This morning was the opposite of Saturday as we both slept in rather than getting up early to watch tennis. Janet had a shower and is manoeuvring around the bathroom much better than when we first attempted showers here. I can remember practically carrying her in some cases, now I’m just a bit of a support.
It was just after ten by the time we were out making breakfast and we put our recorded version of the Gentlemen’s Championship of Wimbledon on. We let it play while we made and ate breakfast then Janet had her weekly Skype session with Mary/Gaga then we focused on the tennis. Janet impressed me over and over with her increasing knowledge of the game as well as her understanding of what was happening moment to moment. Her best comment came in the third set when she observed that Roger Federer was making most of his first serves and Novak Djokovic wasn’t. Brilliant.
I wasn’t planning on sitting through the entire match but Janet was really enjoying it and it was an amazing battle so we only sped through a small portion of it with Championship Point coming just as Kiko arrived for a visit. Janet initiated this get together as she had some questions coming out of Tim’s message at Trinity last week and thought Kiko would be a good person to talk to. She’s right, they enjoyed a nice afternoon together chatting away and sipping wine with Janet feeling really happy about it all afterwards and Kiko saying to me how impressed she was with Janet’s memory and social skills. There has been a very steady improvement in those areas the last little while and Janet is always at her best when she’s with people she cares about.
Sunday afternoon with a good friend.
After a very brief nap to recoup a little we enjoyed a Chinese food dinner then made the sad trip back to Connect. The wheelchair was not used at all after breakfast today except for when I went to pick up dinner. Janet walked well, mostly with assistance today as I wanted her moving at a quicker pace and she did a great job on the steps multiple times.
Praying for a long night of healing sleep and an energetic Monday. Thanking Jesus for blessing us with amazing people in our lives.
Sunday started out well and ended really strong. Janet has bounced back from whatever was bothering her the last few days and by tonight was at her brightest ever it seemed.
I let her sleep in a little this morning then she got her water, meds and coffee all by herself while I showered. Usually I’m watching as she gets her breakfast but today I let her go on her own and she did fine. Our plan was to have pancakes and Janet helped me make the batter but the egg we used was from a carton that expired in February and we added too much milk so it was back to toast and peanut butter. Janet took part in the weekly Skype session with her mom and enjoyed that conversation.
The first walking attempt of the day was a good one and I continue to see improvement, especially in Janet’s ability to step with her right leg. The weather was nice enough to walk around and hangout outside for a little bit this afternoon and Janet helped me with some landscaping ideas before her nap. A half hour is better than nothing and Janet got up feeling pretty good and executed a really good walk from the bathroom to the dining table. She seems to be even gaining some speed although I’m not timing her yet.
Janet helped build a salad and we enjoyed a nice dinner with pretty amazing conversation lasting well into return to Connect time. After Janet’s surprise announcement yesterday that she wanted to share her story at SheLife I thought that would be it for amazing announcements for a while. Wrong. I helped Janet take some notes on what she wants to talk about and that lead to some very interesting comments and questions from Janet centred around what happened to her, why, how amazing it is that so many people have supported her along the way and how much she has improved. She’s finally accepting that truth and I was able to reinforce it today by showing her some old video of her 4B and Rehab days. Janet took it all in and really processed it well, asking very poignant questions without getting too emotional. A couple of hours later and Janet had a very clear picture of where she’s been and how she’s gotten to where she is today and I think it’ll stick with her now. She wants to meet Dr. Redekop and thank him for performing the surgery that gave her a chance and was intrigued by my stories of the incredible nurses at VGH ICU and would like to meet them too. I’m not sure if any of this is possible but we’ll try to make it happen. The hardest part of this journey for Janet to understand is why so many people stepped up and did so much to support her. She’s still lacking confidence but is immensely grateful to all of you for all you’ve done and I believe you’ll be hearing more about that from Janet herself soon.
Praying that Janet has a most excellent sleep and a productive Monday.
Renovation Day 73. Is this the last day? Could be! Randy was at the house today to complete the grouting on the back splashes in each bathroom and I can’t think of anything else that needs doing. I’ll wait to confirm with him before making it official but either way, Janet is able to come home for Christmas to a beautiful new home.
I met Janet at the pool this morning for the last swimming session of 2013. As an early Christmas present for her the water was notably warmer than usual and she had another strong session. We started in the deep tank again and did some lengths with Gillian whose doing a Physio therapy practicum with Tez. She showed Janet a few good leg exercises she can do in the deep water and told us how we can adapt them for at home too. Nice to have her there. Janet swam probably her longest times on her tummy today and is clearly getting stronger in the water. She also did a great job of getting her feet down so she could rest against the pool wall. In the kiddie pool Janet did some good balancing and sit to stands. It’s of course much easier to standup when your sitting in waist deep water but I think it’s still good practice for her. The hot tub as usual was a rewarding way to finish.
Janet returned to Connect with the staff for a house Christmas party that had just wound down by the time Laurel and I got there. I think Janet was on a bit of a coffee or sugar high when we got there as she was sitting on the couch with a big mug of coffee and a tray of cookies and butter tarts in front of her. She had way more energy than I expected her to have and it was fun to hear her tell of how it all went.
Knowing she had to get some exercise tonight Janet chose a bike ride first. I challenged her with level five and had her sit farther back than normal. She found it a little hard but still rode well and had a good workout. Dinner was lively tonight as Kieran and Big Counrty were in fine form with Janet in the middle of it all. She was quite proud of the fact she had two servings of dinner to Big Country’s one. To work that off we went upstairs with Dyllon, a part time staff member we haven’t worked with before, to do some walking. We took Tez’s advice and started slow to allow Janet’s right ankle to stretch out and after going about half way down the parallel bars she started to get into a pretty good rhythm with assistance. She was too tired to make it all the way back to her wheelchair so Laurel brought it to her to give her a rest. Her side stepping tonight was actually pretty good and she had one successful unassisted sit to stand from her wheelchair. High five.
Maybe pushing things a little too far I had Janet use the Standing Frame after her walking practice and fifteen minutes in she complained of a sore tummy. Fearing a repeat of that really bad pain she had a couple weeks ago we bailed out of standing and let Janet relax the rest of the evening. The three of us watched the finale of X Factor occasionally joined by some other residents. Janet said that watching the show was fun but I think she was a little too tired to fully enjoy. That should make for a good night of sleep and I pray she has lots of energy for a fun day with Laurel and Heather tomorrow.
Renovation Day 71. No action at the house today. Tomorrow?
I met Janet and Jess at KGH this morning for our regular chat with Dr. Miller. As usual the conversation was very positive with Janet talking louder than ever and expressing her thoughts better than ever. She continues to impress and I got the feeling she values Dr. Miller’s comments so hopefully she takes them seriously and uses them to lessen her self doubt.
Janet’s celebrity status continues at KGH as she saw a number of her former nurses, rehab coaches and even Barb, a former patient. Janet didn’t really remember Barb as she looks quite different than when she was in rehab with Janet. We hope to meet her and her husband Cliff for dinner in January and I’m sure once the stories start flying Janet will remember a little.
Jess took Janet back to Connect while I tried to be productive around the house for a bit. Didn’t really happen but I made it to Connect for the last part of singing with John. Their session today was pretty casual and took place in the living room so others could join in. Janet gave me a demo of an old song her and John sang way back when they started working together and she sang it loud and word for word from memory. John has been a huge blessing and we wish him a very merry Christmas.
Tez met us in Janet’s room a little while later to discuss transfers and walking. I was concerned about the verbal and physical cues I’ve been giving Janet now that she is getting to a standing position mostly on her own. Turns out I wasn’t too far off the mark and Janet impressed Tez with her ability to stand from her wheelchair using only the armrest. Sometimes its necessary to give Janet a little lateral boost from behind but other than that she is getting really close to not having to use the transfer poles at all. When walking I learned I was completely out of position and with Tez assisting, Janet took some excellent steps with her right leg, moving it forward more than I’ve noticed before. To finish off I asked Tez to observe Janet on the bike and he proceeded to make things a lot harder for Janet than I had. He believes Janet is capable of more on the bike so he moved her seat back a little to allow more leg extension, increased the level of difficulty and wants her to do that in spurts like hill climbing. The most interesting part was when he had Janet pedal with only her right leg. It was no surprise that she couldn’t complete an entire revolution and really interesting to see that. Janet didn’t seem upset by it and Tez feels she can get that going but has to keep working hard at it. I’m hoping we can do that and still keep the bike fun. Janet had forgotten Tez’s Christmas card so got it from her room and took it upstairs to him all by herself, impressing me quite a bit. She’s such a big girl now.
Janet was pretty exhausted after all that and tried to have a little nap but couldn’t fall asleep so we took off to do a little shopping. We knew what we wanted to get and picked the right time to do it as we were in and out and at home with ten minutes to spare before The Voice Finale started. I decided it was best since we were out to go home for dinner and watch The Voice live instead of trying to stay up till eleven watching it at Connect. It was a good call as Janet made it through the show but had no chance of making it to eleven. We got back to Connect at nine and Janet said she’d go for a bike ride “if it’s good for me”. Certainly couldn’t hurt so off she went for a twenty minute hill climbing ride and considering how tired she was had a good result. That was the capper though and it was into bed right after that with Janet looking forward to Laurel meeting her for lunch tomorrow.
Praying for rest and healing tonight and lots of energy for tomorrow and a safe flight for Laurel.
Renovation Day 11. Lots of construction going on as Randy continues to make the kitchen look like a kitchen.
I managed to find a few more things to destroy and had the pleasure of sanding texture off of the second bedroom ceiling. Fun times.
There was too much going on this morning for me to join Janet at the pool. She said swimming was fine and Carly mentioned they did a lot of walking as well as swimming. Janet said it still took her a while to warm up but she did get comfortable but still wanted more time in the hot tub.
We had a nice chat out in the sunshine once I got to Connect and Janet was quite talkative and cheery. Dinner was a miss tonight especially after so many good meals out lately. Curtis kindly tried to find something Janet would like instead but it seems that once the bad taste is there its hard to correct. The food woes were diminished by being able to watch the Seahawks victory and having a phone conversation with Laurel. Janet spoke really well and made lots of good comments totally relevant to the topic. I am more and more impressed with her that way each day.
Janet showed no interest in going to the gym tonight at all using the swimming session as an excuse. I gave her a pass more due to the football game and the fact she was really engaged and communicative not just staring blankly at the TV. She is starting to recognize good plays without me prompting her and she genuinely cheers when Seattle scores. Go ‘Hawks!
Recognizing she was tired around nine, Janet called bedtime and in an all too familiar fashion was asleep two pages into my reading of Not a Fan. We are going to have to schedule reading time earlier in the day so she can actually retain some of what she’s hearing.
Praying for a restful and healing sleep and an active day tomorrow.
Once again Janet was in the living room at Connect when I arrived this afternoon. She had not had a nap and said she was waiting for me before having one. I told her I delayed my arrival today in hopes she would be well into her nap and I would join her for the last little bit. She laughed and I accepted her excuse as I wasn’t feeling that great this morning and welcomed the opportunity to lay down for a bit. Janet was quiet for maybe fifteen minutes but I sensed nowhere near sleeping, then wouldn’t stop talking. She demonstrated an arm exercise she had done in the gym earlier and talked a lot about swimming tomorrow and music therapy. I don’t think she’s getting worked up about either one, she just knows tomorrow is a busy day.
I let Janet get up from the right side of the bed for a change and after I helped get her right foot over the edge she used her abs to sit herself up. High five! It actually seemed easier for her than pushing with her arm on the left side but I really had to help get the leg over where as on the other side she can do it herself sometimes. Our first task was to have a Skype chat with Leslie. While we were waiting I went to get waters for us and Janet asked if she should say hi first or Leslie. I explained we weren’t calling until I got back but thought that was really good awareness to ask that. The conversation went well for the first fifteen minutes then Janet started to lose focus. We are excited that Leslie and Gavin are coming out to visit at the end of June as in person chats are always better than Skype.
Janet helped set the table for dinner tonight then ate a big bowl of pasta that Chris made. Pretty cool to see him standing at the stove making dinner. Could be Janet one day? Garrett and I convinced Janet to go to the gym for some leg stretches. She only had a minor breakdown regarding the gym tonight as I was able to commend her on the good workout Lorne gave her in the morning and how much better she’s doing her “standing” transfers today. It seems like giving her tangible evidence of why to do something weighs big for her. We also made it fun with Garrett challenging her to make her own way to the gym. She had a little break in her room then I sent her off. She immediately turned right out of her room as that’s the way she goes 99% of the time so after I corrected her on that she took off. I stayed back and spied on her as she slowly but surely made her way all the way to the gym. She never crashed into one wall and kept propelling herself with her foot and by using her hand on the wheelchair wheel. Something I constantly have to remind her about when I’m with her. She overshot the gym door as it’s on her right side so that was expected and then went in for a good stretch with Garrett.
After her workout, Brian, Garrett and I had a good chat about Janet’s Mondays. She is definitely not at her best on Mondays and I am concerned that the weekends at home are too much for her as Monday has turned into a catch up day. Now that she has swimming Monday mornings the routine has changed and if I can get her to bed in decent time Sunday night that may help. We agreed to have me take her home later on Fridays so she can get another gym session in before the weekend and I will try and do a little stretching at home with her. Janet continues to improve her conversation abilities and her overall awareness although her volume level was low for me today. Jess said she was talking well this morning.
We read some more Slow Dance before bed and Janet picked up right away on the description of the ladies dog getting all depressed when he saw a suitcase getting packed. Our dog has always behaved that way and Janet recognized that without help. We got some bittersweet news today. We knew it was coming but had hoped it wouldn’t be this soon, at least that’s how I feel. Fred will be moving to a Connect facility in Langley this Sunday. He has been a reliable source of laughter from day one at Connect and it has been a privilege to watch him progress. This is a good move for him but he will be missed. Praying for lots of rest tonight in preparation for a busy day tomorrow.