Big Day

25 Sep

Message from Stewart:

Swallow Test

Last thursday was a very big day for me. In the afternoon, I had a swallow test with speach pathologist with Kevin Lindland. In the swallow test, you are fed small portions of food mixed with barrium which shows up on x-ray. First I was fed a bit of thickened liquid with barrium and successfully swallowed it. Next, I was fed a bit of fruit puree with barrium and successfully swallowed that. Thirdly, I was fed a bit of minced fruit with barrium and also swallowed that successfully. Lastly, I was fed a bit of bread with barrium butter and successfully swallowed that, although Kevin didn’t like the swallow pattern so much. He decided I had successfully passed the test, but should avoid bread-like food for now. 

Dinner

As previously reported by Ceara and recorded in video, thursday night I was fed some food for the first time since my accident. I only managed 7 teaspoonful of pureed beef and noodles but it sure tasted good! 

Reflection

Later that night I reflected on the importance of my eating achievement and was overcome with emotion. I wept tears of joy. Being able to eat is an enormous step forward and one that is fundamental for progress. 

Grief

Suddenly, my tears of joy turned to tears of grief and I wept uncontrollably for several minutes before getting a grip. I realized that until now I had denied my feelings of loss of my previous lifestyle. I had been just trying to survive all of the medical procedures, and had never acknowledged  my pain. I needed to let my feelings out in order to be able to let them go. 

Compassion

An hour later, another STARS helicopter landed at the hospital. Previously, I had seen many land, and only thought to myself “here comes another injured person like myself”.  Now, suddenly, I found myself thinking that an injured person was arriving, someone with a family and friends affected by the injury, and needing compassion and support, and was overcome with emotion. Until I felt grief for my own situation, I could not feel compassion for the situation of other individuals.

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