Splint

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

Since I was working at CedarCreek again today, Garrett took Janet to KGH this morning for an appointment with Julie the splint lady. Janet’s right arm and hand have maintained an impressive range of motion and with the Botox in full effect it was time to modify her splint. Julie was able to flatten the hand portion out considerably and narrow the whole splint so that it fits easier into Janet’s jacket. When I asked Janet how that appointment went she got all excited about how pleased Julie was with how she’s doing but mostly with how her and Garrett went for coffee after then she had another coffee when they got back to Connect. That explains why she was sleeping when I showed up at 4:15. She had put herself to bed again around 3:30 and asked Curtis to remove her AFO and flip the blankets over her, otherwise she did it all herself. Pretty cool.

Janet got up in time for dinner then we went to the last basketball game of the season at UBCO. Transferring to her seat was a little challenging tonight as Janet was still kind of tired but with help from an innocent bystander she made it. We watched the second half of the women’s game and the first half of the men’s with Janet commenting she finds the guys difficult to follow as its so much faster. Her scoreboard reading was solid and she thought it was pretty cool that I caught a ball that came out of bounds and threw it back to the ref. I did feel pretty special.

Back to Connect late again, Janet was determined to start reading Long Walk to Freedom so she sped through her nighttime routine. Unfortunately what we read was all set up for the main part of the book and Janet did not find it very interesting. I’m sure it will improve soon.

Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and a great weekend at home.

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

Renovation Day 37. Flooring guys are making huge progress and have only the Den/second bedroom left to do. I’m sleeping on the new floor in the master bedroom and have been able to ditch the tarp I had under me to protect the mats from being punctured. The plumber was here today as well and will return Friday to finish his part of the job. Randy was busy off site building vanities and shelves while I was able to do more electrical stuff.

Janet had an early appointment at KGH with Julie to adjust her splint so I went out to Connect to get her for that. Jess had her ready and Janet was bright and cheery and knew what we were doing. Julie was impressed by the effect the Botox has had on Janet’s right wrist and fingers. They are very relaxed and easily stretched so she was able to reshape the splint to a fairly flat profile which happens to fit in the sleeve of Janet’s new jacket. As planned.

We stopped by the house quickly so Janet could see the new floor. She’s very happy. I returned her to Connect so her and Jess could make Apple Danish for SHElife tonight. When I returned at four Janet was still in bed, she said she’d been there a long time but hadn’t slept. According to the staff notes, she went to lay down at one and Janet said she didn’t ring for help as she didn’t want to bother anyone. Gotta work on changing that. She very excitedly told me about a little test Mary Lou gave her today during Speech. It sounded a lot like the one Connie gave her way back when she first went to Rehab. Mary Lou had given the same test when Janet arrived at Connect almost eleven months ago and she failed it miserably. Janet was very proud to tell me she “got them all right today” and patted herself on the back. High five!

Before leaving for the evening Janet managed to squeeze in a short and outstanding bike ride, again patting herself on the back. The successes continued over dinner as Janet had excellent control of her chop sticks tonight. All reports are that SHElife was good and Janet felt she contributed fine and enjoyed the discussion. So ends another busy and successful day. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and for Janet to gain complete control of her right leg.

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

Renovation Day 18. I wasn’t much help to Randy today as I had a lot of running around to do. He continued to make the kitchen look more and more like a kitchen and plumber Frank came by to move things across the hall for the washing machine.

I picked Janet up at nine this morning to go to her appointment at the KGH Hand Clinic. Julie met with us as soon as we got there and spent an hour manipulating Janet’s splint so that it is comfortable for her and still doing some therapeutic good. Even though the Botox has worn off, Janet’s hand and wrist are doing fine with no retraction from the fingers at all. We are to keep stretching fingers and wrist as much as possible and hopefully the next round of Botox will have as good an impact as last time.

We made it back to Connect in time for Janet’s lunch and I left her with instructions to get to the gym as well. She did, and when I returned just before dinner time she was getting herself onto the toilet. Nice try, but not quite ready to do that all by herself yet. Since she’d done the Shuttle and Standing frame the bike was the only thing left and Janet had a good pre dinner pedal, going for twenty five minutes and making almost a mile.

There was a full table for dinner including Wes’s wife Roz and the chatter was really good. Janet commented after that Wes and Roz are nice people. They are. Wes can’t get over the fact that Janet eats more than him. She had seconds tonight as did Big Country whom Janet congratulated for doing so.

The evening was quiet again with the highlight being Janet opening a piece of mail from her mom and finding some old fashioned printed photographs taken at a recent family reunion in Ontario. Janet was able to read the enclosed hand written note and identify a lot of the people in the pictures. I was impressed and it was fun to share that with her. My highlight of the day came when a lady responded to my ad for the old washer and dryer. We talked on the phone a couple of times before she came to the house and I kept thinking I knew that voice. I never clued in when she said her name but I sure did when she got out of her car. She pointed at me saying “I know you…”. It was Arlene, one of Janet’s nurses from the 4B days and she was so excited to hear and see from pictures how well Janet is doing that we both had tears in our eyes. Janet of course doesn’t remember her at all but thought it was nice she cared so much. Arlene will be coming back to pick up the washer and dryer tomorrow and I hope it’s late enough in the day so I can have Janet here to meet her.

Praying for continued building of strength and a productive day tomorrow.

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

We are moving right along with our move and I almost brought Janet home this afternoon so I could keep packing but we also need to figure out the car situation and decided to use our time for that.

Jess brought Janet in to KGH early this afternoon where I met them and took Janet to her appointment with Julie the splint lady. For the past few weeks Janet has complained of a little pain in her hand when wearing the splint for long periods of time and we’ve noticed her arm tightening up a little over that same period and even more so now that the weather has cooled. Julie was very impressed with the state of Janet’s hand and wrist and offered two solutions towards making the splint more comfortable. One would be to adjust the splint to allow for a more bent hand position, the other a different strap that would place more pressure on Janet’s fingers giving her hand a more relaxed position. Julie agreed that an adjustment to the splint would be a step back so we did the strap option. Once installed, Janet’s hand and wrist were in good positions and she said it felt fine. By seven o’clock tonight she said it was starting to bother her so maybe we just need to pace this thing out a little better. Julie encouraged continuing to stretch Janet’s wrist and fingers as much as possible to enhance the work of the splint. Too bad we no longer have a hot tub as that’s where I got the best stretches for her.

Our visits to KGH often result in seeing someone that cared for Janet at some point and today we saw Chantelle and Kathy. Both worked as Physio Assistants back in the 4B days and Chantelle is the one who coached Janet during her first days propelling a wheelchair. They had lots of encouraging words for Janet and I and it was a blessing to run into them today. Hearing the things I tell Janet from other people gives those comments way more weight and Janet seems to get a kick out of people she has no memory of knowing so much about her. She’s finally starting to believe that there are/were lots of good people caring for her.

Janet agreed to do more car shopping with me on the way back to Connect. She’s getting tired of all this as am I but understands the reasoning behind doing this now. We cruised a Nissan lot but saw nothing close to what we need then returned to the Subaru lot we visited right at the beginning of our search. I remembered that visit begin rushed and me being disappointed that Janet couldn’t get into the car I thought was going to be a good one for us. This time I was hoping they had an older model on site as they were lower to the ground and I was very confident Janet could get in. I was right but the only car of that style they had was a 2002 and I don’t want to go that old. While we were there and had time we decided to try the newer model again just for kicks. Janet got into it easier than anything else we’ve tried that wasn’t a pure car and I don’t know how we misjudged it so poorly the first time. The car we tried was taken in on a trade just thirty minutes before we got there and was by far the most fun car I’ve driven during our hunt. We may have a deal tomorrow!

A very patient and tired Janet was happy we finally found something worthy and upon our return to Connect was hungry for dinner. It took a lot of convincing but I actually got her to go for a session on the Shuttle tonight and was happy with her performance. Despite the persistent neglect of her right leg it is getting stronger, at least for being able to push on the Shuttle. Sensing her tiredness and wanting her to be happy I gave her the night off from the Standing Frame and we enjoyed hanging out the Humberto, Wes and Kieran in the living room for an hour or so. Janet told me she liked hearing the “banter between all these people”. She will answer questions from people well but still won’t initiate a conversation but she is picking up on more of what people are talking about and keeping it in the right context.

The busy day caught up to Janet in a hurry and she asked to go to bed at 8:30. She did want me to read to her for a little while and responded well to some questions on what we read. Today was a fun and productive day with Janet. Praying for healing of her right hand and arm and for lots of energy for a fun day tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out. #phonecalls #cleaninghouse #chicago

Well here we are again, one week after the last update, so much for my plan to be more prolific with this.

In a lot of ways this was a fairly quiet week for Janet. No weddings, no road trips, no huge signs of progress that warranted an immediate blog update. When I look back at my notes though, its clear it was a good week.

Janet continues to show massive improvement in her cognitive abilities, especially with short term memory. She more frequently knows my name now although this week I’ve been Dennis, Bert, Julie, Ralph and Ted but mostly Larry. When asked now, I see Janet thinking before speaking rather than blurting out the first thing that pops into her head. A few times she’s even said “I forget” instead of calling me something she knows is wrong. We can now talk about events that took place in the morning with Janet able to describe a little bit about them and if the event was big enough she can even talk about something a day or two before hand. Her memory is not yet filing things in chronological order as evidenced by an emotional outburst one day when she thought for sure Laurel and or Heather were to be visiting her. She was so sure of it she called Laurel and me wondering why no one was there with her. She wasn’t able to reach Laurel but the call to me consisted of lots of tears of confusion and frustration. On the flip side, when asked what she wanted to do one morning, she remembered without prompting that she wanted to reply to an email sent from her friend Annette a couple days earlier. For some reason, probably old memory, Janet insisted on hand writing a letter so I gave her a blank greeting card and a pen and left her to it. Twenty minutes later she’d managed a decent note. I could read about a third of the words she wrote which is really good considering I couldn’t read much more of Janet’s writing even before she got sick. Janet has always had a strong sense of commitment and loyalty and so the obligation to reply stuck with her. She’s not great at filling a page yet but always has a good idea of what she wants to say and is improving her typing skills each time. I’ve noticed her vision is better the more awake she is and have noticed that applies to me too. The glasses are on now.

Janet was a big help in getting our house and yard cleaned up for a showing this past Saturday. For the first time she was able to vacuum on carpet and did a great job dusting some areas down for us. A sense of purpose is huge for Janet and I love seeing her eagerness to help with projects like that. Lorne had her vacuuming the living room at Connect this morning and said Janet had a smile on her face the whole time. I wish there was more I could get her to do. Yard work is great as long as Janet can reach what she’s to be working on and unfortunately most of our weeds don’t grow that tall. During the showing we went for a long walk along a route we hadn’t taken since Janet got sick. She remembered a lot of it and loved looking at all the nice homes. Nash was having trouble with the heat and distance and Janet was quite concerned about him. Thankfully he drank water from the lid of her water bottle and that comforted Janet. The thought of selling our house is dominating our time together and Janet both enjoys thinking of what the next house will be like and is somewhat reluctant to see the current one go. She’s very astute at recognizing how it doesn’t make sense to stay here much longer. My body thanks her for that.

Janet’s reading skills are improving as well. Laurel and Raj sent a thank you note following their wedding and Janet read most of it to me unassisted. I could especially understand the parts she read without crying. She’s had some real emotional moments lately, I think from a greater awareness of her situation. I sense a little bit of her feeling she needs to contribute more or be able to do more for her family and doesn’t fully understand the kids are all grown up and out doing their own thing. A few times when driving home and I ask her what she wants to do she’ll respond with “whatever everyone else is doing”. She doesn’t get upset when I tell her its just her and me but for a moment I think she was back in time and there were kids living with us. Janet is living more and more in the present though and confirmed that today when I allowed her to answer a stupid call from her bank. They asked why she hadn’t reviewed her banking needs with them for over a year and if something had happened to cause that. She told them flat out, ” something big happened with my health”. The guy on the other end heard that and repeated it but couldn’t deduce that maybe that was why he had been having trouble hearing Janet for the duration of the call. She was conversing very well with him just not very loudly. Hopefully it was enough to prevent another call.

The gym remains Janet’s nemesis and best tool at the same time. Her strength is gaining noticeably, especially on the Shuttle. Garret suggested a slightly different position for Janet’s legs on the Shuttle and it allows for a much longer extension, now up to thirteen inches, and Janet is able to push more weight too. She absolutely hates the Standing Frame but I think has resigned to knowing she’s got two sessions a day in it and as long as she feels she’s in control of how long she in it for she’s ok. There hasn’t been a lot of swimming lately but what Janet’s done has been good. The hot tub continues to be a happy place for her and the time when I get the best stretch of her legs and right arm. Noticing some nice improvement in her right shoulder and the Botox is working well with her finger flexors. We went to see Julie at the hand clinic for a follow up visit and she was surprised at how nicely Janet’s hand is doing. Julie did not expect to be able to adjust the splint yet but with Janet tolerating it well and her hand being nice and open, she was able to mold the splint to allow an even more relaxed position for Janet’s hand and said we don’t need to come back to see her unless something is wrong. Good news.

Team Save Janet has expanded into the Windy City!

20130808-002026.jpg

Thanks Brenda for carrying the colors there and if anyone else has a picture wearing your gear in a far away place I’d love to see them.

20130808-002148.jpg

Praying for Janet to keep getting stronger, especially her right leg. Praying for restoration of the use of her right arm and hand and complete restoration of her vision. Thanking our Lord and Savior for the healing he has brought and for all of you who continue to pray and support Janet and I.