Janet, A Success Story. August 27. #TSJ

Today was rather routine for Janet. Speech with Mary Lou this morning involved practicing reading and Janet said Mary Lou was pleased at how Janet had read The Hallo-Wiener to the Games Night group. I convinced Janet to read it to me tonight and for the first time I noticed her realizing she’d missed a word or two then going back to read them. The improvement is not in her remembering to read all the way to the right but in recognizing that what she just read makes no sense without those other words. Janet has probably read this story enough now that she knows what its supposed to say so it’ll be interesting to see how she does with some new material.

Lots of walking was the substitute for the Shuttle during gym time today. Janet commented to me that she has a habit of reaching back at whomever is pushing her from behind when trying to get her to walk faster. She understands that its a trust thing and will try and learn to not react that way. Her cane walking to me is still rather slow but her gait is improving as she manages to get her left leg more forward each step. I hope we can work on the distance walking a lot this weekend.

Taking advantage of the hot weather we went for a nice walk after dinner and watched some soccer before treating ourselves to an ice cream cone from the little stand at the corner store. We stayed out on the patio until dark as it was so nice outside and so artificially cold inside.

Janet did a great job with her end of day report to me, getting everything right, even names of people, up until the late afternoon. Its odd to me how she can remember the morning so clearly but not a few hours ago unless I give her clues. Still getting better though.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and a productive Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 31. #TSJ Out in Style

The last day of July. Wow. Janet still thinks she has a long time at Connect and even knowing tomorrow is August she doesn’t really sense how quickly the time is passing. Maybe its not for her. Today went quickly though, while most of the other house mates were kayaking and swimming Janet was in the gym with Jess and complaining a lot, right to the point where Jess left her for a few minutes to get a grip on herself. When Janet called me and told me about this we had a good talk about how Janet needs to focus on her goals, try and achieve them as soon as she can then come home. She really seemed to get it but tonight when I asked her to do some stairs with me she started in the same way she had earlier with Jess. In the end she relented and walked to the stairwell.

Janet was confident she could do three steps up and down without assistance and very assertively told me to “back off” while she did them. The three steps up were way better than the other day and she got herself over to the other side of the stairwell easily. With me working hard at staying back, Janet descended three steps in style and unofficially, in my opinion, has now accomplished that goal. To make it official she needs to show Tez and that won’t happen until the week after next at the earliest as Janet gets a summer break starting tomorrow.

Janet usually comes home with me Thursdays for the weekend and was surprisingly cooperative about not doing so today. Laurel and Raj arrive tomorrow night for a few days then Janet and I are traveling to Nanaimo to visit my mom before bringing Brittney and Ethan back to Kelowna for a few days visit with us. Therefore, I wanted Janet to get her exercises done Friday morning before starting her nine nights away. Fair deal I think.

Chelsea gave Janet a few tasks in helping get dinner ready and Janet did them well and without protest. She was quite chatty with her housemates today, especially Wes, with whom she’s had a few “good conversations” the last couple of days. Good to see her stepping out more and more to start a conversation and even better that she remembers what was talked about a couple days later.

After the struggle of getting Janet to try the stairs and to reward her success I let her choose the activities the rest of the evening. She wanted to be out in the sun so we walked to Beasley Park and watched soccer for almost an hour. I remember doing that with Janet last summer and not being sure what she was seeing or understanding and now she’s telling me legitimate reasons why she’s cheering for one team over the other and making random but interesting observations like, “there isn’t a cloud in the sky”. Nothing to do with soccer but valid and it was pretty cool to look around the entire valley and not see any clouds.

More and more I am leaving Janet to get around on her own and she did really well with that tonight. I even heard her getting her meds from Chelsea and identifying them with only one hint. Praying for a solid night of sleep for Janet, a positive attitude and willingness to work hard Friday morning and for a fun nine days away.

In light of the visiting and traveling we will be doing, blog posts will be random and only as events warrant until sometime around August 11.

Janet, A Success Story. June 16. #TSJ Ready and Waiting

Janet and I spent most of today wondering why we decided to leave for Ottawa tomorrow and not today. She figures it must have been a money thing and she’s probably right, all I know is there must have been a good reason.

There wasn’t much to do today other than the last check of our packing job and cleaning the house a little. Janet skipped her nap today, wanting to be really tired so she could sleep tonight. So far there’s no indication that plan worked but she is in bed now and her eyes are closed.

We watched bits of the World Cup soccer games today and Janet saw the second half of the USA Ghana game by herself while I dropped the dog off and ran another errand. I got back just after the USA scored the winning goal and Janet was all excited telling me how “the play was all in that end then the other team scored”. It’s awesome to see her improving ability to understand what she’s watching.

For exercise today I had Janet do quite a few laps around the house and one stint of helping me wash dishes that required her to stand at the sink with me. What a great feeling to have her standing beside me, and she thought it was cool to be able to look out the window instead of at the backsplash. Hopefully that translates into more willingness to stand and walk at every opportunity.

The snores have started. Praying for a good night of rest and God’s guidance through our travel day tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. June 13. #TSJ

Friday the thirteenth turned out to be pretty “lucky” for us. Janet was awake fairly early so was able to have a shower. I tried having her get her breakfast while walking about the kitchen but that seemed a little too much yet. She was willing to try at least.

After running through our clothes for the trip we agreed there were a few things we both could use so we took advantage of the rain and went to the mall. Janet was very excited that we both found the things we went there for in relatively quick fashion. By the time we were home Janet had done a lot of walking and helping out so I made her a sandwich while we watched a little World Cup soccer.

Dinner tonight was a special evening out with our neighbours, Bonnie and Toly. We had hoped to walk the two blocks to The Fixx Cafe but the weather didn’t cooperate so we drove and Janet walked well through the parking lot and negotiated a three inch curb very nicely. She also gobbled up her dinner pretty quick saying it was “delicious”. That’s high praise from Janet.

Twice today I had Janet doing assisted walking in public places and each time she did so with lots of confidence. Not long ago you would get some resistance to the idea or at least a lot of looking around for who is watching. Not today, and that makes it more fun.

We are easing into running on Eastern Time so our clocks are on Alberta time tonight and we’ll switch to Central Time tomorrow and hopefully be on Eastern Time for Monday so that it’s not a big shock when we arrive in Ottawa Tuesday. I want Janet to be able to enjoy every minute she’s there.

Praying for a good night of sleep and a productive Saturday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 26. #TSJ

I considered having Janet attempt a wheelchair free night tonight and she was off to a great start until I suggested we go for a walk in the sun to watch some soccer. She’s not ready to actually walk long distances like that and is a little uncomfortable with uneven surfaces still. It was nice to sit in the sun with her for a bit after she put in a hard days work. JanetSoccer

Walking was the theme of the day today and Jess had Janet walk to the gym and back this morning. Janet is less resistant to longer walks like that as long as somebody is helping her and her conditioning has improved to the point where a walk that far no longer exhausts her. For me this afternoon and evening, Janet walked everywhere except the soccer field and that included two trips to the gym as well as back and forth to dinner. All those were with assistance because of the frequency and the fact she was going to workout in the gym but her trip to get her meds at the end of the night was done freestyle and in record time.

Her cognitive work of the day came in the form of reading an email then counting out and rolling up two rolls of nickels. I am enjoying reading One Hundred Years of Solitude but Janet just isn’t getting it so we are switching books again. We are going to try the newly released memoir of Toni Braxton called Unbreak My Heart. Janet really likes Toni Braxton’s music and is excited to read her story.

Praying for a night of rejuvenating sleep and a productive Tuesday.

Reluctant Progress. Janet grins and bears it. #TSJ

Tez had Janet in the standing frame again this morning and by all accounts it went well. Mary Lou did her usual Speech session with Janet as well and after some negotiating with Jess, Janet agreed to have a nap. She says she didn’t sleep but Jess checked on her an hour in and she was snoring away. By the time I arrived Janet was watching TV in the living room and seeming quite happy. She had trouble telling me about her day but with some prompting got the major points out. She did know she was watching Dr. Oz and he was talking about Aspirin. High five. I told her some good news from Dr. McCann’s office that I got this morning. I had given a report on the effect of the Botox and also mentioned I had not noticed any negative reaction to Janet being on a lesser dose of Methylphenidate for the last three weeks so he agreed to discontinue it all together. One less pill for Janet to swallow!

I took Janet out in the sun for a walk before our first order of business, the weekly Skype chat with Leslie. We walked around part of the neighborhood we have not explored yet and agreed we don’t want to live there. It would have been nice to stay outside to Skype but the wifi connection was too slow so we had to go to Janet’s room. Before we could get back out Garrett offered to take Janet to the gym to ride the bike. I was disappointed that Janet fought the invitation the way she did. I felt she did really well yesterday and that she seemed very comfortable on the bike. As the argument progressed it became quite apparent that Janet is really lacking confidence in doing the gym activities. She feels she should be better than she is and doesn’t see the progress she’s making. The great thing about the bike is it shows you exactly how you are performing and once Janet reluctantly agreed to go, Garrett and I were able to show her the numbers to watch. She made a steady twelve rpm for twenty two minutes today. We didn’t measure yesterday’s session but today’s seemed better and Janet was reasonably happy afterwards. I don’t want her to focus too much on the numbers as some days will be better than others, today was better but I got a sense she was being obedient rather than fully participatory. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

The bike ride definitely gave Janet a boost of energy and appetite. After dinner we went for a walk to Beasley Park and watched the last twenty minutes of a soccer game. It was really nice sitting in the sun doing that but it was hard to see as the grandstand is on the east side of the fields and at that time of day the sun is shining right in your face. Still lots better than watching soccer in the North Vancouver rain like we used to.

Janet wanted to read when we got back to Connect and we got a good chunk of Slow Dance done. Almost finished. My cousin Sharon, shared a video with us that features a really cool bike that I could use with Janet. More importantly the video is a beautiful story of love. Janet and I both teared up watching it. Your turn.

Praying for a solid night’s rest and an energetic tomorrow.

How Could You Not Smile? A sunny day for Janet. #TSJ

When I arrived at Connect this afternoon Jess reported that Janet was having a good day. It started with a shower, included a trip to the gym with Tez and also had more of the ongoing water battle. Janet was apparently in her room listening to music so I carefully opened the door in case she was sleeping but there she was with a huge smile on her face saying “I knew it was you”. Apparently I’m the only one that opens the door that way so she knew it was me. She may have napped a little prior to my arrival and was very bright and chatty. More so than I’ve experienced in a few weeks. Her voice was clear and fairly loud and she was talking in plain and proper English. It was very refreshing and encouraging. We talked about her day so far and mine with her interjecting some well thought out comments. When given the choice of getting up or napping a little more she chose napping which lasted about a half hour when I got a wrong number call on my phone that woke her up. It turned out to be a good time to get up as Cam called shortly after that and after concluding business with me he had a nice chat with his mom who mumbled a few times but mostly spoke very well and again said some really intelligent things. She seemed really happy to be talking to Cam and smiled the whole time as did I.

The sun was shining brightly as Janet and I sat out on the patio for a pre-dinner drink and appetizer. A very juicy grapefruit and the requisite water of course. We stayed out there for a good forty five minutes with Janet continuing to talk really well and clearly enjoying the sun on her face. That was one of many blessings received today and makes me a little anxious for summer and being able to take Janet for walks to the beach etc. I think the sun was making her a little tired after that time and she chose to go in and read from the iPad for a bit. As long as I could make the words large enough she did quite well. Improving the more we did. Janet ate a good dinner then agreed to try some herbal tea in place of her after dinner water. She enjoyed it but could only manage half of what she needed to drink and made up the difference with water. We did a little more reading then watched some YouTube that made her laugh a few times. I then read some of Slow Dance to her stopping after a very sad chapter about the ladies dog dying. To cheer her up I read the children’s story that she had written years ago about a witch that didn’t want to be a witch. She accused me of reading it wrong, implying that I got the story wrong but I’m not sure how I could. I’ll take that as another sign of some more memory coming back. Earlier in the evening I saw more of old Janet as she leaned over and whispered to me that us guys had been talking too long about soccer. Gary was working with Bob tonight and he is originally from England so naturally we talked soccer. Janet thought we were crazy.

By the time the bedtime prayers came around Janet had lost all the energy she had when I arrived and agreed it had been a good day and smiled as I recounted the positive things that had occurred. On my way out the door she volunteered a wave goodbye which is something I usually initiate. I really hope there is no step back from where she was cognitively today it was very refreshing.

Praying for a night of rest and healing and more steps forward tomorrow.