The positive momentum continues for Janet. As soon as I got to Connect this afternoon Jess informed me that Janet had a good morning and they had worked her hard. Janet was sitting in the living room having just had her nails painted and she actually agreed or at least didn’t respond with the all too common, “it was terrible”. She knew I was there to take her away for the rest of the day and that contributed to the good mood for sure.
With her baptism fast approaching it was time to meet with Susan from the church to go over Janet’s testimonial and chat about it all. Janet likes Susan and their scheduled twenty minute meeting went at least double that and if Janet didn’t need to go to the bathroom they might still be talking. I sat in for the last ten minutes and Susan said a lot of positive things about Janet that I could tell made an impression. It’s been so good for Janet to meet people like Susan along the way as she buys into their comments more than she does people who’ve known her a long time. Kiko joined us for the walk to the car and also got to witness Janet’s first solo public washroom break. She had been in that washroom at Trinity before so I was confident she could get to where she needed to go and the grab bar is on the left of the toilet which is where Janet needs it. Kiko and I waited outside in case there was any yelling for help but a few short minutes later a smiling Janet reappeared to a couple of high fives. It may not seem like much to some of you but being able to do that completely solo is huge for Janet and a big plus for me too.
We got home in time for Janet to have a much deserved nap before dinner then she did a great job sautéing some veggies for us. The confidence around the cooktop is growing and her cooking skills are improving. I can see her cooking complete meals on her own one day.
Our evening was relaxed after dinner as Janet sang herself through an episode of The Voice before a reasonably positive drive back to Connect. She’s still not happy about being there but with lots to look forward to this week I think she’ll be fine and can put in a couple of good mornings Wednesday and Thursday.
Praying for continued growth in Janet’s confidence and understanding of how she’s recovered so well.
Today was pretty quiet but productive for Janet. She completed her workout by just after eleven this morning then called me in hopes I was on my way to get her. Not quite, but soon after that I found her lying on her bed “not sleeping” waiting for me. She didn’t know what to pack to take home with her and I was a little upset that she hadn’t made an effort. Then I realized there was nothing but her meds to take since we have duplicates of most things at home now. She’s smarter than I think sometimes.
Brian stopped by to hitch a ride home with us and he watched some video of Janet doing some laundry. She was hopeful he would approve her for that goal but her familiarity with the controls isn’t quite there yet. Something to work on this weekend.
Janet was happy to have a nap when we got home then after doing some planning for her homecoming she did another stellar job helping make dinner. One goal this weekend is to not have late nights followed by late mornings so Janet will be lights out at her Connect bedtime so we can have a productive Friday.
Praying for restorative sleep, an increase in confidence and no fear about walking fast.
Seemingly a bit grumpy, I took Janet out for a nice long walk in the sunshine this afternoon. She didn’t believe me it was warm outside so she refused one last chance at wearing shorts. The sun did her a lot of good though and set her up well for the rest of the evening.
The morning consisted of an intense workout with Curtis that lasted into the usual lunch hour so by the time Janet called me it was after two and she was just heading for a nap. That may have been part of the reason for the grumpiness. Full of sunshine nearing dinner time Janet actually suggested she do her laundry and willingly walked to the laundry room where I coached her through most of the steps. Chelsea was working on her own tonight so while she was busy after dinner I asked Janet to help me clean up the kitchen. After some initial resistance she jumped in and did a good job. There was no Games Night tonight as no one was there to run it. Janet, of course didn’t mind. That time was filled nicely with the kitchen clean up and putting away laundry, things that Janet will do and not realize she’s doing therapy. Her walking tonight was less confident than usual but having to carry things to put them away and turn in tight spaces was really good practice for her and she did well.
Tired after all those chores Janet and I sat with Wes and Chelsea and watched a little of a baseball playoff game. That just made Janet more tired so she got herself ready for bed early. She used to complain when asked to undress and put her pjs on and it is difficult for her but she hasn’t argued with me for a while and is getting better and better at it. Its fun to watch her figure out ways to put things on. The wheels are turning and she’s getting good results.
Working out in the gym with a smile on her face is where I found Janet this morning as she was counting out her reps for one of the new exercises designed to increase control of her right leg. I was early to take her to the Botox appointment so I went to chat with nurse Jen and Wendy while she finished her workout. Jen agrees that Janet is doing really well with her toileting lately and wants to move very slowly towards stopping the laxatives Janet currently gets. The dietician is checking with Janet every couple of weeks and is in control of this part of things. I find myself wanting to end as many drugs as possible as quickly as possible for Janet but that’s not always best for her. I will be patient and enjoy the success Janet is having. Wendy agreed that Janet is making progress with the iPad but isn’t fully grasping what she’s doing. That is one of the trade offs of this method of teaching as Wendy wants Janet to not be thinking of how to do the simple things like turn the iPad on but it makes it hard to add more complex tasks right away as Janet doesn’t understand what she’s doing. Patience again and we decided to try and make the iPad more of a focus of information for Janet so no more white board in her room. The staff and I will communicate with each other and Janet using the calendar in Janet’s iPad so she has more reason to use it throughout the day. It would be great if more of you would drop an email to Janet more frequently. I know she doesn’t like to type replies but dictating them is kind of fun for her and that is something all of us can help her with. She just needs more, short, emails to reply to. firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing.
Dr. McCann took his time with Janet today, really wanting to make sure the best areas are targeted with this latest round of Botox. Janet was a little nervous heading in but appreciated the attention and opportunity to say how she was doing and what hurt etc. We agreed to ignore the left leg, inject for the right fingers and wrist and especially the right hamstring and the muscle that controls the side to side movement of the foot. Don’t ask me what it’s called. Janet was a trooper and I think we hit all the right spots. Dr. McCann remains “surprised” at Janet’s level of progress and still has an image in his head of when he first met her and it’s not a pretty one. I think she was somewhat encouraged by his comments.
We did a little shopping before going home and Janet propelled herself around parking lots and stores really well and to the point of tiring. So much so that she called her own nap time shortly after getting home and slept for an hour and a half. A refreshed Janet did an outstanding job helping with dinner and was a lot of fun the whole evening at home, singing and just being happy. Her transfers were consistently better today and she knew enough to say no to a glass of wine with dinner, saying, “I have to go back to school tonight”. Back at Connect I noticed a little improvement in her one legged bike riding and she got a good hamstring stretch using the Standing Frame.
A very busy and successful day ended with some reading of Open and we got quite a few chuckles tonight and Janet stayed awake for the entire session. Praying for an energetic and productive tomorrow.
I never got a chance to talk to Randy today but I am declaring the renovation complete as of yesterday! Seventy three days of hard work by Randy to turn a nice house into our home. Thanks and great job!
Jess and Garrett thankfully put Janet through her paces this morning knowing this was the last chance before the Christmas break. A shower, the Shuttle, the bike, stretching, a full meal deal and Janet seemed pleased about it in telling me how it all went. She knows she needed to take advantage of the opportunity before coming home. The atmosphere around Connect has been very positive lately and combined with the goal of coming home has helped Janet to stay focused. Everyone from her house was in the lobby taking a group photo when I arrived and Janet very loudly invited me into it. Her voice has really improved over the last month and I credit the singing, including the antics at the dinner table with Big Country.
We got all packed up and made the snowy drive home with Janet getting excited when she recognized we were on a street very close to the house. After a happy reuniting with Heather and some lunch the girls got down to the business of decorating.
There was singing and laughing and in the end, a very Christmassy looking home. Janet contributed by directing Laurel and Heather at times and by hanging ornaments on the tree. It sounded like fun and wore Janet out just enough that she agreed to a little siesta before dinner. Laurel and Heather made dinner for us tonight and it was really nice to sit down and enjoy a home cooked meal. I reminded Janet her wheelchair is for moving around in and if she’s going to be in a certain spot for a long time she should be in a real chair. Following that policy Janet did a lot of standing transfers today, most of which were pretty good and I’m sure will improve over the holidays. One thing that has improved for Janet is her awareness regarding going to the bathroom. As long as she’s awake she is able to get to the toilet on time almost always, certainly enough to try going without the pull up briefs she’s been wearing for so long and switch into panty liners during the day. Today was day one and it was a success.
Neither of the girls had seen the Carrie Underwood version of The Sound of Music yet so Janet was all over watching that with them after dinner. I’m sure this marks well past the hundredth time Janet has seen some version of the story and she seems to enjoy it equally each time, singing almost word for word the whole way through.
Today was a good start to Christmas for Janet and tomorrow promises more excitement as Cam arrives in the evening. Praying for an uninterrupted night of sleep and a fun day tomorrow.
The first day of October and the winds of change are blowing. Outside, there’s snow on some of the mountains and inside Connect there’s big changes to Janet’s exercise routine. Tez popped by this morning after breakfast and agreed to stay and talk as he may not make tomorrow’s Team Meeting. I’m really glad he stayed as we had a very productive time together. I explained how the KGH pool is becoming more of a chore for Janet and the Rutland Family Y Pool is at least fun for her. Tez agreed that Janet would receive more benefit from going to the Y as there will be staff there to work with her and he is able to attend often especially if there’s a large group there. Besides the fun element there are more therapeutic opportunities at the Y because of the variety of pools you can access. As long as the water is warm enough. So, unless Janet wants to go to KGH, we are done there.
As a goal for the next couple of months I want to focus on strengthening Janet’s right leg and Tez advised that weight bearing and gaining trust in herself will be the keys to achieving that. He said the Shuttle sessions should include a good warm up then pushing as much weight as possible with that right leg. He instructed everyone to place Janet’s feet much lower than we have been in order to allow her a greater stretch. We tried that tonight and what a difference! It’s harder for Janet to push but she pushes two to three inches farther which is a huge benefit. For weight bearing there will be lots of standing and some parallel bars work. Tez introduced a new technique on the Standing Frame which is very cool and allows for Janet to stand almost free and put weight on her right leg.
Here’s a pic of her in the new position making me a peanut butter sandwich, the first meal she’s made me unassisted in sixteen months. It was damn good. Janet will be using the Standing Frame this way to perform some tasks like making a sandwich or working on the iPad or playing cards. We tried it tonight with minimal success but after returning her to the old position minus the table she stood the straightest ever as she had nothing to lean on and for the first time I’ve noticed, there was some weight going through her right leg. I made sure to ask Tez about the frequency of workouts for Janet so she could hear the answer. I jokingly said four times a day and Tez wisely agreed. Janet negotiated down to two times and didn’t argue about going at all tonight. I hope she remembers that for tomorrow and beyond.
Janet worked super hard today and accomplished a lot. She’s not totally convinced of course but there is some improvement in the confidence area. I think she feels better about herself after a busy and tiring day than one that’s not super busy but still successful. It helps if you can spell out a big list of accomplishments like I could today. Praying for an uninterrupted sleep tonight and a productive meeting and day tomorrow.
Still no correct guesses on the car. Does this help you?
Janet surprised me this morning by greeting me with a huge smile as she sat in the living room at Connect watching CNN. She said she had a good breakfast and was having a good morning so far. In anticipation of the appearance of Tez the Physio Therapist, we headed down to her room and had a little chat and played a math game on the iPad. Janet impressed me with her recognition of patterns and grouping from smallest to largest. I realized we forgot to weigh Janet yesterday so I asked Garrett if we could do that. Janet has gained again so I think it’s safe to say we are done with tube feeds. Next step is to get her drinking water well enough to get rid of the peg tube altogether.
Mary Lou dropped by to see if Janet had any time for a little Speech session. I left them at Janet’s newly installed desk and chair and when I returned a half hour later they both had big smiles on their faces and gave an encore performance of a vocal exercise they had just done. Janet was nice and loud and clear and was very much enjoying the singing aspect of this session. I will try and get music therapy man in soon as Mary Lou thinks that would be really good for Janet.
It was clear by this time that Tez was not going to appear before lunch so we headed to the kitchen and I blended and heated some vegetable soup for Janet. It was actually pretty good and she ate all but a few spoons full. We got word that Tez would appear between 1:30 and 2:00 so we hung out in Janet’s room for a while reading and talking. To speed the arrival of Tez I put Janet on the toilet and like magic he appeared. All I had heard about Tez before was he was an Aussie. Usually I know what that means and I was looking forward to ribbing him about being the last therapist to see Janet and being late today etc. He’s not your stereotypical Aussie and although I think I will eventually be able to give him the gears today was not the day as he was all business.
As the lone PT at Connect it is Tez’s job to create programs for all the residents there. This afternoon was his chance to see what Janet can do and can’t do and figure out what to work on to help her recover the most physically. He came in with pretty much a blank slate, not relying on Janet’s chart and only using a few key things that Moira had passed on to him. Since Janet had just gotten out of the bathroom and was sitting on the edge of the bed it was the perfect opportunity to watch her transfer using the sliding board. We then went down to the gym with Garret and Lorne in tow and Janet transferred onto the table mat. Tez talked to her for quite awhile about what she felt she could do, what she liked to do prior, what she wanted to be able to do and about a wide range of other things. I was very impressed with Janet’s responses to his questions and her engagement in the conversation. I only had to correct her a couple times and elaborate on a few things otherwise she handled it all remarkable well. It was then time for the let’s see what you can do test and after a thorough workout, sometimes painful, Tez said “your going to be fun to work with” and “I usually put together a program pretty quick for people but I’m going to give yours some long thought”. He seems truly intrigued by Janet’s case and I think sees quite a bit of potential for her. His short term goals are to protect the functionality she has now and start building strength in her legs and arms. Long term will be discussed at the coaches meeting next Thursday but likely will be similar to Brian’s. Independent transfers and walking short distances, maybe some use of that right arm. It was a very interesting session and a tough workout for Janet at times but she realizes the importance of it and I think will respond well to whatever program Tez comes up with.
We finished in the gym just after three and I decided to bring Janet home for the rest of the day. She enjoyed playing with Nash again and is getting really good at telling him what she wants him to do. He is learning to put the ball on the floor where she can reach it so they actually can have some decent play time. We sat by the fire and watch the start of the Fiesta Bowl and Janet remembered she was cheering for the Oregon Ducks as soon as I reminded her of their nickname. Dinner was a bowl of pasta and meat sauce which Janet ate with gusto. Ice cream followed and then after helping me fold laundry she had another dessert, one of Laurel’s Turtle Squares.
Bob and Chris were watching the game in the living room when we got back to Connect and Janet wanted to stay and watch with them for a bit. We stayed until the end of the third quarter then got ready for bed. Another busy day for Janet and I asked her to recap it for me before I said goodnight. She was able to tell me most of what she did in chronological order with a few names different than reality. Breakfast was lunch, our home was Ontario and her room was Bolivia. That’s still the best recap I’ve had from her and she is no longer giving the automatic “terrible”, or “nothing” answer to my questions. Nice.
Praying for a restful night and a productive day tomorrow.