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My father has throat paralysis, how can we help him eat?

Q: My father is very ill since the last 2 months and is unable to eat or drink through his mouth. The doctors say there has been a minor attack of paralysis in his throat. Last month he was in Apollo Hyderabad on a ventilator for about 14 to 15 days because of chest infection. MRI & other tests have been done and medication is continuing. Trignostomy is still there & tube feeding through nose continues. We are very scared because of his eating problem. Isn't there any medicine or surgery so that he can easily breath and eat with his mouth. The neurologist at Apollo checks him frequently. Please help us in improving our father's health. He is around 85 yrs and doesn't have any BP, sugar problem.

A:I am sorry for your father's health troubles. It is a blessing that he has had so many years of good health but from your description he is certainly in difficulty now. Unfortunately, I am aware of no surgery to restore his ability to swallow if that has been paralysed. Once lost, nerves cannot regrow, either by doctors efforts or by nature. However, sometimes the undamaged nerves learn to take over the function of the lost nerves and paralysis improves over time. There is a real possibility that your fathers swallowing and breathing will improve with time (usually many months) if his other troubles can be controlled. It sounds as if you have excellent doctors and that you can trust in their abilities. I wish you and your father well.


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