steps

Janet, A Success Story. September 29. #TSJ Goaal #3!

It’s a rare occasion when Janet recounts her morning activities without a complaint so I really enjoyed her phone call early this afternoon where she told me all about the stuff she had done with the only negative being her review of her step exercises as being “terrible”. She seemed pleased with everyone else and sounded quite upbeat. When I got out to Connect a little later Janet was awake in bed after napping briefly, something she hasn’t really been doing much of lately.

Janet’s attitude shift enabled her to take the initiative and walk down to the kitchen to find out what her duties for the evening were. As Chelsea had her help with making stuffed baked potatoes I showed Brian the video from Janet’s attempt at boiling water on the cooktop at home. He approved and when Janet arrived on the scene congratulated her on achieving another goal! Janet seemed genuinely pleased with that news and wasn’t too upset about not passing the laundry test yet. She needs a little more practice in familiarizing herself with the controls on both washer and drier. She’s close.

For her post dinner stroll tonight I pulled Janet around the insides of Connect including up the stairs. Janet handled those well but was feigning exhaustion part way up in such a way that I think she’s mentally giving up at the first sign of exertion. In the end she completed the routine well and maybe realizes a little better just how long of a stride she is able to take.

Praying for a night of restful sleep and a productive meeting with Dr. Miller tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. September 18. #TSJ Padding

Jess put Janet through her paces this morning, doing lots of step exercises and walking. Of course Janet cooperated well knowing she’d be going home this afternoon. She called me to say she had “just wiped out” but was ok. While in her room folding and putting away laundry Janet lost her balance and fell onto her butt then onto her back. There are no signs of damage and I think the fall could do her good as far as lessening the fear of falling. It’s a good thing Janet fell on her padded butt now instead of the boney one she used to have.

Before we left Connect we went on a Tez hunt but were unsuccessful in finding him although Janet got to climb the stairs and do some more walking and that was successful. On the way home Janet indicated she feels that once she’s at home full time her job will be to clean things. That may be so and to start her off she emptied the dishwasher while I biked to the store for some corn. Later on Janet helped prep dinner including putting veggies on skewers to be grilled. She then rinsed dishes while I washed. Nice to have good help in the house.

Treating this like her Friday night that was enough work for Janet and we settled in to watch the finale of America’s Got Talent. I did make Janet get up to test all the ice cream flavours before deciding which one to eat. That was one walking trip she did not protest.

Janet continues to improve at dressing and undressing herself and will likely achieve her goal of operating the cooktop this weekend. No pressure.

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

Janet, A Success Story. September 16. #TSJ

Rumour has it that Janet cooperated with Tez and Jess this morning and when she actually did what they asked she did it well. The exercise Tez is working Janet on is a step routine up and down on a four inch block. That’s less than any steps at home and Janet is easily capable of doing it, she still lacks the confidence to really attack it. I did manage to get her to walk down both flights of stairs this afternoon and she did really well with them even saying at the end that it felt good to have done it.

There was lots of walking the balance of the day for Janet and she probably put on more than a kilometre by the time she was done. All the trips were purposeful as opposed to exercise oriented and she walked beside me holding my hand most of the time. I can’t tell if she’s improved her pace much yet but she certainly hasn’t slowed down.

Janet went into Games Night convinced she wasn’t going to say much then ended up participating nicely. Same old story. Each week the group is charged with remembering “the word of the week”. Last week’s word was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Of course that was easy to remember and the whole group sang the song repeatedly to prove it. This week the word is a favourite of Janet’s, sunshine. Naturally everyone started singing You Are My Sunshine. Yikes.

Once again Janet didn’t really nap and paid for that as the evening wore on and come reading time she was asleep. Praying for a solid night of sleep and a happy Janet on Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. August 25. #TSJ

Today was a pretty reasonable Monday for Janet. Curtis coached her through the gym routine and challenged her to read The Hallo-Wiener to the Games Night group tomorrow. A challenge that Janet readily accepted surprisingly enough.

She had just made her way down to the living room as I arrived at Connect this afternoon and was quite chatty. We hung out there visiting with Wes and his wife Roz and got a surprise visit from former resident, Fred. He’s hear for a week away from Connect Langley and it was fun to have him around tonight. Janet liked how he livened up the place.

Chelsea and Karl, both from England, decided to make the house an English breakfast for dinner tonight. Sausages, baked beans, potatoes etc. You may have already guessed that didn’t go over well with Janet so she ate my shrimp linguini and I ate her sausages and beans. She sometimes is referred to as queen of the house and lived up to that tonight.

Janet may not be queen for long as we were told that a new resident moves in across the hall from Janet tomorrow and happily she’s a girl. Janet is looking forward to meeting her.

One exercise Janet did not get to this morning was the Shuttle so tonight I gave her the option of doing that or climbing the stairs instead. She chose stairs and went up and down all nineteen in good fashion, with a little sweat and a minimum of complaining. When given the choice of what to do the rest of the night Janet very nicely remembered there was tennis on TV so we watched some first round action of the US Open broken up by some speed walking to the bathroom and freestyle walking to get meds. A strong day.

Praying for an excellent night of sleep for Janet and the desire and ability to fully participate in her Tuesday.

Janet, A Success Story. August 12. #TSJ Goaaal!

A very matter of fact Janet called me this afternoon to tell me she had “done the steps with Tez and he said it was fine.” Translation, Janet has officially achieved her first “get out of Connect” goal! I can’t explain her lack of enthusiasm and satisfaction, maybe she realizes its just the first of eight goals she set for herself. That would be her thinking only, as everyone around her has been praising the accomplishment.

Tez worked with Janet for quite a while this morning and will do so each Tuesday and Thursday for the foreseeable future. They will be working on improving Janet’s stride and walking speed. Janet admitted she was pretty tired from the Tez work and needed a rest so I was surprised to find her in the living room when I got to Connect. She really could have used more of a rest as she was a little grumpy most of the evening but agreed to demonstrate her stair climbing for you on her way to Games Night. This was her first attempt at all nineteen steps as she chose to go up them all instead of going up then down ten. Janet is a little scared of the down part still so I let her choose tonight.

Its difficult to say what the next goal to be achieved will be but some progress was made on the reading one tonight. Janet emailed the preschool she used to work at to see if she would be allowed to read to the kids near Halloween time. The response came within an hour and her former boss is all for it. We hope to meet to chat about it soon.

Praying for a long night of sleep that provided lots of energy for a fun Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. August 11. #TSJ Overachieving

Attitude is everything and Janet had a good one today. As I drove Brittney and Ethan back to New Westminster Janet called me to say she had just done her stair climbing with Curtis and that she went up and down TEN steps! She seemed genuinely pleased with herself and she should be, her goal was three steps set only a couple of weeks ago and already she’s at ten. High five! After the call, Brittney said Janet sounded good on the phone and she’s right. I didn’t really notice it at first but there was a much more confident tone and lots of volume to her voice and she carried the conversation well.

It wasn’t until six o’clock that I made it out to Connect and Janet was sitting out on the patio waiting for me with a big smile and a fist pump. Fortunately for me, her dinner hadn’t been served yet so we had time to visit before dining together. Janet’s confidence level stayed high all evening which enabled her to engage in good conversation with the other residents as well as the staff. She dictated some emails and discussed in depth our weekend as grandparents. It almost seems like she’s reached another level and it will be interesting to see if the trend continues.

Thank you to those of you that prayed for our friend Gary. He made it through the surgery and will be in ICU “a bit longer than usual” so keep praying please.

Praying that Janet gets a good night of sleep and is able to officially check off her stair climbing goal tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. August 10. #TSJ No Relaxing Here

Return trips to Connect have often been difficult and unhappy for Janet and tonight’s was near the top of the list in unhappiness. There was no crying or pouting or complaining just a clear stating of the fact that Janet feels like her “vacation, was not very relaxing”. She’s right and that was never the intention. I think it all boils down to nine days going by too quickly and a little bit of Janet forgetting some of the things she did. We had a good talk about it all and I was able to leave her smiling and seemingly content. She has a chance to officially achieve one of her goals this week and I think she’s looking forward to doing that.

The final phase of Janet’s “vacation” started Thursday as we said so long to my mom and hello to Brittney and Ethan.

Not too sure is he?

Not too sure is he?


We had no idea what to expect from this adventure and were impressed at how well Ethan travelled from New Westminster to Kelowna. Janet did too but that is becoming old news. Overall, our weekend went well and by the end of the day today Janet found a way to connect with Ethan a little more. You could probably guess it was through reading and teaching but even Janet was surprised when she realized she was using an App with Ethan that I used with her during her first year at Connect. Its a word association game that Janet now knows and Ethan is improving on.
EthanJanetHallowiener
Teacher at work.

Teacher at work.


The rest of the weekend Janet was pretty much the innocent bystander, she didn’t want to swim when we went to the pool but enjoyed watching Ethan and noted his improvement after day two. We spent a fair bit of time at various beaches and Janet enjoyed watching the goings on there, I just wish she could participate more.

With a two year old and a dog in the house our at home routine became a little chaotic at times so Janet got waited on more than usual and there was no protesting from her on that one. She still did well getting her breakfasts, it was lunch and dinner that lacked involvement. Her walking was great and even Janet commented she’s getting better at coming up the steps from the garage.

All in all it was a positive weekend and a productive if not relaxing time away from Connect for Janet. Praying for a restful night of sleep and an energetic Monday for Janet.

PS. Tomorrow, (Monday), our friend Gary goes in for open heart surgery which is scheduled for 1:45pm. Please keep him, Barb and the medical team in your prayers.

Janet, A Success Story. July 29. #TSJ Shot on Goal

To Janet, lately, her days seem to be pretty routine and uninteresting. In the past I’ve mentioned the perceived slowness of her progress. That seems to have flipped recently as I can see improvements almost daily and Janet is having a tough time recognizing them. The first part of today was routine for Janet with the exemption of having to walk everywhere. That appears to be paying off as her first trip down the hall with me was faster than any of her walks yesterday. It then took every bit of convincing I had in me to get her to leave the sunshine and try some stairs before dinner. I insisted because I think this is the goal Janet can accomplish before all others and pretty quick. Her goal is to be able to walk up and down three steps using only a hand rail for assistance. After the long walk down the hall Janet approached the stairwell with trepidation, then, as soon as she saw the nice wide steps and the handrail she easily climbed the first two and with an extra effort made it up the third one. I then helped her turn and walk across to the other side so she could grab that handrail and try going back down. Janet admitted she’s scared about going down so I stood right in front of her and had a hand lightly on her back for reassurance. She made it but needs to overcome that fear before marking that goal as achieved. Today was a great first shot on goal!

After her morning workout Janet said she practiced her hand writing for about an hour. She’s not happy with her abilities in that area but again, I’m seeing notable improvements. Tonight was Games Night and Janet was her usual enthusiastic self. Actually she’s gotten more accepting of the event and does quite well for the first forty minutes or so then tires. To give you an idea of what Janet’s longest walk at Connect is I recorded this time lapse video of her walking back from Games Night to her room. It’s too fast to see any improvement in her technique but you can sure see how much more distance she can cover. In real time this took five and a half minutes.

Praying for a great sleep and for Janet to be confident doing all she is asked to do tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. July 24. #TSJ

Janet and I met with her team at Connect early this morning and found it to be a productive time. Everyone is supportive of the idea of Janet setting goals to reach before leaving Connect as opposed to choosing a specific date and there was good discussion around what to set as goals in each area. The outcome is as follows;

– Walking- Janet wants to walk “like a regular person”. When asked to define that she said “being able to walk without standing there not knowing what to do”. Tez will use the 6 Minute Walking Test to measure Janet’s progress. The low end of “normal” for that test is 700 meters in 6 minutes. Today Janet did 27 meters. She likely will be tested a couple more times before setting a specific target to reach before leaving Connect.Tez recommends Janet use her cane to gain speed and confidence in walking. She is reluctant but was encouraged to hear that its a temporary thing. Janet used the cane for her last two walking trips at home tonight and although it didn’t speed her up she felt OK with using it.
– Steps- Janet would like to be able to climb and descend three steps on her own using only a handrail. Tez agreed she can likely do that very soon and will have the staff take Janet on the stairs at Connect next week.
– Reading- Janet wants to be able to read to three and four year olds with expression. Mary Lou says she’s making good progress and that is an achievable goal.
– Writing- Brian and I would like to see Janet be able to write her name, address and phone number on a form and be able to leave hand-written notes for people. Janet sees the value in that and will work with Mary Lou to get there.
– Home Chores- Janet would like to be able to load and operate the washer, drier and dishwasher as well as be able to operate the cooktop. Brian will come to the house one day soon to assess Janet and coach her on how to improve with those tasks.
– Toileting- Janet would like to be independent in her toileting routine. The staff have been training Janet and will coach me so I can help Janet at home.

Like I said, it was a productive meeting. The day only got better as Janet was able to come home for the weekend before lunch. We took advantage of the cool weather to stop and get Janet a couple new bathing suits and I think we did pretty well. You may see them this weekend. Janet napped while I went to the grocery store with the list she helped create then in the spirit of going after those goals I put Janet to work. We pitted two pounds of cherries for freezing, she pulled the stems off all of them and pitted some. She ordered quesadillas for dinner and chopped peppers, onion and mushrooms then built each quesadilla for us. After dinner she rinsed the dishes while I washed. She did all of this with no wheelchair in sight and standing for some of it.

Our neighbour, Bonnie came over for a post dinner glass of wine and a chat. She told us she had just baked three cherry pies and Janet got all excited saying that is her favourite pie. It must have been from her childhood because I don’t remember liking pie at all. Bonnie kindly agreed to bake one more. Smooth move Janet.

I’m looking forward to a fun weekend of involving Janet in as many household tasks as possible and walking a lot. Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and giving thanks for all we have been blessed with.

Janet, A Success Story. July 4. #TSJ Tennis Babe

Early this morning Janet “woke up” repeatedly asking me for my “ticket”. She was very much in a dream yet appeared to be awake. It was a little unnerving and when she did snap out of it all she could explain was we were all heading “home” from somewhere. Not as fun as the cruise dream but certainly Janet was deeper into this one.

After breakfast we went to visit John for a bit as we hadn’t seen him for a few weeks. Janet was able to tell him some wedding and travel stories and we all talked soccer and tennis. Janet was pleased we went as she believes John is always happy to see us. Who isn’t?

Since Janet has been enjoying tennis on TV so much I decided to take her to see some live. There is a Futures tournament on here now and never having seen live professional tennis before we decided to check it out.

Intently watching the action.

Intently watching the action.


It was a lot of fun and we both were impressed by the intensity of the players. You see it on TV but feel it when you’re there. The semi finals are tomorrow and we may go back as we will be on a tennis high after Genie Bouchard wins Wimbledon.

I allowed Janet to walk around the house as she pleased today in line with what Tez said yesterday and she did well. There was no leaning on anything and she tackled the open areas with reasonable confidence. She did an awesome job on the steps to and from the garage, hardly using me at all. Overall, a good day.

Praying for a restful night of sleep and a fun Saturday.