Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Quiet reflection

Last night I had a tickle in my throat, and this morning I woke up with laryngitis. Just like that - out of the blue - no voice at all.

It's been a trying day. Aside from having no voice, I started the day feeling pretty healthy so I tried to do all of the things I normally do. By 2:00 I was so exhausted I was almost bleary-eyed. I happened to be reading an article about echolalia at the time and was really able to relate it to Bud's language development when it hit me: I've been struggling to talk for one day - really, for only 8 hours - and I am completely tapped out. Bud struggles to talk every single day of his life. That's when I started to see the parallels.

Obviously, speech is not a physical challenge for Bud, but the mental energy he needs to spend to try to string words together to make people understand him is at least as taxing for him as my laryngitis was for me. And it manifests in so many of the same ways.

Throughout the day, though I knew what I wanted to say to people I was continuously weighing the pros and cons of making the effort. Is what I have to say really that important? What if they can't hear me? It's easier to just say nothing. If I don't look at anyone, maybe no one will start talking to me and then I won't have to say anything.

Every time the phone rang, my anxiety escalated. Telephone communication is completely speech-based; I did not believe I could meet the challenge.

Often, when I did speak, people misunderstood what I was trying to say. It was frustrating. If I could have just carried around a tape recorder with a few choice phrases that I could play to people to approximate what I was trying to say, I would have.

As the day wore on, the effort began to take it's toll. I was emotionally spent and physically exhausted. When I came home and tried to tell my husband about my day, straining with the effort of slowly getting each word out until I had finally whispered the whole sentence, and his response was "What?" I wanted to scream and bop him on the nose.

I didn't want to talk to anyone. I wanted to be alone with my books, and my computer, and the things that bring me comfort.

Huh. Whaddaya know.

I'd better find my voice again soon, so I can get back to the work of helping Bud find his.


kristina said...

I have had a similar throat tickle now turned into a hacking cough for the past week! One never knows how much one needs something--the voice--till it's not there.

Rest up!

Eileen said...

I hate losing my voice. It is so frustrating. It does give us a little perspective on how frustrating it must be for our kids who struggle with language everyday.

Hope your voice comes back by morning!

MothersVox said...

Such a great post! So great when we get a sense of what it must be like to be in the situation that our kids are in . . . struggling to find their voices, struggling to speak.

Thanks for your insights into how easy it can be to just give up and stop communicating when confronted by an obstacle . . . even when we're grown-ups.

I hope you're feeling fine soon!

Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

Interesting metaphor...frustrating but adaptable?


Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

I love the little insights that happen out of the blue. They give me a whole new perspective. I feel refreshed in my thinking and approach with helping Gabe. They are a blessing.