When Jimmy Johansson from Sala in Sweden was 25 years old, he was involved in a serious motorbike crash and suffered a serious brain injury. Today he is wheelchair-bound and depends on his assistants for support and care around the clock.
What is known is that Jimmy’s left side of his body is slack, uncontrollable and spastic, while the right is more controllable. Jimmy also suffers with epilepsy, dysphagia and lost speech skills.
He’s full of fun, a greaser with a wicked sense of humour.
One of his assistants, Andreas Björkfall, says that it is not yet known just how widespread Jimmy’s brain injury is, as it has not been fully investigated.
What is known is that the left side of Jimmy’s body is slack, uncontrollable and spastic; whilst the right is more controllable. Jimmy also suffers with epilepsy and has lost his ability to speak.
Jimmy can communicate by using his eyes, grunting sounds, and hand signals – his thumb means ‘yes’ and the other three fingers ‘no’.
– There is nothing wrong with his intellect and humour! My job with Jimmy is everything to me. He’s full of fun, a greaser with a wicked sense of humour. A day with Jimmy can be just one long laugh, Andreas says.
Dysphagia after the brain injury
Because of the left-sided paralysis, the left side of the face has not developed at the same rate. The musculature has been weak, which means that Jimmy has suffered with swallowing difficulties and drooling problems.
It has been liquid food that has applied, as well as long periods of tube feeding.
There has been countless times when he has swallowed incorrectly and it has come back up. Several swallow x-rays have shown delayed swallowing reflexes, which explains the tense meal situations where Jimmy hamstered food in one cheek. Since the accident, it has been liquid food that has applied, as well as long periods of tube feeding.
Last summer when Jimmy suffered from a severe pulmonary inflammation, doctors felt that tube feeding through the ’button’ in his stomach should become more permanent. Although the assistant team could continue to give taste portions, the doctors’ decision surprised all in Jimmy’s surroundings.
The earlier method to rehabilitate the swallowing function was very painful and is not allowed any more
– It felt so tragic in some ways. Jimmy had actually got back his swallowing ability through a training method straight after the accident. Therefore, we wondered if it would not be possible to rehabilitate the swallowing function again. The earlier method was very painful and is not allowed anymore, but it showed that the musculature can be influenced, says Andreas.
With this background, the assistants started searching for alternatives via the internet. Finally they googled their way to IQoro, and saw that is was an effecive dysphagia treatment. Uncertain if it also worked on people with acquired brain injuries, the assistants called up the IQoro customer support.
The results started to appear after three months
It has now been three months since Jimmy Johansson began training with IQoro, and both Jimmy and people in his immediate surroundings have already noticed results.
– It has gone beyond expectations! Although he has time left of the recommended treatment time, both his jaw and facial muscles have become stronger. His face is more symmetrical and Jimmy doesn’t hamster food in his left cheek anymore.
For a time his drooling disappeared totally. It was awesome!
– Both the swallow and chewing functions have been activated and he can eat much easier. Meal times go much faster. For a period of time – before a break from training because of a cold – his drooling disappeared totally. It was awesome, says Andreas Björkfall.
A problem for continued success is that Jimmy has never been fond of facial touch and because he is dependent on his assistants’ help it can be a bit tricky.
– In addition, his jaw muscles have become so strong that he sometimes refuses to open or close his mouth during exercise. Then it’s over for that training time. But via IQoro we received tips, about a special facial massage that facilitates the exercises and Jimmy usually agrees to this.
Everyone around Jimmy is happy about the positive development, as well as Jimmy himself. Any retained ability for a disabled person is worth its weight in gold.
– We would like to tell Jimmy’s story. Hopefully it can help to give hope to others in the same situation, says Andreas Björkfall.