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Larry's new swallow therapy



As you all know from my postings Larry is having swallowing problems again. It started last year, 2 years after his stroke, and then reared up again this year, only worse. He is now to take thickeners, which are tasteless but messy, and is now on a mechanical soft diet. So, it is difficult to get Larry to gain weight with all this in addition to his poor taste for food!!


We went to a speech pathologist this time who is in the same group as the ENT Larry went to for his test. She examined him and gave him two options. We could continue with her or go to a new type of therapy using a specialized E Stim on his throat muscles. We chose to do the latter. It is called Vital Stim Therapy. They use a machine along with the electrodes to help determine his swallowing and muscles in the throat and make them stronger. The therapy company is about 15 miles further east of where we were going. It is in a high rise building, and not to convenient, but that is the way it is. Medicare will pay for this for the next sessions but not for the pads used which are about $15 each. I think she used 3. She placed the electrodes on Larry's throat muscles that are used for swallowing and wrapped that with an ace bandage. She then set the voltage asking him when he didn't feel the "pins and needles" affect. She had him swallow applesauce and checked his swallowing. You could hear it thru the machine. He is to try to do effortful swallowing. She had him do other things like stick his tongue to roof of mouth, stick out tongue while swallowing, etc. It is very intensive and he was exhausted afterward. I had trouble finding the suite as she said it was right off the 6th floor of the building but the 6th floor of the garage enters into the 3rd. Wierd! We will try twice a week for 4 weeks I guess and then have another barium swallow test. I hope this helps. He is to do 3 exercises at home also. She does this therapy also for those with throat cancer and other illnesses which cause swallow problems. Larry's swallow problem is a mystery to the therapists and doctors as it occured after he was discharged initially with no swallow problems after his stroke.


I have a roofer coming Tuesday after being postponed from May due to the rain we have had. We are due for rain Wednesday again so hope we will be okay.


Larry's birthday is the 24th, but since there are other family events that weekend, we are having his birthday party next Sunday (Father's Day). He gets cheated out of one of these every year. lol


The weather has been really nice with temps in the 70's. I hope it continues next week.

We have had enough rain but the grass and flowers looked great.


And, oh yes, the TV issue is still not resolved. :fpc:

Happy Father's Day to everyone.




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Julie: Bruce Estims twice daily - leg and shoulder. Just the muscles being reminded of their job. I do pray this works. Can't hurt and if Larry gets some relief, recovery - well worth it.


Praise you for your patience with the TV. I would resort to the Italian method - throw it out it window and drive the car over it. But it is under warranty, so you run all the required maintenance and checks and soonest hopefully they will just replace it.


Big doings with Larry's birthday coming up and Father's Day and yes, he gets two presents! Plus cake - my personal favorite. Good week, Debbie

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Julie, the Vital Stim is worth a try. Ray had a throat ultrasound and an xray done as he was swallowing. Once they found which muscles were not working there was nothing further to be done back then so I am glad we have moved forward from there.


The TV problem is a curse I am sure as TV watching occupies so much of their waking time. I hope you do get it fixed or for me the Italian solution would come next too.



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Also, I forgot to mention that this is not the hand held E Stim machine. Larry has had this with the previous therapist. This one is called Experia VitalStim and he is hooked up to a large machine. The speech pathologist said it cost $16,000 and that is why there are only two in the area.



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