For the first time in thirty five years Kelowna schools were closed for a Snow Day on Monday. According to Janet it was a great day as she didn’t have to go to H2O as it was too nasty out there. She did go today though and agreed to file this video report for you.
I’m happy to finally be able to share the video of Janet’s baptism with you. She just watched it today for the first time and got all excited in doing so. It was a very special moment that we’ll never forget and we hope you enjoy it.
The audio is a little out of sync, I apologize.
Only two more Sundays of taking Janet back to Connect, thank goodness. She handled tonight’s return well as her weekend was relaxing and entertaining and there was no time for a nap today so she was too tired to complain. A couple from our Small Group joined us today to watch the Seahawks game and that made for an enjoyable Sunday. Janet enjoyed the mixture of football talk and family talk and contributed well with both.
Neither day at home this weekend was too structured. Saturday night was different from the usual in that Courtney was home for dinner after church and we watched a movie together too. We are enjoying having her around and Janet is benefiting from having someone else to talk to. Friday we stopped by the church to do a walk through of the baptism tank. Janet did a great job walking up the steps, down into the tank then back out again. I’m confident she can handle it for real on Saturday and we thank Dave for taking the time to let Janet try that in advance. She was pretty pleased with herself for being able to do it. Our Small Group met Friday night and Janet participated well and even asked the group a question on her own for the first time. She wanted to hear everyone’s take on the Brittany Maynard and Lauren Hill stories and was rewarded with some good conversation. That was a good demonstration of Janet’s memory improving along with her confidence to initiate conversation.
Thursday night Janet recorded her baptism testimonial video. It was understood that she’d be able to use a teleprompter but it wasn’t ready when her time to shoot arrived so we tried feeding her two or three sentences at a time. That was a struggle for Janet but she made it through for the most part. By the time the teleprompter was ready Janet was tired of the whole thing so struggled reading from it too. Jody, the videographer, will work his magic and Janet’s story will come out loud and clear. There’s no magic needed to make Janet look good though.
Janet was a big help around the house this weekend as is becoming the norm. We didn’t take any formal time for exercise so all of Janet’s walking came associated with practical tasks. Talking with her tonight, she was happy about that but admitted she wasn’t moving around as easily. She disagreed that it was a result of a more relaxing weekend but resigned herself to the idea of using the indoor track at CNC sooner rather than later. Winter is supposed to arrive this week so the days of walking outside seem to be done and Janet needs to keep moving. I think she’ll be OK with it as long as we don’t overdo it.
Praying for a week of progress.
Finally, there was a chance for Mary Lou to watch the video of Janet reading The Hallo-Wiener to the kids at Stepping Stones Preschool. She approved of Janet’s effort and officially credited her with achieving that goal!
Here is a video clip of Janet reading. I wasn’t able to upload the entire eleven minute story but this will give you an idea of how Janet did. The beginning was very strong then she struggled for the last two thirds of the book, keeping a smile on her face most of the way through and managing to keep the kids attention. Well done!
That was the biggest excitement of the day. Janet enjoyed SheLife tonight and was happy to be home this afternoon where she did a great job operating the cooktop and stirring our stir fry for dinner. Janet did have a little scare first thing this morning as she fell coming out of the bathroom. According to her, “I just lost it”, and there are no marks or real pain resulting from it. She is complaining of a sore back when she steps up or down a step though so we will monitor that. Janet told me she didn’t call for help or try and get up, she just lay there waiting. Garrett suggested that for the rest of Janet’s time at Connect they teach her how to recover from a fall and or call for help. Great idea.
The staff have been working on Janet picking things up from the floor and that paid off tonight. Janet tosses her PJs from the armoire to her bed each night and tonight she missed. That meant doing a serious squat to pick them up and she did! Janet was nervous of course and unsure of the technique so it took a little prompting from me for her to get down low enough. She was quite happy afterwards and should be.
Praying for the soreness in Janet’s back to stop after a good night of sleep and for a successful video shoot of her baptism testimonial tomorrow.
It’s a rare occasion when Janet recounts her morning activities without a complaint so I really enjoyed her phone call early this afternoon where she told me all about the stuff she had done with the only negative being her review of her step exercises as being “terrible”. She seemed pleased with everyone else and sounded quite upbeat. When I got out to Connect a little later Janet was awake in bed after napping briefly, something she hasn’t really been doing much of lately.
Janet’s attitude shift enabled her to take the initiative and walk down to the kitchen to find out what her duties for the evening were. As Chelsea had her help with making stuffed baked potatoes I showed Brian the video from Janet’s attempt at boiling water on the cooktop at home. He approved and when Janet arrived on the scene congratulated her on achieving another goal! Janet seemed genuinely pleased with that news and wasn’t too upset about not passing the laundry test yet. She needs a little more practice in familiarizing herself with the controls on both washer and drier. She’s close.
For her post dinner stroll tonight I pulled Janet around the insides of Connect including up the stairs. Janet handled those well but was feigning exhaustion part way up in such a way that I think she’s mentally giving up at the first sign of exertion. In the end she completed the routine well and maybe realizes a little better just how long of a stride she is able to take.
Praying for a night of restful sleep and a productive meeting with Dr. Miller tomorrow.
Feeling confident after having Janet’s doctor adjust her Dilantin dosage I chose to hold off on getting her blood tested today and instead went to Connect this morning to observe Tez working with her. Janet is still complaining of a sore right foot but indicated it might be a little better after not having walked at all yesterday. There were a group of students with Tez who invited Janet to be a bit of a guinea pig in demonstrating the walking sling and sharing her story and the challenges she’s faced along the way. Janet did so with great enthusiasm and humour and I think made the session a good learning experience.
Given the choice between lunch and a bike ride, Janet chose bike ride so she could get it over with. We had to wait a few minutes for another resident to finish which gave me time to ask Curtis about Janet’s positioning on the bike. She had typically been seated fairly close forward to give her the easiest pedalling position but I wondered since she is so much stronger now if it would be more beneficial to sit farther back and extend her legs more. Curtis agreed and we set Janet up that way with the bike on the same difficult settings as yesterday and she rode really well, only sacrificing less than half a mile while gaining a much better stretch and more activation from her right leg.
We enjoyed lunch in the sun then got Jess and Chelsea to help with a little video shoot in the parking lot. Janet nailed her scene in one take! As a reward for her hard work and to “celebrate” her second anniversary I brought Janet home for the weekend a day early. She was thrilled and even tried powering through without a nap until almost five o’clock when things finally caught up to her. It had been a much improved day compared to the last couple and we finally got news from the neurologist re the Dilantin levels. He said fluctuations are common and Janet’s don’t present any reason to change course other than trying a lower dosage. One contributing factor is hydration level and with Janet walking more and the warm weather she’s sweating out a lot of fluid without replacing it all. This time I believe she fully understands and drank well tonight. We will continue to watch her levels closely.
A lot of you have been with us since day one of this journey and on this two year anniversary day Janet and I want to honestly thank you all for your prayers, encouragement, support and friendship. Each day, Janet seems more and more aware of the impact you have had on her recovery and realizing that, motivates her to share her story with others and give support where she can to those facing their own challenges. Today could have been a sad reminder of a horrible day but neither Janet or I had even the briefest thought of that. Today has been a quiet celebration of the amazing recovery that Janet has made through the grace, love and mercy of our Lord and Saviour, and a look ahead to the changes yet to come. This video is a reminder of Janet’s amazing success story and the beginning of a new chapter in a life full of love.
Many thanks to Joel and Kiko for hanging with us at the KGH Rehab pool today to cheer Janet on in her swimming sessions.
Here are a few videos expertly shot by Joel so you all can see just how well Janet is swimming on her back. At the end of today’s sessions we tried a little face in the water while lying on her tummy action and she conquered that challenge easily. I was even scared a couple times at how long she was keeping her face in the water. The confidence continues to build.
I promised I would publish updates whenever a worthy event occurred and so here is the first one. Janet swam for real today, all by herself!
Our KGH Rehab pool sessions have been focusing on balancing and floating with my goal of trying to get Janet to swim. We started today’s first session with her floating on her back to get relaxed and loosened up. I held her from under her right shoulder waiting for a chance to let go when I felt she was relaxed enough. That moment came and she quickly sunk her face into the water then laughed. The giggles were a good sign I thought so I changed position and held her from under both shoulders and got her kicking her legs. Then I let go and off she went! Slowly and struggling a little but managing to keep her face out of the water and propelling herself forward. I had to stop her as she was headed for the parallel bars so we did a reset and with much less struggling she swam about half the length of the pool and was smiling big when she saw how far she’d gone. I let her rest for a bit and took her back down to the end for another attempt and without hesitation she was off like a fish all the way down to the other end in what seemed like effortless fashion. For the first time I believe Janet was truly excited and proud of what she had accomplished as she looked way down to where she’d started and said “that’s pretty far”. It’s farther than she thinks knowing how far she’s come along this past year. Amazing!
The rest of our time in the pool today was spent trying to replicate that first full length swim and she did make it all the way again but not as effortlessly as that first time. During the second session her right leg wasn’t cooperating as well so everything she tried to do was diminished but overall it was a stellar day in the pool and even tonight when I reminded her of how well she’d done she didn’t argue or roll her eyes. Progress!
Talk to you all Wednesday or unless another major event occurs before that. Remember you can follow me on Twitter to learn Janet news almost as it happens. I also hope to have video of Monday’s swimming thanks to Joel and Kiko. Twitter followers will of course see it first.
It feels a little strange to be writing again after almost a week away from blogging. Thanks and welcome to all of you who have joined me on Twitter. That’s where you can now keep up to date with Janet on a daily basis.
This past week has seen Janet steadily moving ahead in a lot of areas, with Friday marking the beginning of the end of her BM challenges I hope. We finally got the medication started that Dr. Agnew said would work, and boy did it! Janet felt relieved afterwards and I still don’t understand how she never felt any pain or discomfort during the long period of time where she wasn’t going. That may be part of why she wasn’t going and hopefully while at her colonoscopy appointment, Dr. Nash will be able to explain what’s happening. As of today all is well in that department.
When I first met Janet she was challenging herself to become more assertive. As the years went by she learned to make sure her voice was heard very well. I’m starting to see a return of that strong personality now as she voices her opinion on things and has taken a few verbal shots at me. The funniest one being last night while watching basketball. I had been nagging Janet all afternoon about drinking water but hadn’t said anything for a while. Since it was nearing bedtime I casually suggested she needed to drink more water. She very quickly and sharply (smiling though) said “why don’t you drink more water”. Bob and I both laughed out loud along with Janet who promptly had a few big sips of water. I like what I’m seeing from her this way and although she still lacks confidence in her physical abilities she is clearly gaining a better understanding of her situation and the moment she is living in.
Speaking of physical abilities, Janet continues to impress not only me but her therapists as well. I’m praying she soon recognizes herself how well she is doing. Friday’s sessions at the KGH pool were strong with Janet doing some good balancing and “walking”. In our pool on Monday Janet “swam” on her back for ten seconds on two separate occasions. I’m calling it swimming because she continued kicking her legs and moving her left arm to keep her face out of the water. There was some propulsion but hard to measure in such a short period of time and I was so excited I kept thinking how I could get video of it all. No luck with that yet. Janet was pleased I was excited but doubtful she had done anything that exciting. The hot tub continues to work its magic on Janet’s stretchability and she looks forward to those relaxing sessions now. If we could get her that interested in the Connect gym we’d be set. Janet is performing well there but still argues against going each time. The staff and I keep emphasizing the benefits she is seeing from all her hard work and I think we’re gaining ground there. Should be easy to do as Janet is getting measurably better on the bike, the standing frame and the parallel bars almost daily. On Monday she set a personal best riding the bike for thirty minutes and traveling .82 miles. Janet is tolerating the standing frame for forty minutes to an hour now and it’s so weird having her standing tall I can’t sit beside her when she’s in the frame as I’m not used to looking up at her.
Meal prep and household type chores are something Janet strangely enjoys. She eagerly puts her laundry away and helps me make her bed. I still have to prompt her to look at the labels on her drawers to see where something goes and she needs a lot of guidance with kitchen duties but her willingness to try is cool and she really does concentrate fully when given a task.
Janet and I went for a nice long walk Monday evening to explore the neighborhood. We saw a nice development with some single level homes for sale but decided we don’t want to live in Lake Country. I tested Janet’s vision while we were out by asking her to read signs and find certain objects. She can see things for sure, her challenge is in sorting out what she’s looking at and zeroing in on the key thing. It was a fun walk and Janet seemed to enjoy the challenge of finding things to look at, kind of like eye spy.
The following is the first in what could be a weekly feature of the blog. This interview was shot this afternoon and its purpose is to allow you all to see and hear Janet for yourselves instead of just reading my words. We hope you enjoy.
Praying for continued improvement and acceptance by Janet in how well she’s doing.
Jess said Janet had reluctantly gone to bed for a nap around 1:30 and could be sleeping when I arrived just after two. I left her alone for a bit in hopes she was but when I tried sneaking into her room at three she was looking at me with a huge grin on her face and said she had not slept and was just listening to music. She described her day as OK and said she had done “nothing”, except have breakfast but that was only toast with jam. Garrett later confirmed that Janet said no to a shower and no to the gym this morning and had a decent sleep in. That seems to be common for Monday’s so it’ll be interesting to see how she does in the pool next week.
Janet started getting up from bed and I asked her what she was doing. She told me she had to go to the bathroom so once she was up I got her over to the toilet and away she went. Another good sign of improved awareness. We then headed for the patio and happy hour. Janet devoured an orange and drank her water while I read the comments on our video that so many of you sent our way. Janet is truly encouraged by the feedback even from those of you we’ve never met. In fact some of those comments have gotten the most reaction from her. She still struggles a little with thinking she didn’t look good or do good in the video but the more feedback I read her from all of you the better she feels about it all. Thank you!
Garrett and I convinced Janet to go to the gym before dinner and she returned from a good workout an hour later with a smile on her face. She did seem a little confused at times this evening. Giving silly answers to simple questions and not knowing some basic family questions. When we Skyped with Andrew after dinner she thought he was her brother and even told Garrett that later. Andrew asked Janet about the church video and Janet couldn’t remember what he was talking about even after a pretty good explanation. I played it for her after we talked to Andrew and it all came back to her minus the crying. Yay! She never seemed to be in a state of total confusion so I’m not overly concerned but I would like to get in and see the neurologist sooner rather than later.
The first of each month is weigh in day for everyone and Janet logged another gain. She wisely said “that’s a lot” when I asked her if she thought she weighed 412 pounds. She did guess 117 pounds which is not too far off. As long as I’ve known her she has feared being too big so she always looks a little concerned when I tell her she’s gained weight but I’ve given her an arbitrary goal and we’re not there yet so all is well. As part of reporting her weight to Garrett I had Janet take some Easter candy that Kiko kindly dropped off today to share with those that were hanging around. Janet smiled the whole time she was offering the treats and seemed genuinely happy to be doing it. It’s good to share.
Before bed, Janet asked if I would read some Slow Dance to her. We certainly aren’t moving through that book very fast and it’s too bad because what we read tonight had a lot of similarities to Janet’s experience. She even shot me a few knowing glances as I read. Again, more awareness. The bedtime routine went well and because Janet didn’t nap this afternoon the lights were out a little earlier than usual. All things considered Janet had a pretty good day and even has a little tan line starting on her chest. That’s why we live here folks.
Praying for a restful night that enables lots of healing and brings energy and awareness for a productive tomorrow.