Take a deep breath… the hearing in my left ear has corrected itself, no thanks to any of the doctors! We still have the incessant white noise background, although the periodic high pitched, metallic whine of tinnitus is occurring with less and less regularity, with no hint of seeing the audiologist any time soon.
In fact, I’m a bit disappointed in the ‘after care’. My call to Dr. Williams’ office got the response that I should talk to my radiation doctor, after my radiation doctor (Dr. Jha) specifically told me to use Dr. Williams for all my concerns going forward. I am not impressed with the lack of communication and/or the hot potato approach to after care.
Even the folks at COMPRU seem a bit edgy about what to do going forward. I met with Irene and the team yesterday for a speech and swallow assessment, and will do so again in November of 2008.
They did the usual photos: exterior head shots from five different angles, and photos of what’s happening in my mouth/throat. Their assessment, from a we-see-hundreds-of-these-mouths-in-a-month point of view is that my teeth are in good shape. We did the speech stuff; speaking with tubes up both nostrils and one in my cheek to assess the efficiency of my soft palate (normal!), the plate and microphone under my nose to further check how my mouth/throat is handling sounds around/through the soft palate (more normal!), and then recording spoken words, topped off with a three question ‘interview’ about QOL issues. Oh, ya, and then two double sided pages of questions on the same quality of life issues. (Does it take you longer to eat? Are you being socially ostracized because of the way you eat? How’s your sex life?)
I brought up the fact that I am suddenly (within the last couple of weeks) having trouble swallowing… well, its more about clearing crap from the back of my throat. So off we went to do the barium swallows again. Irene was very non-committal, but I could see that ‘stuff’ gets hung up on the shelf behind the flap that covers the windpipe when I swallow. After a bit of prodding, Irene did suggest that it is probably a by-product of the ‘dry mouth’… fluids sailed right on by, but the barium pudding and barium smeared cookie hung up, until fluids were added. I’m trying to get them to release the mpeg that they make of the fluoroscope so that I can post it here and on my website.
I should note that I’ve gone back to using the Akabutu’s Mouthwash just in case the swallowing issues are related to oral health, like fungus or some other horrible condition.
As I write this I am eating a coconut bar (with mango juice flavouring added). Its very tasty…very nice. But the tiny bits of coconut are going to be with me all bloody day; my tongue is still not cleaning properly, and water isn’t washing it down effectively. But it tastes lovely and its good for 260 calories (490 kcal).
On a more pedestrian note, I am just about ready to start using my motorcycle to commute. All that’s really holding me up is the need for a way to safely carry my laptop. Well, fear has a lot to do with the delay as well… heh, heh, heh.