Many people ask me what I do. When I say Speech Language Pathologist, I often get a blank stare. I am a Speech Therapist also, but Speech Language Pathologist means that I not only treat, but assess and diagnose.
I work with a variety of speech, language, voice and swallowing deficits including aphasia, apraxia, cognition, articulation. I do not only work with kids that have trouble saying their sounds, I work with adults to help them regain their swallowing and/or their communication.
My job is not easy. I get attached. I very recently had a patient (head and neck cancer patient with whom I worked 5-6 years ago) passed away, after choking on a piece of meat. Although there’s always that little bit of guilt there, maybe I didn’t do enough, I rest easy because I know I did do everything I could to make their life better.
This person taught me a lot about becoming a better professional and listening. This person never completely regained their swallowing ability. This person aspirated on their very last swallow study. We knew this was happening. This person had excellent oral care, was very active and knew to take small bites, chew carefully and take their time swallowing. This person functioned for 5 years with no consequence until recently.
Although it is so hard to lose a patient and friend, I’m looking at the bright side of what I gave back to this person. I gave them their independence so they could socialize, vacation, work, meet with friends and family without the burden of a feeding tube.
I recently saw another former patient of mine who told me the perfect words and I will carry this with me forever…. “You took something that we had that was very bad and you made it good again.”
I am a Speech Language Pathologist and I help people regain their independence, one swallow at a time.
#BHSM #slpeeps #medslp #dysphagia #swallowingmatters #dontforgettheswallow #idomorethanjustspeech