Visiting with Irene at COMPRU

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours with Irene of the COMPRU team, essentially going through the same process/procedures that we did last November. (And I got up the nerve to ask her if those brilliant blue eyes were really hers. She does wear blue lenses over her own grey-blue eyes. Its a fabulous effect!)

We started off with the head shots: full frontal, three quarter frontal, both sides and half frontal, both sides. Then we went into another examination room where they took closeup shots of my mouth. It takes three of ’em to do it; one to hold the lip spreaders, one to photograph and one to manipulate the mirror that they use to get the top and floor of the mouth. They understood my concern about the irritation in my lower lip and used a smaller set of spreaders. Very cool, ladies!

Irene and I then went into the test area where we did the speech vs. soft palate tests and then recorded my voice for comparison. My soft palate is working brilliantly, in fact, one of the tests had the identical results to the pre-surgical assessment. As I read the lines she needed recorded, I noticed that my sibilances are still pretty weird and that I am having trouble with “p’s“. I’m pretty comfortable with just about everything else.

And off to do the video fluoroscope! I’m not sure how indicative the results really are. Instead of the pudding laced with barium paste, we just did the paste. The paste is exceeding easy to swallow. She and the radiologist seemed okay with it though. They also gave me a gluten-free muffin; dry, and it stuck to my teeth. She reminded me to keep working on the tongue and to try chewing on both sides of my mouth. As it is, I only chew on the left because I’m afraid of biting my tongue on the numb right side. I do need to exercise it.

I also managed to identify the plate that they put in my jaw to tie it back together after they split it for the ‘mandibular swing’ part of the surgery. It doesn’t look like I imagined it would. We also identified a very fine wire with a tiny loop at each end that runs from the original location of the transplanted saliva glands to the new location in the front of the jaw. Apparently this wire is used by the radiologist when lining up the guns for the radiation therapy so they know what areas to avoid.

I wonder if they’ll give me a copy of the video florescope to show here or on my mythical website?

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