Excerpt The PSP Chronicles Volume 1
Yesterday, I read a report from my Speech and Swallowing Test from October 2015, outlining some of the difficulties I’d been experiencing and concerns that we had. Swallowing issues or dysphasia is one of the symptoms of PSP and is a real concern. Weakened throat muscles could cause me to choke and even aspirate, leading to aspirated pneumonia, two of the major causes of death in patients with PSP.
That was a difficult test to take. The thought of having the scope snake through my nose and down my throat was enough to make me gag, and worse yet, the actual procedure did. It still does, even as I think about it now. The technician ended up using a nasal mist to freeze the area to complete the exam. Before the examination began, I first had to eat and swallow several test foods prepared in different consistencies to see what I could tolerate. She had placed a stethoscope to the side of my neck and listened to my throat muscles as I ate each of the test samples, each time making notes on her chart. No choking on my part this time – good – but she noted some muscle weakness.
Now the worst part of the exam was about to be begin. The technician did a series of checks making sure the instrument was properly calibrated, the light was working, and the monitor was in the correct position, so Trish and I could see the procedure. The nasal violation began. Up my right nostril – every inch felt like a foot – and slowly down the back of my mouth. It was then I learned I had a strong gag reflex.
I don’t recommend gagging with a scope up your nose and down your throat to anyone.