Michael has been authorized for 30 some sessions of specialized swallow therapy. This was after a barium test which showed he was losing ground from where he had previously been. We go to the town over the way, three times a week for therapy.
The therapy is called Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation and is in addition to his traditional swallow therapy. This is in an effort to supplement the traditional therapy and provide better results - swallowing matters - a lot. He has about 2 hours of exercises he does daily for swallowing and vocal chords, and he has these sessions 3x a week, where they hook electrodes up to his throat, turn up the juice until he's at full zinging power and have him do exercises for 30 minutes. (He is sure his hair stands on end and lightning comes from his fingers - it doesn't really).
He has another week of sessions and then they will retest with the Barium Swallow test. IF he is showing improvement, they will continue this therapy for another month or so. If he is NOT showing improvement, therapy will be discontinued. At that point, he will continue the traditional hours of daily exercise - but basically it would mean there is nothing else they can do to strengthen his swallow and vocal chord muscles. ::Blush:: can't remember the name of the muscles for swallowing...pharyngeal? Please join us in praying the therapy has improved Michael's swallowing issues.
Michael has a new referral to a dietician. This is due to the fact he's starting to eat less, or avoid certain foods, because of the swallowing. We are really hoping that's a one time visit.
This has been a rough couple of months for us as we continue to face the reality of Parkinson's. Michael is at the BEGINNING of this disease...but more and more we are being asked to consider what options he will want "as the disease progresses." One we'd never considered was if he would allow a G tube - and under what circumstances. We don't have answers - but we're working on them.