Speech Pathology

Yesterday I had an appointment with the C.O.M.P.R.U. Team at the Misericordia (have ya noticed how I’m not getting anything posted on the day?). My particular therapist is Irene… a very nice young woman, fabulously blue eyes. I was expecting that I would be taught several exercises to strengthen my tongue and throat, but all they really did was get another of those mysterious ‘baselines’. Now, to be fair, I know that they will use the baseline if I require therapy after the fact…

We did a number of things:

A barium swallow. This was kinda cool. They had me drink the barium, eat it in a pudding, and then chew it on a rice cracker, all the while recording the fluoroscope images. They converted the images to a mpg and played it back for me to watch. Its very interesting how your mouth/tongue does things that you are not aware of.

Photographs. It started off feeling a wee bit too much like mug shots; face on, profile quarter left, profile quarter right, profile left, profile right. It eventually moved on to shots of the oral cavity, where they pulled my lips back out of the way and took photos of my mouth and throat. At one point they even inserted a contoured mirror to make the shot. The ladies involved where relatively young, and were quite curious about the location of the tumour, spending some time trying to locate it, identify it, and understand it.

Air Pressure. Tube up each nostril and a small tube inside my cheek to determine how well my soft palate is functioning.

Speech Pathology, my term and not necessarily theirs. I was asked to read a number of passages. The first passage was done wearing a funny contraption that had a microphone positioned directly under my nose, a piece of plastic for isolation pressed tight to the upper lip, and then a microphone directly above my mouth. This was used to analyse the ‘nasal’ quality of my voice; do I speak through my nose. And no, I do not.
This was followed up by more reading, this time into a tape recorder. These recordings will be used to compare my current state with my future state and determine whether, or what, therapy is needed.

I will see these folks four times. This was the first time. The second time will be at one to three months, then six months, then one year from the date of surgery.

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