While the hip and pelvis continue to heal — and, in fact, those are things that I can (with Jimmy over at Langford) work, and am continuing to do so (a matter for another post) — the state of my larynx is really rather out of my control. The team over at UNMH have been superb in general, but they’ve decided we’re at a point where they’d rather get someone more specialised. As such, this last week (the 6th) it was off to Phoenix for a trip to the Mayo clinic for more diagnoses and hopefully a path forward.
Of course, it could never be that simple.
The actual scheduling at the Mayo was surprisingly painless; you’d think they did a lot of this and while the initial idea was some months out, there was an opening much sooner so off we went. A quick drive into Scottsdale was much preferable to the murderous trip to Austin last month, though the temperatures are already in the ridiculous range despite it only being early May (104). Plus it gave me a chance to catch up with Heuser and Kozai, neither of whom I’ve seen recently.
The actual appointment was pretty similar to where we’ve been before, but with more testing. Camera up the nose and down the windpipe with a strobe (been there — this one was thicker for more resolution. ‘Yay.). Various tests of lung capacity and amount of air escaping (the answer being ‘good’ and ‘almost all of it’). A quick recording to see … something (apparently if my left cord was doing anything, or how much was coming from each maybe).
Essentially, the basis is that the left cord MIGHT be moving a LITTLE bit, and still has 6 more months before you go from ‘immobile’ to ‘paralysed’. No real prognosis for how likely that is, and even an LEMG can’t say much in the mid-stages of the nerve doing whatever it is doing. Too low a signal to noise to determine anything, unfortunately. As above, I was also losing almost all the air I was using, hence the need to Shatner commas and the inability to speak other than in staccato bursts.
In the meantime, they did another temporary injection-based thyroplasty to medialize the immobile cord. This was done un-sedated and fully conscious this time. It involved numbing the cords by spray and then injection, then using a huge needle (it appeared) to place hylauranic acid in the cords. It wasn’t the most comfortable process, with the cords being pretty sore after the injections and I was advised not to cough. The initial swelling converted me from Batman to Baron Greenback, though there was a stage between injections when it was almost normal.
Of course, I proceeded (on return to Albuquerque) to get a pill stuck in my throat, to cough frantically for about 24 hours, and to fail to sleep. That resulted in total voice loss which was fabulous at work, as well as an extremely sore throat and difficulty swallowing. Apparently that’s relatively normal, and over the weekend it has recovered some. Interesting process, and I’m going back in 3 months for more.