Problems with swallowing

Hello. Posting this in case it might be useful information to some of you :crossed_fingers:

My brother had his stroke 3 years ago, when Covid restrictions were in place. As a result he received no aftercare, physio ect… when he went home, living on his own in a bedsit. In the last year I finally convinced him to come and live with me.
(Since then he has improved greatly and is now learning to walk)
Ever since the stroke, Donald has pretty regular choking turns, more or less every day, when drinking but never when eating and refusing to use thickener.
On Friday he choked so badly that he went into convulsions and I honestly didn’t think he was going to survive, but he did. I called his doctor and within 24hrs a speech and swallow specialist came to see him. She was very thorough and this was what she advised.
The problem was that he was drinking out of a normal sized cup/glass and having to bend his head backwards to drink. The fluid is then already half way down his throat and when he swallows, the flap that shifts over to cover his lungs, stopping the fluid from entering, hasn’t got time to do this, therefore allowing fluid to enter his lungs, causing him to choke.
She highly recommended a wider rimmed cup/glass that is not too deep and for him to take smaller mouthfuls. (She said definitely not a straw or beaker with a spout)
That was 6 days ago and he hasn’t choked since!!
Sorry for the long winded post, but I felt I had to give some background as well.
Hope it helps someone. Irene x


:partying_face: :partying_face: :partying_face: :clap: :clap: :clap: :partying_face: :partying_face: :partying_face:

This is truly a cause for celebrations and you should be so proud of yourself for what you have done for your brother, he must think so too :smile: I must admit I got quite emotional reading your story :blush: You’ve given him a new lease of life, helping him to get his life back again :people_hugging: And it just goes to show what still can done and achieved 3 years on :smile: Well done you and thankyou for sharing :clap: :clap: :clap: :people_hugging:

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Thank you for your kind words, but it comes with the title “Big Sis”:joy:
I fought tooth and nail to get him here because, as it turns out, his carers were physically and mentally abusing him. Relevant authorities immediately informed, but still they sent in the same care company because they said they didn’t have anyone else on their books. So I just went on the 200 mile round trip, with a large van and my adult children in tow and brought him here
. They told me I couldn’t take his equipment, I did and left my address if they wanted to come and collect it.
We paid for private care until my council could find some for him, which they did in only 3 days.
A lady called Hazel called from social services. She spoke to Donald and told him “never let anyone tell you that you can’t improve no matter how long ago your stroke happened. And that is what he now lives by, progress not perfection is his motto.
It was lucky that I already live in a bungalow with a wet room and the only thing I miss is having to swap from the largest bedroom to a single bed :roll_eyes:
But the stopping choking is a huge game changer for him and amazing that it was so simple to rectify!!
His carers are lovely. He has 2 four times a day.
And life for him is 100% happier.
Still waiting on the outcome of the abuse :woman_shrugging:


@Irene55 thank you for sharing that info i am sure it will help many others.

I am really happy to read of Donald’s progress & you should be very proud of all you’ve done for him. It seems the move to yours has been just what he needed. It can’t be easy for you but massive well done.

Best wishes



I like your style, you take no prisoners :smile: And welcome to the believers, that there is always, always room for progress.


When Donald first had his stroke, I went down to our local garden centre where I was told a local Stroke support group meet once a week. They were so very welcoming and full of good honest advice., which has stood me in good stead for what was to come.
Yes it can be difficult at times, but I have an amazing daughter, who is a nurse, who lives nearby and she, as well as my other children and grandchildren, an enormous help.
I think the thing I found most difficult was, after living on my own for many years, the carers coming in , two of them 4 times a day, but they are all friendly and I’m used to it now.
My two dogs love Donald, as does the tortoise, who doesn’t hibernate and has the run of the house, she sits on his feet for ages every day. He talks to the 3 Guinea pigs too. So life is never boring for him :blush:
Sorry for rattling on but it’s nice to chat to people who know what’s what
Thanks. Irene


It sounds like you’re doing amazing & have a fabulous supportive family. I love that the tortoise sits on Donald’s feet & keeps him company. That made me smile :grin: xxx


A therapy tortoise :joy:


Love it :grin::grin::grin: think we might all need one. :grin:


Great share thank you very much

And I love the idea of a therapy tortoise!



@Irene55 Thankyou for your posts the swallowing one is most interesting, I have not had any advice on this since stroke May 23, but always struggle with swallowing liquids but am fine with food. Didn’t know that was a thing!
Your brother is so lucky to have you as his sister, a supportive family can make a huge difference.
Really enjoyed reading your posts and hearing about the dogs snd tortoise too🥰 thanks.


Hi.Thank you for a lovely sister/family. I would have done a lot for that. Same situation - in covid. Did have rehab visiting. But VERY limited, and absolutely no aftercare at all from the hospital or consultant or doctor. Doctors been unbelievable awful. Finally changed end 2023. But 2 years battling for basic help. Emotionally all over the place, very extreme. And it took similar times to choke before I could kind of work out what was happening, and had help from speech (who I already was under them). Obviously no help from the surgery. UNTIL I had a referral from my dentist, so I saw a different doctor, who had students with him, so I did have actual help/referral. If I had seen my old doctor, I would still be in the same situation. It is unbelievably unkind and wrong this situation. I bet there will be others too. But what I have just seen your post (I can’t usually see much because I just can;t do much (got aphasia, brain processing problems, MASSIVE fatigue, plus some more). But your post has (in a very sick way) has cheered me up - BECAUSE your brother has family is truly trying to help. He might play up. Because emotions and wanting to self sufficicient (but I think can’t completely) and VERY frustrating. But I bet underneath, or at least, at some point, he will understand that you are trying to help. Worth its weight of gold. Bless you.


Dear Carrie
I am so very saddened to hear of your situation.
Nobody should be in your situation and not have the help they need and deserve.
Anything I can do to help you please do let me know and I mean that most sincerely.
Sending you a great big HUG XXX