Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mack's Swallow Study Results

Winter - 1986/87

This picture is of Mack and Jimi playing together on their sled in Chester, I think about 1986 or 1987. There was a fairly long hill at the other end of our block that wasn't paved, but was great for sledding. They had a great time together in the snow that day.

February 17, 2007
Mack had the barium swallow study done on Thursday, instead of Friday. Richard called Kristie on Thursday to ask her to ease up on Mack's physical therapy for the day so that he wouldn't get worn out before going to the barium swallow test on Friday. She told him that it was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, not Friday, and that he would be at Johnston Willis about 1 p.m. as the study was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. So, Richard left work and met them there in time to be there for the study.

I'm happy to say that Mack did very well during the study and as a result, can now start eating some regular foods under Kristie's supervision. Mack does have some difficulty swallowing some things like pudding, for instance, but that should clear up as he uses his throat muscles more often. He will still be tube fed for a while longer, along with eating regular foods, to ensure he gets proper nutrition. As of yesterday, Kristie fed Mack 3 chicken nuggets and some french fries, which Mack devoured. I know that everyone is happy to hear this good news. However, we have a request - please help us to ensure that Mack continues his progress without difficulties by getting Kristie's approval BEFORE giving him anything by mouth except water, juice and ice for now. He still has quite a way to go before he can eat normally again. He's come a long way in the past seven months, and still has quite a hill to climb ahead of him.

Next project - getting him to talk or write. We got Mack an etch-a-sketch recently. Whenever we go to visit, we pull out the etch-a-sketch and encourage him to write on it. He usually scribbles, but he is trying to do something. When he's done, he wants to put the stylus in his mouth to chew on it and we have to pull it away and tell him no, that's not food. I've written his name on it for him and took his right hand to trace over it. I've also written "yes" and "no" on it and asked him questions so that he could point to the answer. So far, he hasn't been able to respond to this other than doing the scribbles. I think if we repeated that process often, something might click in his brain and surprise us. If asked, he will blink his eyes responding to yes and no questions. Kristie has gotten him to nod yes or shake his head side to side for no, but he has to be in the right mood to do that. Richard told me that last night he got Mack to turn on his electric razor and tried to shave himself with it. So, progress is being made with little baby steps, but it's progress none the less. I will say this, Mack's occasional stubborn streak didn't leave him when he had the accident, and he will use it when he doesn't want to be bothered. When he gets like that, Kristie and Richard are persistent in their requests to him, and eventually get him to do whatever they need him to do. There are times, usually later in the day after a long day of therapy, when Mack tries to comply to requests, but he doesn't succeed because he is too tired.

These pictures were taken at "sled hill" at Enon Elementary School around the same time in 1986.

We're very happy that Mack has had so many people pulling for him (and for us) and are happy to share his progress and successes with everyone who reads this blog site.

Thank you all for being there for us.

God Bless,
Ruth & Richard


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