Wedding

Janet, A Success Story. Wedding Special. Video

Wedding day could not have gone any better from Janet’s perspective. She woke up too early but easily nodded off again for a good long sleep in. There was no way she would get a nap that day so I was glad she slept in.

After a shower and breakfast it was time to start getting ready. Courtney did a great job with Janet’s hair before I took her over to Heather’s where all the girls were getting beautified.
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The plan was that Janet would hang out until Heather had her dress on so that the Mother of the Bride could get a sneak peak, but in true girl fashion, things were running behind schedule so that never happened. Laurel applied some make up on Janet, she totally doesn’t need it, and after watching the bridal party get primped it was time for us to gather some of the rest of the family and get out to the wedding venue.
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The weather was perfect and the Britannia Yacht Club surprisingly beautiful. I had no idea there was such a beautiful spot in Ottawa.
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The guys were on time and the girls fashionably late and no one seemed to mind as we took in the scenery. Janet had long set the goal to walk at Heather’s wedding and she achieved that in spades. I thought she might be able to walk part way down the aisle with Heather during the ceremony but there really wasn’t room to do that and Heather wasn’t feeling too stable in her shoes to support Janet if needed. The compromise was for Janet to meet Heather at the front and take a few steps with her to meet Allan. That part worked well and was all Janet really wanted as she got a nice hug from her new son in law and said “goodbye honey” to her daughter which brought peels of laughter from everyone gathered. A solid Janet moment.

I walked with Janet down the aisle after the ceremony so we could congratulate the newlyweds and Janet stayed on her feet for a good half hour after that as we took pictures and visited with family. The reception was held on the upper floor of the yacht club and since their elevator was not completed yet Janet had the use of a human elevator to get up the long flight of stairs. Four of us carried her in her wheelchair like she was Cleopatra and got her into the party where she wasted no time in getting a glass of wine going. The room was the perfect size and decorated nicely, the staff were very professional and friendly. Janet ate a good dinner and was pumped up to give her surprise speech. She wrote and had been trying to memorize a speech for Heather and Allan for about a month now. I was confident she could get it locked into her memory and practicing in a quiet room she was getting close. In a room buzzing with the excitement of a wedding there was no way. Even with the written speech in front of her Janet was too excited to stick to the script. She made her point well though and earned another standing ovation.

The highlight of this day for me in relation to Janet had to be when we got to dance together. The “official” first dance was just ending and no one had joined in as they had been invited to so I grabbed Janet and out onto the floor we went. Heather and Allan were thrilled someone was willing to get things started and Janet got more comfortable after the dance floor filled up. She was able to get a little hip action going as well as move her feet while holding my hand. It was very exciting and something I’ll never forget.
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As the party got louder and the room hotter Janet called it a night around 10:30 or so. She did amazing all day and I know she will remember this day for a long long time as it meant so much to her.

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Praying for a life filled with love and happiness for Heather and Allan and thanking Jesus for Janet and all she is able to do.

Janet, A Success Story. June 21. #TSJ Wedding Day

Why is it that when you wait so long for something, you can hardly believe it’s happening when it does. That’s how Janet and I felt today before Heather and Allan’s wedding and we still do tonight even though we saw it happen.

The day could not have gone better on all fronts and we are blessed to have been a part of it. I’ll share a few pictures with you tonight and write more details and share more pictures over the next few days.

Homeward bound tomorrow. Praying for a life of love and happiness for Heather and Allan and a safe and on time flight home for us.

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Janet, A Success Story. June 8. #TSJ

There was a lot of sitting around today for Janet, unfortunately, and I’m not sure how we could have avoided it. Breakfast was outside as it was just too nice not to and the only way out there for Janet is in her wheelchair. She stayed outside for a Skype chat with her mom that Janet says was “good and funny”.

I managed to get her doing something other than basking in the sun by suggesting we start the packing process for our trip to Heather and Allan’s wedding. That required her getting some things out of her closet which I suppose she could’ve done walking but I wanted this to be as much her doing it on her own as possible. She picked out some jewellery to wear with each outfit and we got a good sense of what we need to take. Job well done!

Back into the sun we went for lunch, so Janet was sitting again after a short walk on her own. The times she did walk today I kept myself as far from her as I could while staying in range to prevent a fall. Janet seems to walk more confidently when she can see me and moves towards me so I’m going to try and avoid walking beside her as much as I can. Before going for a walk we had a brief Skype chat with Heather to answer some questions that came up during our packing session. She appears to be hanging in there just fine. We almost made it to the beach on our walk but Janet complained of the wind so we turned back. There is nothing worse than a cold Janet.

A very kind Italian lady who lives in our complex cooks a big pasta and meatball dinner for everyone once a year and tonight was the night. Janet of course was less than excited about going but mostly enjoyed being there and talking to some neighbours about tennis and to another couple about Ontario. One of the benefits of living here is the sense of community and I’m glad we can be a part of it. Janet walked into the room tonight leaving her wheelchair parked outside and received lots of “wows” and “look at you” ‘s. Gotta be good for her.

Without any complaints we drove back to Connect and got Janet settled in after she presented Chris with a happy face lolly pop for his fortieth birthday today. That’s one thing I can ask Janet to do and she never hesitates. Praying for a restful night of sleep and a productive Monday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 3. #TSJ

Today we eliminated one stressful item off of my to do list. Janet found shoes for the wedding! AFO lady had suggested a store called Hollywood Shoes and that was our first task of the day. Half an hour later we left the store with wedding shoes and a pair of clogs for outings away from Connect. Happy happy.

Since we were in the area we stopped by to see John who is still at the care home he doesn’t want to be in. It is a pretty sad place and John has yet to recapture his positive personality although he tries hard to put on a brave face. He was pleased to see us and Janet felt good about visiting him.

I eased Janet back into some walking practice today and I didn’t notice any real set back after the day off. The big test came at church this evening where she propelled in wearing her new clogs then walked down the aisle to her seat. She did well saying the left show feels a little loose. It was better on the way up the aisle after church and Janet thinks it’ll be fine but I will test her more tomorrow. Janet took a few steps on her own without even thinking about it and did a nice turn to her spot at the table without assistance. If she would just believe in herself she could do so much more.

We got some great news about our friend Wendy in Nanaimo this evening, she is off the respirator, conscious and “out of the woods”. Still in ICU but things look positive. Thanks to those who prayed for her.

Janet and I closed our day catching up on American Idol with Janet offering some good critiques and correctly naming who’d be sent home. Her favourite, surprisingly is Caleb.

Praying that Janet sleeps well and is bright and energetic for tomorrow.

Full House. A special week of family fun for Janet. #TSJ

Janet could not have been more excited this past week leading up to Laurel and Raj’s Christian wedding ceremony on Saturday. That excitement enabled Janet to accomplish a lot as she was almost forced to be on a high level of alert all day everyday. She sometimes found it hard to let go and calm down at night with Thursday being especially difficult as she hardly slept at all. To be able to not only witness but also contribute to the wedding was huge for Janet and it was very exciting for me to watch her take it all in.

Thursday started with a phone call from Janet just after noon wondering when I was going to be at Connect to pick her up. I reminded her I said I’d be there at two but she said that was too late. I managed to get there by 1:30 just as she and Jess were finishing making her bed. It had been a busy morning with good reports from the gym and an outstanding report from Mary Lou regarding Janet’s speech. Jess said she was out on the patio while Mary Lou and Janet were working in the Den, a good twenty meters away, and she could hear Janet from there. Impressive. After running an errand downtown, Andrew, Laurel, Heather and my mom joined us for a trip to The Flower Farm for a few decorative features for the wedding. We all were a little dissapointed with the selection and service but were very surprised and impressed by the lemon trees.

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Who knew? My mom was determined to serve us all a turkey dinner so despite the thirty plus degree temperature outside, that’s what we enjoyed. Thanks mom!

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So ended a very bright day for Janet, or so I thought. Her mind must have been working overtime as she was very restless all Thursday night, waking frequently to tell me she couldn’t sleep or was uncomfortable. It all peaked at 3am when she insisted on going for a walk. Noting that she wasn’t kidding and was half way out of bed I decided to go along with her crazy idea and got out of bed to assist. Once up, she very confidently took a good step with her left leg then followed nicely moving her right leg forward. That was not a step, more like a drag, but it was impressive none the less and she repeated it three or four times down the side of the bed. I held probably ninety percent of her weight but all the movement was her. When she’d had enough we got back to where she started from and she managed a little bit of sleep for what remained of the night. After regaling the household with her story over breakfast it was time for some wedding baking. Laurel and Heather allowed Janet to help them make some desserts for the big event and Janet loved being helpful and hanging out with her daughters. The house was buzzing all day and Janet really fed off that energy. We got into the pool for a good long swim where Janet did her best ever take off for swimming on her tummy and also took a breath while swimming. As long as the water is warm she continues to improve in the pool.

The big day finally arrived and after the prerequisite good morning, the first words out of Janet’s smiling mouth Saturday morning were, “Laurel and Raj are getting married today”. She was up and going by 8:30 and you could tell this is what she’d been waiting for. Again, the house was buzzing as Cam arrived then Mary/Gaga and Keith after their massively delayed flight from Toronto. The last bit of decorating involved cutting out some foam hearts to lay on the pool and Janet was happy to help with that before Heather and Laurel took her behind closed doors to get dressed. After I don’t know how many mimosas the ladies emerged looking stunningly beautiful.

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It must have been water proof makeup the girls put on Janet because as soon we sat down for the ceremony, the tears started flowing but her face stayed radiant. The ceremony was blessedly short due to the heat but very truthful, practical and personal. Thanks Roger and Carrie for being such special people to our family. Laurel and Raj each did a terrific job delivering their vows to each other and I can’t think of any better way for Janet to witness their “second” marriage. Janet’s short term memory is showing signs of improvement and I’m sure she’ll remember this day for a long long time. The “reception” part of the day was very casual with everyone invited to jump in the pool, play bocce or just hang out. Janet happily went for a swim and loved being in the water with a bunch of others especially Laurel and Raj’s niece and nephews. A few years ago Laurel and Raj dressed up as mustard and ketchup for Halloween LaurelRajMustardKetchup so in preparation for their first wedding Janet made bride and groom mustard and ketchup bottles that were to be placed near the cake in fun. She finally got to present them this time and got a good laugh for doing so.

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I thought Janet might be so wound up she’d never get to bed but she was lights out at 10:30 after a very very good day.

Up early again, the goodbyes started early Sunday morning with Cam running out the door first with Heather and Allan scheduled to follow after breakfast. Note that I said Heather and when you are talking about her and flying you can bank on a delay. Sure enough, they were able to stay for lunch before heading to the airport for a trip that ended up being four hours longer than planned and minus a set of luggage too. I don’t have to tell you who’s do I. It was nice to be able to chill and visit during their delay so that was the silver lining. As expected there were lots of tears when the time finally came but those were cleared up when Janet was reminded of all the fun things that happened over the last few days. Having only active seniors left to entertain we headed up to the Myra Canyon trestles for a nice walk. Unfortunately I turned too soon and we ended up at the wrong end of the park where the road is very bumpy and the trail to the trestles not exactly wheelchair friendly. It was still a nice outing and a good break from the heat for those that wanted it. After a nice swim and hot tub we all went to dinner at The Rotten Grape. Janet was a little uncomfortable in the backless bar stool this time so we switched to a tall stool with a back and that seemed to work much better. We said goodnight and goodbye to Mary/Gaga and Keith before winding down with a little TV and the lights going out at 11:15.

I think by this time Janet was starting to feel relieved that the craziness was over. She slept very well Sunday night and woke up happy and ready to start Monday at 8am. My mom joined her in watching Pick a Puppy and Janet picked the right one again and is now 4/5 all time. After a brief walk around the KGH neighborhood Janet had two very strong swimming sessions which included a first ever walk using the parallel bars. We had attempted this before but Janet’s strength and balance just weren’t there, now they are. Fun to watch. We had a nice chat with Moira on the way out and Janet was beaming as she told of Laurel’s wedding. We are so blessed to have so many caring people involved in Janet’s rehab and even though Moira is no longer directly involved she still makes time to connect with Janet each time we see her and the more that happens the more Janet connects back. Good stuff. My mom loves soup and sandwich places so we hit The Marmalade Cafe for lunch before dropping her at the airport for her on time flight to Nanaimo. Mom, we are grateful you could be part of this weekend and thank you for the turkey dinner, the huge amount of yard work and everything else you did for us. By the time we got to the Connect parking lot Janet was in tears and not wanting to go back. We worked it out, she had a nap then a really good dinner followed by a solid workout on the Shuttle. We couldn’t let a beautiful evening go to waste so we walked over and watched Karl and Humberto play soccer.

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Janet really enjoyed that and was in a good enough mood to do forty five minutes in the Standing Frame before bed. She timed her workout really well and drank an entire bottle of water during it with no nagging from me. A first!

Janet is getting to be more and more like the former Janet all the time now and when she called me Tuesday afternoon I heard her true voice for the first time since this all started. It was exciting and a little creepy at the same time. When I arrived she was very chatty and we talked in her room for a long while before going for a walk. Along the way we practiced the months of the year stating the special days that occur in each. Janet got most family birthdays right and shocked me by getting the first day of Spring in March. I hadn’t even thought of that one before she said it. With a very busy Wednesday looming Janet went to bed after her evening workout a little unsure of what to expect.

Jess brought Janet to KGH this morning where I met them for a chat with Dr. Miller. He reinforced the need for Janet to be at Connect for the forseable future and as long as she is improving. He noted a huge improvement in Janet’s cognition since he saw her a month ago and gave validity to my suggestion that the Baclofen was having a negative effect on her. Janet impressed him so much this morning that he told her “with your brain injury, you should not be talking to me the way you are now”. Janet accepted his compliments and praise almost completely today saying she “feels more alive”. Awesome meeting. On our way out Janet’s celebrity status took over as a bunch of nurses stopped to say hi. Janet spoke very clearly and smiled a lot this time showing her growing confidence. While she was in the bathroom over near the OT department, Erika, the head nurse came looking for us. She was about to interview Emma for a position on the Rehab Unit and knew we’d like to see her and vice versa. It was great to see Emma again, in my opinion the best nurse Janet’s had during this ordeal, unfortunately all Janet got was a peak through the bathroom door. I’m sure we’ll see more of Emma soon as I told Erika there’s no need to interview her, just hire her, and she agreed. Our next appointment was the hand clinic to see about a splint to assist with positioning of Janet’s right wrist and hand. Julie took a good look at Janet and fashioned a splint right before our eyes that is already helping. When I took it off at bedtime tonight Janet’s hand was very relaxed and I was able to open her hand with her wrist fully in a neutral position, something I haven’t been able to do since this started. For now Janet will wear the splint two hours on and one hour off with a follow up with Julie scheduled for next Friday. We rushed back to Connect for our team meeting and had a very productive session with the Connect team. Everyone is pleased with Janet’s progress with Mary Lou describing the difference in Janet’s speech like “night and day” over the last seven to ten days. I am very thankful for the hardworking and supportive group of professionals working on Janet’s behalf. Automatically thinking Janet would need a nap after a day like that I proceeded to get her ready to do so. She allowed me to lay her down but as soon as she realized what was going on she got quite upset and got herself right back up insisting she do the Standing Frame now because she hates doing it late at night. She did a full hour in it followed by a really good gym workout with Garrett.That left the evening free for a nice walk and an attempt at doing some video for this blog update. I wasn’t happy with it so you are stuck reading my words again. Maybe next time.

As long as Janet continues to improve she will stay at Connect and I’m grateful we have that resource. There will now be an effort made to get Janet busier around there and we will explore some volunteer opportunities in the community as well. It feels like another door to Janet’s recovery has opened and I pray we can take full advantage of that to push her to the next level. Thank you readers for all your support and thank you to our Lord and Savior for His Love, Mercy and Grace.

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Kicking In. A relaxing day as the Botox takes effect. #TSJ

A sleep in Saturday for sure as Janet opened her eyes at 7:30 then happily went back to sleep until 9:30. That set the pace for a relaxing day hanging out at home. She chose her traditional breakfast which we enjoyed together with no idea what we would do next. Fortunately Janet asked to watch TV while I went to shower and while searching for something to watch I noticed an NBA playoff game about to start. I thought they started Sunday so we scrambled to the computer to fill out our brackets in Raju’s annual Pool. We got our picks in just in time and Janet enjoyed the process making some good choices in winners but I think she has too many series going the full seven games. Anyways it’s something she enjoys doing and we had basketball on in the background all day.

The only scheduled event of the day was a Skype chat with Leslie that went well despite some technical challenges. Heather checked in with us later on and it was good for Janet to catch up with both of them. I’ve had to resurrect my role as physio therapist while Janet is at home so we can maximize the potential of the Botox and when I stretched her legs this afternoon I noticed an improvement right away. It was even more noticeable tonight as I was able to get her left leg down to almost where we used to be able to get it in the 4B days. Janet is not too happy that we are doing this stretching stuff at home but she was OK with lounging with her legs up in her wheelchair. Her standing for transfers was quite good today as well and I sense a little confidence coming back there. That increase in confidence saved her from a total meltdown after seeing some pictures of herself from her KGH days. I had just shown her photos from Raju and Laurel’s wedding and at the end of those there were a few unflattering pictures of Janet and she got a little upset but kind of accepted that she’s come a long way. She asked me to turn them off which I did and she was on the verge of really crying about it but held it off. A nice improvement.

Since the day started late, nap time was late too but Janet did have a brief one that allowed her to do a good job making a salad to go with dinner tonight and she really enjoyed watching The Voice together especially since I made popcorn for us. All in all it was a very relaxing day at home just making things up as we went along. One highlight for me came as we were doing the nightly rundown of the day and as I mentioned the first couple of things we did Janet chimed in with “and we picked our teams”. Love my sports junkie and nice to see a little short term memory action.

Praying for a restful night that brings lots of energy and awareness for tomorrow.

Wedding Day #TSJ

A beautiful and busy day today. It all started earlier than anticipated as Janet woke up around 7:30. Thankfully she wasn’t in a hurry to get up so we were able to linger in bed for a bit before starting the day. After breakfast we got a quick Skype call in to Heather then Courtney dropped by for a visit. It was nice to get caught up with her a little bit and she cut and painted Janet’s nails in preparation for the wedding. Getting Janet dressed for the wedding was harder and took longer than anticipated but we made it right on time and naturally the bride was late so all was well anyways.

The more Janet and I go out around Kelowna the more a whole new world is opening up to me and I must say I’m not impressed. Prior to Janet being sick I was always aware of accessibility issues and certainly noticed ramps and special doors wherever we went but never looked closely enough to see how effective or well maintained those features were. Last night at the little Italian bistro in Lake Country I had to carry Janet up some stairs to get into the place as their wheelchair ramp was partially blocked by snow and only goes to a part of the restaurant we were not going to. The church where today’s wedding was held has a wheelchair ramp that was locked in different places by two by fours padlocked shut. According to the church it’s because of “skateboarders and idiots”. A gentleman unlocked one of the boards for us so we could get to the front door and with help from friends I carried Janet up the seven steps INSIDE the church so we could get to our seats. On the flip side, because of the wheelchair we were able to sit in a spot that afforded us a great view of the ceremony.

It was a beautiful wedding, very heartfelt and genuine, such a pleasure and an inspiration to witness it. There were some especially meaningful moments that reminded me how deep the commitment of marriage is. Janet and I wish Jon and Lisa a life of ever increasing love.

We had a couple of hours to rest before the reception so after a late lunch I offered Janet the chance to nap and for once she thought that would be a good idea. She had a good thirty minute power nap leaving ample time to get to the reception which was conveniently at a restaurant in our neighborhood. No stairs to negotiate at this place and a nice seat ready and waiting for Janet with lots of help from the staff got the evening off to a nice start.

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Janet enjoyed being in the lively atmosphere and despite it being a little challenging to talk had a really good time tonight. She ate well, made friends with a little preschool aged girl seated a table away from us, smiled big and greeted all those that came over to say hi. The food was outstanding and the speeches quite tolerable with Jon starting his off with “this is all new to me”. Classic. Janet’s only meltdown of the day came when she saw wine being served at every table and she said ” I’d really like some wine”. I couldn’t say yes and she cried a little. Thankfully there were lots of distractions and I was able to shift her focus.

Nine o’clock arrived and Janet suggested we get ready to go home. Pretty impressive endurance demonstrated by her today. I fully expected her to crash when we got home but it wasn’t until after eleven that she finally fell asleep after a few more candies from the candy bar at the wedding.

Praying for rest and healing tonight and a relaxing Superbowl Sunday.

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