06 July 2008

That's an Awful Thing to Call Your Husband

After he pulled the tube from my nose and throat, the urge to sneeze went away, but tears kept pouring from my right eye. "Early nodules," he said. People who haven't seen me in a while ask about my nasty cold. My speech therapist friend said I needed to see an ENT. I put it off, like most things I need to do for myself, and ALL things medical.

I have always wanted a husky voice. I have often listened to my answering machine messages with disbelief. Is that flat, nasal voice really mine? And then it happened. I woke up on December 23, 2007 with a Demi
Moore voice. No cold, no pain, just pure sex appeal. Neighbors, co-workers, and old friends have commented on how I could parlay my voice for work or other more interesting favors. Naturally, the voice has been lost on my husband. He's thankfully attracted to my other, somewhat more stable attributes. Like my face and boobs and personality. Somewhat more stable.

My voice is low because of little callous-like growths on my vocal cords. Why do I have vocal nodules? Because I abuse my voice. I don't whisper very often, so that means I scream too much. Don't jump to conclusions. I do scream at the kids more than I want, and we do yell across the house a fair amount. Is the dishwasher clean?! Can you grab a diaper?!

But it's partly the dog's fault. Honestly. We got Rex less than two months before my voice changed. And since then I have been intercepting the kids' favorite toys, our food, clothing, and shoes. "NO, REX! DROP IT! DROP IT!" I've been deflecting his enthusiastic attention. "OFF! GET DOWN!" Rex's trainer (we've only been twice.... and come to think of it really should go back) said the dog is not deaf. We should just speak to him and not repeat ourselves. But it will take him hearing "No" 1000 times before he understands it. Huh? Not in a row, I guess. So I know what to do, I just don't know how not to react.

Scenario Option 1:

Kid drops lovey that she can't sleep without. Dog lunges for it. "NO, REX! DROP IT! DROP IT!" Dog runs, so happy now that I'm playing with him. I lunge for his throat. He whizzes by. "REX!!! DROP IT YOU DAMN DOG!"

Scenario Option 2:

Kid drops lovey that she can't sleep without. Dog lunges for it. "N0, Rex. Drop it." Dog runs, so happy now that I'm playing with him. I stand still. I trust he won't actually rip apart this essential stuffed bunny who is already by some odd design only a blanket on the bottom half. "Rex. Sit. Drop it." Rex obeys and I return the slobbery but intact lovey to a very relieved little girl.

How do I cure vocal nodules? Voice rest. No whispering, no screaming and talk as little as possible. Yes, this is expected of me, the one who talks with patients all day, who got poor conduct marks in middle school -talks too much-, who has a preschooler that asks why at the end of every answer. It is a ridiculous order, but the concept of voice rest has got me thinking. Talking is so core to who I am, that I don't have any idea how to proceed other than to just go for it. Every day I venture into where I've never been, like today: two kids and a mess of finger paints. So I'll just shoot from the hip, as it were. Or from above as is the case here.


And as it is with most forced endeavors, I'm already learning. Changing for the better. Do I really want to teach my kids to scream at animals? Do I really need to explain etiologies and treatment recommendations in such detail? When I go to work tomorrow morning, can't I just say "OK, we went to a nice parade. How about you?" rather than getting into how we were late for the parade, and the guy who took pictures of Otto, and the fireworks too? Haven't I always wanted to be the one who waits for the rest of the group to voice their opinions and then shares mine? To be the girl in class who never says anything and then one day opens her mouth and what comes out is so insightful and smart that everyone stops to listen? Won't I benefit from more listening?

Here's my chance. The doctor told me stop yelling at the dog. "That's an awful thing to call your husband," said my friend when I told her the doctor's orders. There is room for much humor, but I believe there is also room for much, much more.



Jennifer Pahlka said...

Scratchy voices are definitely sexy! As an addicted talker myself, I only wish my vice would yield the same reward. OTOH, losing your voice altogether would not be so great, so as difficult as I know it is, take care of those cords. And keep writing -- I love your blog.

Jane Swanson said...

Enjoyed reading this story. You do have a way with words! Take care of yourself!

Lisa said...

Very well written...the only thing that would make it better would be an audio recording of you reading this post.
Get better!