Janet, A Success Story. May 6. #TSJ

I think I’ve figured out how to get Janet to sleep earlier, work her butt off. Today was a marathon of walking for Janet starting with Tez in the sling this morning. He took her up there right after breakfast so there wasn’t time for me to get there but all reports, even from Janet, are that it was a good session. Besides walking the laid out course Tez pushed Janet from behind at times and had Jess pull Janet quickly from in front at times as well. Both techniques designed to help Janet with momentum. She even did a little free walking with them.

When I arrived this afternoon Janet had just gone to bed but needed the bathroom and after that disruption really never got to sleep. As we talked about the day I realized I had forgotten to request a trip to the lab for her this morning so we decided to go before dinner. I challenged Janet to make the trip without her wheelchair and she walked from her room to the car, from the car down a switchback ramp then down a long corridor to the lab entrance. The tech saw her coming in walking and cheered her on. Janet repeated the course after getting stabbed, thereby completing her first wheelchair free outing!

After a rest in the sun Janet agreed to get her bike ride in before dinner and walked from the patio to her room. I let her wheel to the gym but set the bike to level five instead of four and she set a new distance record of 3.4 miles in 30 minutes that included three hills. High five!

Dinner got devoured, no surprise, while we practiced Spanish with Big Country. Janet even pulled out some German she learned in high school and a little French. Janet had walked to the dining area and therefore had to walk back to her room afterwards. She started to complain a little of a sore right foot on the way to her room so I took her shoe and AFO off for a bit to have a look and give her a rest. There are no pressure points that I can see and she walked well up to the Pool Room for Games Night following that brief breather. The feature game of the evening was Heads Up which once everyone got the hang of being able to shout out clues when they wanted, was a lot of fun. Even Janet enjoyed.

The walk back to her room was clearly pushing the limits but before she was done for the night Janet walked free style from her bed to the bathroom door! She kept saying she couldn’t do it after each couple of steps then low and behold she was there. Awesome!

Janet really wanted me to read to her but after all that walking she fell asleep within a few minutes of me starting. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep.

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

I snuck up on Janet as she watched TV in the living room at Connect with Jess and Curtis this afternoon. She was pretty tired but not too tired to know right away it was me tugging on her hair. Her day so far had been good with a visit to the gym, working with Wendy the memory coach and a visit from AFO lady. It was definitely nap time when I got there and since Courtney was coming over to our house for dinner and to watch tennis, I brought Janet home so she could nap there.

When I left her last night she was very tired and seemed to heading right to sleep but Janet told me she was awake a lot, “looking at the clock every few minutes for a long time”. I believe her as even after a short nap at home her energy level was pretty low and she just looked tired all evening. She did help get dinner ready and we had a nice visit with Courtney while we watched Genie Bouchard win her match and move on to the semi finals of the Aussie Open. Janet was pretty quiet the whole time but told me on the drive back to Connect that she was happy she got to go home and it was fun to watch the tennis with Courtney.

With Janet seeming so tired today I was concerned with how she would do transferring and such. She was spot on each time. Tons better than yesterday when she seemed to have more energy. Go figure. There was no way I was going to suggest the gym when we got back to Connect though so it was into bed where I could read to her for a little bit. Her tiredness didn’t seem to affect her memory at all as Janet was able to recall a few important facts from today and also knew what is scheduled to happen tomorrow. Praying for an uninterrupted night of deep and healing sleep and a productive tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 48. Not much renovating going on today but Janet and I managed to empty a few boxes and have declared the Den/Second Bedroom completed except for decorating and hiding TV cables. After all the purging at the old house we surprisingly still have excess furniture so will be selling some things soon I guess. Still can’t find our lamps although we didn’t really look today.

Overall, today was a low energy day for Janet. She woke up with a bit of a spark but after breakfast and a Skype chat with Heather she started to fade. She was a big help in arranging furniture and she managed her first two loads of laundry with minimal assistance. I’ve no doubt she’ll master those machines very quickly. She’s pretty much got the ice and water dispenser down and can easily put her dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I’m liking this already!

I suggested a nap before going to the Grey Cup party and got know argument from Janet, in fact when I woke her at the agreed upon time she asked for another half hour. Not sure why she was so tired today but there’s no problem with taking a restful day and the long nap did enable her to enjoy the party. It wasn’t the most lively event we’ve ever been to and we didn’t hardly know anyone there but it was a good place to watch the game and Janet liked the Bingo game that we all played. You filled out your card with random numbers that corresponded to questions you could only answer by talking to other people. Janet had no problem going up to a few different folks and asking them the appropriate questions. She got enough correct answers to earn a line on her Bingo card but no prize. Oh well, it was fun. Not as much fun as watching Janet eat, to my knowledge, her very first chili dog! With no other dinner choices Janet didn’t even hesitate at eating some classic football food. High five!

Upon our return to Connect Janet surprised me again by agreeing to a bike ride and promptly tying her personal best. She kept saying how tired she was but she peddled and peddled the entire thirty minutes. High five!

We closed the day with a few minutes of real football and Tootsie Rolls and with Janet looking forward to Wednesday when she can come home and help set things up some more. Despite her tiredness today there were lots of encouraging signs of improvement like, Janet knowing where her slippers were after not having them on for over an hour, waking up with me telling her it’s two thirty and her saying “we have to go soon”, and the very good “tired” bike ride. It was fun having Janet home again and will be even more so as soon as we are totally unpacked and settled in.

Praying for a night of healing sleep, total control of her right leg and lots of energy for an active tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 9. Cabinets are taking shape, blinds are ordered and I spent a lot of time discussing bathroom options with two experts. Conclusion? Not yet.

Janet called me just before noon wondering if Nancy was meeting her for lunch. I reminded her Nancy wasn’t due until around three. Janet was quite disappointed as I think she was hoping to use the visit as an excuse not to do the Standing Frame. As it turned out, she was in it when John arrived early for his singing session with her and stayed in it the whole session. My guess is she sang well as she said it was fun and her voice has been notably louder lately.

Nancy arrived as scheduled and Janet gave her a tour of Connect during which Nancy got introduced to a lot of the other residents. The two of them had a nice visit, looking at photos and chatting. Nancy reports she’s very impressed with Janet’s ability to comment correctly on a number of topics and was able to identify a lot of people in the photos they looked at. What was especially impressive was Janet navigating on their drive to our house. She called a number of correct turns especially the last two before arriving here. Very well done considering she’s only been to the house a few times.

After we gave Nancy a quick tour of the construction site we went down the street for a fabulous dinner at The Fixx Cafe. Janet ate very well and enjoyed a glass of Pinot Noir. I continue to be impressed by her neatness now. She really doesn’t need a shirt saver for most meals and is also better at cutting her food. The meal and conversation were most enjoyable tonight and tuckered Janet right out. She was asleep minutes after I started reading to her in bed at Connect which she chose to do as soon as we got there rather than watch The Voice. Good call I think.

Praying for a solid night of sleep and thanking Nancy for her friendship and support.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #TheVoiceIsBack #Connect #Swimming

Monday, not a favourite day of Janet’s as she knows its back to Connect and the gym and all that fun stuff. The morning was good, Janet slept well and woke up on Connect time, eight o’clock, as opposed to her more usual at home time of nine’ish. We had a nice relaxed morning together that included a little packing before going to the KGH pool.

Swimming went well with Janet doing lots of laps on her back, some on her tummy, and lots of “walking”. That part is still mostly hopping and her right leg was more buoyant than I’ve seen it before. Janet did get a good rhythm going for a little bit and some push down with that leg as long as I stood on her left foot to keep her from moving it too soon. On her own she was hopping like crazy. Janet complained to me a number of times that when she tries to use her right leg the left one moves too. Its great that she is aware of that and doesn’t seem too upset by it. On our way out of the pool we went via the Rehab nurses station where Janet received an enthusiastic welcome from Nicole and Emma along with a bunch of others. For once she seemed to really lap up the attention and smiled and laughed a lot. She blew Nicole’s mind by remembering her name but as I suspected Janet actually read her name off of her name tag. We’ll let Nicole think she remembered for now. The biggest smiles and true remembering came when we saw RJ. Janet even gave him a nice hug. I realized later that of all the nurses, RJ worked with Janet the longest as he was with her most of the time on 4B then followed her to Rehab not long after Janet transferred there. All that attention was a good confidence builder for Janet and made her feel good as it did the nurses to see how well she’s come along thanks in part to them.

After a quick lunch at home and a little more packing it was time to go do some errands before returning to Connect. The day had gone so fast that if it wasn’t for Barb and Gary coming over to say so long to Janet I would’ve forgot this was Janet’s last visit to this house. There was no big production as we left and Janet didn’t want a picture, too messy inside and too cold outside. So that was it and before she knew it we were back at Connect. The day had taken a toll on Janet and even though dinner was being served as we arrived, she asked to lay down for a bit. I practically had to force ably get her up at six o’clock but once up she ate a good dinner and chatted well with me and some of her fellow residents. With her being so tired I gave her the night off from the gym and she really appreciated that. There were some things to put away in her room, some parenting to do and the premier of The Voice to watch and Janet really wanted to watch that. Its fun to watch her watch the show and see her react to things she never would have reacted to even a month ago. She is much more in tune with things now.

Part of the no gym deal was an early to bed night so by 9:40 I was saying goodnight and praying for a deep and restful sleep for Janet and lots of energy for tomorrow.

The Team Save Janet Report is Out! #TSJ #LaurelandRaj #lunch #standing

As expected, Janet got up fairly early this morning knowing she could visit Laurel and Raj. Her night was somewhat restless with a good start and a not so good middle. The morning with Laurel and Raj was good though and Janet seemed quite bright and happy the whole time. Laurel went through some of the memorabilia we had found and shared a lot of it with Janet and that produced a lot of laughs. Laurel and Raj treated us to a nice lunch at Joey’s before they started their drive to the coast. Janet got quiet at the restaurant as the lack of sleep caught up with her. It was still a nice time and Janet ate well saying “that’s way better than what I get at school”. Connect has been referred to as school a lot lately and I guess that’s ok.

Once back at Connect a very tired Janet hung in there for our meeting with wheelchair guy. I think we’ve finally started the final bit of test driving and should have something to buy in the next few weeks after one more modification. Sounds like Janet has selected the color of the chair already, pink. She very willingly headed to bed for a nap right after the meeting and slept for a short while then was awake more than sleeping for the next hour. That gave her enough energy to say “let’s get done what I have to get done”. Meaning, lets go to the gym. With a much better attitude and me not distracted by my phone, Janet had a great Shuttle workout, followed by a good little standing session and some good stretching with Garrett. After dinner she said she wanted to do the Standing Frame so she could be done and she handled almost an hour in it nicely. That left us a little time for a walk and some YouTube before the tiredness crept back up on Janet.

Another solid day with signs of improvement. Praying for an active and productive tomorrow.

Flipping Out. Janet BBQ’s and gets mad about the gym. #TSJ

Even Janet was upset this afternoon as I arrived to find her sitting in the living room saying “I’m trying to have a nap”. She knew she was supposed to be napping before I said anything and that’s a really good sign. Why she wasn’t, I don’t know as all the staff were in a meeting and I never saw the day shift folks at all. We need to develop a strategy that gets Janet some afternoon rest without me being there to put her to bed. We especially need to at least put her in lounging mode if she’s going to be sitting in the living room. She was not again today and because I was unable to see the daytime crew I have no idea how her morning went.

We had a lot happening starting with a visit from Courtney so I gave Janet a choice of trying to power through or have a power nap before things got started, she said it’s probably best to have a nap. I laid her down and left her for forty five minutes and when I returned she was awake but I think she slept a little. We made our way down to the living room and Courtney arrived to a big smile from Janet. Just before our scheduled Skype chat with Leslie a little while later, Connie stopped by wanting to observe Janet taking her meds with only water to see if she can do it. Of course she can and Janet also demonstrated her prowess at drinking with a straw. Those accomplishments mean Janet no longer has restrictions on her diet other than to not be alone when eating and to watch the amount of food she puts in her mouth. Connie spent over half an hour with Janet catching up on things then Brian came by to chat about the new wheelchair. I’m pretty happy with it and Janet seems to be as well. We will try a few minor adjustments over the next week or so then probably buy one. I think we get a choice of colors! At one point during this impromptu meeting we had Connie, Brian, Garrett, Courtney and Chris all visiting Janet at the same time. What a celeb. Chris was more visiting Courtney as he swims at the rec centre pool that Courtney guards at and has been hoping to meet her for a long time. Unfortunately because of all that we missed the chat with Leslie but at least there will be more to talk about when we do connect. Once all the commotion ended we were able to have a more private chat with Courtney and she gave us the official word that she and Mike are getting married this summer. When Courtney told me she was coming out to talk to us I asked Janet what she thought she wanted and she said “she’s getting married”. Such a mom. We are excited about this news and if we still have our house in August look forward to hosting a small ceremony there.

The dinner menu tonight included BBQ steak and Garrett coached Janet through putting some spices and BBQ sauce on hers. He then took her out to the BBQ and had her grill her own steak. She did amazingly well and the steak turned out perfect. There’s a video of Janet flipping at the grill on Keek if you interested. @larrylatour

The flipping didn’t end after the steak as Janet totally flipped out about going to the gym. She was tired from not napping but I didn’t think she was that tired. I tried every motivational tact I could without success and finally just turned her over to Garrett and said see you in a bit. Other than being tired I can’t explain the tantrum Janet had tonight. She never gives any constructive reason for not wanting to go to the gym and gets herself so worked up it just drains her. By the time Garrett took her she had calmed down and ended up doing a good full workout and sneaking up on me all happy upon her return. One common thread in our discussions is she doesn’t give herself much credit for achieving anything and thinks the stuff she can do is “no big deal”. I think it’s time for a chat with the neuropsych team.

I read some of Slow Dance to Janet before bed and even through her yawns she managed a laugh and some acknowledgements of similarities to her situation. She even was still coming up with well thought out comments and statements in between her bouts of Klingon which started to appear as she grew more tired. She was quite confused during teeth brushing time and was virtually asleep before I could turn the lights out. Tomorrow may be a repeat of today as there will not be time for an afternoon nap between swimming and a doctor appointment. It is music night at Connect tomorrow so if Janet does well in the pool and is tired like tonight I may let her skip the gym. Don’t tell her that.

Praying for lots of rest tonight and lots of energy tomorrow.

Surprise Ending. Janet finishes strong. #TSJ

By the time I was half way through my visit with Janet today I was prepared to write about another day where she took a step back. Our visit started off with her eating pieces of cantaloupe while watching TV in the living room. Lorne told me she didn’t want any lunch today hence the fruit snack. Janet told me she didn’t have time for a nap yet and reluctantly went to her room with me to try. No dice, as there was a lot of noise outside her room with Derrick moving in and Clint getting ready to move out. Every time I felt like Janet was nodding off she would open her eyes and smile at me like she was playing a game. Her day had been busy but not too busy for a nap. Jess had her in the gym and said it wasn’t Janet’s best effort ever. The singing session with John was cancelled again as he is still sick so actually Janet had lots of time to nap. It was very obvious the rest of the day that she felt the effects.

I got her up and ready for the scheduled Skype chat with her mom. Janet was talking much better than a couple weeks ago but not as good as yesterday with Cam. She still demonstrated an increased ability to recall short term memory stuff and relate to the topic of the conversation. We called Laurel right afterwards, Janet’s volume was turned down a notch and she wasn’t quite as engaged but still came up with good answers to questions and enjoyed the chat.

Tuesday is Janet’s day to help prep dinner for everyone. Tonight’s menu was salmon, quinoa and asparagus. Garrett coached Janet through opening the packages of salmon and placing them on baking sheets. Janet poured and spread teriyaki sauce on them then chopped some peppers and cucumber to add to the quinoa she had measured into a pot. Despite being visibly tired Janet did a good job with everything needing help with the peppers but not the cucumber. She thought it was fun to chop and measure things. She ate a relatively small portion for dinner and I attribute that to her tiredness.

The plan after dinner was for Janet to go to the gym with Curtis once he’d had his dinner. While we waited we looked at Nancy’s pictures from Africa on Facebook and Janet put away her laundry. Another task Janet strangely gets pleasure from. She got more and more tired as time passed saying she’d rather just go to bed early tonight. Curtis came in and I asked Janet one more time if she wanted to try the gym for half an hour. To my shock and awe she said yes and off she went. I’ve been speaking to Janet a lot about the need to keep working at getting better and so have others and I think it’s starting to sink in a little. There is no other explanation for her decision to go to the gym tonight. It would have been so easy to give into the tiredness and go to bed. I was really happy with her choice and we had a good talk about it when she got back forty five minutes later. She didn’t have the big smile on her face like last night but was able to understand she had done some good for herself.

So ended a decent day for Janet, not a full step back from yesterday, just a notch down and with a good strong finish. Praying for a good night of rest that provides lots of energy for tomorrow.

Uneventful. Janet tired today. #TSJ

Today was one of those days where I feel incredibly blessed to live in Kelowna. I woke up to sunshine, went skiing for a few hours in powdery snow and sunshine and on my way to Connect saw the first golfer of the season and a kid riding his bike in shorts and t-shirt. Spring has sprung and it’s awesome. Janet was really happy to see me and we had a good talk for about forty-five minutes with her sitting on the couch with me in the living room. She tried real hard to tell me about her day and managed to get the basics right with some prompting. Brian joined us for a brief chat prior to his week away in Cabo San Lucas starting tomorrow. We wish him a well deserved relaxing vacation. When he returns we will start looking to upgrade Janet’s bed, the falls mats are gone now, using a transfer belt for transferring Janet to the toilet and Shuttle etc., and getting started at the KGH pool. Tez spoke to pool guy Jim and it was agreed to wait two weeks for Janet’s former peg site to heal completely and then she can go “swimming”.

Brian exited around four and Janet said she had not had a nap so I suggested she have one even though it was kind of late. I was hoping for a more energetic Janet at dinner time and through the evening and she agreed. I had to wake her at 5:30 and she didn’t really want to get up then but it was dinner time and I was worried she’d be up really late then too. Quite the opposite. Her energy level was quite low all evening. She ate a good dinner cooked by Chris and monitored by Connie who was checking Janet’s swallowing and chewing abilities. No real change from the last time Connie saw Janet and she recommends we watch the Chipmunking Janet is doing on the right side and encourage her to chew on the left. Also, Connie wants us to monitor Janet’s coughing to see if it only happens when her head is lifted up or if it also happens with her head down. So far I’ve only associated the coughing with tiredness so it will be interesting to watch for the other trends. Apparently head down is a safer position to swallow in as the airway is restricted and Connie would be concerned if Janet were coughing then. The conversation at dinner was really good tonight but Janet was too tired to participate or maybe overwhelmed by it all. Often the table is on the quiet side so maybe tonight was hard to process for her. It was fun though.

Garrett weighed Janet after dinner and recorded another small gain. I asked her to put away her laundry which she happily did but needed a lot of coaching as she was very tired. I even had to rebrush her teeth tonight as she seemed unable to master the needed motion for that task. I had asked for her bedtime med to be switched to pills from liquid and tonight was the first go at that. Should maybe have stayed with the liquid. Hopefully she’ll do better when not so tired.

A rather uneventful day for Janet. She did have Speech and used her new workbook but could not remember doing so. I saw it on her desk after getting her into bed and asked her a couple questions from it and she answered correctly with a smile. Tired but not out of it. Praying for a restful and healing night and for a good day of rehab tomorrow.

Back to Business #TSJ

According to Garrett, Janet had a great first half of the day eating a good breakfast then going with him to the gym for a workout on her right arm and shoulder. Garrett says that went really well with good range of motion from her arm and shoulder. Carl did some Speech with Janet and he says that went well for about twenty minutes then Janet seemed to get stuck repeating a couple of words and seeming tired. She did tell him she’s married to Larry and has daughters named Heather and Laurel and a son that starts with S. Two out of three ain’t bad. When I arrived this afternoon Janet had just fallen asleep in the living room watching tv with the staff. She woke up five minutes later, smiled and laughed that she was sleeping but agreed to go lay down in bed for a rest. By the time I got her to her room she was denying she agreed to rest and being quite defiant about it. I laid her down anyways and joined her, ten minutes later she was snoring and slept for an hour and a half. I think the busy weekend took a bit of a toll on her.

When Janet finally woke up we went to the gym and had a strong leg workout. Her tone in some ways seemed less today so maybe the day off yesterday helped? I spent a lot of time stretching and am using all standing transfers now so I didn’t have her stand at the stripper pole today. I did get her on the Shuttle and she did her best yet. Sixteen reps at two bands, five reps at three and ten reps with one band using her right leg only. She still got all upset at the end but seemed to quickly realize the good that machine is doing once I explained it to her.

We were late for dinner on account of the workout and had the table to ourselves. Janet ate well and was happy to head back to her room afterward to play the Sesame Street matching game. I put the cars on the easel Brian had brought for her and that seemed to improve Janet’s ability to see them. She did very well, getting through about two thirds of the deck before tiring out. We then listened to a Stuart McLean story which brought us to bedtime.

A solid day for Janet and good for her to get back to a little routine around Connect. Praying for an active day of learning tomorrow and restful and healing night tonight.