Monday, February 21, 2005

D+13: Water choke

Left grip is down to 44 (43, 42, 44), right grip is 86 (86, 85, 80) and inhale is 4500 mL. The cold is worse but still seems semi-contained.

I'm under the impression that I do a lot less choking on water than I used to. My lovely wife agrees. No, I'm sorry, I have no been keeping track of how often this occurs, so I can't say whether it changed after the ceftriaxone. But I feel that it did. I lay it to a positive effect of the drug. I propose that from here on out, I will keep track of days in which I choke or gag, no matter how mildly. I used to wind up choking and coughing at least once a day, sometimes at every meal. Now I notice that choking is the exception. I wish I had the data going back into the past. But I'm going to assume that it was every day. Let me be clear about my standard going forward: Even the slightest gag or spit-back will be marked as choking, even if I don't wind up hacking. I'll treat it as a bulbar malfunction and mark it as a choke day. Yesterday, for example, I went the whole day without any kind of gag or splurt -- despite the rasping cough I have from the cold germs that are attacking me. That's pretty remarkable.

But John, who has ALS, cautions:
My initial symptoms were slurring and stumbling while talking but they developed into progressively more severe choking episodes both while eating and drinking any fluid, but water was the worst. At one point, I really thought that I would succumb at some meal when I lost my concentration for a moment while swallowing. Then, erratically, the choking episodes have abated over the past couple of years to the point that now I rarely choke and even less frequently choke severely. Lest you think I am improving overall, I'm not. Limb weakness has been steady and relentless. The point I am trying to make is that choking/swallowing problems are unpredictable and if you do find yourself improving in that area, not to give too much credit to the ceftriaxone.

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