Here is part of chapter two from unDIAGNOSED2:
It is no secret that I love to talk, even though I’m not sure if I always have something of importance to say. If you ask my wife I never do. That said, I still like to talk, though my speech is often a little labored, especially when I’m more worn out. I was noticing a persistent gurgling and phlegminess that never seemed to go away. As the difficulty talking grew, I decided to get my throat checked out. So I scheduled an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT).
I had no clue what to expect. They started by asking me questions. Why was I there today? What kind of symptoms was I having? Standard stuff. The nurse then sprayed some sort of numbing agent up my nostrils. A bit later, the doctor came over and explained he was going to put a camera up my nose. My nostrils were appropriately numb by then, so I didn’t even feel the camera going in, but I was able to watch the mini-Go Pro view on the monitor instantly. He threaded the camera into one nostril and down into my throat. It was like watching a cave exploration on TV. The walls of the caves were a pinkish, fleshy color. I half expected to see cave drawings or find treasure down there, but there was nothing that exciting.
The doctor successfully removed the camera and we talked for a while longer. He wanted me to get a swallow test as well and set up an appointment for that at the hospital a few days later. For this test, they had me lay down on a table under a machine that was supposed to be able to look at my throat, sort of like an X-ray. They had me swig a nasty thick white liquid that tasted like Milk of Magnesia. I had to drink this while in a reclining position, so I dribbled the liquid everywhere. I felt like a baby sitting there on that table, with the nurse wiping my mouth. I wondered if she was going to burp me as well. They swung the arm of the machine over me and lowered it until it was about six inches from my throat. This was much less terrifying than the MRI I had taken years earlier. No issues with claustrophobia and the test was over seemingly before it began.
The next day I had a follow-up with the ENT doctor to review the results of the tests. He told me that my throat muscles had become weak. This was a result of MS of course. He mentioned that if swallowing became too difficult for me, they could prescribe a feeding tube. It hadn’t really occurred to me that I might need a feeding tube someday, but here it was, staring me in the face, like so many other things MS had taken away. I wasn’t distraught or depressed—just determined. After all, a feeding tube is just another way to eat if it comes down to it, and I love to eat. As much as I love to talk.