Larry, a retired computer software developer from Ladysmith, spent four months last year at Victoria General Hospital recovering from a heart attack and stroke. After his stroke, he could no longer swallow. Anything he attempted to eat traveled down his airway and into his lungs because he couldn’t feel it.
Larry had a high risk of choking or getting pneumonia. For more than ten weeks, he could only eat ice chips – absolutely nothing else, not even water – and he needed urgent intervention and intensive therapy. Larry was consumed with thoughts of food and eating and looked forward to the simple, everyday pleasure of enjoying a meal. This helped keep him motivated and focused on recovery.
The swallow imaging system was crucial not just to Larry’s diagnosis, but also to his rehabilitation. The imaging system quickly gave Speech-Language Pathologist Lisa Kuhn a precise picture of what was happening inside his throat and airway and she was able to develop a personal treatment plan to strengthen his swallowing structures based on what she saw. A series of repetitive swallowing exercises, performed three times daily for several months, helped Larry re-learn to swallow. The imaging system also made it possible for Larry to personally see his progress on a screen and helped him keep his eye on the prize: bacon and eggs!
“I will never forget the moment that Larry and his wife Val saw his breakthrough on the imaging system screen,” said Speech-Language Pathologist Lisa Kuhn. “After months of intensive therapy, he was finally able to swallow again. It was an emotional moment for everyone. The swallow imaging system was instrumental to Larry’s recovery.”
From Larry Paley
“My wife Val and I are so truly grateful for the care I received from Lisa and everyone else at Victoria General Hospital. I can’t tell you how thankful we are for everything she did to aid my recovery. She helped me learn to swallow again, supporting and encouraging me at every step. If it wasn’t for Lisa and the technology that helped me get better, I don’t know where I would be. I don’t even want to think about it. I certainly wouldn’t be back to eating bacon and eggs. It was not easy, but because our hospitals have the right equipment to help patients like me I was able to overcome one of the greatest challenges of my life. When I was finally able to enjoy food again, Val and I both cried tears of joy – and Lisa shared in that joy alongside us. Pease give generously so more people like me can be helped!”
– Larry Paley