Wednesday, November 4, 2009

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! :-)


  1. So happy to hear how well George is doing and you sound quite happy as well.
    My year of chemo and radiation was quite rough but everyone is different so perhaps George won't be as sick as I was.....I thought the cure was worse that the disease but on looking back I realize it saved my life and really wasn't that bad and it does go by fast especially when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Love your attitude Quieten, everything is going to be just have George beside you now and next year this time he will be doing a jig......:-) Hugs

  2. I'm so glad you are encouraged...this is such a long, and difficult journey...with many ups and downs...I'm so very, very sorry...You are daily in my prayers!!! Hang in there...take it one day at a time...and know that we love you and walk with you in our hearts!!! And when it is all over, we will truly celebrate together!!!!!~Janine XO

  3. Hi Quieten,
    I so admire your spirit and patience. My husband has been home for almost a month with celluitius and I have been trying but my nerves are wearing thin!
    It sounds like George is doing pretty good considering all that he's gone through and it also sounds as if he just needs time to adjust to new things.
    You seem to be amazingly patient,even if you have to go outside and scream once and a while!
    God bless you and George.
    Love Di

  4. Oh, you are so clever!!! Thanks for your wonderful witty comment!!! You are much in my thoughts...especially as your husband starts chemo this coming week...and as you endure it with him...I don't know if they've told you this...You probably already know, and so forgive me if I'm preaching to the choir...but if you hydrate A LOT before going in (a day or two ahead), he'll be less sick and uncomfortable from the chemo... Don't know if he can do that after all the surgeries...(I'm not sure if that prevents him from drinking fluids) but with lots and lots of water prior, during, and after...he'll still be sick, but not nearly as bad as without plenty of hydration...Sending you much, much love, and many prayers! Janine XO