Today had some tough hours in it, but also one exquisite shared hour where Lorraine - exhausted from caring for me while also finishing up the latest Seattle Opera show - slept beside me for an afternoon nap.
The hard time came a little later. I had taken Oxycodone (10 mil) this morning and had been feeling no pain for a while. I didn't care much for the wooziness that seems to come with it, and there were still sources of discomfort (as opposed to actual pain), but I was feeling like I had turned a corner. But I fell victim to the classic blunder of waiting too long to take a follow-up dose, and by the time I realized it, my head was once again massively swollen. Luckily Lorraine was there to hold my hand through the medications-and-liquid-food regimen, and I made it back to relative comfort.
Taking medications through the syringe and catheter tubing has not been getting easier. There are five different doses I'm taking in different schedules. Amoxicillin and Oxycodone haven't been too bad. Sudafed (childrens' grape flavor, bleah) and Docusill (stool softener) both tend to burn as they go down. Ibuprofen (taken the first 24 hours, now replaced by Oxycodone) was the absolute worst; 30 mil of pain I have to inflict on myself.
I'm particularly concerned about what's happening with my vocal cords as I take these liquids. Because I still can't feel my lips, I can't make closure with my mouth around the catheter tube, which means I allow a lot of air to mix with the liquid and can't control the degree of suction I'm applying to swallow the medications. (Hence, lots of burping.) I do have some degree of control using the syringe plunger to deliver the liquid smoothly through the tube and back behind my teeth. But, once the liquid is descending into my throat, I'm having trouble making a distinction between the action of sucking of liquid down my esophagus and and the drawing-in of air into my lungs. So I work against my larynx's function to stop food and liquid from going down the windpipe - and so am repeatedly drawing bitter and astringent liquids right through the cords and into my lungs. It hurts! And I worry, am I causing damage here? I'll be asking my doctor tomorrow.
Dr. Adam Burdick has been a professional musician for over two decades. Teaching, conducting, and performing in various music genres, he is also a perpetual student with interest in a wide range of topics. He loves to ponder and share his discoveries with anyone interested!