When George had his surgery one of the people that came through the revolving door of medical personnel was the speech therapist. With her best optimistic bedside manner she presented him with the Electrolarynx (EL) - a hand held device placed against the neck that sends vibrations through the neck, allowing him to have "speech." Until the other day it sat under an end table in the living room - gathering dust(have I mentioned George is just a little stubborn?).
Well...he has decided he does not like living in silence and does not like the idea of learning to use the TEP put in during surgery, so he broke out the EL. For those that aren't aware, a TEP is a small plastic tube-like structure that is placed in the trachea and by closing off the stoma[hole in the neck] allows air from the lungs to be forced into the esophagus to make speech possible. I was so happy he wanted to try to get back to living life again! I listen intently, trying to read his lips while he is using it and even try to anticipate what he's saying but I Cannot Understand a damn thing he says!!!!! At best he sounds like Steven Hawking with a cold - at worst he's unintelligible. To me it sounds like a hive of very angry hornets! To make it worse he has discovered that he can "buzz" it to get my attention. He's really funny with it and I laugh when I hear it (though only to myself, I don't want to "encourage" this buzz behavior)but if I hear "buzz,buzz-buzz,buzz" one more time I'm going to toss it out the window.:-) LOL!
He is feeling much more confident now that he can communicate so this is a good thing. Why he waited so long to make his life easier I will never know - it's just George -
The doctor wants him to use it only as a backup option should there be a problem with the TEP but it is something he has control over right now so it's good that he just "buzzes" away!
It's funny - the person that understands him the best is our 14 year-old grandson. He seems to have no problem whatsoever. I guess the EL sound is closer to his rock music than it is to what my ear is used to.
Chemo starts next week - this week is being spent running back and forth to all his surgeons to get their final approval to start the treatments and to get the mask completed to start radiation. He is healing well and I am told that this is a good thing (is this the calm before the storm?). I have to make him "eat" more to keep up his weight but other than that the Doctors all say he is ahead of the curve. I'm not quite sure exactly what they mean by that but It sounds positive to me so I'll take it! :-)