SATURDAY — fixing what one can

Along with other muscles the tongue and swallowing apparatus degrade with inactivity.  This is apparent with Nancy and I just assumed time would fix the issue.  Not so maybe.  And in the meantime there are things that can be done to make eating and taking pills safer and exercises to bring back the functions.

A speech therapist worked with Nancy yesterday to assess her status and explain to us how this part of her recovery would go.  For example, food that sticks to the inside of your mouth, such as bread or corn, should be avoided.  When taking pills one should tilt the chin down toward the breast bone so as to close off the airway (trachea) to the lungs.  When we swallow a flap, called the epiglottis, moves down over the larynx to keep food out of the windpipe.  For Nancy these parts don’t work as well as they should and so by choosing foods carefully and by being careful she can prevent swallowing and coughing problems.

She is also taking the anticoagulant Coumandin® which interacts with vitamin K which is found in green vegetables among other things, for example blueberries and tuna in oil.   The greener the veggie (usually) the more vitamin K.

So the food she gets needs to be selected to account for these two concerns, swallowing with ease and not messing with the Coumandin®.

Her lunch included a cup of lasagna, a round soft bread stick and a cup of broccoli. One out of three made the grade.  I guess the message didn’t make it from the speech therapist to the kitchen.  Although, we both think something was said about the food service folks not being able to adjust until Monday.  I guess I’ll have to stop and pick up a milkshake on my way tomorrow.  And yesterday the Director brought her orange juice with a high protein addition.  Today they were out of orange juice.

The bathroom door squeaked enough that if someone opened it, it would wake a sleeping person.  Today I forced the pin out with a knife and put a bit of “this ain’t butter” spread on it to cure the noise issue.  We will continue to educate the staff about the food issue.