Monday, May 15, 2017


The medical staff at Harrisburg removed the too-big tracheostomy tube in my throat and replaced it with a smaller one.  At that point (days and days after the blue ice chips), my cough began to subside.  And I took a big step forward toward the spoken word!

Speaking involved removing the oxygen collar (with hose attached) from my tracheostomy,
attempting to cover the end of the tube coming out of my neck, and forcing air to come up through my larynx and vocal chords.  It took effort.  At the Speech Therapist's office I tried several times and failed. But I finally  came up with my first words: "Hello!  I can talk!"

What I intended to say: "One small step for me, one giant leap for mankind!" 
(It is a joke, Reader Dear.  Only a joke.  Please do not roll your eyes!)

Oxygen collar and hose.
So I was beginning to re-enter the world of spoken communication.  After I got the hang of it, I had so much to say!  I was eager to ditch the notebook permanently. But, speaking took a lot of effort.  (It's amazing, Reader Dear, how much the heart and lungs must work to push enough air out for a lengthy sentence!) Each time I talked, the bit of air escaping through the hole in my neck (in spite of trying to cover it completely) made speech laborious.  I wore out.   I tried to reserve my words for things of great import  ("Can't find my call bell" "Need the bathroom" and jokes, witty responses).

At the same time, I was learning to walk!  My first steps unassisted were toddler-esque: who would know there is such skill involved in keeping one's balance! Walking for stretches down the hall, two  nurses followed closely with my accessories and a wheelchair,  awaiting the point where I would wear out.   And the staff insisted that I could not leave my bed unassisted. 

Walking, however,  was such a new and exciting endeavor.  Please do not give away my secret, Reader Dear.  At least once I crept carefully and laboriously to the bathroom (perhaps three yards away from my bed) on my own. (Of course, the rolling stand with the feeding bag had to accompany me, but I managed). It was dragging myself up off of that toilet to stand erect again that nearly forced me to expose my illicit activity.   ("No! Pulling on the hand rail is not allowed!  You must be able to stand without pushing or pulling!" was preached to me in my short stints of physical therapy ["Well," I murmured to myself, as I contemplated pulling the call bell to summon a nurse to haul me upright and deliver me (with a complimentary scolding)  back to bed, "This is an exception!"])

(Yes, yes, Reader Dear...I'll say more!)

No comments: