As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I care for patients with a wide variety of conditions – from stroke victims and people battling throat cancer to MS patients and people with traumatic brain injuries. I work closely with patients and their families to regain their abilities and function.
I help people with speech, language and voice disorders, cognitive communication issues, and swallowing problems. My work is to inspire people to redefine what is possible in their lives and overcome some of the steepest challenges.
Imagine how it feels to lose the ability to speak or swallow. You try to talk but it comes out as unintelligible sounds, and although you are hungry, your body has forgotten what to do.
I need important tools to help my patients recover. This spring, I am excited that the Victoria Hospitals Foundation is raising $405,000 for 23 pieces of advanced equipment for our Neurology and Rehabilitation divisions at Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals. This includes equipment that is used by a wide variety of my patients and makes a major difference to their recovery. For example, two new swallow systems are needed to replace outdated equipment that is now ten years old. The systems will help hundreds of patients across Vancouver Island – people just like my patient Larry.
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 travelled 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 me a precise picture of what was happening inside his throat and airway and I was able to develop a personal treatment plan to strengthen his swallowing structures based on what I 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!
The new systems we are asking you to support produce greater quality images, and are capable of storing high-resolution video that offers superior diagnostic capabilities. These upgrades help me to see even more precisely what a patient requires to get well, ultimately leading to more effective treatment for people who are struggling.
I will never forget the moment that Larry and his wife Val saw his breakthrough on the imaging system screen. 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.
Please help support this campaign today by making a gift so that sophisticated equipment is there when patients like Larry need it. Your donation truly does make an impact on the care people receive in our hospitals.