We headed back to clinic with our laryngologist, Craig Zalvan, MD, a natural teacher and mentor for our students. A woman who had lost her voice was waiting to see us. Craig walked the students through the differential diagnosis as we prepped the room and the laryngoscope. Lindsay began passing the scope and Craig finished up, showing us the woman’s vocal folds. When you would expect to see motion as she breathed and as she produced a vowel, her vocal folds stayed still. We explained to her that this bilateral paralysis was a result of her recent thyroid surgery and that her voice would likely recover in six months or so. She was relieved to hear that she did not have any malignancy or other lesions, and has hope that the nerves will heal. Scoping persons with voice problems and swallowing problems was a new addition to our trip, thanks to Craig. We are so happy to be collaborating with him.
Wow, am I still giving the Tuesday play by play?
Next up was a parent meeting, going over how to help the kids develop good speech skills with their new palates.
Then, feeding and swallowing therapy.
Back to the recovery Ward for post operative follow up. Vanessa’s expert Spanish and natural way with the parents was a great strength, as she instructed moms on how to use the special bottles and nipples from Medela, Habermann and Pigeon. Pigeon donated their nipples to the trip and our student group, Mercy College Chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) raised funds for the rest.
Helen says, the best birthday gift was seeing the mom’s and dad’s joy looking at their baby’s new face and the possibilities that opens up for their lives ahead. How wonderful to share this with my students.