This fix involves injecting collagen into the paralyzed vocal cord to "plump it up" so that it touches the working one, thus closing the gap that has been causing Peter's whispers and weakness and sometimes causing him to nearly choke. Read back a couple of posts for more information on the problem.
|Just keep us posted...|
The procedure was pretty uncomfortable for Peter, but thankfully quick and free of the potential complications Dr. Cohen had listed (such as the needle getting clogged with the collagen). Peter had opted for the office visit version of the procedure. Also available was the hospital version that required a brief slumber under anesthesia.
Dr. Cohen numbed Peter's nasal passage, trachea, and neck. The trachea numbing involved an injection right through Peter's neck and the sudden introduction of liquid caused him to cough violently (but briefly).
A resident manned the endoscope while Dr. Cohen guided a needle in through Peter's neck. I was able to watch, and kept waiting for the needle to show up on the monitor. Instead I realized that the vocal cord was getting fatter! I have no idea how Dr. Cohen got that needle in from the back side, but he did, and the whole thing was over very quickly.
The paralyzed cord is now over-plumped, and will take a couple of weeks to get to a size that will give Peter something like a normal voice. So far his voice is less breathy, but hoarse. He should be able to cough correctly now, have less chance of aspiration, and hopefully have more strength for things like climbing stairs.
This will last 2-3 months. The (big) hope is that in this amount of time the damaged nerve will regenerate and he won't need the second procedure.
In other news, Peter is back to exercising regularly, and I've gone back to work part-time. Appetite is still an issue, as is Peter's weight. He can eat pretty well, but he is still on the learning curve of taking in small meals slowly enough and often enough.
On Peter's last night in the hospital friend Holli Crawford and I signed up for a Triathlon that is happening this coming Sunday. I've questioned my sanity many times, but right now am grateful that I had something to push me to exercise. Whatever happens Sunday (finishing is my goal), I am glad to have had time in the pool, on my bike, and hoofing it along the roads out here. It has been fun to train with Holli, too.