Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dysphagia Dining

Reader Dear,  I was now walking, talking and... eating!  My first meal was brought to my room:  Cooked chicken, Mashed potatoes with gravy,  Peas, and Applesauce.

The Speech Therapist had told me to expect pureed foods, and that's exactly what it was: dysphasia dining* at its finest!  The chicken was ground and shaped into a mushy patty; the mashed potatoes were the instant kind, the peas had been pureed and then molded to look as though they had not been pureed. (It was all slightly weird, but I appreciated the thought behind it--with a little luck, one's brain might suggest to oneself that this is a normal plate of food!).

But, here's the thing: I was not hungry!  My trusty bag of dripped-in nutrition had not been removed more than a few hours earlier.  I found it difficult to eat this meal that should have thrilled me with its real, honest-to-goodness-cooked-food-in-the-mouth feel, if not its taste and texture!

But, having such an aversion to food going on the garbage heap, I did my level best to eat the pap; I didn't get half of it down.

*Tomorrow I will take you with me, Viewer Dear, to the Dysphagia Dining Room**!  It's an exclusive dining spot for those with difficulty swallowing.  Does it not sound delightful?! (I am rolling my eyes!)

**I'm also working on an improvement of the disagreeable name.
How about:

Mushy Meals
Semi-solid Suppers
The Gelatinous Joint

***Help me out, here, Reader Dear.
Any suggestions?!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Open Sesame!

Now that the tracheostomy tube was out, it opened up tantalizing possibilities!
Reader Dear, think:  Food, glorious food!
Think: End of plastic bagful of flesh-colored formula dripping into me moment by moment!

It opened up the likelihood of taste-chew-swallow!  Two days after the big tracheostomy tube removal party, I got another go at ice chips and applesauce (and wow, minus the bloody blue dye ["bloody" only used here as the British would use it; no need to panic!])  This time I passed with flying colors (ha, non-dying ones) and there was no retraction later.

Carole told me, "We are going to start you on soft, pureed foods.  I will come to your room and observe you eating the first meal.  They will bring you a breakfast tray at six-thirty tomorrow morning."

I blanched.  "Six-thirty in the morning?!"
Then I added, "Even in my most ordinary life, even before drip-feeding, I was never, never ready for food at six-thirty a.m.!   Do I have to eat that early?  If I am ever-so-lucky,  I will be sleeping at that hour!"

Now, Reader Dear, it was a real effort for me to deliver this message with much force.  When the tracheostomy tube was removed, there went the Passy-Muir valve as well!  Once again, I had to work to speak!  It meant pressing on the bandage at my throat, trying to block any escaping air.  I was back to getting worn out with wordiness!  Nevertheless, I got my message across.

"We can start with lunch," she said.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Top o' the Mornin' to ya,

Reader Dear!  Here I am, only one day into my much-improved living situation and I find out there's to be a St. Paddy's Day "event" in my very own room!

To be honest, I will have to divulge that the string of green beads presented to me, and the crowd of on-lookers in my room had less to do with the luck o' the Irish and much more to do with me and my neck contraption.  For you see, Dear Reader, my tracheostomy tube was scheduled for removal!  Beat the drums!  Strike up the band! Cue the bagpipers!

My Speech Therapist, Carole, told me she'd invited some nurses and nursing students to come and observe the goings-on.  Also at the party were The Yard Man, Only Son, Lil Sis and Big Bro (my loved ones who happened to be visiting).

I was nervous, of course, as the whole show pretty much revolved around me and Carole.  If she were to do her part well, I was sure I could do an admirable job with mine.  But...hmm...I had no prior experience with this sort of thing.  And...hmm...what if she were to muff her part of the job?!

The room filled early.  "Standing room only!" I announced, and everyone seemed happy just to have gotten a spot.  There was camaraderie, everyone appeared to be in a good mood.  The news cameras appeared (amazing how much they resembled a cell phone and a little old one that usually resides in my handbag)! Excitement was mounting!

Carole took a position near my head.  "Look closely," she announced to everyone. She put her hand on the valve extending from my neck.  "Here we go!" she said.

Then, just like that, the show was over!  So short and sweet! (It may have seemed a bit too brief for the audience, but that surely made it sweet for me--twenty seconds, start to finish!) I could feel the tube coming out, but it was only a slight discomfort. A bandage was placed over the open hole in my neck.

There was a round of applause!

Though I likely have not a drop of Irish blood in me, I was feeling mighty lucky, indeed!


p.s. Viewer Dear...
Now we're several months post-Paddy's Day, of course, and I'm having no such good luck with Blogspot! It won't let me delete this redundant photo, and other frustrating, snarly problems! (mumble, mumble)