Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Sound of Silence

I have officially lost my voice. Completely. I started out at the beginning of the week with a little cold. No big deal, felt a little bad on Tuesday afternoon and knew I was getting sick. Wednesday I felt like crap. I still managed to be at work, but I felt terrible. I went home early and crashed on the couch. By Thursday morning I felt 100% better, and though it was obvious I still had the cold, it wasn't major enough for most people to notice.

At least, that is, until I spent nearly the entire day in the courtroom. That consisted of nearly 3 hours in the morning, and an additional 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon. Of that time, I would say I had a total of maybe a half an hour to 45 minutes where I wasn't speaking.
Around about hour 4, I noticed my voice starting to crack in the middle of sentences. Since I had been sick, and had been talking so much that day, I didn't really think much of it. I had my sips of water, and kept on my task.

About half an hour later, the strangest thing happened. I completed my presentation to the court on one case without much of a problem, with the occasional voice crackle. When the very next case was called, I stood to present to the court. As I started to speak, I realized that all of a sudden I sounded very much like a frog. The change was significant enough that upon the utterance of the first couple of words, the Judge looked up at me with such surprise on her face that it nearly threw my routine off. Through the remaining hour my voice became progressively worse, and I began to wonder if I was going to be able to finish out the day and still be able to speak. Luckily I was able to do so. However, by the time I got home my voice was unrecognizable. I thought maybe just a little rest and some fluids and I would be back to normal.

Unfortunately the dawning of Friday did nothing to assist my ever failing voice. I did start the day with a slight improvement, but the longer I used my voice throughout the day, the more quickly the improvement diminished. Several phone calls through the day from friends, family and colleagues resulted in quite a few comments, such as "You sound like s***!" and "OMG, what the @#$% happened to you?" and "Why the hell are you at work?" Don't I just have the most sympathetic friends? :-) By the end of the day I was down to nearly nothing in the voice department, and I headed home wondering what I would do for the rest of the weekend. I spoke very little that evening, trying to preserve whatever voice was left (something I'm sure Sweetpea appreciated, since I didn't have the ability to yell at her, either!)

Yesterday morning I woke to find that I literally could not make sound more than for every 5th or so word. And, each of the sounds I was able to make, sounded remarkably like the sudden, shrill, honking sound emitted by a party noise maker, obviously blown out of the blue at the most inappropriate time by someone with nothing to celebrate. By the end of the day I couldn't make any sound at all, something which has carried over into today. I don't know if any of you have experienced a complete loss of your voice before. If you haven't, let me try to describe. Imagine having one of those dreams where you try your hardest to scream at the top of your lungs - out of fear or anger or for help, whichever - and regardless of how hard you try, absolutely no noise comes out. Or maybe the one where you try to run away, but no matter how fast you run, you don't actually go anywhere. Or, my personal favorite, the one where you try desperately to hit someone as hard as you possibly can, but regardless of how much force you put behind your punches, you're never able to hit them hard enough to actually hurt them or sometimes to even disrupt their movements. Yes, I'm perfectly aware I have issues. What of it?? If you've ever experienced any of these dreams, or dreams of similar type, then you have experienced the total aggravation that comes with a complete loss of your voice. It makes no difference how hard I try to speak, I literally, physically, cannot make a sound.

What is more infuriating about this is getting people's attention. We went to dinner tonight with my husband's family. At first, the look on several of their faces when they found out I had no voice at all was pretty funny. But that soon turned to frustration. Trying to get people's attention so I could
whisper whatever I had to say to them over the din of a crowded restaurant was utterly ridiculous! I tapped people's shoulders, I raised my hands, I waived my napkin in the air like a surrender flag, I pounded on the table. At one point I had to clap at my sil to get her to even look at me. I got her husband's attention instead, who then told her I was trying to talk to her. I wasn't even able to tell her what I wanted to, she wasn't understanding what I was trying to say. After a while, I simply gave up. I'm sure everyone at the table appreciated that.

I have no idea what I'm going to do about work tomorrow. I don't have any court this week for several days, so I'm hoping by the time I have to go back there I will have a voice again. In the meantime, I can't take the time off since I desperately need to get caught up on other work that has been neglected due to my recently over-active court schedule. I suppose I will simply have to send an email to everyone in the office to let them know I can't take phone calls, and that they will have to come and see me to get any answers from me, rather than just buzzing into my office on the intercom. I wonder what they'll think about working with a mime. I always did have a flair for the dramatic.


Pamela said...

I had this happen in December and my talking voice was gone for over a week but my singing voice took months. It was horrible

Mandy said...

I hate the dream where you can't hit hard. It's so frustrating!