March 7, 2012

The Last Word

Monday I saw my speech therapist. Wait: let me back up and explain WHY I have a speech therapist.

Apparently during mastectomy surgery four weeks ago, the anesthesiologist scarred my right vocal cord when intubating me. (He also left me with a fat lip and a displaced jaw that hurt when eating for a couple of weeks. Yes, I will be addressing this.) Anyway, my vocal cord is getting worse, not better.

A few days ago I stopped talking because my throat hurt and my voice was almost a whisper. I wrote on a card: “Injured throat—I shouldn’t talk. Sorry!” I got some interesting responses. Some spoke louder, but a number of people started gesturing or writing. I would have laughed if I could have, but I’ve since added “But YOU can talk—my hearing is fine.” That has worked much better and earned a lot of smiles. A few people still want to whisper for some reason, though. *sigh*

So now I have a speech therapist. He told me he wants me to continue my silence (“vocal rest”) for six to eight weeks. Six to eight weeks of my husband getting the last word every single time. Abe would be ecstatic if it weren’t for the reason this happened. He’s waited for this opportunity for years. (He continues to be wonderful to me and for me, by the way. Everyone should be this lucky.) I told him to enjoy it while he can.

I’ve been assigned three exercises to do several times a day. I call them “breathe, hum and purr.” I just purred and Sophie jumped up and ran to my side. I think I’ve found a way to call her!

My radiation therapy started today and runs for six weeks (33 daily treatments Monday through Friday), so I will be silent for the duration. The treatment itself is something of a non-event: lie on the table and wait while the machine moves and hums around you. The reactions—if any—usually start two weeks later.

While I continue to scribble short notes everywhere, I await the arrival of my New iPad (yes, that’s what it’s called) on March 16. I type much faster than I write, so I will use it for communication for these two months of silence. I will be presenting the bill for this and all related charges to my anesthesiologist.

Since I can’t talk, I cannot answer the phone down at the Damien Center each Wednesday. I’ve decided to use these Wednesdays to work on my book. I need to think about something besides cancer. This will do my heart good.


Ur-spo said...

I still think you should get a signs saying "I AM BLIND AND MY DOG IS DEAD", with a cup.



Cubby said...

I just had a thought about walking up to you and mouthing words, pretending I was speaking aloud, and you getting all freaky.

Have fun with the iPad when it comes. When I ordered my iPad 2 a year ago there was a nearly 6-week backlog and I had no choice but to wait.

Rox said...

When we were kids, we knew this lady who was deaf and she whispered because she was always so scared to yell. She read lips. She whispered to my sister "What's your name?" and my sister whispered back. :)

I've been thinking of you. Every single day. Can you feel the love? :) I hope so.