Janet, A Success Story. October 30. #TSJ

I mentioned a while ago that I would stop posting blog updates on days when Janet was home and even though she’s been starting her weekends on Thursdays for quite a bit, I kept on blogging. Well, this is the last one of those and once Janet is home full time the daily updates will cease. Every once in a while there is something cool worth sharing but it certainly isn’t every day any longer.

Janet had a good stretching session in the gym with Curtis this morning then I picked her up for the weekend and we hung out at home with my mom who baked up a storm and made the place smell real nice. After Janet’s nap she helped make dinner again and amongst other things is showing an increased ability to stand for long periods. She moved around the house well without her cane and enjoyed just chilling in her comfy home.

We have a busy weekend full of figure skating ahead of us as we attend the Skate Canada International competition. Janet will not have a chance for a nap all weekend so a sleep in is planned for tomorrow. Since my mom is here I’ve told Janet she can stay home until Monday evening and she is very excited about that.

Praying that Janet sleeps well each night this weekend and has the energy to keep up with all we have planned.

Janet, A Success Story. August 4. #TSJ Swimming Video

It’s been a fun and active start to Janet’s mid summer break from Connect. Laurel and Raj were here Friday night till Monday morning and provided Janet with some meaningful and exciting family time. We all walked around the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning then stopped by to say hi to John. Janet is always quite proud to introduce her family to others and John was very pleased to have a larger audience to regale with his stories. It took a little convincing but we got Janet into the pool and you can see from this video, she hasn’t lost any strokes at all.

We arrived early to church on Saturday as I wanted Janet to walk all the way in on her own. Wouldn’t you figure, she walked so fast the whole way we had tons of time to spare. Ya just never know. Sunday was a day at the beach, literally. Janet was happy to sit in the sun and watch Laurel, Raj and I make our first attempts at Stand Up Paddle Boarding. We all did impressively well I must say. After a nap at home we walked back to the beach area for a nice dinner at Smack Dab followed by the now requisite stop at Menchies for dessert.

Summer Yummies

Summer Yummies

The good-byes this morning were not as teary as in the past and Janet and I had a productive day preparing for our trip to Nanaimo tomorrow. I even got Janet in the pool again and we are getting steadily better at entering and exiting.

These first few days have been quite vacation like for Janet with today being an exception as I put her to work with me around the house. Since she is using her wheelchair less and less we rearranged the kitchen so that the things she needs for breakfast are reachable for her when standing. She did some walk throughs of the new set up today with the first real attempt coming in the morning. I’m confidant she can do this.

Praying for a great night of sleep and a safe drive and ferry trip to Nanaimo.

Post dinner selfie

Post dinner selfie

Stand Up Paddle Boarding sure is fun to watch.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding sure is fun to watch.

See what I mean.

See what I mean.

Almost looks like he knows what he's doing.

Almost looks like he knows what he’s doing.

Janet, A Success Story. July 23. #TSJ

You all know about Janet and little kids, well apparently she has the same effect on little animals. Everyone in the house went to Kangaroo Creek Farm this morning and Janet quickly made a friend.

Cute. The baby 'roo is too.

Cute. The baby ‘roo is too.

They all seemed to really enjoy the outing with Janet being just as excited about stopping for coffee afterwards as seeing the kangaroos. The biggest laugh apparently came when they were told this Emu’s name is Larry.
I can see the resemblance. Can you?

I can see the resemblance. Can you?

I got two phone calls from Janet today, one to tell me about the kangaroos and the other later on when she had completed her exercises. She used that opportunity to tell me I could come out to see her anytime. Janet has really been focused on my visits and her time at home lately which is one reason we are having a mini team meeting tomorrow. I want Janet to set some goals to be reached before coming home so she has clear targets instead of an arbitrary date to shoot for.

Curtis asked Janet to set the table for dinner tonight but she declined based on it was her turn to do the clean up after dinner. Fair enough, Curtis and I made sure she followed through with that and to her credit Janet did great. Her ability to stand and work at something has vastly improved in the last couple of months.

Right where she belongs.

Right where she belongs.

Her freestyle walking tonight was solid but I notice a little difference when I helped her to walk fast. I think she’s so used to reaching for a wall or something that her upper body is now angled towards that support instead of where she’s headed. Minor but worth correcting.

Today was a bright day for Janet, she was talkative and “on” the whole time I was with her and she even did some singing as her and Angie attempted the Oscar Mayer Wiener Song. They got some laughs at least.

Praying for a dry night of sleep for Janet and a productive Thursday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 13. #TSJ Heat

Janet and I had a good weekend, mostly very positive with one lingering negative that I hope we can resolve soon.

We are in the midst of a heat wave here, 40C today, and not even Janet is complaining about the A/C being on. I still can’t convince her to go swimming though, she’s hung up on not being able to walk “like a regular person” and looking “weird”. Next weekend, if we have time, I’m just going to tell her we’re going and see what happens.

Friday, we spent most of our time getting ready for our dinner guests. Janet insisted on making a carrot cake for dessert and I agreed as long as she helped. Her confidence and abilities in the kitchen continue to increase and this cake turned out better than the first one. Heidi and Jack joined us for a very nice evening of conversation and food. Janet was engaged the whole time and was a huge help in getting everything ready. That seemed to make the evening even more special for her but begin able to host two people that have been a huge support from day one was cool. Thanks for being you, Heidi and Jack.

Saturday had us visiting John just before his lunchtime. Janet remembered he wanted us to bring him a “double double” from Tim Horton’s so we did and boy was he happy about that! I’m glad we could cheer him up. Church was the one negative of the weekend, not the service at all, but the “accident” Janet had with three minutes left. I was mad because she gave me the old “I didn’t want to leave in the middle of the sermon” excuse and I don’t know how to get her to stop thinking that something else is more important than going to the bathroom. A work in progress. We turned things back to the positive side after we got home by walking down to Gyro Beach for a picnic dinner then a walk along the lakefront before getting home for ice cream. Being out at the beach at 9 o’clock at night in 30C weather is why we moved here. Love it.

Today was a little extreme, I’ll have to admit. 40C, even Janet was sweating a little, but still loving it. After Skype chats with Brittney and Leslie I dropped Janet off at Wendy and Tim’s house where a bridal shower was being held for a family friend, Amy. Janet was excited to attend as I guess she likes hanging out with other women and I’m glad she got the chance.

Nora, Janet, Amy

Nora, Janet, Amy

She told me after that she spoke a little to the group and “everyone was really nice to me”. The relationships that Janet is building within our community are helping her rehab a lot. We are blessed.

With the heat and lack of time for a nap, Janet was pretty tired heading into dinner time but still managed to help and did a good chunk of her help standing at the Island. After the prep work was done Janet mustered enough energy to Skype with Andrew and they seemed to enjoy talking tennis.

I sometimes get a little discouraged and frustrated with the pace of Janet’s recovery but I can look back on this weekend and see notable improvements like her being able to stand and work at the Island. Her walking around the house was slower but she did way more of it and never complained or asked for help once. Her stair work is greatly improved and we went on our first outside walk together. Janet walked holding my hand for five houses away from ours before we turned around and walked back. I can remember back in the KGH days saying to her I wanted to go for walks with her again. It’s starting!

Praying for a cool night of sleep for us all and that Janet has lots of energy and a positive attitude for the week ahead.

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. April 7. #TSJ

Janet went right back to work today at Connect with a morning walk from the dining area to her room. That’s the longest walk she’s been on, close to 80 feet, and she was, dare I say, excited about it when I called at lunch time. She repeated that distance this afternoon with me, going the other direction, and showing improvement in her balance and confidence. Very exciting.

That was for sure the highlight of the day but Janet was in a good mood and quite bright the whole time I was with her. She practiced some hand writing using a workbook Mary Lou gave her and is producing more consistent letters than before. After reading The Artisan Soul, which talks a lot about artistic freedom, it is hard for me to tell Janet to stay between the lines, but I think it’s best she does. Janet reluctantly agreed to a Standing Frame session after dinner. It had been a while since her last session partly because of the pain she was complaining of in her right leg. That seems to be diminishing as Jess was able to stretch Janet well this morning and I got no mentions of pain tonight. Fortunately the NCAA basketball championship was on while Janet was standing and that provided a nice distraction and a fun way for Janet to end a very hard working day.

Praying for lots of strength and a positive attitude for tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. March 29. #TSJ

Janet woke me up early this morning to go to the bathroom. Should have been even earlier though. Nice move anyways. After figuring out that the microwave doesn’t make good toast, we enjoyed a sunny breakfast and got caught up on some emails. I had Janet walking a lot this morning and each time she improved even to the point where she was bringing her right foot slightly ahead of her left one each step.

The sun was out for most of the day and we took the dog for a spin around the neighbourhood. Janet loved the feeling of the warm sun on her face. We could see black clouds off in the distance and sure enough five minutes after Janet went for a nap it got a little ugly out there. Good timing us.

I had visions of Janet walking down the aisle to our seats at church tonight but I think that would be pushing it too far yet. The floor is sloped and we sit near the front which is a long ways from the lobby so it would take awhile. Soon it will happen though. Janet stood for a record long time tonight and totally understood Scott’s message and was quite pleased that she did.

Our evening was sushi and a movie, The Dallas Buyers Club. Janet loved the sushi but is still complaining a little of a sore tummy. She found the movie hard to follow but said it was worth watching.

Praying for an uninterrupted night of healing sleep and continued improvement in Janet’s walking abilities.

Janet, a Success Story. March 6. #TSJ

I really wasn’t sure about the new title for this blog site but Janet, through her hard work today, has legitimized it for me. When I called her to see how her day was going she very proudly told me she walked all the way from the gym to her room using a cane. That is over 100 feet! Jess held her a little from behind and the rest was all Janet. I’m super glad she told me in such a positive manner too! She actually realizes this is a huge accomplishment.

By the time I got to Connect Janet was watching Ellen in the living room with Wes and Humberto. I had brought her a sketch book and pencil but she wasn’t interested at that moment saying, “I was a good drawer but I used my right hand then”. Valid point, we’ll try some other time.

After dinner I gave Janet the option of a bike ride or walking combined with the Standing Frame and she chose walking. We didn’t have a cane so I stood in for that, I’ve asked Tez if we should buy one now, and Janet made it all the way from her room to the living room, about 70 feet. She was pretty tired by the end of that walk and was using my arm as a cane pretty heavily but there were moments along the way where she took strong steps with little pressure on me. Janet was nice and straight and tall in the Standing Frame and kept a very close eye on the time to make sure she didn’t spend one minute more than she had to.

With a very successful day behind her and facing a long drive to Nanaimo tomorrow I surprised Janet with an invitation to come home tonight. Her face lit right up and if she didn’t need to put a jacket on I think she would’ve gone straight out the door. It was bedtime when we got home and there was no arguing about it at all. Janet smiled and seemed to totally relax as she hit the pillow in our bed saying, “this is so much better than the other place”. I explained that she had earned this visit home by working really hard today and she said she’d do that more if coming home was the reward. Hmmm.

Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep and a fun and safe trip to Nanaimo tomorrow.

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

Another day, another milestone. We had Janet’s team meeting this morning at Connect and in amongst the usual progress reports we discussed the transition home. That’s right, home. Sometime before the 24th of December Janet will be living at home full time! Exciting and scary. Exciting in so many ways, scary in that we have no idea what being at home full time looks like at this point. Janet continues to make progress and will likely do so over the next nine months or more and that makes it hard to plan for the amount and type of care she will need at home. The good part is there is a nine month window with which to work out all the details. For now, the focus is still on getting more activation from Janet’s right leg with an eye towards walking with/without a cane by June. The other goals set out in the meeting were to improve Janet’s reading and hand writing, improve her knowledge of the medications she takes and to gain independence in taking them. Janet was a full participant in today’s meeting and asserted herself well. High five!

To further demonstrate her progress Janet stood at the kitchen counter after the meeting and made herself a grilled cheese sandwich. She had minimal help from Jess in the process and even managed to turn herself around so she could grill the sandwich once she had built it.
As soon as lunch was done we took off to KGH to visit John. He seemed tired and not quite his positive self today but was happy to see us. Please keep him in your prayers. As is common with hospital visits Janet was in celebrity mode. First up was Jane her Occupational Therapist from 4B. Janet didn’t remember her but was excited to tell Jane how well she is doing. Jane made a very clear point to Janet how thrilled she was to see her and how far she has progressed also saying it’s important and exciting for those that work with patients like Janet to see the progress after such a long time. All good for Janet to hear. Up on 4 East we saw Emma, Janet’s first nurse in Rehab. Same sort of feedback and encouragement from her and again, Janet was proudly reporting on her progress. Love it.

That was a very busy first part of the day and Janet was out like a light as soon as we got home. I had to wake her once I had dinner ready just in time to eat and get to SheLife. It took her a while to get her energy back and I was a little concerned with how she’d manage the session. Heidi excitedly informed that Janet prayed out loud tonight for the first time and everyone at her table could hear her too. Janet said it went well but she isn’t understanding any of what the video segments are supposed to be teaching. That’s OK because the social aspect is far more important for her anyways, proven by how her ability to participate has increased. Janet agreed and added “they all really like me being there” in an almost Sally Field at the Oscars kind of way. Cute.

This marks the end of The Team Save Janet Report as we aren’t in “save” mode any longer. The “team” still exists I guess but really only figuratively. Tomorrow, I hope to have re named this blog site to something that reflects Janet’s determination, hard work, perseverance and inspirational qualities as we work our way towards coming home. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears, or eyes.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and a productive Thursday and thanking Jesus for His many blessings.

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

Janet had a good start to today, waking with lots of energy after a good long sleep. She managed her own breakfast this morning and was quite chatty and excited about the day ahead. Our neighbour, Bonnie, came over to watch the Olympic figure skating with Janet as she had been in Mexico during the games. Janet enjoyed watching a speeded up version of what she’d already seen and was able to remember some of the performances. It was an awful lot of skating to filter through in a couple of hours but nice to visit and watch with Bonnie.

I got Janet up and walking a little before and after lunch. She complained of soreness in her left leg which I can only attribute to her over using it. We had a good long talk about that and I also had Janet stand in front of a large mirror so she could see how crooked she stands even though she thinks she’s straight. Her steps were good today but her confidence level remains the same, lowish. If Janet believed she could use her right leg more she would. Anyone know a good sports psychology book? Janet relates to sports and might be inspired by something along those lines.

After scanning a few pictures and a quick nap it was time to bake our cannelloni and watch the Oscars. Both were a little disappointing on my end and Janet agreed with me on the cannelloni but enjoyed the Oscars. That was a lot of TV watching today, something I hope we don’t repeat too often. We had the most wintery drive of the season back to Connect tonight and had time to do a little reading. We are through eleven chapters of Long Walk to Freedom and I think that’s it for Janet. It is too dry a read for her so I am looking for suggestions. Something personal, quick paced and funny.

Praying that Janet has lots of energy tomorrow and a willingness to work hard at whatever she’s asked to do.