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I have occasional trouble swallowing. It results in a tiny bit of food going down my windpipe and causes me to cough, more or less uncontrollably, sometimes for ten coughs. In a social situation this can be embarrassing and getting food and other stuff down into the lungs can cause infections, which can be deadly. I have had this condition for years and it seems to be slowly getting worse, so I have gone to my doctor to see what could be done to correct this situation. He was quite concerned and had me subjected to several tests, including a barium swallow and an endoscope thrust down my nose for a look at my larynx and checked out the general condition of my innards. Generally I am in very good condition, for 75½, and therefore an incipient geriatric, but my doctor’s concern was that aspirating food could easily set off a serious decline. These swallowing problems began to get worse back about Thanksgiving when my voice began getting very wheezy. By, Christmas time my voice was almost gone and I was forced to speak with a high tone, almost a squeak.

A lengthly web search brought up a possible suspect for my problem, the drug omeprazole. I was taking that drug to reduce stomach acid and ease the acid reflux that might have caused my Schatzki ring to shrink and need stretching a couple of years ago. That drug is supposed to be safe and can be purchased over the counter in any drugstore. But, there were some reports of voice problems that seemed similar to mine, so I stopped taking the drug to see if there would be any change. A week after stopping some of my voice had returned, but not nearly enough to speak normally. There would have been a better track record of this problem if I had used the Probaway Pain Recovery Chart, seen below but it didn’t exist at the time.

Omeprazole voice recovery

Omeprazole voice recovery time charted from the start of drug until after stopping.

The drug Omeprezol was taken to correct some throat problems, possibly caused by stomach acid reflux, but it appeared the drug was responsible for the loss of voice and therefore I stopped taking it about Christmas. These times and symptoms are remembered for the chart above, and so they are not exact, however they look right. The recovery times did progress about as charted and it will be interesting to see if a projected line into the future proves to be accurate. As I said to my doctor yesterday, in a follow-up visit, I felt that my voice was back to 95% normal, but that it wasn’t completely normal yet. If the line on the chart above projects accurately I may still have slight discernible but easily ignored symptoms for six more months.

I didn’t create the Probaway Pain Recovery Chart originally for backward projections in time, but it functions very well in that mode. It does require noting the time reversal. I did that in the chart above with a label and by drawing arrow heads indicating the flow of time.

Another thing which I am attempting to do to get more control over my swallowing is to take several small food-less swallows before eating. The idea is to get my throat preconditioned for swallowing quantities of food.

New ways of measuring things often have unexpected alternate uses.