Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Thankful. Birthday. Donut

As part of the recovery from my recent direct laryngoscopy, I was advised to begin with a 7-10 day period of total silence.  Not a single word spoken aloud, not even a whisper.  Just two days into the quiet time, I reflected that it was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do.  Not being able to talk made me feel very alone and isolated.  It was difficult to interact with people in real time and impossible to have a "conversation".  I just want to say, something.  Anything.

As the week progressed, it did not get easier, but I got better at interacting with people using hand gestures, hand written notes and text messages.  Just yesterday I participated in a work meeting where everyone else was present in a room and I typed and had someone interpret.  It actually gave me a new found respect for how and when to add value and interject with a point I needed to make.  People were very patient with me and that helped very much.

Being able to run made the time seem less like solitary confinement imprisonment and more like county jail.

So today was the day that had been circled on the calendar for when I could begin speaking softly (using my inside voice as it was described to me) in short sentences and only very sparingly.  No full conversations and rest after speaking even a few words.

I had built up in my mind that I would just open my mouth and the words would flow out just as they did before I initially became hoarse back in August.  So it was very disappointed when I uttered my first words and it was not the case at all.

In a scratchy sounding voice with hardly any volume and cracking on every syllable, I said my first three words.

"Thankful, Birthday and Donut"

I had to do more research to feel better that the symptoms I was experiencing while speaking were common.  

I called my mom and dad and talked to Rachel.  I said real words.  Outloud.

I spoke sparingly but can tell that it hurts and need to now rest for the remainder of the day.

The recovery schedule includes another week of just sentences or sentence fragments.  I plan to dangle some participles and drive Rachel crazy.  Then after that will be 2 more weeks of speaking for no more than 15 minutes per hour, with 45 minutes of rest.  Then there will be a progression where I can speak more and more each week until I should be back to normal by January.

Thanks to all of the colorful guess as to what my first words would be.  Congrats to Lori Gierloff and Shari Crowe for guessing correctly!  You win my lifetime friendship which means a lot to me!