My husband, John, was along on the visit and found a ball in the corner of Paul's room. He tossed it across the bed to Paul, who made the attempt to catch it-- with both hands--something Paul hasn't done in a very long time, use both hands. Between the three of us, we played toss. Paul would sometimes catch the ball and sometimes not. When he didn't catch it, he would find it, bend down and get it, and toss it. He even surprised me and looked as though he were going to toss the ball to John, but sent it sailing my way instead. My brother and I haven't played toss in many years.
When it was time to leave we walked back to the community area with Paul. His three friends were still there. One woman sat with her leg elevated. She sang Paul's praises, saying she didn't know where she'd be if he hadn't been there to talk to. You see, she had her leg amputated a week or so before. And until she began sitting with Paul, watching t.v. and guarding her food so Paul wouldn't get it, she didn't have much to look forward to. I was struck by the fact that Paul had a purpose beyond his own issues and beyond my sad view of him as a disabled man.
Friday, Paul and I went to an Ears, Nose and Throat Clinic at U.C. where they performed more tests on his throat. Paul is coming along. He's able to swallow thick liquids now, such as pudding, or malts or smoothies. He continues to do exercises to strengthen the muscles in his throat. Sometimes I'll find him sticking his tongue out, first to one side then to the other. I'll remind him to sing: La La La, or Ga Ga Ga, all in an effort to get those muscles moving again.
While talking with the doctor on Friday he said, "Some event, we don't know what, caused this." When I tried to explain about the choking event, he said, "Yes, but something must have occurred neurologically to make the larynx go completely numb, to have no feeling at all."
My son, who studies psychology has had a theory, that given the extent of Paul's initial injury that something may have occurred recently in the hypothalamus to send the shut down message. Other thoughts I've heard have to do with a stroke. But now, with one more doctor confirming the neurological source of Paul's difficulty, perhaps an MRI will be performed and we'll find out more.