toilet

Janet, A Success Story. June 20. #TSJ Wedding Eve

I used to write how Janet seemed to be on a roller coaster during the first months of her recovery and today could very well be summed up as that. It started a little later than planned as it took longer for the morning routine than usual but by 9:30 we were having breakfast with Janet’s dad, Doug, and his wife Joan. It has been four years since we have seen them in person and Janet was very excited to do so. Doug suffered a stroke a year before Janet’s aneurysm which made him even less of a talker than he used to be but Janet and Joan kept the conversation going really well and it was an enjoyable start to the day.

Wanting to get out in the sun, Janet and I went for what was to be a nice exploratory walk with the option of finding me some new sunglasses. After a two block false start (Janet needed her sweater) we maneuvered along the very bumpy sidewalks for almost an hour. Janet wasn’t enjoying it much because of the bumps and said she needed to go to the bathroom. I love it when she initiates that task and hate it when she doesn’t make it to the toilet in time. We were less than three minutes from the time she mentioned it to the time she was getting out of her wheelchair, but it was too late. I was most unimpressed, as a large part of the morning had already been spent in the bathroom and I have no idea what brought on the increased need to go. Back to the hotel we went, now late for our lunch date with Mary/Gaga and Keith and by the time we did catch up to them the sun had pretty much left the area we were to have lunch in. It was still nice to hang out with them for a while even in the shade.

While Janet tried to nap, I got to do laundry. At least there was a soccer game on. Janet had her eyes closed for maybe twenty minutes and probably didn’t sleep at all so got up to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Things seemed to be improving toileting wise and after getting dressed with hair by Courtney and make up by Heather, off we went. Allan’s parents hosted the rehearsal dinner at their house out in the country a little bit and it was a nice change from the bustle of Ottawa. Most places we’ve been to on this trip are not wheelchair friendly and I found it easier to have Janet walk into the house tonight rather than try and lift her wheelchair up the steps. She did a great job stepping up again, with lots of support but doing more of the work than she’s been capable of before. People were helpful in getting Janet down the steps at the back and out onto the grass where the sun was. The rehearsal was short and sweet and we learned Janet is going to have a tough time walking with Heather down the aisle so I will likely be there for support too. Janet really enjoyed sitting out in the sun for dinner watching the dogs play, the chipmunks hop around and the dogs chase the chipmunks. People kept asking us if the bugs were bothering us and we had to respond with “what bugs?” Janet and I were bug free until the sun disappeared but it was time to head for the hotel then anyways.

So, a good start, a bad middle and a good finish to the day for Janet. The toileting challenge seems to have corrected itself and we are all focused on making tomorrow an enjoyable one for Heather and Allan. Praying that Janet sleeps well tonight and is fully able to participate and enjoy tomorrow. Praying also for God’s blessing on Heather and Allan.

Free Falling. An oops from Janet, a solid response from Connect. #TSJ

I met Janet today in our usual meeting place, the living room. She laughed when I came in and said “I always seem to meet you here”. That is true pretty much everyday and I like seeing her smiling face as soon as I walk in the room. Jess was there too and reported Janet had a busy day with a trip to the gym, Speech with Mary Lou and best of all, making cupcakes with Jess. One of the residents from the house above Janet’s is moving out tomorrow and there was a party for her tonight so Jess and Janet made some chocolate cupcakes and Janet seemed quite excited about that. She was not excited about going to the party though.

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon so I took Janet outside to get some rays and fresh air. Unfortunately there was just enough of a cool breeze to be annoying and we couldn’t find a place to escape it but we had a nice walk around the complex anyways. There was a sunny spot in the living room so we hung out there for a while before taking a bathroom break. Janet was on the toilet for a few minutes with nothing happening so as usual I asked her if she wanted more time. She said yes, I walked toward her desk and heard a loud crash. I ran back to the bathroom and she was on the floor beside the toilet crying. I pressed her alarm button and tried to calm her while waiting for help. Jess came seconds later and called the troops. We didn’t want to move Janet without being sure she was OK so we waited for Tez who took charge and determined Janet was alright and he and I moved her back up to sitting on the toilet. By the looks of things she scared herself more than anything and has a couple little cuts on her right cheek bone and a small scrape on her right knee. She told us she was trying to reach for something when she fell but couldn’t remember what she was reaching for. The Connect team responded quickly and professionally and Janet was well cared for.

Tez took advantage of the opportunity to observe me using a standing transfer with Janet from the toilet to the wheelchair. I thought Janet did very well especially after her scare. She calmed down a lot after we got her out into the room and Tez checked her over again to make doubly sure she was OK and also took time to check the spasticity in her legs. I asked him about Botox and he thought it would be well worth a try and suggested I contact Dr. McCann to get that ball rolling as well as the hydrotherapy idea. Here’s hoping.

Janet didn’t argue at all about laying down for a rest after all that but did manage to express her fear of going to the farewell party tonight again. Not sure what she was so afraid of and figured she’d come around when it was time to go.

After a short nap Janet was happy to lay in bed and chat for a while. She was quite happy and not showing any ill effects from her toppling. We went down for dinner and noticed most of the guys were having a pot roast and veggies. That reminded Janet of beef stew so Garrett made her some chili with a little pasta and that worked out fine. I watched Janet go over her med booklet with Garrett just before eating and noticed some improvement since yesterday. Back in her room after dinner she wanted to “read something interesting on the iPad”‘ her new thing, so I asked her what’s interesting to her. She said “you”. So we Googled me with Janet typing my name with some help and we found a few things out there about me. One of the results was the Janet After 100 Days video and I realized she has never seem it. I was surprised at her reaction, she watched intently, laughing in spots and shaking her head in others. Overall she agreed she has come along way and asked “what was wrong with me then?” and “how did you have the stamina to do all that for so long?” I half expected her to get all emotional watching herself but she seemed quite intrigued by it all and has no recollection of any of it.

Just before seven, Jess came by to see if Janet would come up to the farewell party. She didn’t hesitate at all in agreeing and had a nice smile on her face the whole time she was there. She was warmly welcomed by a lot of people and the cupcakes her and Jess made were a huge hit. Connie was there and had a nice chat with Janet and I saying she’d be back next Wednesday to watch Janet at dinner time. It was really nice to see a lot of off duty staff there to say farewell to Ellie, even Brian showed up.

20130221-222944.jpg I’m really glad Janet made the effort to go to the party and I think we can now get her to the ladies night they have there on Thursdays. It would be really good for her.

Not quite ready for bed after the party Janet wanted to watch a little TV. We watched the last few minutes of the hockey game with Chris and that was actually kinda fun. All tucked in with her falls mats in place Janet is looking forward to coming home for the weekend and I’m looking forward to having her here. Praying for a restful night and a hard working morning before a fun weekend at home.

Month Eight #TSJ

Day 246 was a good one for Janet. Lorne and Garrett worked with her this morning in the gym and with some Speech. She didn’t fall out of bed or her wheelchair and ate well. When I arrived she was waiting in the living room to go back to the gym with Tez. The guys were updating Janet’s chart and agreed that she needs to be on a regular toileting program. I talked to nurse Jen about that later on and she will develop a routine so Janet gets plenty of opportunities to go to the bathroom. Today was much better in that regard. Lorne and Garrett also started making up a bunch of side dishes for Janet to eat so she gets more vegetables and then the only thing that needs to be cooked at meal time is the protein. Food has been a challenge and will continue to be until Janet passes that swallow X-ray. No word yet as to when she gets a chance but the word has been put out to Connie to see what’s happening.

Janet failed the “who am I” test again but caught on quicker today for sure. We played an expanded version of it at bedtime and she did really well naming family members except her own kids. Usually she nails those easily but tonight it was everyone but. Still waiting for Tez we played a naming game on the iPad and Janet did reasonably well after getting two or three clues. She definitely knows things once she sees the word the problem is in pulling that word out of her memory bank on its own.

Tez was finally ready for Janet around three o’clock and he worked her pretty hard again. This was another training opportunity for the staff and Tez wanted to add some more hand, arm and shoulder exercises so there is a solid routine for those in the mornings and one for legs later in the day. Janet’s right arm continues to be nice and loose and Tez got some good range from it and even though Janet cried you could see improvement from last week. Tez got Janet to hold her right hand with her left and intertwine her fingers then lift her arms up high. Janet was straining hard to touch Tez’s hand about a foot and a half above her chest but she did it!

Getting Janet on her tummy was a challenge today as she was pretty worn out from the arm workout she had. Tez only kept her there long enough to get her doing some pushing back with her legs as he applied resistance. From there we got Janet on her knees again and she really seemed thrilled once she got there. It took a tremendous effort on her part as Tez had everyone back off on supporting her so she was doing almost all of it herself. Excellent effort.

The next stage in transferring for Janet is going to be using a circular pivot board that Janet will stand on, spin, then sit. We tried it a couple times and its still really hard for Janet to do on a regular basis but will be incorporated into her workout.

Finally Janet got to try the Shuttle Machine. This is a piece of equipment I noticed as something Janet could maybe use when we first toured Connect. As you can see from the video she caught on real fast. Using this regularly will really help Janet build some strength in her legs.

After all that it was time for a bathroom break followed by a Skype session with Mary/Gaga and Keith. Janet was able to converse reasonably well and I think enjoyed the chance to see and talk to them both. Dinner was a massive bowl of puréed spaghetti and meat sauce. It looked disgusting but Janet gobbled it up then enjoyed a desert of “yummy” pears.

It is truly amazing to think back eight months and see just how much progress Janet has made. Seeing her “kneeling” and “standing”, working on that Shuttle Machine, talking, laughing and eating well is truly a blessing. Thank you Lord for every minute I get to spend with her and for the healing you are bringing to her. Thanks to all of you for the prayers, love and support. #Team Save Janet