How I relearned how to swallow without choking.
I remember begging for water because I was so thirsty. I was having trouble swallowing so was only allowed to have one ice cube every every 15 or so minutes to suck on. I would always beg for more, and depending on who was around I usually got ice cubes a little more often. I would try to drink water from anywhere that I could including trying to swallow water that they would give me to rinsemy mouth after brushing my teeth. Everyone around me felt guilty about eating or drinking with me in the room , they would take turns going to eat. They also knew that I would beg them for food or a drink if I saw them with either. I went as far as lying to get a drink. There video of me trying to get a sip of soda by claiming that I had some the day before.
My mouth was so dry my tongue got stuck to the roof of my mouth when I tried to talk, and I couldn’t close my mouth or unstick it for a few seconds, so I looked like I was having a seizure. Luckily I was not starving because I was getting all the nutrients I needed through a tube in my stomach. On the bright side, my skin hadn’t been as clear, my teeth as white, nor my tummy as flat as they were those few weeks.
I spent the first couple of weeks at rehab trying prepare for the barium swallow test. I did it by practicing now to swallow while holding my tongue between my teeth,and filling my mouth with air and trying to swallow like it was a golf ball. Lastly I practiced clearing my throat which was important so that if I did get anything in my vocal cords I could clear it out. And I practiced method that the speech therapist showed me: take a sip, put my chin to my chest, and swallow. J looked forward to speech therapy because I got to eat crackers and spoonfuls of apple sauce and canned peaches. But most importantly I got to drink spoonfuls of water.
I was super nervous on the day of the test, because if I failed I would have to wait 3 more weeks to retake the test. I swallowed the barium, put on the heavy jacket thing they use during x-rays and started the test… And I passed! Not only did I pass but I passed with no restrictions. In other words I could eat and drink whatever I wanted. I remember thinking there was some kind of mistake and someone was going to come back and tell me they messed up and I had actually failed. Luckily nobody came except for a speech therapist who wanted to see me eat my first meal and make sure I was eat properly. I ate enough to get her approval because what I really wanted was Famous Pizza from Edison,and soda. And it was delicious.
Side note: I’m scheduled for surgery on February 28th. I’m so thankful for all the love, prayers,and donations,all of which are helpful in my recovery. But i still need help. After the surgery, I’m in casts for six weeks, and then I have a long way to go learning how to balance,and walk on flat feet. So please keep sending me positive vibes, and sharing my blog and GoFundMe.