Mom has been working with Vanessa, a respiratory therapist, to help her to learn to eat slower, drink slower, and avoid choking. Now the true irony of this is that up until the last couple of years, the opposite has been true…my mom took FOREVER to eat. She would eat so slow that the rest of us would be finished with our seconds before my mom ever made it through a first helping. I always swore it was her mechanism for getting us to stay at the dinner table longer and talk. (I’m still not convinced that wasn’t the case.)
Now she likes to down the drinks as fast as possible and she eats as if someone might take anything left on her plate three minutes after it’s set in front of her. As a result she ends up taking in too much at a time, or swallowing air and coughing while she eats. While the Vanessa has been working with mom the last two weeks, she’s been on pureed food and thickened liquids. I’m not posting a picture of it. Your imagination is accurate. YUCK! But they are about to upgrade her diet because we think we’ve found a workable solution…a device I’ve dubbed the milkshake cup.
Here’s how it works…a special yellow tip at the bottom of the straw prevents the liquid from coming in too quickly, much like a thick milkshake. And the extra long straw means it takes more effort to get the liquid up. So by restricting the amount of liquid that she takes in one sip, she limits the number of times it “goes down the wrong pipe.”
And the milkshake cup has a tight fitting snap lid and a hole that the straw can’t fit through because of the milkshake tip. This is key because with an earlier experimental cup, mom got annoyed with the restricted flow, pulled the straw out and poured the liquid through the straw hole in the lid and into another glass that she could down in seconds. As Vanessa says, “Your mom is a very smart woman.”
But so far so good with the milkshake cup. We used it for coffee and fig newtons and it worked like a charm. Here’s hoping she takes to it.