Thursday, June 12, 2014

Day "Two" and Chicken Fat

In some ways, having no voice is easier than I thought. In some, it's really, really, really hard. I've been without my voice for about 34 hours now, so that makes me almost 20% done if you figure my total no speaking time at 168 hours (one week). At this point, 80% seems like a long journey. It's like being at the beginning of the sixth mile of a marathon. No matter... I can do it.

Day Two - The Easy
I consider yesterday Day One, even though I slept most of it. So even though today was full Day One, I'm calling it Day Two.

The first thing I did when I rose from my bed this morning? Stubbed my pinkie toe. Badly. So badly, I thought I broke it. (I don't like to post yuck-pics without giving my reader a choice, so here's your link to the yuck-pic if you want to see it.) The point is this: I couldn't scream. Isn't that, like, the common human response to the toe stub? Hollering like you've been shot? It is for me, but I managed to suppress it. One point for the voiceless.

Next, I cleaned the house. I put on music, but had to stop it because the urge to hum was too great. Sorry, Phillip Phillips. We can duet another time.

I followed cleaning with a walk to town on my freshly ruined toe, because I'm not allowed to drive until tomorrow due to the anesthesia. I had to visit school and Ginger Threads. Before I left, I wrote notes explaining my needs. Both visits went smoothly, but all involved had prior knowledge of my condition before I arrived.

My little card
I had my first experience as a non-voiced citizen (where others didn't have prior knowledge of my voiceless-ness), at Stonecutters Cafe. It ended up being really easy. I handed the person behind the counter one of my little cards I made earlier this week, then showed him my iPad, where I had written my order. He said, "Oh, cool." I got some lunch without a hitch!

On the way home, my phone rang. Hmmm. No real conundrum. I just put it away. No voicemail was left. If anyone knows who 812.825.1111 is, tell him/her I'm sorry.

Day Two - The Hard
My little app
When Ed came home from practice, things got harder. I had written him some notes about my day, but talking with your partner is not like ordering a BLT. I have a lot more to say than, "Light on the mayo." Ed is very good at interpreting my "miming," as he calls it, and the iPad helps, but I always feel so bad while he waits as I write. I ended up just typing and having him read my computer screen because it was faster.

Ed is very good about making sure I don't break the rules. If I make any kind of noise, he says, "Jo!" If I start mouthing words, he says, "Jo!" If I look like I'm about to start mouthing words, he says, "Jo!" He often accompanies these exclamations with a stern face and a hand slice through the air that I assume means to cut it out.

Thanks, Darla!
A visit to my Mom and Dad's and Ed's Mom and Dad's was easy because they were careful to ask only yes-no questions. The hard part was not being able to tell Mom happy birthday. I'm not even supposed to mouth words because that action moves the vocal cords. (Who knew?) I just smiled a lot, but it sucked not being able to vocalize wishes.

Later on, Wendy and her dog Darla came to bring some cake. The three of us "talked" while Darla, who likely sensed my weakness, cuddled up to me. I loved them coming over, but it was hard not to be able to converse like I wanted. By the time I had written a response or question, sometimes the conversation had progressed beyond my comment. It's a hard way to participate. However, I'm not ungrateful. I know that this week is a means to an end, and that end is a healed, normal voice.

Chicken Fat
It turns out I haven't been 100% faithful in the no speaking. Last night, Ed and I were watching TV. That new iPhone 5s commercial with the funny song came on the screen. My dance teacher from the 1980s used that song in her classes, and it's hilarious. As is surprisingly easy to do, I forgot about my problem and said in a hoarse, rickety voice, "Chicken Fat!" I slammed my hand over my mouth, and Ed said, "JO!"

So, in 34 hours, I've spoken two words. One would expect that those words would be profound. Insightful, perchance. Wise.


Chicken fat.


  1. Jo, I cannot imagine how trying it must be! Prayers for full recovery.

    1. Thanks, Vern! Of course, in the grand scheme of things, a week without a voice is a very small blip. However, it's a pretty big blip when you're in the middle of it. :-) Thanks for the prayers!