Janet slept so well last night I had to wake her up this morning so we could enjoy breakfast and not be rushed to get to the pool. She seemed bright and energetic and was ready for action once in the water. My goal for her today was to get more confident in the water and to gain more spacial awareness. After warming and loosening up I tried to get her floating on her own and she almost made it and I think that if she can gain control of her right leg she’d be there. That right leg was her biggest impediment today by far as it was doing it’s own thing most of the time. Quite the mystery to me as every day is different and every hour can be different. Last night she couldn’t move her right leg to save her life, while getting dressed this morning she moved it almost as well as her left leg. Janet is as aware of not being able to get that leg to do what she wants it to do as she is her right arm and for the most part handles that awareness very well. Hopefully she keeps trying to get them both to work. The session continued with some walking and standing exercises with Janet trying very hard to accomplish both. During our second half hour I focused on the walking and standing and Janet stood on her own for about three seconds a couple of times. Again, that right leg prevented her from doing better but she quickly learned how to save herself from falling to the right and even got herself to fall towards me a few times and she doesn’t seem as afraid of getting her face in the water as previous. I’m hopeful I can get her standing on her own soon.
We made our usual exit through the Rehab Unit and had a nice chat with Nicole, a Speech Therapist that worked with Janet while she was in rehab. Nicole was so surprised to hear Janet speaking so clearly. That visit was a nice confidence booster for Janet even though she didn’t really remember Nicole. I noticed Dr. Jones at the nurses station and went in to tell him someone wanted to see him. He immediately put a huge smile on his face and headed out to see Janet who flashed him the biggest smile of recognition I’ve seen her give anybody. She remembered Dr. Jones and he was totally thrilled to see her. Had I known the reunion was going to be that dramatic I would have had the camera rolling. Dr. Jones is very impressed by the progress Janet has made and said she’s come farther faster than he thought she would. Amen.
Seems everywhere we go these days someone knows Janet and as expected at the passport office we saw Todd, a super guy that has done a lot of landscaping work for us. Janet wasn’t sure who I was talking about going in but recognized him as soon as she saw him. Janet still says no when I ask her if she wants to say hi to someone but when she actual does it she is very happy so I’m not going to ask anymore.
There was time for a short nap before dinner at Connect then time for a quick stretch before a Skype chat with Andrew. The stretching seemed to give Janet a little energy boost and enable her to have a decent conversation with Andrew. She was pretty much ready for bed then but asked if I would read a little Slow Dance to her first. Once again lots of similarities to Janet’s experience and she is more accepting of them now too. Her bedtime routine went really well, no significant confusion, and she was happy to wrap up in the blankets and call it a day. Praying for lots of rest and healing tonight so that Janet is prepared for an active day tomorrow.
Today, Janet, Mary Lou and I met with a music therapist, Stephanie. I’ve long been searching for an accredited MTA that could work with Janet and thanks to Brian and friends we found a possibility. The timing as far as Janet goes could not be better as she seems to have fully rebounded from her Dilantin overdose and is offering much more in the way of starting conversations and expressing her opinions. Stephanie outlined how she would work with Janet and although similar to what John does she has a more clinical approach and will aim for the same goals Mary Lou has for Janet. Namely, increasing the volume of Janet’s voice and improving her ability to find and use appropriate words. The meeting went well and Janet seemed to like Stephanie so dependent on what exactly she proposes I think we’ll give it a go. Janet will still do the sing along stuff with John as every little bit helps and Janet has fun with him.
I convinced Janet to have a nap after the meeting and she did so for over an hour and a half giving her good energy for the rest of the day. She had a good Skype chat with Leslie and is excited about the possibility of her and Gavin coming out for a visit at the end of June. In fact she could hardly stop talking about it every time she was asked a question about her family which seemed to happen a lot today. I grilled her after she woke up from her nap then Garrett and Connie started in on her after her nighttime gym session.Janet is much more confident in her answers now and needs less prompting to get them correct.
We sat outside for happy hour again and Janet was very chatty and maybe even a little restless as she kept working her left leg to move her chair back and forth. Once she moved ahead while drinking her water, hit the patio railing and spilled a bunch of water all over herself. She thought that was very funny and it was. Connie was in the house this evening after her trip to England. We had a nice chat with her about her trip and Janet was really glad to have her back and enjoyed hearing about her trip.
It took a lot of convincing to get Janet to go to the gym with Garrett tonight but eventually she relented and of course came back all smiles and somewhat accepting that it was good for her. Garrett is very good with Janet and we are blessed to have him working with her. He reported that Janet did well with her stretches tonight even getting onto her tummy herself and staying there for three minutes or so with no discomfort. Previously it was a huge struggle to get her onto her tummy and she always seemed in a little pain while she was there. This is a nice improvement that Janet credits to “doing it lots of times”. High five!
To help her wind down and enjoy the rest of the evening I got her a cup of tea and we watched some Ellen on YouTube. Janet laughed out loud at a couple of the clips and was genuinely touched by one of the sappy ones we watched. That’s the most reaction I’ve gotten from her watching YouTube and speaks to her continued rise in brightness.
This was another encouraging day with Janet. She was strong on all her transfers today, she talked well 90% of the time I was with her, participated well in the meeting with Stephanie and Mary Lou excitedly reported that “Janet is back and then some” in regards to her speech therapy. It had been a tough few weeks for Mary Lou when Janet was going through the Dilantin overdose so it was nice to see her all fired up again today.
Praying for a night of deep rest and healing that brings lots of energy for tomorrow.
Mary Lou was quite pleased with Janet’s speech abilities and participation level in their session this morning. I was surprised as Janet seemed to be quiet and talking a lot of Klingon with me. I came back to her room just as they were wrapping up and Mary Lou had Janet sing Row Row Row Your Boat for me and she did so nice and loud and clear.
Lunch was a bowl of vegetable soup and some med laced fruit lax. I was impressed with Janet’s ability to eat after the shape she was in yesterday. We then headed back to her room to wait for a visit from Brian the OT. Garret brought Janet’s laundry in while we were waiting so I had Janet try and put it away. She was definitely more confused than normal but was very willing to try and put things in the right places. Brian arrived in the middle of all this and watched Janet finish the job. We decided it would be good to label the drawers and cupboards to help Janet remember where things are. Brian then spent about twenty minutes with Janet trying to assess what her understanding of her situation is. He found it difficult to comprehend Janet today and I attribute that to still being in recovery mode from yesterday and hoping its not the anti seizure med. One of the side effects is confusion so we’ll have to see how this plays out over the next few weeks. Brian also commented on Janet’s vision challenges. I had planned on meeting with our eye doctor yesterday but that appointment got preempted so as long as Janet remains stable I will try and meet with him next week to discuss a vision test. I actual left to do some work around the house before Brian did his thing with Janet and before I left we agreed that he would put her into nap mode when he was done. We discussed getting rid of the hospital bed and decided that we would start eliminating bed rails to see if Janet can safely be in bed without them. Brian tucked her in and left the two lower rails down. He left the room at 2:10, Garret checked on Janet at 2:45, she was in bed but not asleep. Garret walked past ten minutes later and Janet was on the floor. Houdieno returns! She was fine, just a little scared and we had a good talk about it when I returned and Janet seems to think she can get out of bed whenever she wants to. She later demonstrated a similar feeling towards her wheelchair as she made two good efforts at getting out of it after dinner. Apparently our idea of a regular bed is a little premature. Oops.
Janet was getting up from her nap, she eventually did have one, when I returned at 4:30. She was being helped by Curtis who used a straight on pivot move to get Janet from bed to chair. I didn’t think it would work as it requires Janet to take a lot of the weight, she did it really well! She was also talking much clearer and I was able to get her to agree it was because she had a rest. One day that will really sink in. Dinner was a bowl of Clint’s chili that he made for everyone today. Clint is in his late twenties and has been a resident at Connect for seven months. He is very mobile and loves to cook so he runs the kitchen apparently. The chili was good. Suzanne stopped by for a visit and brought another care package with her. Thanks! Janet and her and a nice chat with Janet talking reasonably well considering the time of day and what she has been through. We said goodnight to Suzanne, made Janet’s bed and did all the other bedtime prep stuff before climbing in to start reading a book the Dr. Miller lent to us. Slow Dance by Bonnie Sher Klein, a stroke survivor who was just named to The Order of Canada. Interesting read so far.
Praying for more good rest and healing tonight and an active day of learning tomorrow.
Janet surprised me this morning by greeting me with a huge smile as she sat in the living room at Connect watching CNN. She said she had a good breakfast and was having a good morning so far. In anticipation of the appearance of Tez the Physio Therapist, we headed down to her room and had a little chat and played a math game on the iPad. Janet impressed me with her recognition of patterns and grouping from smallest to largest. I realized we forgot to weigh Janet yesterday so I asked Garrett if we could do that. Janet has gained again so I think it’s safe to say we are done with tube feeds. Next step is to get her drinking water well enough to get rid of the peg tube altogether.
Mary Lou dropped by to see if Janet had any time for a little Speech session. I left them at Janet’s newly installed desk and chair and when I returned a half hour later they both had big smiles on their faces and gave an encore performance of a vocal exercise they had just done. Janet was nice and loud and clear and was very much enjoying the singing aspect of this session. I will try and get music therapy man in soon as Mary Lou thinks that would be really good for Janet.
It was clear by this time that Tez was not going to appear before lunch so we headed to the kitchen and I blended and heated some vegetable soup for Janet. It was actually pretty good and she ate all but a few spoons full. We got word that Tez would appear between 1:30 and 2:00 so we hung out in Janet’s room for a while reading and talking. To speed the arrival of Tez I put Janet on the toilet and like magic he appeared. All I had heard about Tez before was he was an Aussie. Usually I know what that means and I was looking forward to ribbing him about being the last therapist to see Janet and being late today etc. He’s not your stereotypical Aussie and although I think I will eventually be able to give him the gears today was not the day as he was all business.
As the lone PT at Connect it is Tez’s job to create programs for all the residents there. This afternoon was his chance to see what Janet can do and can’t do and figure out what to work on to help her recover the most physically. He came in with pretty much a blank slate, not relying on Janet’s chart and only using a few key things that Moira had passed on to him. Since Janet had just gotten out of the bathroom and was sitting on the edge of the bed it was the perfect opportunity to watch her transfer using the sliding board. We then went down to the gym with Garret and Lorne in tow and Janet transferred onto the table mat. Tez talked to her for quite awhile about what she felt she could do, what she liked to do prior, what she wanted to be able to do and about a wide range of other things. I was very impressed with Janet’s responses to his questions and her engagement in the conversation. I only had to correct her a couple times and elaborate on a few things otherwise she handled it all remarkable well. It was then time for the let’s see what you can do test and after a thorough workout, sometimes painful, Tez said “your going to be fun to work with” and “I usually put together a program pretty quick for people but I’m going to give yours some long thought”. He seems truly intrigued by Janet’s case and I think sees quite a bit of potential for her. His short term goals are to protect the functionality she has now and start building strength in her legs and arms. Long term will be discussed at the coaches meeting next Thursday but likely will be similar to Brian’s. Independent transfers and walking short distances, maybe some use of that right arm. It was a very interesting session and a tough workout for Janet at times but she realizes the importance of it and I think will respond well to whatever program Tez comes up with.
We finished in the gym just after three and I decided to bring Janet home for the rest of the day. She enjoyed playing with Nash again and is getting really good at telling him what she wants him to do. He is learning to put the ball on the floor where she can reach it so they actually can have some decent play time. We sat by the fire and watch the start of the Fiesta Bowl and Janet remembered she was cheering for the Oregon Ducks as soon as I reminded her of their nickname. Dinner was a bowl of pasta and meat sauce which Janet ate with gusto. Ice cream followed and then after helping me fold laundry she had another dessert, one of Laurel’s Turtle Squares.
Bob and Chris were watching the game in the living room when we got back to Connect and Janet wanted to stay and watch with them for a bit. We stayed until the end of the third quarter then got ready for bed. Another busy day for Janet and I asked her to recap it for me before I said goodnight. She was able to tell me most of what she did in chronological order with a few names different than reality. Breakfast was lunch, our home was Ontario and her room was Bolivia. That’s still the best recap I’ve had from her and she is no longer giving the automatic “terrible”, or “nothing” answer to my questions. Nice.
Praying for a restful night and a productive day tomorrow.