steps

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.

Janet, A Success Story. June 26. #TSJ Early Weekend

When Janet called me after lunch today I could sense right away where she was steering the conversation to. Yesterday she repeatedly asked if she could come home early for the weekend since its going to be such a busy one. I made her the usual deal of getting all her therapies done by lunchtime then we’d talk. She couldn’t tell me fast enough that she’d done just that then asked again if she could come home. How could I say no and why would I?

Janet agreed to a nap before I picked her up though and she was just getting up when I arrived. We are having some of the Connect staff over for a BBQ tomorrow so there was work to be done as soon as we got home and getting dinner was first up. Pizzas are a good project for Janet to help with and she loves eating them so that was dinner tonight. We are developing a good routine around pizza making. Janet, in her wheelchair, is able to get a lot of the ingredients and turn the oven on and she’s awesome and putting the sauces on before building the actual pizzas. It used to be that half of her toppings would end up anywhere but on her pizza. Not so now, she is creating masterpieces.

For the BBQ Janet was pretty insistent on having a dessert and wanted to make a carrot cake, her favourite. My baking past is not pretty so I was a reluctant participant in our effort tonight but I must say the end result looks pretty good and the icing is awesome. Janet broke eggs and mixed things together for the cake really well then decided to chat with Laurel for a bit while I figured out the icing. After catching up a little on our So You Think You Can Dance watching, Janet iced the carrot cake before going to bed.

Because of all the kitchen work, Janet was in her wheelchair more than I would’ve liked tonight but that is the best way for her to be able to help. She did stand to ice the cake and had to walk up the two steps from the garage when we got home today as I’ve taken away the wheelchair ramp. There is a grab bar on her left side and using that she effortlessly got up both steps. High five! I may not put the ramp back if going down the steps is just as good.

Praying for a night of reenergizing sleep and a fun Friday.

Janet, A Success Story. June 19. #TSJ Girls Day

Spending time doing things like going to a Spa or having her nails done has never been a Janet thing but she willingly went this morning with Heather, Laurel and Courtney for a pedi and a mani. It was not easy for me to let her nails grow as long as they got but it seemed best to give the pro something to work with when the time came. All reports were that Janet did well while out with girls and her nails do look nice. Janet says the lunch they all went for was fun but the nail thing was so so. Had to be done and I’m glad the girls got to spend time on their own.

Girls day went pretty much until nap time for Janet but I did get her out for a walking trip down a nice long hallway in the hotel. She’d been sitting a lot and needed that stretch. Her walking was quite good once she warmed up.

After her nap it was off to the birthday BBQ at Heather and Allan’s. This was our first visit to their new home and a nice one it is. There are a few steps for Janet to negotiate and using her nice strong legs she managed very well. Janet was excited to see so many of the family gathered together, especially Andrew, whom she greeted with a cheery “hi honey”. Something Janet never would have said pre injury. Cute.

Heather and Allan did a great job cooking for and hosting everyone and tonight was a nice warm up for the wedding festivities which start tomorrow. Praying for a night of re energizing sleep and a fun Friday.

Janet, A Success Story. June 9. #TSJ

There’s never a dull day with Janet. Today was supposed to be a little special in that Janet would be home for dinner after going to the doctor this afternoon. She was quite excited about coming home and we both thought the doctor visit would be one of relief as her ears were to be cleaned out. After getting all of her therapy sessions done by lunchtime, Janet had a quick nap which ended soon after I arrived to pick her up then we took off for the ear cleaning.

Since Janet walked so well the last time we were at the doctor and all we were doing was going home after, we left the wheelchair at Connect. Janet stepped nicely up a three inch curb as we walked into the doctor’s office. The flushing out of the right ear went really well, not so with the left. That was the one most plugged and Janet was in considerable pain as the doctor was shooting water in her ear so she stopped and instructed us to put oil in Janet’s ear for another three days to soften the wax then come back for more pressure washing.

At home, all seemed relatively fine as we sat in the sun for a bit then walked across the grass to see the neighbour’s new deck. Yes, we risked stepping down the huge steps out to our patio and Janet did a solid job. She made it back up with some assistance and was quite pleased she was able to negotiate the steps so well. Janet said her ear hurt a little. She helped me make dinner and enjoyed eating it until her ear started to gradually bother her more and more. I put some oil in it hoping that might soothe the pain, nope. Tylenol didn’t help either nor did ice cream believe it or not. By the time we were driving past the airport on our way back to Connect Janet was actually crying with pain. My thoughts then were to grab her meds and take her to KGH but she then told me she was hearing crackling sounds in her ear. I assured her that was a good thing and when we got to Connect Chelsea came to the rescue. Janet’s doctor cautioned us not to use Q-tips as there is a risk of pushing the wax too far back into the ear. Fair enough but with Janet in pain something had to be done and Chelsea was confident she could get some wax out in order to relieve that pain. Armed with Q-tips and a special ear cleaning probe she went to work and fifteen minutes later Janet was pain free and able to hear better too. Well done Chelsea! The oil treatments will continue and Janet will still go for another round of pressure washing but for now at least it seems like the worst is over.

We did have a brief time to read before I left and Janet was tucked in comfortably with a smile on her face confident she’ll be able to sleep well. God continues to bless us with caring and skilled people and I pray that Janet has a pain free night and a productive Tuesday.