Friday, June 12, 2015

Swallow Testing, Throat Burns

From June 11th

I took Rich's temperature, it was still low grade and his neck looked pretty nasty.
He didn't want his meds yet again.

I sighed and dropped the phone next to him and told him he could call 911, or the Triage Nurse at the VA.  I rattled his truck keys and set them down within his reach. 

I informed him that I was doing chores and would be back in a bit.

I returned to the house to find that he was going to co-operate.  He took his pain medicine and started to feel better right away.

I washed his hair and cleaned up his neck wearing surgical gloves.  I would ask to see the nurse today when we got to the UW.

The drive for the appointment was fairly uneventful except for the heavy downpours of rain that we encountered.

When we arrived at Radiation, Rich asked to see a nurse.  Nurse Jackie of UW wasn't available so the other nurse came by.  She looked at Rich's neck and said something needed to be done...but she was pretty sure that she couldn't get Silver Sulfadiazine approved unless Dr. Witek saw him and that would not be until Friday.

I asked her about his low grade fever and insisted that she get some answers regarding his neck burns.
Around the corner came Nurse Jackie.
She took one look at Rich's neck and grimaced.  She said she'd call the VA Infusion Clinic and have the Silver Sulfadizine ready for us in about a half an hour.
She also explained that a low grade fever was common during the last few treatments, but we had to really keep an eye on it.

Boom.  Now I know why Nurse Jackie is in the position she is in.  She is quick, to the point and can get things done not only at the UW, but the VA as well.

To anyone going through any sort of treatment.  Use your resources, advocate, advocate, and advocate.  If something doesn't feel quite right, ask.

We then went to the VA and saw Dr. Faris, then we went on to see the SOP, Swallow, Oral, Pathologist.  She took a long time to discuss swallowing issues with us and went as far as drawing a picture of the throat and epiglottis for us.  She explained that with radiation the epiglottis can get swollen and deformed causing issues with certain kinds of swallowing.

When we got home I was able to apply the cream and Rich said it was soothing to his skin and the burns.

It was a good day and we sat down and ate a nice supper that one of the neighbors had prepared for us.

This morning, the 12th, he is feeling much better.  His temp is nearly normal, and we are getting ready to clean off the neck.  We cannot have any of the cream on his neck during radiation.
It looks rather ugly right now but he says it feels much better.

From what I understand the last few days of radiation and beyond can be the worst.

A quote from another patient:

"Radiation, the gift that keeps on Giving."


  1. I'm so glad he took his pain meds. Morris must be very happy to have both of you there.

  2. Morris is happy as well is Rich. It shows when he pets Morris and talks to him like a long lost buddy.
    Feeling better is our goal now for Rich and he is working at it!

  3. so many ups and downs. I remember them well.