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

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much stuff there is to do in getting up in the morning and each time Janet and I get up I think we are off to a good start on the day. That is until I look at the clock and see its taken forty five minutes to get to where we are having breakfast and it’s no longer early morning. In fact, not far from here, it’s no longer morning at all. Such was the case today but it was ok as we had a very adaptable schedule.

The first commitment was the weekly Skype chat with Mary/Gaga who had to wait a little beyond her scheduled time as we were watching the women’s championship match from the Aussie Open and wanted to wait to pause at the end of a very exciting first set. Janet conversed well but asked me for help on more than her usual number of questions. The only reason I can think of for that is she was really caught up in the tennis and couldn’t think of much else. We watched the rest of the match after Skypeing and when I asked Janet what she wanted to do next she said, relax, as “I was all nervous about the tennis”.

We did practice a little standing and walking even though Tez said not to walk. I’m scared Janet will forget how so I’m going to have her do a little anyways. When we purged our old house we filtered out a lot of Janet’s recipe collection but were still left with a large stack of paper. I’ve slowly put some of the recipes into an app on Janet’s iPad but there are a lot to go. Thankfully Janet’s friend Janet F. asked for a recipe today so we were able to enter it and then email it to her. Janet read me the ingredients as I typed and then she dictated the email to Janet F. Another project started. Yeah.

Janet did a good job making her lunch today then opted for a nap before church. She slept for an hour and a half and was a new person when she woke. During our drive to church she was quite stern about informing me that she was not propelling herself in from the parking lot as it’s “too hard”. Janet has been using the words “too hard” a lot lately when trying to get out of something. Each time I explain she’s done before what she’s being asked to do therefore it’s not “too” hard. She might be starting to agree. Naturally she very competently wheeled herself into church and did an excellent transfer into her seat. The music tonight had Janet standing and smiling and singing away for all but one song and she even leaned over to me after the first one to say “that was a fun song”. Cathedral Made of People by Downhere if you want to check it.

We enjoyed a quiet evening at home, making dinner together and watching The Breakfast Club. Janet was on point the whole time and enjoyed the movie. It is a classic. Praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep, full and complete healing and a productive tomorrow.

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 #Twelve

Another good night of sleep for Janet and a good start to the day even though I insisted she have some fruit and yogurt for breakfast. I know she’s tired of it but I believe the yogurt is very good for her so want her to have it at least every other day. Janet complied but then eagerly made her coffee to really start her day. We watched a recorded version of an Aussie Open tennis match featuring Canada’s Genie Bouchard during breakfast, the first time Janet has seen her play, and now we are both fans.

Leslie was due up for a Skype chat and Janet conversed well even acknowledging when she was ready to stop. After a little standing we set about assembling the first “scrapbook” from Janet’s memorabilia pile. She selected a bunch of greeting cards she had kept over the years, most from me, and glued them into an old photo album which we placed in the book case. Janet enjoyed that activity very much which is good because there is a ton more to do.

I think Janet was feeling a little guilty about always having grilled cheese for lunch so she accepted my offer of pancakes and when I offered her jam or honey she correctly asked instead for maple syrup. Nice catch. To maximize our time for the Seahawks game we decided to make all the stuff for our pizza dinner ahead of time. Janet gathered ingredients, stir fried chicken and onions and built both pizzas except for grating the cheese. She also was a good help in prepping the salad. With all that done we were able to don our jerseys and focus on the game right until halftime. Janet was really excited at the beginning but drew quieter as the game wore on. This is the second day in a row without a nap and I find that unless we are super busy with something Janet really does get too tired to function. She closed her eyes a couple times during the second quarter but dinner perked her up and she was right into it the rest of the way even chanting DEFENCE and clapping my hand in an effort to help us win. It worked! Even being tired Janet managed some really good observations about the game, especially the difference in play between the first and second halves. She was just as thrilled with the victory as she was with the numerous text messages flying around and the phone call she got from Mary/Gaga as the celebration began.

It wasn’t much of a celebration for us as we headed back to the reality of Connect. Each time gets harder for me and I know Janet dreads it too. I did encourage her to do a little Shuttle and bike workout once we got there and she put in a strong effort which she seemed mildly please with. Her transfers today were mixed as she continued to falter with the mechanics of getting to a standing position. There were enough good ones to keep from being concerned and hopefully an increase of activity at Connect tomorrow will help.

After reading a little bit of Open, Janet was very ready for sleep and promised to try and work hard tomorrow. Praying for a night of deep and healing sleep and thanking Jesus for a quality weekend.

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

Garrett and Karl ran Janet through a pretty busy first half of the day so when I got to Connect she was finishing a nap. The new exercise routine had been followed well we found out from Tiffany as Janet couldn’t remember exactly what she’d done other than stand on the two scales. The AFO continues to fit fine and once up from her nap Janet was eager to do more exercise so she could be done with it. She had a good workout on the Shuttle, all right leg stuff with me trying hard not to support her leg too much. Her one legged pedalling on the bike was noticeably better than yesterday and Janet was able to go at a steady enough pace to not feel it was stupid.

We stayed for dinner at Connect and Janet transferred nicely to and from the dinner table. Afterwards, we drove to UBCO to watch some basketball and I had Janet propel herself to our car then from the car into the gym. I don’t think she’s too thrilled about this new level of responsibility but she’s doing extremely well at it with the only obstacle being her fear of going too fast on a downhill part. Transferring from wheelchair to seat at the game was a little more challenging because of the weight of the AFO. Janet has to step up a one foot ledge to get to the seating level and needs a lot of assistance in doing so but made it. Our timing was perfect as it was halftime in the women’s game and we left at halftime of the men’s game. The games were entertaining with the women winning a close one and the guys holding an unexpected lead at the half. It’s just too late for us to stay for all the guys game though and their game is a little too fast for Janet to really follow. She gets the women’s game pretty good now.

Getting back into her wheelchair to leave UBCO was much easier than getting out as it was down hill and Janet confidently wheeled out of the gym in a nice straight line in front of quite a large crowd. I thought she might feel a little awkward doing that but not so. We finished the night off with some good tennis and ice cream and Janet being very pleased to be home.

Prying for a deep and re-energizing sleep and a productive tomorrow.

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

The Singing With John “concert” was at full volume when I got to Connect this afternoon with Janet smiling and singing one of the new songs we provided to John. He doesn’t know many of them and seemed a little overwhelmed but when you see and hear Janet singing them you just want to work with her. One song in particular, John even congratulated Janet on being in tune! Big Country joined in for a little bit and his voice is gaining strength along with Janet’s.

Jess reported that the day had been very busy so far with Janet getting in a good bike ride, a good stretching session and some laps walking around the parallel bars. On top of that, Tez spent some time with her doing some new exercises designed to strengthen her right leg and help Janet gain control of moving it forwards and backwards and to the side. Walking moves. We are skipping swimming this week in favour of a coaching session with Tez and the new AFO. Should be fun.

After putting away her laundry and helping to make her bed Janet agreed to an attempt at napping. She slept for about an hour and then was able to complete a good session on the Shuttle before dinner. Her overall leg strength is improving and more notably her right leg is gaining strength slowly. She worked hard to push the heavy weight I gave her and she did well. The increased strength is helping her transfers as well which was proved by the excellent one she did at the dinner table, earning her a round of applause from Big Country. As she was starting to get ready for bed she popped out of her wheelchair almost effortlessly to a standing position and looked at me with a big smile. I asked her what that was for and she said “I didn’t think I could do it”. Silly kid.

Janet read a little of Open to me tonight for a change. Just one paragraph but she nailed all twenty eight words, needing prompting on just one. That’s the best stretch of reading she’s done with me and she repeated it hours later. Nice. Reluctantly she agreed to a Standing Frame session before bed and tolerated it for forty five minutes. I can see where not being able to straighten her right leg is hindering her walking so anything we can do to stretch those hamstrings will help. Janet is not happy about being put back in the Standing Frame and wants to ask Tez on Thursday if its necessary. We both know what he’ll say but I think its good for her to ask.

It really was a busy day for Janet and even with the nap she was tired enough to call bedtime at 8:30 and by 9:30 with me reading to her she was asleep. Praying for a night of rejuvenating rest and a day full of energy tomorrow.

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

Janet and I slept in a little this morning after being up a little late last night. Laurel and Heather got her helping with some Christmas baking after breakfast and a Skype chat with Mary/Gaga in which Janet wasn’t quite as chatty as she can be. The baking went on for a long time but Janet said she enjoyed it and was glad to help.

We didn’t do any formal exercise today but Janet’s transfers continue to improve and she managed a couple of unassisted stands from her wheelchair one of which included a nice turn to sit on the couch with no help at all. High five! We did a little standing and walking this afternoon as well with no significant changes to report. The ankle brace is helping but the AFO will be much better.

After a little afternoon nap Janet helped with dinner prep but seemed a little low on energy still. She said she was fine and just didn’t have anything to say. The girls all watched a movie before bed and by the end of the day she said she had enjoyed her time with the girls baking and is looking forward to the Seahawks game tomorrow.

Praying for a deep and healing sleep tonight and lots of energy tomorrow.

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

Renovation Day 12. Lots of progress today, construction, demolition and decision making. Randy made good progress on the kitchen cabinets as well as the area around the fireplace. I managed to break up most of the lovely pink tile in both bathrooms and with Randy’s help Janet and I decided on a counter top, handles for the cabinets, moulding for the fireplace area and floor for the bathrooms. Good day.

Just after lunch Janet was hanging out in the dining area with Kieran, Wes, Willie and Humberto, laughing at the verbal jabs being thrown by Kieran and Wes. I hid from her for a bit to watch how she interacted with it all and she was seeming quite entertained. She was ready to go when I made my appearance knowing we were looking at something for the house. I dragged her around to a number of places where we met Randy with the goal of deciding on a number of key items for the new house. Janet was a real trooper, admitting she was tired but pushing through and helping make some really good choices. I was pretty confident we’d get the counter top quickly and we did. I thought the handles would be more challenging than it was. Janet did very well in saying what she liked and didn’t like and the choice was made a lot sooner than I thought. Neither of us had too strong an opinion on the mouldings so that was easy but the bathroom floor was another story. Janet was quite tired by this time and the process was made more difficult as soon as we realized I had brought home the wrong floor sample the other day. What me and the salesman that day thought was the right one wasn’t so when our actual salesman came out with the real one this afternoon I freaked a little. Luckily after we inspected it, all of what we’ve chosen so far works well with the floor so no need to freak. It still took a long time to narrow the choices and make a decision on the bathroom floors and Janet was getting a little frustrated but hung in there really well and contributed right to the end.

I’d been wanting to have Brian coach me on car transfers soon as I feel I’m doing more than I should and probably not using the best technique for Janet’s right foot. While we were out today and making so many stops I thought it was a good idea to try some different moves. First up was having Janet wheeled up to and facing the open car door. I asked her to hold the top of it and stand up. She did, pivoted around easily and sat in her seat. Just like that. All I did was hold the wheelchair and move it out of her way. I was very impressed. The first attempt at getting out of the car was that same move in reverse. Janet nailed it and again, all I did was hold the wheelchair and be ready to catch if need be. No need. As much as I praised her accomplishment she still didn’t think it was that big of a deal but by the end of the night she was starting to believe and agreed we don’t need Brian’s help. Kidding.

After all our running around we picked up Nash and some dinner and headed back to Connect. Janet reluctantly agreed to a gym session after dinner and was not having a good time on the Shuttle as she was cold and tired. Garrett told me the bike was now in Janet condition again so I got her on it for a little test ride and I think it will be a nice addition to her routine. She looked good on it and peddled more than twice as fast as she was the last time she was on it. Janet won’t admit it but I think she thought it was OK.

The lack of an afternoon nap made for a relatively early night and after a nice sleep time chat I said goodnight. Praying for continued building of strength, improved flexibility and greater command of her right leg.

The Team Save Janet Report is out! #colonoscopy #standing #swimming #shopping

Each time I come to writing this blog update I think I’m going to shorten it or use a lot of video to simplify the process but Janet keeps amazing me and others with new things she can do almost on a daily basis. Therefore, I think I’m going to publish future updates randomly as events warrant and certainly more than once a week. Twitter is still your best channel for being the first to know and you can follow me at @larrylatour .

The week got off to a challenging start for Janet as Tez had her on the parallel bars Thursday afternoon for what was supposed to be a short test of her capabilities. Twenty minutes later a very tired Janet was allowed to sit in her wheelchair after balancing and walking up and down the bars while hooked up to a sling. She did better than expected and if she can get her right leg stronger will be on her way. Her strength definitely has improved as that night she was able to do a set on The Shuttle with five bands of tension. A first. To round out the day Janet responded to some emails by spelling out the words she wanted to use while I guided her finger to the appropriate letter. I’m impressed by her ability to spell.

When I arrived Friday to pick her up a little before our agreed upon time she greeted me with “I’ve been dying for you to get here”. Karl had put her through her morning gym routine nicely but she was focused on going home for the weekend. We made a few stops along the way for some new pajamas and then some groceries. I figured with the air temperature being thirty eight there was no way she’d think the pool water would be cold but this is Janet we’re talking about. She got used to it after a few minutes and had a good swim. Then helped make a grilled chicken Caesar salad, something she never would’ve eaten before but really enjoyed this time, possibly because she helped make it. As we sat down at the end of the night to watch AGT and enjoy our Blizzards saved from last week, Janet was extremely disappointed that hers was so small. Not sure how that happened but I ended up having to give her some of her regular ice cream to make up the difference. Janet loves her ice cream.

I’m sure it wasn’t the ice cream that kept Janet awake most of the night and it wasn’t being all hyped up about a daughter getting married the next day either, I was just glad I didn’t have to take her for a walk at 3am. I let her sleep until she said she was ready to get up around 9:30 and a good Saturday began then. Janet phoned her mom to see if she wanted to Skype with her and of course she did then it was out into the yard to pull weeds, cut some things back and transplant the wedding plants into a permanent location. We had a great time working together on things Janet could easily reach. I think Janet really enjoyed the different tasks and she seemed genuinely interested in re learning names of plants and trees. After a nice swim where Janet got some push from her right leg we experienced an awesome service at Trinity. Janet was singing and clapping along to the songs and loved Wayne’s message entitled There Is Always Hope. Watch it There is Always Hope if you like. By the end of the night Janet was nice and relaxed and set up for a good nights sleep compared to Friday night. Part of our regular bedtime routine is to have Janet stand for a while prior to getting into bed. Usually she’s tired and a little weak and she will tolerate ten seconds with me holding her up. Saturday night however felt strangely different to me and I decided to let her go briefly to see what would happen. She actually didn’t fall over right away and I was confident she could actually stand. Sure enough after a couple of tries she stood all by herself for a few seconds. I was so excited I had to try and get some on video. This is the result as posted that night,

and this is a little better footage shot today in the gym.

Janet is standing on her own now for close to thirty seconds at a time and correcting her balance more and more. She still needs to gain confidence and trust in her self but its coming. Very cool!

Sunday arrived and I was a little nervous about it as Janet was scheduled for a colonoscopy Monday which meant Sunday was prep day. In case you’ve never been through this, as we hadn’t, prep means not eating anything, drinking four liters of a fluid designed to “flush” your body out and drinking clear fluids as much as possible. The part that made me nervous was Janet’s history of not wanting to drink much of anything and certainly nothing fast. She took five hours to drink the first two liters instead of the prescribed two hours but at least she got it in her. Before the flushing started we got in a nice long walk a short swim and a leisurely hot tub. The evening was very quiet with a “few” trips to the bathroom.

Janet was very cooperative throughout the colonoscopy adventure and I’m very proud of her for hanging in there as well as she did. The actual procedure went very well and Dr. Agnew reports a normal scope with no blockages or polyps found and no evidence of any mechanical reason for Janet’s constipation. He recommends Janet continue on a high fibre diet along with the Resotran and Peg 3350 if needed. He said normal bowel movements are considered to be anywhere between one to three times a day and two times a week so if we can keep Janet closer to the high end of that scale she’s doing fine. As a reward for getting through a difficult couple of days I treated Janet to a really nice dinner at Joey Kelowna,

a place we’ve been to a few times and always enjoyed but for some reason don’t think about that often. It’s high on our list now. Yummy.

It didn’t take long for Janet to bounce back after that tough weekend and she even surpassed her previous status. Proof came when Jess found her in the bathroom, standing up ready to sit on the toilet Tuesday morning. The Team’s goal for Janet is to be doing supervised transfers by early October. Here she was trying to do an independent transfer and almost making it. The pace with which she is gaining balance is very impressive to me. I hardly have to touch her during pole transfers now and today she was starting some transfers without the pole, only grabbing it once she was up. On her last transfer from the toilet tonight I saw a move with her left foot that was a lot like a step forward and it made me very excited about the possibility of Janet walking again. Last night she also demonstrated her smartness again by typing an email pretty much completely on her own. No help with content or spelling from me, just a little guiding to a few letters, otherwise, all her.

The trend continued today with the aforementioned awesome standing capped off by her wanting to go to outdoor movie night where she laughed and smiled all the way through Dodgeball. Janet couldn’t tell me what she found so funny about the movie but at the same time she could hardly stop laughing even as I turned out her lights at 11:05. Great day. Great week.

Transfer of Power. Janet powers through without a nap. Again. #TSJ

An all too familiar sight greeted me at Connect this afternoon. Janet lounging in the living room with a big grin on her face. This time she very intelligently explained that she didn’t think she needed a nap so she chose to watch TV instead. This was not the usual defiant Janet or the whining tired and stubborn Janet. This was a very calm, articulate and reasonable Janet that I couldn’t get upset with. She understood that she would likely be ready for bed earlier than usual and that proved to be true.

Janet wanted out of lounging mode so after chatting with Jess to see how the day went we headed for Janet’s room but Brian was in the kitchen so we got to talk to him for a while and that took up any possibility of a power nap before our Skype chat with Mary/Gaga. Jess said Janet’s day had been busy starting with a shower then an early visit to the gym at which she was able to get really good stretches on Janet’s legs. Janet reported that singing with John was fun but she didn’t have the same sparkle in her eye about it as I’ve noticed before. Maybe just because she was tired.

While Brian was around I asked if he would watch me do a few car transfers with Janet to see if there’s any better methods than the one I’m using. He smartly invited Tez to observe as well and we spent a good half hour discussing how best to get Janet into the Santa Fe. Getting out is no problem thanks to Janet’s increased strength and her ability to “stand”. The consensus for getting in seemed to be, continue with the lifting for now but we’ll try and have Janet practicing moves that can enable her to do more herself. Long term it may mean a different car for us, one that is a little lower to the ground. Brian mentioned there is a Lexus that kneels like a bus so I checked that out but was extremely unimpressed with their website and couldn’t even find a mention of that feature. Very cool idea though.

Because of the transfer experiments we were a little late for our chat with Mary/Gaga but I think the movement and sunshine gave Janet a bit of a second wind and she was able to have a very nice chat with her mom. That took us to dinner time and Garrett had Janet BBQ a some chicken breasts for everyone. She’s really getting the hang of the BBQ thing and enjoying the challenge of cooking.

I gave her the option of going to the gym with Bob or Garrett and that seemed to prevent her from arguing about going so she wheeled off with Garrett. Janet was pretty tired by this time and was almost ready for bed when she returned at 7:30. That was too early though so we did a little research on something that was mentioned in the book Slow Dance. It’s called The Feldenkrais Method and is based on the theory that your brain can always learn new things and you can teach your body to move as it naturally wants to because over the years it’s learned to move incorrectly. The whole thing seems a little weird, like yoga for people still doing acid, but I think there’s some truth in it as well. If any of you know anything about it or have experience I’d love to hear from you.

Today was a solid day for Janet with good visits to the gym, good standing transfers(even surprising Tez when he “danced” with her), great BBQ’ing and really good communicating. I’ve stopped nagging her about drinking water and today she did quite well on her own. Looking forward to a fun day tomorrow. Praying for a restful and healing night.

Music to My Ears. More singing for Janet. #TSJ

Today, Janet, Mary Lou and I met with a music therapist, Stephanie. I’ve long been searching for an accredited MTA that could work with Janet and thanks to Brian and friends we found a possibility. The timing as far as Janet goes could not be better as she seems to have fully rebounded from her Dilantin overdose and is offering much more in the way of starting conversations and expressing her opinions. Stephanie outlined how she would work with Janet and although similar to what John does she has a more clinical approach and will aim for the same goals Mary Lou has for Janet. Namely, increasing the volume of Janet’s voice and improving her ability to find and use appropriate words. The meeting went well and Janet seemed to like Stephanie so dependent on what exactly she proposes I think we’ll give it a go. Janet will still do the sing along stuff with John as every little bit helps and Janet has fun with him.

I convinced Janet to have a nap after the meeting and she did so for over an hour and a half giving her good energy for the rest of the day. She had a good Skype chat with Leslie and is excited about the possibility of her and Gavin coming out for a visit at the end of June. In fact she could hardly stop talking about it every time she was asked a question about her family which seemed to happen a lot today. I grilled her after she woke up from her nap then Garrett and Connie started in on her after her nighttime gym session.Janet is much more confident in her answers now and needs less prompting to get them correct.

We sat outside for happy hour again and Janet was very chatty and maybe even a little restless as she kept working her left leg to move her chair back and forth. Once she moved ahead while drinking her water, hit the patio railing and spilled a bunch of water all over herself. She thought that was very funny and it was. Connie was in the house this evening after her trip to England. We had a nice chat with her about her trip and Janet was really glad to have her back and enjoyed hearing about her trip.

It took a lot of convincing to get Janet to go to the gym with Garrett tonight but eventually she relented and of course came back all smiles and somewhat accepting that it was good for her. Garrett is very good with Janet and we are blessed to have him working with her. He reported that Janet did well with her stretches tonight even getting onto her tummy herself and staying there for three minutes or so with no discomfort. Previously it was a huge struggle to get her onto her tummy and she always seemed in a little pain while she was there. This is a nice improvement that Janet credits to “doing it lots of times”. High five!

To help her wind down and enjoy the rest of the evening I got her a cup of tea and we watched some Ellen on YouTube. Janet laughed out loud at a couple of the clips and was genuinely touched by one of the sappy ones we watched. That’s the most reaction I’ve gotten from her watching YouTube and speaks to her continued rise in brightness.

This was another encouraging day with Janet. She was strong on all her transfers today, she talked well 90% of the time I was with her, participated well in the meeting with Stephanie and Mary Lou excitedly reported that “Janet is back and then some” in regards to her speech therapy. It had been a tough few weeks for Mary Lou when Janet was going through the Dilantin overdose so it was nice to see her all fired up again today.

Praying for a night of deep rest and healing that brings lots of energy for tomorrow.