Thursday, June 4, 2009

Do you Aspirate?

Sounds like something high society folks do. Last summer we went to the Hampton's and aspirated! But it's not, it is something those of us with Parkinson's do, and it's not good. To "Aspirate" is to inhale food. Again, not good. I first started to have problems with aspirating a few months back. The first time it happened, I really got a large amount of food down my wind pipe and I could not clear it out. The food reached my lungs and I nearly passed out before I cleared my airway. I was coughing and gasping for breath as the room got dark and I got dizzy.

The articles I have read on WEB MD say that this is from the swallowing muscled becoming weak. All I know is it makes eating difficult and somewhat frightening. I used to just gobble down a meal. I was always the first one done, and if I have not had an incident in a few days, I revert to that way of eating. But, soon I will inhale when food is just beginning to go down my throat and PRESTO, I am turning blue.

Now you can say, that's easy to solve, eat slower, properly chew your food, take smaller bites. True, all good advice. But I have been gobbling down food ever since I was stationed on my first ship, the USS Mullinnix. On my other blog, The Master Chief's Lair, I have explained that we had a mess decks capable of seating 65 or so. With a crew of over 400, and an hour to feed the crew, you can see where eating fast was a benefit. So, I inevitably return to my training and eat fast, chew less, and choke!

I wonder if other are having this problem and if you have any suggestions on have to manage this issue. Please let me know.


  1. My husband, Lou, used to gobble his food also. He still has difficulty in eating slowly and chewing his food. He's choked on pieces of food several times & I've had to get it out of his throat with my fingers. Now I either puree or chop finely all his food and try to constantly remind him to SLOW DOWN - take SMALL BITES (or sips) and CHEW! It's a habit, but its also a neurological problem.

  2. My husband Mike has always gobbled his food. It is a military thing! We are both Veterans and we both eat quickly. He is starting the choking thing also. You are right, it is hard for him to remember to take smaller bites, etc. My hubby has Lewy Body and Parkinsons and has had it for 5 years and it sure is declining. He is 72 years old and everything you write about seems to be the same for him. We have thought about a Memory Care home for him. I can't let go yet but he seems to think it is a good idea.