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Saved by The Patch



It's been a while since I've blogged, so thought it was time to get caught up here.   I've been sick off and on since returning home from the trip to meet Sue.   Though the trip was nice and it was great to finally meet up in person, I think being away so long (6 days total), and the change of food, water and sleeping patterns messed me up inside.   It took me a couple of weeks to feel somewhat back to normal again, and then Gary got sick.    He has been going gradually downhill since the loss of our youngest son last summer. 

Gary's swallowing issues seem to be getting worse lately.   I think it has more to do with his not caring enough to concentrate on what he's doing when eating, more depression and less cognition.   Several years after his brainstem stroke, we had a physician prescribe a patch that we put behind his ear to help reduce the amount of saliva since he couldn't remember to swallow often and was constantly drooling (Transderm Scop).    He wore those patches for nearly six months, and eventually began to remember to swallow more often, or had to be reminded to swallow less often.    I hadn't thought about them in years until the night before last when he was having so much trouble with choking and hacking up tons of saliva.   It all started around dinner time and him not paying attention when eating.   He was getting stubborn when I'd remind him to keep his chin down while chewing and swallowing, and it seemed the more agitated he became with my nagging, the less he cooperated.    By the time he went to bed that night, he had probably aspirated enough food to fill a lung, and he began trying to cough one up.  I wanted him to sleep in the recliner, but he was refusing.   I tried to explain to him that it would be easier to breathe if he wasn't laying flat, but he didn't care.     I was so frustrated, I wanted to call an ambulance and have him go to the ER in the hopes they could help him, and maybe he would listen to someone other than me.    He refused!!   I replaced towels under his head a half dozen times during the night as they filled up with slobber and mucus,  I rubbed his chest down with Vicks, and kept the humidifier and the air purifier running in the bedroom.    It wasn't until around 4 a.m. I remembered I had seen one of those patches in a medicine cabinet, and decided to try it to help reduce the amount of saliva he was choking on.   I actually found about a half dozen of them left over from nearly ten years ago when he was using them regularly.   I know you're supposed to toss out prescriptions after a certain amount of time, but this was a patch and I had nothing to lose at this point.    I put one behind his right ear, and sure enough within a few hours, he was breathing easier, choking less and finally sleeping after having kept me up most of the night with his coughing, choking and gurgling. 

Gary ended up sleeping in until around noon yesterday after finally breathing a bit easier, and I managed to get the rest of our taxes together to meet with the tax man when he came around 11 a.m. in the morning.   I did try to nap in the afternoon when he went down for his nap, but got only an hour before the neighbor's son came roaring up in his Harley and woke me.  I did, however, manage to get a good five hours of sleep last night, so should be caught up on my rest.    I put another patch behind Gary's ear last night to make sure he could sleep without a lot of choking and gurgling and it worked.   I have a few more left, and made a note to contact his Dr. to see if we can get a new prescription for more before I run out of them.    The only side affect noted for using them is drowsiness, and in his case that would be a good thing.  






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Oh Sarah, so sad you had all that troube readjusting.  And with Gary too.  I know that depression does lead to a whole lot of other probems so hopefully you can get a handle on that.  The patches sound like the solution to the swallowing problem - I wonder if they come in a form that lasts longer, maybe a week or so so that his body can get more used to it.  Eating has always been one of his problems I know.  Thanks again for meeting me in Hawaii, it was great to be with you for that time.  We did have fun, didn't we?t

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Sarah and Sue what a nice picture....... Sue I have no idea how you do it. You are so strong.  Thinking of You -- Nancy

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Lovely picture. I know you both  had a great time.  Sarah, sorry that it took you a while to get back  your routine.  Hope Gary is better. Thank goodness for Patches, and you had some to use. I have always said, that Caregivers have a special place in Heaven. You both have your places booked.



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