It’s Sunday morning. I’ve tried already: absolutely no voice. Today is my third day in a row being a mute person.
I think of all I am going to do today. I plan to go for a walk and, at three pm, welcome my friends David and Bryan who are interested in the bicycle I am giving away. Next I think of the things I might have to say for each activity and I pre-load the sentences I may need into my speech app, Proloquo2go.
For my walk, I need my standard sentences:
- Hello. I can’t speak. Please bear with me while I ask you a question.
- Hi. Thanks for your concern but I am fine. I am having a seizure and just need to rest. Could you please remove my glasses and anything in my hands?
- Could you please ask me that again in a way that allows me to answer “yes” or “no?”
As for the visit of my friends, I sent David and Bryan’s my “coming out” booklet that explains my diagnosis and I emailed them to warn them I can’t speak at all. They are interested in my bike. It was an expensive purchase but my medications preclude using it so I am keen to give it to Bryan. For them, I have written an essay about the bike and why I can’t use it any more. I’ve asked that in exchange for the bike, that they take me to a fine dining restaurant for dinner. I have also banked these sentences into Proloquo2go’s memory:
- Would you a coffee or espresso or tea?
- Would you like some of my homemade ice cream?
- Would you like a strawberry or pistachio cupcake or a slice of orange ice cream cake?
- How long will I be unable to speak?
- Why am I getting worse, not better?
- What happens to your friendships when you can’t talk any more?
- I feel jealous of speaking people.
- Angry at people “wasting” their speech ability on inane things. (Can’t help it.)
- I am frustrated. I cry sometimes.
Proloquo2go is an expensive app that works on my iPhone. When I look at my phone now, I actually feel love for it because it gives me a voice. It’s my prosthetic.
Yesterday I experienced moments of despair worrying that my imaginary but vital friend, God, was angry with me. I worried my muteness was His punishment. Today I know that I was wrong to have that fear and doubt because in spite of everything, I am not depressed.
When I smell the lemon in the lather of my soap, or Barbara Lowe’s sweet peas, or when I look at the faces of children or into the eyes of a dog I experience an ecstasy that than compensates for my isolating disability. They are messages from Him; we are okay.