'Cause I sure can't!
Sad Clown Warning! Proceed with caution.
Day 9 after having surgery and I am still sans voix. Well, I shouldn't say completely sans; I have a sort of raspy laryngitis-sounding whisper going on. It's not at all the Kathleen Turner-sexy voice that I was hoping for when they told me that a rare potential complication of my surgery is damage to the vocal cords. In fact, this isn't sexy at all - it kinda sucks and I'm getting darn sick of it.
I'm not a quiet person; I have a quick wit and love to crack jokes and I just love to talk, in general. Although I'm not a good singer I do it all the time - I sing along with the car radio, I sing in the shower, I do karaoke for the comic value alone, I sing with my family when we play Rock Band. Not being able to sing "Twinkle Twinkle" with my son or "Happy Birthday" to my husband is really cramping my style.
Will this be the event that finally sends me crying to my doctor, begging to be medicated? I thought I might need something after my dad died last May, but I managed to pull myself out of that emotional nosedive over these past 8 months. Then my cancer came back, but I still did okay - I am an optimist! I keep my chin up. I show weakness only to my inner circle of confidantes and even then, sparingly. Nobody needs a buzzkill friend when they've all got their own problems, after all.
But this, well. This is just BULLSHIT. This is just a clear-cut case of insult being added to injury. The good news is that my scar looks great! It's healing fast and honestly, I'm just so pleased with how it looks. The bad news is that sometime during the 90 minutes that I was under anesthesia, my left vocal cord went all prima donna on us and is now paralyzed.
My ENT confirmed the left vocal cord paralysis on Tuesday, which was a super fun experience, lemme tell ya. First he had me stick out my tongue as far as I could so he could grab it with gauze and hold it there, then he stuck a mirrored scope down my throat until my gag reflex kicked in (hey fellas, wussup) while I did my best to say, "heeeeeeeeeee." The doctor's defeated-sounding, "Huh," told me everything I needed to know.
I hate it when doctors say, "huh."
"Great news! We got all the cancer out! Bad news - now you're partially mute."
He wants to see me again in 3 weeks to check on them. There's a very good chance that the paralysis will spontaneously resolve on its own, so that is the hope I hang my hat on every day. I don't even want to think about what happens if they don't bounce back.
I'm finding myself saying no to plans with friends because it's just too much effort to be heard, and I'm embarrassed that every time I open my mouth I sound exactly like what I've never wanted to feel like: a sick person. I feel fine! I am fine!
A couple of interesting facts about having no voice:
1. even though I tell people that I can't talk they're still shocked when they call me (!) and can't hear me.
2. People tend to whisper back to me in conversations, which I find funny. Conversely, they yell at me or exaggerate their words. There's nothing wrong with my hearing, folks, so no need to shout!
3. Everyone from the check-out girl to every coworker in my office looks at me like I've sprouted a second head when I croak at them, which means that I spend a lot of time explaining my hoarseness. Well, I don't explain, really, I just mumble something about having been sick or having a problem with my voice until they leave me alone. But still, annoying!
It's amazing how quickly my children have adjusted to my little problem. Even my 2 year old knows that he has to come close to me if he wants to hear the answer to one of his questions. My 6 year old does the same thing, even going so far as to repeat my quiet responses to my husband for me like some kind of human megaphone. My husband is learning - slowly - that he cannot toss a question over his shoulder as he walks out of the room and expect me to call out the answer. Deafening silence is a good teacher, apparently.
So, that's where I am today. I'm getting used to being a low-talker for the time being, maybe forever (but I refuse to believe that). I'm trying not to feel sorry for myself and am succeeding most of the time, and one of these days I'm going to talk someone into wearing a puffy shirt on national television and it will make it all worthwhile.
Well, at least that's what television has taught me.
There, that fulfills my monthly quota for bitching & moaning, I presume. I promise to have something more entertaining for you tomorrow!