. Quite the change from the “terrible” sleeps she used to have. In fact she was sleeping so quietly at one point I had to make sure she was still breathing. We both were very happy to see the sun streaming through our windows this morning and noticed how nice and bright the house is even with no lights on. Home.

Now that most things are unpacked and in an area where they belong it’s easier to see what we have and where it ought to go. Janet was eager to go through the entire house section by section and rearrange things as needed. She made some good decisions and let me make a couple as well. Not wanting to stop for lunch she chose spots for a few more pictures in the bedroom as she was starting to fade a little. That somehow re energized her though and after a late and light lunch we hung out for a bit before venturing out in the cold to go to church.

The music at Trinity this weekend is provided by Greg Sczebel, one of our favourites, and the first Christmas music of the season for us. Janet sang loud and stood for a long time. We had nice long chats with a lot of people after the service and didn’t leave the building until 7:20. It’s not often I can get away with that with Janet but today was going at such a nice pace that even she wasn’t in a hurry to move on.

Janet’s favorite all time movie is The Sound of Music and tonight we watched the live television version starring Carrie Underwood. Going in I was more interested to see how NBC would manage to pull it off live but as soon as the first song started and Janet joined in singing along it turned into a somewhat emotional experience bringing back a lot of memories involving Janet and music. Kiko would sing to Janet when she was super sick and get sometimes no reaction from her at all. Then one day she sang along to Do a Deer and her first expression of real emotion was crying when I played I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mratz. Music is a powerful thing and the joy I saw and heard in Janet tonight was heartwarming. She knew almost every word to every song except the new ones and had lots of intelligent comments afterwards about the story, the characters and the differences between this production and the movie. Loving it.

Praying for another night of deep and healing sleep.

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

Renovation Day 58. Another work from home day for Randy. I spent the day at Trinity helping the team there. Apparently Christmas is coming soon and there’s a set to be built.

Janet once again was cozied up in bed when I got to Connect and once again she never made it to the gym during the day shift. This time it was because they went on a field trip. Aberdeen Hall Prep School invited the residents to a special Christmas concert put on by the pre school kids. Janet was right back in her natural environment and the kids recognized that and gave her lots of attention. She said it was a lot of fun and even Wes sang a little. At the end of the concert the children gave out arts and crafts pieces they had made to whoever they chose. Guess who got the most? JanetPreSchoolBling

Clearly happy with that experience Janet was reasonably accepting of having to do her exercises tonight and started with the bike again. Singing and smiling she pedalled her way to a new personal best of 2.5 miles in thirty minutes at level 2.5. High five!

After dinner Janet surprisingly chose to do sling walking over the Shuttle. We discussed with Jess and Curtis the pros and cons of the sling walking with me expressing concern over Janet’s fear of the thing. We decided to give it one more try but while Janet and I were waiting for Curtis to finish instructing Wes I had Janet try and walk along the parallel bars like Willie was doing yesterday. She did very well and with Curtis and I assisting she made it down and back twice, getting better at the technique the more she did it. Curtis held her hand in front of her to discourage Janet from using it as a crutch and I braced her right knee as it tends to flex outwards when weight is put through it. Janet is on the list to be fitted for an AFO which will support her in that way and we hope it can be made soon as that will give Janet more confidence and ability to use her right leg. Fitting will take place at KGH as soon as the doctors get their paperwork in order.

Walking pretty much exhausted Janet so we spent a nice quiet evening catching up on emails and watching X Factor. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a willingness to work hard tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 54. Randy installed all the shelves in the kitchen and by the fireplace and finished the drawers in the Island. That allowed us to load the new pots and pans as well as one big box of other kitchen stuff and tomorrow we can do a bunch more. Yeah!

After a good night’s sleep Janet was ready to get up a little later than her usual time and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in anticipation of doing some work before Laurel’s arrival in the afternoon. Janet accepted the job of vacuuming the furniture which is easier here with the central vacuum but still a good workout for her. Between that and putting away stuff in the kitchen it was a busy morning.

Janet was very excited that Laurel was arriving today and demonstrated that with a big smile and a shake of her fist as we pulled out of the garage to go get her. We stopped and grabbed take out at Urban Fare to eat at home as Janet was really wanting Laurel to see the place. She gave her the tour as soon as we got there and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and looking for recipes to do some baking tomorrow.

Laurel’s alma matter, UNBC, was playing at UBCO tonight so we drove in the wet snow to see that game. Susanne met us there and Janet really enjoyed the evening. The game was entertaining and Janet loved talking to her daughter and friend instead of just me. The game was webcast and Laurel’s former coach was watching in Prince George and messaged her to say she saw us and that Janet looks great. Indeed she does and Janet got a kick out of the fact someone saw her from so far away, especially someone she knows. Thanks for the hello Loralyn, that was cool.

The dinner choice was Janet’s and she wanted Asian Pear and was very conscious of not eating as much as she did last time, remembering her sore tummy afterwards. Janet ate well and I had the opportunity to tell her how much she’s improved in that area as I saw her calmly sitting there eating and drinking. I used to be quite stressed when we first were able to go out, worrying how much she would spill on herself, would she choke, could she even pick up the food on her plate. Tonight she served herself from the buffet and I think dropped one snow pea on the floor. She’s come along way!

I had heard that LifeChurch.tv was interviewing Kevin Durant today and since he was Janet’s favourite basketball player prior to getting sick I though we would try and watch it. Turned out to be a very interesting and inspiring message, check it here if you like. We all gained respect for him as a person and Janet connected with his statement that you have to work at growing spiritually. For fun to end the evening we tried out the new Karaoke Channel on TV. Once I got used to selecting the songs it was kind of fun and I think we will make this a regular thing to keep Janet’s vocal exercises going.

The first full day at home for the weekend was a good one with Janet staying bright and with it all day. We ditched her wheelchair footrest this morning, at least for when she’s in the house, and so far so good. For most outside trips we’ll still use it but I figure if she’s starting to walk she better start using that leg to propel her chair as well.

Praying for a good night of rest that brings lots of energy for tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 52. A work from home day for Randy and a little sleep in for me this morning before taking advantage of Black Friday to score some new cookware. Our old pots and pans won’t work on our new induction cooktop so we now have new ones. Yeah!

Today of course was swimming day and after last weeks session in the deep pool I decided to have Janet do that again. We didn’t have Courtney with us this time but Ashley from Connect was there with another resident so I felt confident that Janet could be rescued if something went wrong. Since Janet is doing so well with her balance and walking on land I’m giving her a break from the cold water and letting swimming be just the fun it ought to be. Prior to getting in the water Janet was saying she doesn’t like swimming, she was upset that the water was cold as soon as she got in but immediately upon swimming she had a big smile on her face. She swam strong and for long distances managing a few roles from back to tummy and back again. Her confidence level is definitely increasing as is mine which gave me the idea of throwing Janet off of the ladder just for fun. She agreed so I tossed her gently from maybe eight inches out of the water and she went about a foot under. With the wetsuit on I expected her to pop right back up and when she didn’t I reached down and pulled her back up. She wasn’t too happy about that saying “I was getting ready to swim”. She was fine, I panicked. Silly me.

My schedule didn’t allow me to go back to Connect right away with the group so I missed out on today’s session with Tez. Janet told me as soon as I got there that she walked up and down the hall again with a cane and she seemed quite excited and proud of herself. It was hard work and combined with the swimming I expected Janet to be zonked right out. Not the case, her stamina is really building.

Since she had energy she agreed to catch up on some correspondence that she has been delaying. Responding to emails has never been a favourite past time of Janet’s and it takes a lot out of her now so I have to catch her at just the right time in order to have her be able to focus and come up with good responses. That led us to dinner which included more vocal aerobics from her and Big Country and Willie. This time there was a contest to see who could hold a note the longest, Janet tried but burst out laughing fifteen seconds into each attempt. Good fun.

Still with energy Janet surprisingly was up for a bike ride after dinner and set a new personal best. 2.5 miles in thirty minutes at level 2.5! High five! I see no way for Janet to argue that she’s not getting stronger anymore. The proof is evident even to her now.

We watched a little TV with some of the others then read some of Open as Janet faded into sleepy time. Today was a very full day with lots of physical activity and some good brain exercise with Janet impressing me in all areas. Thanks again for all the positive feedback from Janet’s walking video, there was more to read to her today and for once she is accepting the compliments and encouragement and that is feeding her determination.

Praying for lots of healing rest tonight and an energetic day tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 49. Randy worked from home again today building drawers etc. He was kind enough to come to the house late in the afternoon to let the electricians in so they could fix what was left not working from last week. We now have a working wall oven and counter plugs, the only thing I see remaining is the island plugs and maybe there’s a plan to remedy those tomorrow. Joel came over this morning to solder some speaker wire for us and he also came up with a brilliant plan for hiding the TV wires in the Den. Love him.

I’m pretty sure I woke Janet up when I went into her room this afternoon. She was in a good mood, although a little groggy but she snapped out of it pretty fast and we went to the gym for a Shuttle workout. Janet told me she’d ridden the bike and did some stretching in the morning so she was OK to do the Shuttle. I’ve been questioning just how much stronger Janet has been getting the last few months and I really need to stop it because every time I get her on the Shuttle I can clearly see she is getting stronger. Her performance today was great, she even managed a personal high of six bands of tension using both legs for her final set and pushed really well with her right leg during those sets as well. She is making slow and steady progress in the strengthening category. Her balance is improving as well and that allowed her to shift her weight nicely on the balance board today getting into a really nice rhythm for a good minute or so. It seemed as though her struggle today wasn’t the fear of falling as much as it was being able to do the mechanics properly. She had that one moment where everything was working well then she seemed to get confused and quickly crashed. Repetition seems a good solution.

Dinner was hilarious tonight after I said it was going to be quiet without Kieran there. Big Country is determined to increase his speaking volume and has really taken to using singing as a tool to get there. He started doing some vocal aerobics at the table and before you knew it there was a competition going on between him, Janet and Willie as to who could be the loudest. They went at it for a good half hour, doing scales, animal noises and the few words they all knew to Jingle Bell Rock. It was a great time and I’d have to say Big Country was the loudest at times with Janet being the most consistently loud.

All that fun gave Janet good motivation to get into the Standing Frame after dinner and she stood nice and straight and strong for forty five minutes while we watched some football. I always stand with Janet during these sessions and each time I’m reminded of how difficult it is to stand for that long. Realizing that doesn’t mean I’ll take it easy on her though, just saying.

Janet chose to watch The Voice tonight rather than wait and watch our recorded version at home and I’m glad she did as it was a very good show. Janet offered some really good critiques of the performances and I’m more convinced than ever that her guy is going to win.

Today was loads of fun with Janet and it was difficult to leave but I know she’s in a good place that continues to provide healing and recovery in so many different aspects of her life. Thanking Jesus for everyone that is working for and caring for Janet and praying for complete healing and recovery soon.