While my dad was in a coma at stony brook, he had a breathing tube inserted through the mouth for a while to help him breathe. As my dad became more stable, the doctors replaced the breathing tube with a trach tube. This is a small hole they make through the neck below the vocal cords. The trach allows air to enter to your lungs (and is a lot more comfortable for the patient).
One of the first goals in rehab was to get the trach tube out. You gradually have to downsize the tube, and eventually it can come out and the hole will close up on its own. They wanted my father to have it for a while to make sure he would be able to 100% breathe on his own with no issues.
February 12th he pulled out the trach at night! (Which the doctors surprisingly thought was a good thing!) They said he was ready to have it out and it was great he was annoyed with it. Now that the trach was out.. we were waiting for him to talk.
The problem with talking is that the stroke caused my dad to have aphasia. To sum it up.. Aphasia is the loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage. Aphasia has nothing to do with your mental status or intellect. For example, if we tell him to give a thumbs up, he knows what we want him to do, but there is a barrier making it extremely difficult for him to do so.
Aphasia fades slowly over time. Some ways to help aphasia are speech and occupational therapy, which he will be in for a long time.
In the photos above, I’m trying to get my dad to give a thumbs up. I first have him open his hand and then we go for the thumbs up! At first he would just make a fist, but now he tries to put up the thumb as well!