Day 32: May 18, 2018
TODAY was a harder, but my outlook hasn’t changed. While the pain has been worse, I’m staying hopeful and I’m going to take it easy so I don’t mess up my goal of working all day on Monday…well…up until my appointment Monday afternoon. I’m a little depressed about today, but tomorrow is a new day.
I had my barium test today. It was the same speech therapist that I saw in the hospital. She remembered me, but it took me a minute to remember her because I was absolutely drugged up when I was in the hospital. I actually don’t remember much about my stay there. I remember her because her voice was super annoying and she repeated herself over and over and over. That didn’t change today. She’s still really annoying. She has one of those voices that just grates on you and you hope she’s going to stop talking soon but then she just says the same thing for or five more times and then you start walking away and she walks with you and she just talks and talks and talks. Smart, but just….. ugh. I really do try to like everyone, but there’s a saying that says that you can’t like everyone, and not everyone can like you. It just is the way human nature works. There’s not always an easy and simple explanation as to why somebody rubs you the wrong way.
So we did the barium test, which entailed eating different consistencies of food, such as a graham cracker, and a fruit bar, and then I had to drink different thicknesses of liquid, such as water and some nectar juice crap that tasted awful. The cool part was that I got to watch myself swallow. Most of you know that I love seeing x-rays and CT scans and videos of swallowing and all of that stuff. It is amazing what we can do with technology these days. So after I ate and drank all of these different consistencies, they let me know that there are some food and/or drink items that are going into my lungs but I can feel it physically, so I cough it up and it goes down the right tube. She also said that I have a very narrow esophagus, which means that I feel every little thing that goes down my throat, and now it’s worse because I’m still swollen from the surgery and because of the hardware that is now the entire back of my neck. Dr. Truumees said that it could take up to three months for all of the swelling to go down, and for me to get my voice back. However, when I told the Doctor who was on there for the test today that I can’t sing, burp, laugh, or talk he said that I probably need to go see an ENT. It’s possible that my vocal cords are either compressed or rubbing together. I told the therapist that when I coughed too hard, you can hear whistling coming out of my throat. So, I now have to make an appointment with this ENT, who specializes in vocal chords. However, I don’t have to do that right away because she gave me some swallowing exercises to see if that will help. So, I guess I’ll revisit this in a couple of weeks. For now, I just have to continue to eat soft foods and sound funny and not do all those other things until that time. For now, I just have to continue to eat soft foods and sound funny and not do all those other things until that time. Another reason she thought that my vocal chords might be compressed is because if I talk for too long my throat gets tired and I become short of breath and I lose my voice even more. So there are different factors that go into the possibilities of whether or not I’m going to have to go get a scope down my throat to see if my vocal chords are in good working order.
With all that said, I still can’t swallow, talk well, song, laugh well or burp. I really miss eating real food. I was able to have veggies and rice from Mama Fu’s, along with a pork egg roll (soft food) and some chocolate cake! All very good!
I decided to push my limitations today by not wearing my neck brace from the car into the hospital where my barium test was going to be. I just need to see how strong my neck was at this point. Walking from the parking garage through the emergency entrance then to the west lobby where I checked in for my appointment. That was not a short distance. Then once I was told to go to the barium test place, I walked around a few more corners went up an elevator and into the image testing location. Then I had to sit perfectly still and look forward and that stressed me out, so I scrunched up my shoulders to make sure that I didn’t move at all while swallowing. If you’ve ever had trouble swallowing, then you use pretty much your whole head and shoulders to help you swallow. I’m OK with it, but it was harder to do than you would think. After the barium test was over, I was feeling pretty puny. We walked all the way back to the car and I put my neck brace on because I have to wear my neck brace on a moving car. By the time I got home, I was in a lot of pain and the barium had made my stomach feel gross.
I know that it’s going to be hard to be running around without a neck brace on if I’m not careful. So I just have to work smarter, not harder. Part of the reason that today was so painful was because I chose to walk up and down sets of stairs. Next time, I will take the elevator. I have some stairs at one of my job sites, so I’m going to have to figure out what that means for me next week. I think I will need a table on the main level until things get easier physically.
As of Monday, I’ll be able to drive, which means that I won’t have to wear my neck brace. I see the doctor on Monday for another check up, so I hope that this time he will do bending x-rays that will show how well my hardware is performing. I have a neck pillow that goes around your neck that I bought that is soft that I can use when my neck gets tired in the field. It’s pink. I ordered blue. But, it’s pink. I work mostly with men, and my pillow is pink. 😳
I talked to my boss today and told him that I want to go to my job site on Monday, and if I get tired I can go sit my car and relax for a minute. I asked him what he thought about that and he said that he just doesn’t want me to overdo it and that it only takes one thing to set you back. When he said that, it really resonated with me because today the one thing that set me back was walking up and down flights of stairs. So, I told him that I would go home if the pain was too much or I was too tired. I gotta start somewhere.
I uploaded a silly video I made about my laptop holder. There’s a guest star appearance by Kitty Ball!https://mentallyuniquecom.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/img_1136.mov