Today we took Sam up to St. Joseph's Hospital for a test to see if he is swallowing, how he is swallowing and if he is doing it safely. The days leading up to this have been full of tremendous anxiety. I didn't even want to talk about it with anyone because the thought of what the test might reveal made me sick. All of us that have been working with Sam have suspected that he was swallowing but just for definite confirmation we really had to do this study. This study also gave us an idea of how we should proceed as far as treatment goes. So the results revealed Sam is DEFINITELY without question swallowing, but he is aspirating and he is having a tough time using his tongue to bring material towards the back of his mouth to swallow. So in other words we still have a very long road ahead of us before we can even think about taking Sam off of his feeding tube. However, these results also make it more promising that he will eventually get off of it some day. When Sam was first born he did not display any evidence of swallowing at all, he didn't even have the reflex. But we now know that he does, so we were pleased with the results.
This whole process was very scary for me. Thank god I had a lot of support with me today. Sam's speech pathologist that has been working soooooo hard with Sam joined us and so did Sam's nurse. It helped a great deal to have both of them there. What also helped a great deal was the staff at St. Jo's. I have to say I was so incredibly impressed with how helpful the entire staff at that facility was. Everyone from the valet parkers to the speech pathologists that conducted the study. Everyone was beyond kind.
So now with the new knowledge that we learned today I have more energy to keep trucking and doing what we have to do to give Sam the best shot he has.
P.S. Thanks for the great picture Mary!