Let me start by saying that I never want to lose my voice again and that I never realized how much I talk in any given day until I lost that privilege. After feeling what it is like to have laryngitis, I learned that verbal communication is extremely difficult to live without. Not impossible, just very challenging.
The task for the day: to complete my homework assignment
The assignment: feel laryngitis for an entire day and reflect on those who do not have a voice
So technically I was able to talk on that Tuesday in September, but I chose to use that day to have laryngitis. I could tell my mom was skeptical that morning when I woke up without a voice because I was perfectly fine the night before. Upon realizing I couldn’t talk she wanted to take me to the doctor. She looked shocked when I shook my head no and wrote on a notepad that I was going to go shopping that day. I encountered my first challenge: she wouldn’t let me leave the house without her! Here comes the loss of independence.
Our first stop was Kohl’s (I really needed more coffee for our Keurig). When we got to the coffee section I picked out a box of my normal coffee and a box of a new flavor. My mom asked me if I knew I picked up a different flavor and I shook my head yes. So far no major communication issues. Yay!
Next we were off to Strawberry (clothing store). The plan was to go there because I had never been there before, and neither had my mom. I motioned with my hands to her that the junior’s section was downstairs. She followed me and then we each went separate ways looking through the racks of clothing. I found a cute shirt but stopped myself from saying, “Oh look at this, how cute!” like I normally do. I then realized that shopping was going to be more difficult than I thought. I was becoming uninterested in shopping for probably the first time in my life. I just wanted to go home. Another realization, I was more exhausted from not talking than I would have been on a normal day! I eventually looked at a blazer, and my mom asked, “You have one of those in red? blue?” I shook my head no and pulled out my cell phone to start typing. I typed in the messaging section, “1 pink, 1 green.” She then said “Oh” and I pulled an orange colored one off the rack along with a shirt that I wanted to try on. When I came out of the dressing room to show my mom, she said she didn’t like the combination of the two together but the shirt was nice by itself. At that point I just gave her a frustrated look. I wanted to tell her that I liked the combination and that the mannequin was wearing them together. It was a lost cause since I certainly was not going to pull out a notepad or my phone in the dressing room. We left the store empty-handed.
Do you know how hard it is to watch Wheel of Fortune without a voice? I was soooo close to shouting out the solution to a puzzle, but luckily I stopped myself. When the show ended my mom said, “I feel like I can’t talk because you can’t talk.” What a powerful statement. I wonder if the parents of children with speech delays feel the same way. Do they struggle to talk to their children because they don’t receive feedback? Who is more frustrated, the person trying to receive a message, or the person without verbal capabilities? I think the latter.