Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Swallow test follow-up

I had another appointment with my speech pathologist and almost like she had been reading my blog, she decided that she really hadn't found out much about my swallowing difficult.  Cautioning that at this stage of Parkinson's there may not be a lot to document, she sent a message to my primary care physician requesting that he order a "modified barium swallow" test.  The system worked like it was supposed to(including the new "appointment notification by e-mail" and I found myself at 8:15 this morning in the Kaiser radiology department on Morse Avenue.

I felt a little overwhelmed or maybe I should say triple-teamed as there was a speech pathologist, a radiology technician, and a technician in training. The speech pathologist was actually running the show but, not being trained in radiology, couldn't touch the machine.  The radiology technician, not being trained in speech pathology, couldn't conduct the test.

The test was similar to what I had done in the SLP's office except that I drank a barium cocktail instead of water and barium was mixed with the applesauce they asked me to swallow.  Like watching a science movie, I was able to see the food or drink enter my mouth, get tossed to the back of my tongue, and slipped rather quickly down my throat.

I will, of course, have to wait  for the formal interpretation of the test (from the SLP, the radiologist MD, both?) but from the sounds and comments in the room, it doesn't appear that anything is out of the ordinary yet.  But in all likelihood, I will have real swallowing problems later in the course of this wonderful disease.

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