wheelchair

Traveling Girl. January 14. #TSJ

There’s certainly been no lack of activity for Janet lately. The weather broke a little late last week and we were able to drive Courtney down to the coast where she left for Honduras yesterday after spending a few days with Ashley. We had dinner with them and Mike, Brittney and Ethan Thursday night then met my mom at Park Royal Friday along with Courtney and Ashley for a really nice visit and lunch.

Courtney, Mom, Janet, Ashley, Me

Courtney, Mom, Janet, Ashley, Me


The ladies after a fun lunch.

The ladies after a fun lunch.


This was the first legitimate road trip without the wheelchair for Janet! She did very very well walking everywhere we went, climbing two large flights of stairs at Stefanos and walking for about three blocks twice at Park Royal. The hotel we stayed at was easy for Janet to get around and I never once felt like we missed the wheelchair. She traveled well again and I look forward to our next adventure.

Around the house Janet has been helping out a lot and getting more confident in her abilities. We set some goals for ourselves and that has helped Janet overcome her resistance to a few things. Her big goal for 2015 is to walk without holding onto anything and since setting the goal I only have to gently remind her to let go now. She seems very willing to try for short distances and I hope she can get there but her strength and mechanics have to improve a lot to give her a chance. Janet would also like to be able to vacuum the house, “so you don’t have to”, her words, honest. We’ve yet to try this one but I think it’s achievable as are two others, walk out the front door to the street on her own and get herself ready for bed completely unassisted. The front door one will have to wait for the snow to be gone but the ready for bed one should be reached in a couple weeks. Janet shocked me the other night by managing to undo her bra by herself. That’s always been what I considered impossible but I should know better I guess.

The pool exercises are going well but I miss the workout Janet got on the bike before. I think the cardio aspect of that was a real benefit to her so we are keeping our eye out for a bike to have at home. There just isn’t time for another or an extended trip to H2O. Janet is often reluctant to go but pleased with herself after each visit and can see that she’s improving.

The calendar keeps filling and Janet seems happy with how things are going with the exception of the weather. Hawaii anyone?

IN JANET’S WORDS:

The drive down was fine and there was lots of fog on the road near where we were driving to. It was a bit scary. I managed to climb two flights of stairs at the restaurant we went for dinner at. It was hard work. The next day we met Judy at Park Royal and walked a lot there too which was not fun but the lunch with everybody was. I’m doing better with my exercises at the place I go to. The water was moving really fast this week and that is hard to walk in. Today we went to the place I used to go to and did a little sing along with Deb. I think she had fun and that is what matters. I was glad I wasn’t staying there and it was nice to visit people.

Janet, A Success Story. September 30. #TSJ

Disappointingly, today’s appointment with Dr. Miller was postponed until next Thursday. Apparently there’s someone out there more important than Janet? That meant Janet could do her full workout this morning which she was actually ok about. Jess showed me a trick she’s been using to get Janet to walk faster. She puts her hands on both sides of Janet’s hips and gently pushes and without any resistance Janet speeds up dramatically. I’m not that good at it yet and Janet will only tolerate it for so long but I feel its better than me dragging her along.

Tez and I had a chat and agree that fear is Janet’s biggest obstacle right now and no one has any new tools to offer. He will assess her six minute walking test on Thursday then set a new walking goal for Janet to reach before leaving Connect. 400 meters just isn’t realistic in the time remaining. Janet is aware of all this and seems relieved there will be an easier goal set. Maybe that will lessen the fear?

After a couple of days delay, Cam made an appearance today and I brought Janet home this afternoon so we could have dinner with him. This was a cane and wheelchair free trip for Janet and she managed just fine. She was a big help prepping dinner again enjoyed the energy Cam brings to the house. There was a little complaining about going back to Connect tonight but that was tempered by knowing she gets dinner out and SheLife tomorrow then a quick trip to the coast and home for the weekend starting Thursday. Praying for a good sleep and an energetic Wednesday.

Janet, A Success Story. July 5. #TSJ Final Saturday

As expected, 5:45am came quickly and Janet, even in the fog of sleep knew it was time to get up and watch Genie Bouchard play for the Ladies Championship at Wimbledon. Sadly Genie lost, happily there’s lots more tennis to come this year. We never made it to the Futures event at all today as Janet’s wheelchair developed a problem that took the rest of the morning to temporarily resolve and that put us way behind schedule.

Janet did some good walking and stair climbing throughout the day and a lot in the morning because she didn’t have a wheelchair for most of it. That was a good lesson in how much Janet still needs the wheelchair as it’s fine to think she doesn’t when you have it but it’s a whole other ball game when you don’t. Janet’s best walking came at church as she walked down and then up the aisle unassisted and got a standing ovation from our friend Carol. She was standing and waiting to greet us when we got to our seats but that still counts in my book.

Tonight we watched the movie The Butler and really enjoyed it. Janet was impressed with how much history the lead character lived through and she remembered a lot of it, mostly from the mid seventies on. When asked to name the date and her meds tonight Janet got it all correct with no prompting at all! She even thought that was pretty good.

Praying for a rejuvenating sleep and a productive Sunday.

PS. This will be the last blog update from a Friday or Saturday as I’m finding it too time consuming to do this when Janet is home. My plan is to stop the daily updates as soon as Janet is home full time so this is a way of weaning y’all off. Of course any earth shattering developments will be posted promptly no matter the day.

Janet, A Success Story. June 18. #TSJ Birthday

Full day in Ottawa number one didn’t go as planned mostly because of a late start. Janet didn’t get to sleep until at least 1:30 last night so I was in no hurry to have her get up this morning. We did need to get going on the missing wheelchair project though. The company I rented from apologized for their screw up and offered to drop one off today free of charge. Problem was, that wouldn’t happen until around noon and we wanted to drive to Montreal for the day. We decided to go pick up a wheelchair from their office and hit the road from there. Bad call. I selected the wrong location on my GPS and after getting relatively close to the right location we ran into a major construction project which had traffic backed up for miles. Rather than slog through it I hoped the GPS would find an alternate route, apparently there isn’t one, so by about 12:30 we finally had the wheelchair in our possession and decided it was too late to do Montreal as we were all tired of being in the car by that time.

Wanting to at least say we went to Quebec we opted to go to Gatineau and the Museum of Civilization. Janet loved the Children’s Museum and found some of the other areas interesting. We visited the museum when we were here four or five years ago, Janet didn’t really remember any if it nor has she any real memory of the other Ottawa landmarks so it’s like the first time all over again.

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It is field trip season so the museum was packed with school kids exhibiting every level of interest in the place imaginable and that was at times entertaining and at others annoying.

When in Quebec I feel you’ve gotta have some poutine and Janet agreed to pose with some as long as she didn’t have to eat it.

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Janet had hung in there really well for that first stint of the day and after a short rest at the hotel it was time for dinner out with the family. Mary and Keith arrived this afternoon as did Cam and we all met for a nice meal topped off for some of us by an Ottawa staple, Beaver Tails!

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There were limited opportunities for Janet to walk today and I notice that when she does she’s not as good at it so there may be a few trips up and down the hallways tomorrow as Janet has some serious walking to do on Saturday.

Today was Janet’s birthday and true to form, the older you get the more parties you have. We went out for a nice birthday dinner last Friday with Bonnie and Toly, today Janet received birthday wishes from some of you and tomorrow there is a big family bash at Heather and Allan’s. Janet doesn’t like a lot of attention for her birthday but she deserves it.

I have to end on a positive note and I want to start with a shout out to our friend Nora in Chicago. Cam’s girlfriend Gina is stuck there tonight due to severe weather that has cancelled dozens of flights. When we got in touch with Nora she already had a full house of “stranded” people but was willing to make room for another. Cam and Gina chose another option but I want you all to know how blessed we are to have friends willing to step up like that. Another shout out goes to the random customer who got up from his table at Starbucks to open the door and let Janet and I walk through on our way for a bathroom break this morning. A small act of kindness like that made a huge impression on us. Thanks random thirty something middle eastern dude in a suit!

Praying for a great night of sleep and for Janet to have lots of energy tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. June 17. #TSJ Travel Day

Today was a long but successful one as Janet tolerated the plane rides to Ottawa very well. We arrived two and a half hours late after a weather delay in Toronto. Because of the weather the ride from Toronto to Ottawa was a little bumpy but Janet didn’t mind at all. On both flights the Westjet crew were very friendly and helpful. That part of the trip could not have gone better. One attendant on the first leg has a son with a brain injury and we had a nice encouraging chat with her. The biggest. Challenge of course was the bathroom. Janet made two trips during the flight to Toronto and after using the first one to practice we were able to squeeze in there easier the second time. It was nice to have Courtney on the flight with us and she was a big help along the way. All was good.

Heather, Laurel and Allan met us at our hotel for a late visit and Janet was of course thrilled to see them, me too.

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The only negative of the day was our rental wheelchair that was supposed to be waiting for us at the hotel, wasn’t. So resolving that will be tomorrow’s first task. Praying for a restful night.

Janet, A Success Story. June 15. #TSJ Singing in the Sun Video

Today was very relaxing for Janet and I as we continue to prepare for Ottawa. There was no problem waking up at 9am Eastern Time although it was a little weird to actually be up before others in the neighbourhood. I let Janet use her wheelchair a lot this morning so she could get around and help with things easier and also so I could get my bike ride in. She happily listened to a Stuart McLean story while I was gone and gave me a good recap of it when I got back.

In trying to stay on Eastern Time, dinner was real early for us tonight but one big benefit was our patio table was still soaked in sunshine when we were ready to eat and that made the meal even more enjoyable. The fun continued after as we relaxed in the sun. I can’t describe how positive that is for Janet, she literally soaks up the warmth and is fuelled by it. I sneak shot this video as she sang along to The Swon Brothers version of Danny’s Song. It may not mean much to all of you but if you watch closely, especially at the end where Janet closes her eyes and drinks in the sun, you may get a sense of why I love her so much.

Feeling totally blessed.

Janet, A Success Story. June 6. #TSJ

Janet’s bonus day at home wasn’t exactly all fun and frolic as she would’ve liked. After breakfast which Janet made all on her own and just before we left she emptied the drier and folded that laundry. She was home alone for that part as I had to retrieve the dog from the groomer. That was the only test we could do for Janet hanging out on her own as the rest of the day was jam packed.

We were out and about for a good two hours with Janet hanging in there nicely, especially at the grocery store. The sunshine made it much more enjoyable to be running around the places we were and Janet was able to go wheelchair free into our financial advisor’s office. He of course was thrilled and impressed to see Janet walking.

Since Janet helped pick out some of the food supplies she felt able to choose something other than grilled cheese for lunch and made herself a nice sandwich and sat in the sun to enjoy it. Trying to go wheelchair free at home is difficult as Janet isn’t strong enough to use the steps out to the patio. We may have to do some work on that.

Tonight was our Small Group meeting and we welcomed one more participant to the discussion. That made a big difference and two hours flew by quickly. Janet participated well despite one stretch where she zoned out a little. Like SheLife, its not really the content that gets Janet going but being able to join in a conversation.

I promised some kayaking pictures and here they are courtesy of Jess.

Ready?

Ready?


Fun?

Fun?

Survived!

Survived!

Praying for a fun Saturday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 31. #TSJ

Being up late last night didn’t deter Janet from getting up early this morning which was surprising to me but I’m glad she did. Mostly because the landscaping committee rang the doorbell at 9:30 and Janet got a say in where some new plants went. Shortly after that we got a call about something we are selling then we walked over to the pool to help clean and set up the furniture and stuff for it as today was opening day. Janet helped me put some stuff away from Wine Club when we got home and by the time noon rolled around it had been a very productive day which meant we could spend the afternoon in the sun.

I tried to convince Janet to go for a swim but she wasn’t buying it despite the air and water temps being right in her range. Hopefully tomorrow. She did do good work on her tan before nap time though.

Our outing to church this evening was Janet’s first without her wheelchair which meant she even walked down the ramp in our garage for the first time. She was a little scared at first but handled it very well. Guess its time for a hand rail.

Pizza, a movie and ice cream rounded out the night and Janet was in bed snoring at a much more reasonable hour. Praying for a long night of sleep that gives Janet lots of energy for a fun Sunday.

Janet, A Success Story. May 28. #TSJ

Another wheelchair free night for Janet even though she was pretty tired. I woke her up when I arrived then she went right back to sleep for twenty minutes before I had to wake her so we could get ready for a chat with Brian. She was sleeping really warm as for some strange reason, she was in bed with all her clothes on. Of course she was then cold once she got up. Silly.

Brian hasn’t been in the picture much lately and I wanted to touch base with him on a few things ahead of next week’s team meeting. The better Janet gets the less involved Brian is. That’s good but we miss having him around more. He covertly watched Janet walk from her room to the Den freestyle and was genuinely impressed. We had a good talk and I’ll fill you in on details after the team meeting.

In order to help plan out the rest of the evening Janet walked to the kitchen area to see what house chore she was to perform today. It was her turn to empty the sanitizer and put the dishes from it away. She bravely started doing so without even asking for her wheelchair and confidently used the counters to support herself as she manoeuvred around the kitchen. I stood by in case she misjudged a turn or a step but I was not needed. High five!

That task took a lot of energy out of Janet and she was happy to sit in the living room for a few minutes waiting for dinner to be ready. She got there completely on her own and I sense a real spike in her confidence and there seems to be an expectation on her part to do things like walk to a chair and sit down without help. Awesome.

Janet’s day of exercises was heavy on stretching and light on strength and conditioning but with her feeling tired tonight I let her pick one of the three things she should have done and she chose bike. When I suggested the Standing Frame would be easier she stuck with the bike as she at least likes it a little bit. Her ride was solid as was all of her walking tonight especially the trip to get her meds. She was stepping nice and straight and I noticed for the first time her right footed steps were sometimes heel first as opposed to the ball of her foot. I think that is a significant sign of improvement and I’ll watch for it more.

To complete her wheelchair free night Janet performed her night routine walking and standing on her own. It’s really cool to see her standing at the sink brushing her teeth after so many months of her sitting in her wheelchair like a little kid. Love it.

Praying for a long night of restful sleep and lots of energy tomorrow.

Janet, A Success Story. May 27. #TSJ

More history was made today! Janet achieved a wheelchair free afternoon and evening! I’m more excited than she is of course and had to take time to explain the significance of it to her. I don’t anticipate ever being totally without the wheelchair but hope Janet can now see her way to being able to get around the house on her own without it. The amount of walking she did today was comparable to yesterday and Janet was quite worn out by bedtime, physically at least. The only complaining she did was towards the amount of freestyle walking she was asked to do. There were a few “tantrums” which she quickly passed off and got on with the walking and actually did some of her strongest yet.

There was more good news. Janet’s doctor called to say her Dilantin level is right where we want it to be and she therefore doesn’t need a blood test next week. Janet is relieved by that and I think if we can keep her hydrated her levels should stay good.

Dare I say there’s even more good news? Janet admitted that Games Night was “alright” tonight! There was the usual protest leading up to it then for some reason Janet participated her most ever, giving good answers to Family Feud questions, correctly guessing Spiderman in a name the celebrity questioning game then getting right into the Heads Up version of Act It Out. Janet always liked Charades and this was a simple version of that. She even smiled while playing.

Today, like most days, was full of good news. Janet told me that a student took her to the gym this morning and “used” her to practice some physio therapy techniques he is learning. They worked on stretching Janet’s right arm then had her do some step up exercises which she was quite excited about. Tez is hopeful this will increase Janet’s use of her right leg with which I’ve noticed an improvement this week.

This all sounds pretty rosy and that’s the way it was today. Praying for more of the same tomorrow.