That was quite a weekend of celebrating Janet’s homecoming! The house seemed to be buzzing non stop from Thursday night through Monday morning with Janet right in the thick of the action the whole time.
The out of towners arrived Thursday night in time for a visit with Janet at our house. Janet was excited to see Laurel, Heather and my mom, almost as much as she was for the Seahawks victory that night. Her priorities were clear though as she elected to stay home and watch the game while I went to the airport to pick everyone up. Go ‘Hawks!
Friday’s homecoming party was everything Janet had waited for and more. She said she “talked to way more people in one night than ever before”, and she was probably right. I had asked her to try and move around the house as much as possible during the party to prevent her sitting for hours on end. Janet made a great effort at doing so throughout the night but was hindered by always having a gaggle of people around her. It was funny to watch as Janet would sit in one area, a group would gather around her then she’d somehow break away to another area where a different group huddled around her. This went on all night and was exactly the treatment I wanted Janet to have as people showed their love for her. Everyone that came by is a valued member of the team and helped to reinforce how Janet’s hard work has paid off.
Here’s some photos of Janet with our guests. I know I didn’t get everyone but we do sincerely thank you all for being here.
Wendy and Tim
Barb and Gary
Betty and Allan
Bonnie and Toly
Curtis and Katherine
Dave and Nicole
Rod and Janice
Mom, aka Judy
Recovery time never really happened until Monday as “party mode” was in effect Saturday and Sunday. Janet bravely agreed to go for Indian food Saturday night, something that is typically way too spicy for her. She quite enjoyed her butter chicken which I’m thrilled about as now we can go for Indian more often. Since we didn’t get to visit much with Barb and Gary on Friday they joined us for dinner Sunday with special guest Heather. There was a booking problem with her flight home that afternoon so she got to stay for dinner which was really nice for us.
There were only a few moments all weekend where Janet was overwhelmed and she corrected her mood quickly and enjoyed everything immensely. There was a lot of walking including some laps around the house coached by Laurel and on Monday Janet never balked at going to H2O for a bike ride. She was tired after her ride and rightly so, it was a good one, especially after hiking up the long flight of stairs to the gym.
Home life has been anything but settled and routine yet and I suspect that won’t change until the new year. We are getting a little better at being in bed at a reasonable hour and getting up at a reasonable hour but there’s still room for improvement.
Praying for Janet to continue adjusting to living at home full time and thanking our Lord and Saviour for all the amazing people He’s placed in our lives.
I know I said I wasn’t posting on Thursdays anymore but this one is special. Janet has officially achieved her laundry goal! Brian watched the video of Janet that was recorded Wednesday and enthusiastically credited her with goal number five. Janet is very happy and realizes she is one small step from being home full time. Here is the video, not the most exciting one I’ve ever posted but I hope you can appreciate the multiple tasks Janet had to string together to accomplish what most of us consider a pretty mundane chore. Happy!
We had our last team meeting at Connect this afternoon with the theme being move out planning. Janet is clear to go on the 28th or sooner and with the exception of a few minor details to cover off, its now a waiting game. The team is in agreement that Janet is not waiting very patiently and has been somewhat uncooperative a couple of days this week. With her out of the room I asked if there was a way that without rewarding bad behaviour Janet could come home sooner. It was always our intention that Janet finish strong at Connect by achieving goals before coming home. She’s done that except for the walking one which will have to be excused as her progress is too slow. In that light it was agreed that if Janet is willing to try hard at learning to pick up things from the floor and get to where she can do that consistently and without assistance, she can come home. Janet accepted the challenge and we will practice this weekend knowing she can do it and just needs to build the confidence to do it consistently. Brian will give her one more six minute walking test Tuesday so we have an up to date result for the next phase of physio. If all goes well, Janet could be home full time after SheLife on Wednesday!
Praying for Janet to sleep well tonight and enjoy a productive and fun Friday.
PS: Janet’s baptism is Saturday at 5:30 Trinity Church. She would love it if you could be there.
My day with Janet began early, twice. I woke up around 1:30am freaking out that she wasn’t beside me in bed. I spent at least five minutes searching the main floor of the house and yelling for her before I realized she was sleeping soundly at Connect. Must’ve been the nachos.
The day started for real with a Team Meeting at Connect at the more civilized hour of 9am. It was a good discussion, mostly about the positive gains Janet is making in all areas. The only real concern is her bowel movements but there is a plan in place. In brief, Tez is working towards independent transfers with Janet and is reluctant to try and predict whether or not she’ll walk one day. I believe she will. Mary Lou is seeing improvement weekly in Janet’s verbal skills and her vision and says Janet is getting pretty good with the iPad. I mentioned I tried having Janet go briefless at home without success and the team is supportive of trying to wean Janet off of the briefs during her awake hours. We are still waiting for the chance to meet with the neurologist Dr. Adams and the neuropsycologist Dr. Miller. Soon hopefully.
Jess got Janet into the standing frame after the meeting and about twenty minutes in Janet announced she had to go to the bathroom and boy did she. Finally a bowel movement and credit to the increase in physical activity for her and maybe the Peg-Lyte. Janet felt a lot better after that and went to the gym for a little bike ride and a good stretch. We went for a walk to the hot dog stand across the street for lunch but the guy wasn’t around so back to Connect we went and Janet BBQ’d us a couple of smokies. She was pretty tired after lunch and had a good long nap with no resistance at all. I think the last few days finally caught up to her. Unfortunately she slept through a chance to work with Tez at the parallel bars but he agreed to come in tomorrow morning and work with Janet before swimming. While we sat outside for happy hour I noticed how loose her right arm was and decided to see how much I could move it around. As you can see I was able to get in a position it hasn’t been in for a long time. Impressive.
As I was getting Janet up from her nap I mentioned I wanted to tell her what happened to me last night but would wait till she was totally up. Fifteen minutes later she asked “what about the story you were going to tell me?” This was one of many super bright moments Janet had today as she continues to gain cognitively. After dinner we had quite a serious discussion about “my problem”, with Janet asking lots of questions about herself and Connect. There were tears of course as I didn’t sugar coat anything. She asked, I answered and I think this is great progress. That level of brightness was only with her for about an hour or so and as she tired towards the end of the night her speech got a little garbled again. She did manage to lounge for a good while and watched some basketball before lights out in readiness for a busy day tomorrow.
This post is the last daily update I plan on writing as I find too many days are pretty routine and don’t require the effort it takes to produce an update. I will publish at least every Wednesday evening from now on and as events warrant. Those of you who wish to stay totally plugged in can follow me on Twitter @larrylatour where I will post daily with photos and or video.
Praying for a restful night that provides lots of energy for tomorrow.
Janet was happily eating a bowl of what looked like soup to me when I arrived at Connect this afternoon. Turns out it was actually chicken pot pie, or at least it used to be. Hopefully we are nearing the end of the pureed diet. Mary Lou dropped by the table and gave a very positive report on Janet’s Speech session for the day. They have been working towards getting Janet to turn up the volume and part of that process is being able to string at least five words together on one breath. Janet is now doing that and Mary Lou is quite happy with her progress. Mary Lou was standing and talking to us on Janet’s right and I noticed a couple of times that Janet turned her head way to the right to look at Mary Lou. I have noticed Janet more aware of things on the right side lately but have not seen that extreme of a turn before and asked Mary Lou if she is noticing more right side awareness and she said yes. Good news. Janet seems to be responding well to Mary Lou and I think she’s got a good program in place for her. Once Janet was finished her “soup” I took her for a bathroom break before our meeting with Brian and team. The bathroom breaks have been going well lately, Lorne even took her for a successful one this morning.
Brian led us through the first of what will hopefully be a bimonthly team meeting. Janet’s ABI Coordinator, Terri was there along with Lorne and Jen, the house manager. It was a good chance to get to know each other a little, especially for Terri as we had only spoken on the phone previously. She won’t be as directly involved as Cathryn was during Janet’s stay at KGH but once we get closer to Janet moving home then Terri will become the key player. One priority for this meeting was to come up with a rough schedule for Janet’s day. That schedule will be built around meal times and a quiet time in the afternoon. We know that Janet likely will not sleep and will not want to go to bed during that time so Jen came up with a good idea of putting a lazy boy type chair in the living room and having Janet chill in it from two ish to three ish each day. Worth a try. We also agreed to let Janet try and sleep at night with no rails on her bed. Connect will procure a couple of fall mats and once in place the experiment will begin. I’m confident HouDieno will exit the bed at least once but I believe she is more aware of her surroundings now and will learn from any such fall. Janet says she doesn’t remember any of her previous escapes but accepts her nickname for what it’s worth. I can understand Connect being nervous about doing this but I really don’t see how else Janet will progress if we don’t give her the chance. There are a few things to discuss with Tez before finalizing Janet’s schedule and hopefully we can do that before the weekend. Brian says he has feelers out for a music therapist for Janet and has a couple nibbles. I’m really hopeful we can get something going that way as I believe Janet will respond very well to it. Today’s meeting was a good foundation builder and I am confident Janet has a good team looking after her.
After another successful bathroom break I took Janet to the gym for a good leg stretch and some work on the Shuttle. She set a personal best today going for thirty two reps at two bands of tension, then six reps with three bands and thirteen reps with one band using her right leg only. High five! She required a fair bit of encouragement during the routine as she keeps saying things like “it doesn’t matter” and “so what” when given the reason for doing something. I’m confident these responses are coming from a lack of confidence place rather than an unwillingness to get better place. She managed a big smile after doing the thirty two reps as I reminded her she only did sixteen the last time.
Dinner was fun tonight as Janet reluctantly chowed down on pureed Spaghetti and all the guys were BBQ’ing steaks and Leanne was making baked potatoes for them. The chatter was good and that helped Janet plow through her mush. We played a game of Chutes and Ladders before bed and Janet won easily. She had a lot of trouble spinning for her turn no matter where I placed the spinner. She said she could see it fine but couldn’t make her hand do it. I noticed a few times today that she was trying to get her right hand involved in things and she did try and lift it to spin a couple times. I want to think this is a sign of something coming back to her right arm but won’t go there yet. She asked if I would read some Slow Dance to her in bed and four pages into it she was snoring. It really is an interesting book, she was just played out from a busy day.
Praying for rest and healing tonight, a good workout in the morning and a bright and ready to swallow strong Janet for the afternoon.