The speaking valve was a success!
This is essentially a little plastic piece that fits over the end of the trache-tube, which allows air to pass by the ‘balloon’ inside the trachea, up to the vocal chords. Since the valve can cause discomfort, it will be installed and removed as Ansel would like to speak.
This is the first step to ditching the tracheostomy tube, and to introducing solid foods.
Our speech pathologist de jour, Nikki, explained that it’s typical of brain injuries to take some time and coaching to get the vocal chords back in full effect. After asking a few basic questions without response, we finally got Ansel to count to four. His voice is extremely quiet and coarse, but that’s to be expected.
The family had pool going for what his first intentional words would be. I think we all lost.
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