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.
The goal today for everyone was to take some pressure to perform off of Janet and let her do her thing. It seems to have worked. Jess reported that the day was good in that Janet participated well in her therapies. When Janet called me she seemed satisfied with her day so far but unsure of how things would play out the rest of the day. She wanted me to hurry up and get there but I needed time today to step back a little and prepare myself for a new approach.
Janet was up from her nap when I arrived and met briefly with the new Communications Assistant for Connect who is doing a story on Janet’s visit to Okanagan College for a newsletter. Once a star always a star I guess. I didn’t “push” Janet for anything at all this evening. We chatted and responded to emails before dinner. Janet interacted really well at the dinner table and then amazingly agreed to walk the stairs with Chelsea afterwards. Her neighbour Debra is struggling with her Speech Therapy and Janet really wants to help her so we talked about that with Chelsea and I think Janet will approach Debra tomorrow to see if she’s willing to work with her. Janet is quite aware of her previous struggles and wants to give back. We showed Chelsea some of the Speech apps that Janet used to use and even played a few of them. Janet found it amusing that she was unable to correctly do a lot of them only a year ago. The evening was rounded out watching the fourth quarter of an entertaining football game with Wes, Brad and a new volunteer, Hannah who remembered me from being at a friends house a couple weeks ago, went to UBCO with a friend of ours and probably played basketball against Laurel years ago. She will be helping in Janet’s house Monday evenings for a while and seems like a great addition.
Janet walked using her cane all evening and I allowed that in hopes she feels more in charge of herself. Chelsea and I did encourage her to take longer strides if she’s going to use the cane and that was the extent of any nagging. Since was on think for yourself mode, it was pleasing when she remembered her meds all on her own.
As I was saying goodnight to Janet tonight she was very happy about how her day had been, especially the evening with me. She was relieved that I didn’t make her “do all sorts of things” and she promised to keep trying to get better. That clearly can only happen on her terms and my new role may have become clearer tonight. I believe Cam called it “husband”.
Praying for another good night of sleep for Janet and the confidence to have a productive Tuesday.
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.
There’s nothing like a little morning confusion is there? Janet called me as I was on the road heading for her Team Meeting and she said “they don’t think there is a meeting”. Turns out a few of the key people didn’t have this meeting in their calendars but Janet was going around telling them all there was one. When “they” realized Janet was right all was well and Janet received some well earned praise for being on top of things and she felt pretty good about being correct.
The meeting itself was productive and Janet was a full participant. Mary Lou said Janet is progressing nicely on her reading skills and sees no problem for Janet reading a story to pre school kids for Halloween. Janet is not excited about practicing writing but thinks she can give it a good go especially after she correctly said our address when asked. That’s the first time she’s gotten it all right that I’ve heard and she felt pretty good about that too. Brian is scheduled to visit the house on Saturday to assess Janet’s competence with certain activities there and I wouldn’t be surprised if we can check off another goal or two very soon after that. As far as the walking 400 meters in six minutes goes, that obviously is the biggest challenge Janet faces and hopefully she adjusts her attitude and works hard for Tez tomorrow and from now on. He was unable to attend this morning so I will follow up with him next week.
With the meeting done, Janet was free for the rest of the day so she could hang with her brother Mike who treated us to a wonderful lunch at The Fixx Cafe. It was a nice enough day that we could walk to the restaurant and Janet actually walked the first 100 meters so she got some exercise today. It was fun sitting in the sun enjoying good food and Uncle Monkey’s banter. Thanks bro’.
Janet had time for a quick nap before dinner then we watched AGT before heading back to Connect. There was no complaining about going back tonight and I think the meeting may have inspired Janet to buckle down and get after those goals. Besides she’s only there for the morning then it’s home for a busy weekend.
Praying for a sound night of sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.
Wedding day could not have gone any better from Janet’s perspective. She woke up too early but easily nodded off again for a good long sleep in. There was no way she would get a nap that day so I was glad she slept in.
After a shower and breakfast it was time to start getting ready. Courtney did a great job with Janet’s hair before I took her over to Heather’s where all the girls were getting beautified.
The plan was that Janet would hang out until Heather had her dress on so that the Mother of the Bride could get a sneak peak, but in true girl fashion, things were running behind schedule so that never happened. Laurel applied some make up on Janet, she totally doesn’t need it, and after watching the bridal party get primped it was time for us to gather some of the rest of the family and get out to the wedding venue.
The weather was perfect and the Britannia Yacht Club surprisingly beautiful. I had no idea there was such a beautiful spot in Ottawa.
The guys were on time and the girls fashionably late and no one seemed to mind as we took in the scenery. Janet had long set the goal to walk at Heather’s wedding and she achieved that in spades. I thought she might be able to walk part way down the aisle with Heather during the ceremony but there really wasn’t room to do that and Heather wasn’t feeling too stable in her shoes to support Janet if needed. The compromise was for Janet to meet Heather at the front and take a few steps with her to meet Allan. That part worked well and was all Janet really wanted as she got a nice hug from her new son in law and said “goodbye honey” to her daughter which brought peels of laughter from everyone gathered. A solid Janet moment.
I walked with Janet down the aisle after the ceremony so we could congratulate the newlyweds and Janet stayed on her feet for a good half hour after that as we took pictures and visited with family. The reception was held on the upper floor of the yacht club and since their elevator was not completed yet Janet had the use of a human elevator to get up the long flight of stairs. Four of us carried her in her wheelchair like she was Cleopatra and got her into the party where she wasted no time in getting a glass of wine going. The room was the perfect size and decorated nicely, the staff were very professional and friendly. Janet ate a good dinner and was pumped up to give her surprise speech. She wrote and had been trying to memorize a speech for Heather and Allan for about a month now. I was confident she could get it locked into her memory and practicing in a quiet room she was getting close. In a room buzzing with the excitement of a wedding there was no way. Even with the written speech in front of her Janet was too excited to stick to the script. She made her point well though and earned another standing ovation.
The highlight of this day for me in relation to Janet had to be when we got to dance together. The “official” first dance was just ending and no one had joined in as they had been invited to so I grabbed Janet and out onto the floor we went. Heather and Allan were thrilled someone was willing to get things started and Janet got more comfortable after the dance floor filled up. She was able to get a little hip action going as well as move her feet while holding my hand. It was very exciting and something I’ll never forget.
As the party got louder and the room hotter Janet called it a night around 10:30 or so. She did amazing all day and I know she will remember this day for a long long time as it meant so much to her.
Praying for a life filled with love and happiness for Heather and Allan and thanking Jesus for Janet and all she is able to do.
On a high after her speech last night Janet had a good day today. Her morning consisted of a routine visit to the gym and some speech therapy work on her own. When I checked in at lunchtime she was waiting for lunch and not sure what she ought to do the rest of the day. I suggested walking or Shuttle which of course failed to excite her. When I got to Connect I noticed the large tilt table being used in the living room and went to sneak up on Big Country and say “hi shorty” but to my surprise, a real shorty was in it, Janet.
Not happy but standing tall.
Tez figured she may as well try it in an effort to get more weight transferring through her right leg and it appeared to be working. Janet was in it for forty five minutes like the Standing Frame and after a little coaxing simply stepped off and sat in her wheelchair. Much easier than the other machine. She had walked from her room to the Den and gave her usual rating of “terrible” to that experience but I’m sure she did fine.
Even though we weren’t staying for dinner, Janet agreed to help Curtis prepare it as he was by himself and running a little behind schedule and Thursdays are Janet’s days to help. She did a great job chopping peppers and onions for a stir fry.
We made our escape after that and enjoyed a simple but tasty meal at home during which I read all the messages people sent in regards to her speech from last night. Janet is amazed and genuinely pleased that so many people liked it. She was definitely a more confident person today, even willing to try some red wine with dinner and liking it. Nice!
Her confidence and good mood lasted through the evening and Janet had a nice walk from the dining table to the couch before laughing and singing her way through The Voice. It’s awesome to have her home and I’m praying for a positive and productive weekend.
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.
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.
Wednesday started out fairly routine for Janet with a Speech session with Mary Lou after breakfast. They looked at the worksheets Janet had completed and Mary Lou decided it’s time for some harder ones. The rest of the session was spent talking and Janet described some of the things we went through as we moved houses. When she relayed that to me it was evident that she remembers a lot of it and can recall it too. Her visit to the gym included a bike ride and Standing Frame and maybe some walking but she couldn’t remember exactly.
In bed but wide awake when I arrived, Janet and I had a long chat before getting up to get ready for SheLife. During our chat I asked Janet if she had checked her emails today and she said no. I told her she has some so she should check more often. When she got up a half hour later she remembered to check them without prompting from me and only needed help unlocking the iPad screen on her way to her inbox. Progress.
Janet complained to me on the way to SheLife that someone has been helping her stand for the worship segment and she wants to do it herself. I suggested she practice when we get there. After dinner and a bathroom break we got to her table with only minutes to spare but Janet wanted to practice anyways. I did not intend for it to be a show but everyone seemed to be watching and they burst into applause as Janet stood all by herself. The former Janet would’ve been totally embarrassed at that point and there was a hint of that below a big smile and some nervous laughter. I believe that moment did a lot to encourage Janet and on the way back to Connect all she could talk about was how many people came up and hugged her and told her how happy they are to have her there and how they can’t wait to see her walk. Janet may not be learning much from the material being studied this session but tonight especially she received a whole lot of encouragement. Thank you ladies!!
By the time we returned to Connect it was bedtime with one of Janet’s last duties of the day being to straighten out her legs once she’s nice and flat on her back. Recently she’s been gaining enough control of her right leg to push it out after I give it a little kick start. Tonight I didn’t have to help at all. High five! After reading for twenty minutes or so Janet had drifted off having just enough energy to say she is enjoying the book more and more now. Thanking Jesus for all the kind people in our lives and praying for a confident and strong Janet.
I’m spending the first few days of this week bottling wine at CedarCreek Estate Winery so my time with Janet will start later in the day than usual. Today I got to Connect just as everyone was sitting down to dinner. Janet was excited to see me but I could tell wasn’t really missing me either, nor did I expect her to. I missed her though.
According to Janet she was in the gym “for a long time this morning”. As we talked it became apparent she had done the Shuttle and her mat exercises with Karl so that left the bike and standing frame for tonight. Something she was not pleased to hear. I was more concerned with what Janet had done in the afternoon and she exceeded my expectations greatly. I’ve often suggested to her that instead of watching daytime television she could work on her speech exercises or something like that. After lunch today she wheeled up to her desk and answered the questions on six or seven pages of work that Mary Lou had left in a binder for her to do as she pleased. I marked them for her, reading each question out loud and having her confirm her answer and found she scored as high as 100% and only as low as 80%. Nice work! She even did some very accurate underlining and some decent printing too.
Janet agreed to some one legged bike riding and I found her to be ineffective in trying to pull up using her right leg. Partly attitude and partly a result of the weekend maybe. Still good that she did it though. After a good session in the Standing Frame it was time to get ready for bed and to read Open which had Janet laughing out loud and listening intently for a good forty five minutes tonight. Fun.
Thanks to those of you that played the Where’s Janet game in her class photo yesterday. The consensus is third from the right, second row, but Janet still thinks she’s first on the left, front row. She is wavering a bit on that now and loved that people actually bothered to guess.
Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep that gives Janet lots of energy and a positive attitude and willingness to fully participate in whatever she’s asked to do tomorrow.