On December 23, 2008 I visited with Irene at iRSM, once called COMPRU, at the Misericordia Hospital for my one year post surgical swallow and speech assessment. What I have posted here are two of the fluoroscope movies that they made of me swallowing various ‘weights’ of things… all infused with barium so that it shows up. Thank you to Irene for sending me the clips!
This first clip is a bit dark, and a wee bit difficult to see anything unless you know what you are looking for… I will try to lighten it before I post it on the website.
In this shot, I am facing to your left. You will see my jaw open, the liquid go in, and then the route it takes down my throat. If the image is bright enough on your monitor, you will be able to see how my tongue works, and the musculature in my mouth/throat. You also should see the little flap that opens and closes to protect the windpipe as food and drink head for the oesophagus. Just keep an eye on that bit of a void above the windpipe…
This second clip is a bit easier to see, what you can see is evidence of my primary complaint. When I swallow anything with a ‘heavy’ or ‘full’ consistency, in this example its a barium infused pudding, some of the material gets trapped on a ledge above my windpipe. According to Irene, this is not that unusual with the type of surgery that I have had. This is supposed to be comforting?
For those of you who have eaten with me lately, you may begin to understand why I consume so much liquid with my meals… the first video shows simple liquids sliding right on through; this second video shows why I need to be constantly washing the food down. It is more than just the ‘dry mouth’ issues, which are not to be discounted, but, with the shelving effect seen in the videos, contribute to an interesting challenge.