Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I Don't Swallow


Talking without swallowing is the problem. Swallowing uses a lot of the same muscles. So, the thinking goes, if a person can talk, that person should be able to swallow. So this is troubling when I don't swallow.

My answer comes from years of early intervention:  oral aversion due to a medical condition. I was a program manager if that means anything.

How long has it been since I have eaten? I haven't had food by mouth in 14 years. After I had a brain bleed in 2002, a stroke, I had what I call a deep coma where my eyes were closed for 5 weeks. A feeding tube was placed at that time, by cutting a hole directly in my abdomen.

I opened my eyes around mid-January. I transferred hospitals around this time. I was tested on swallowing at that second hospital. For some reason I remember Jello coming out my nose. I thought it should have been green Jello. It was red.

I was made NPO at this time. It meant I was to have no food by mouth. My coma went from closed-eye to open-eye. I was made vegetative. A bit later, at that same hospital, I started making sound. I had been silent for months. Talking had been given up on, and a computer program was being tried on me. (As a side note, it was head activated. I used my head to hit a switch. I couldn't move my arms.)

All planning had to be changed. I went from non-verbal to verbal. I only got a few weeks of speech therapy, then I had to move. My private insurance ran out because it had what was known at that time as a cap. It is a political issue that may or may not return, but I don't have that insurance anymore.

I moved around to different places, always remaining NPO, or no food by mouth. Occasionally I got something to taste, but was never fed by mouth. I taught myself how to talk. I had some training as an Infant Specialist, but I was not a speech therapist.

When I moved to the town in which I currently live, I got a few speech sessions in a neighboring town. That therapist got me to do a few sips of water. At my last session, I successfully did Ensure.

Four years ago, I had a swallowing evaluation done at this local hospital. I could not swallow food. I was still no food by mouth. Recently I was tested again. I have a feeling that the limited speaking on YouTube videos and these essays have sparked that. Again I did not swallow.

For some reason these swallow tests are being used as a test of consciousness. I did not swallow, so therefore I am not conscious.

Some people are wondering why did I swallow 32 years before the bleed, had a break, and now can't swallow. The answer is I am starting that out all over again. That's what talking was...starting out all over again.

Something occurred after my stroke, probably within minutes, that I say was probably a release of my body's own Adult Stem Cells. These stem cells would not only repair all cell damage from a stroke, but it would also wipe clean the past 32 years of learning. From looking at pictures, the last 32 years of aging may have also been wiped out.

From the way that I explain it, not swallowing doesn't sound weird. It's an aversion of food placed in my mouth. All this takes to remedy it is some speech therapy. (It would have to focus on swallowing.)

The following video shows me speaking.

As of 1/17/2017, my feeding and all supplies were restored by Medicare.

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