The patient: “Buster” is a pilot of a Sikorsky UH-60 “Black Hawk” who was not “disposed to discuss his employer or missions.”
Why he came to see me: He had been suffering from sinus congestion and mild gastric reflux that had made his voice occasionally “scratchy and high-pitched.” As a pilot presumably involved with some serious duty and operators, this problem was “unacceptable.”
How I evaluated him: We reviewed his past treatments and attempted interventions as well as his upper GI studies and ENT exam, which were entirely normal except for “boggy slightly irritated” vocal cords. I prescribed some dietary suggestions that seemed appropriate as the cause appeared to be a combination of a slight persistent post-nasal drip related to dairy protein allergies and airborne particulates and a production of stomach acid between meals (there isn’t supposed to be much of any) that was not enough to cause pathological changes observed in the endoscopy, but enough to create acid vapor rising up and bothering his vocal cords, causing the voice distortion.
How we addressed his problem: I provided a digestive enzyme formula to be taken at the start of meals to increase his mid-meal acid concentration to help improve digestion and thereby decrease microbes residing in his stomach (the probable source of his mid-meal acid vapors), a botanical mixture containing small amounts of ephedrine and atropine alkaloids from natural sources, among other components, to help reduce his nasal congestion and post-nasal drip. I also gave Buster another botanical mixture featuring slippery elm, horehound and gentian that I instructed him to inhale a drop or two from the tip of the dropper a few times per day to coat his vocal cords with a soothing solution. Granted, this unusual procedure sounds intimidating and so I demonstrated how to perform it, which helped gain his trust in my prescription.
The patient’s progress: I’m happy to report that Buster called a few days after and was delighted with the results. Despite my best efforts, he still won’t even give me a clue as to what he’s up to with that big helicopter, but honestly, from the looks of him, I assume that I don’t want to know!