My 73 yr old father had pneumonia a few months ago, and his doctors have now diagnosed him with dysphagia. The doctors feel that he is swallowing incorrectly and liquid is getting into his lungs. He is being told that he can not (ever) drink anything except water... and only water in small sips after he has rinsed his mouth with mouthwash (I think to kill any lingering bacteria). He is not allowed to drink at all while he is eating, and it being told to swallow twice when he swallows his food. At first they were allowing him to use Thick It in other drinks, but now are saying no to that. He is also not allowed to eat any kind of juicy fruit, soups, etc.
As you can imagine this has been extremely difficult for him. He is seeing a speech therapist for throat strengthening exercises, but it doesn't seem real hopeful that they will do much good. He is very depressed about this and he also has several other medical problems.... and this new one is considerably lowering the quality of his life- that has already been on the decline.
I'm not able to go the doctor appointments with him, so I don't know exactly what they are saying, but it seems like what they are asking of him is next to impossible- that is, for an older person to completely change their eating/drinking habits..... his memory is already not the greatest, so doing things like remembering to swallow twice with every bite of food sounds crazy to me.... I don't think I could even do that!
Does anyone have any advice for him?? Is there some special type of doctor we should be seeing? Is this a common treatment for what he has?? I'm very concerned that if he does not follow the doctor's orders he will get pneumonia again (which almost killed him the last time).... However, I'm not sure he can realistically follow these orders for the rest of his life.
Any thoughts on his situation would be so appreciated!
Thanks and God bless!
** I have also posted this on the Dysphagia Board, but this board seems a little more active so I thought I'd try here too