Thursday, June 18, 2015

Going Full Circle with Speech Therapy-Barium Swallow Results

As mentioned before I've had difficulty swallowing (Dysphagia). I had my esophagus dilated recently.  But I still have some excess difficulty. When I went to the doctor  for follow-up, I told the Nurse Practitioner.

Side Note: It must be nice for the doctors to have someone else do their work for them. I'm not going to get started.

So the NP scheduled a Modified Barium Swallow. you can check out the information of how it is done and what it is used for here.

Her findings showed that my tongue muscles and larynx have weakened. She said she wasn't sure the cause but she pointed out that it had NOTHING to do with the esophageal dilation. This problem is entirely different. "BIG SIGH"She said it could be a combination of things such as age and CP.

Some of her recommendations were not new to me. I've done some for a while now. Makes me wonder if I am doing these and I still have problems, what am I doing wrong? Obviously something or maybe I need a few of these extra ones.

Typical of my crazy body. I can't just do standard things. I always need more. "SIGH".

1. I am not to use a straw! OH NO! I use a straw to drink practically everything. I thought it was making it easier to swallow but the x-ray showed otherwise.
Photo Credit: Makeittakeit

2. Take small bites and sip liquid. I usually do this anyway. She said an average person should take 45 minutes to eat a meal. Wow! Lets have a show of hands who take 45 minutes to eat one meal. Most people don't have that much time for a lunch break.

3. Swallow twice after every bite. The test shows it takes that many times to get my food down.

4. To swallow properly, getting it past my tongue, I need to put my chin to chest to swallow properly.

5. I am to use the Super Supraglottic and Supraglottic Swallowing methods. They help close off the windpipe which is an airway to prevent food and liquid from getting into my lungs which has always been a problem.

6. She gave me laryngeal and tongue strengthen exercises to do. I'm trying to figure out if I am doing them right because for the tongue strengthen exercises I have to say certain words focusing on making contact with the back of my tongue to the roof of my mouth.

7. I am to follow a  Dysphagia Ground Diet Guideline which pretty much consists of ground solids and thin liquids. All my meats are to be ground with gravy or melted cheese.  The irony of it is the diet I am suppose to eat for my GERD and constipation is nearly opposite of this diet. Go figure. Maybe I'll write another post focusing on this diet, if anyone is at all interesting.

8. Last but not least she recommends me see a Speech therapist. I feel like I am going full circle. As a young child I had to have speech therapy because of my speech. I had therapy from the time I was a toddler through 6th grade. I was so relieved when my Speech therapist at the time told me I didn't have to have it when I went to Junior High. But here I am about 40 years later back to speech therapy. UGH!

So there you have it. Another challenge for me to conquer. I have to admit doing some of the methods have helped me considerably. I just need to get into the habit.

Here's a challenge for you and let me know how you did. It is not a test. Just something I can compare myself too.

1) Focus on making contact with the back of tongue with the roof of your mouth say one or all of these words 10 times: Key, Kick, Go, Gig.

2) Bite on tip of your tongue and swallow 10 times.

So how hard or easy was it for you?

Thanks for reading this rather boring post to most. I hope it makes you think how much we take for granted putting food in our mouths, chewing and swallowing.

Until next time my friends….


  1. I'm sorry you don't like going to a Nurse Practitioner. I have always liked both Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants better than the MD's. They usually spend more time with me and are more thorough. They have also referred me out anytime I needed it. However, there are different fits for everyone.

    I have known several people with swallowing problems and the have benefited tremendously from speech therapy. I think the same will happen for you. As for the diet, I think it's more of a textural thing than what kind of food it is. If you put some of your high fiber foods in the food processor or blender to make them a little smoother, can't you eat them that way?

    Good luck with it all.

    1. I have not had luck with Nurse Practitioners. I'm not your ordinary patient and everything I have is against the normal. They are like robots, especially this current one. She starts telling me the treatment and I want to ask her something but she tells me to let her finish then she'll address my concerns. It is just not what I am used to.

      Yea, I am sure it will help me to a certain extent..looking forward to that. I did grind some shrimp in a chopper and it was so much easier. They gave me a list of what to eat and not to eat. She only mentioned chopping ground meat and AVOid certain foods, nothing about chopping them. I'll have to ask the speech therapist about that. Thanks for that suggestion.

  2. Hi Lisa, nice to meet you.

    Reading this post really gave me 'food for thought', no pun intended. There is so much that so many of us take for granted. It never occurred to me to even think about swallowing, unless something 'goes down the wrong pipe'. It's probably those 'little things' that we NEED to do on a regular basis that are the most fearful and annoying health issues. I can't even imagine.

    I deal with Fibromyalgia. For the most part I have it under control and am pain free, but stress is a big factor and sometimes little things creep up on me and I'm in pain before I realize that I'm stressed out. I guess the best and maybe only way to deal with health challenges is practice, practice and practice, but then it appears I'm not telling you anything new.

    1. I am glad I could make you think. Even with many disabilities I still have things I take for granted like swallowing and chewing. I drive Hubby crazy sometimes relaying what our bodies are doing at a particular moment. You are right though, it is fearful and annoying to do have to concentrate on chewing and swallowing. But it is what is.

      I am sorry to hear you suffer from fibromyalgia. Thankful you have it under control. I've dealt with health issues all of my life so I think I have practiced quite enough LOL. But then again it could always be worse. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Lisa,

    I agree that we do take much for granted and shouldn't ever do that, but really the only time people ever seem to give it a second thought is when they are facing a direct issue themselves. My mother had swallowing problems a number of years back and had to go and have her throat dilated ever so often. She was down to eating mashed potatoes and other food you didn't have to chew much, Eventually I guess things righted themselves.

    Yes, I take 45 minutes to eat a meal, even a bowl of cereal. I feel better if I do, but I may be getting a PT job and won't be able to do that then, so I may skip lunch on days I have to work.

    I wouldn't want to to see a NP or PA either and prefer an MD, but I believe one day none of us will have a choice about such matters.

    Another thing we take for granted is all our amenities (such as water, power, etc). You don't realize how much you use those things until you're without them for a while. Right now I have a water leak in my slab so had to turn water to my house off on Fri night. Of course I can't get a plumber over the weekend. Things like this always seem to pick weekends or holidays to happen. Lucklily, I have a friend a few miles away and I went to her house to take a shower today and wash some clothes I've been cleaning up with wet wipes and that's not too good when it's in the triple digits temperature wise.

    Thanks for vsiting my blog today. Hope you're better soon.


    1. Sunni, you are so right on so many accounts. Several times we have had to boil water because they had to cut off the water for 'repairs". We went days boiling water, it gets tiring really fast. They need to redo the whole system but all they do is repair. It'ss what we deal with in a country hick town. Wow! Thank God for your friend. I'd have to travel 30 miles to go to my daughter if I needed a shower.

      Sorry your mom had to deal with the problems as well. It can be terrifying. It seems I'm having my esophagus dilated every 3 years. But evidently this time it was not my esophagus..hopefull the speech therapist helps. I go tomorrow.

      I dread those days where I have no choice but go to a NP..ugh..

      Thanks for dropping by! I am better somewhat now. SO thanks!


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