Losing my voice

It happens at least once – sometimes twice – a year. My world as I know it comes crashing to a halt.
It starts with a tickle in the throat.
Then I start making pleas for pints of Ben & Jerry’s, the colder, the better.
A day later, I’m coughing like a smoker with a carton-a-day habit, and I’m in danger of hacking up a lung.
This is the day you give me a sippy cup of milk Jillian left on the bottom of her toy box three weeks ago – I can’t smell it anyway. This is the day you tell me it’s going to be $600 to fix my car – I can’t hear you anyway.
For me, all of this is unpleasant, yes, but not the end of the world.
That comes later. Usually two or three days later.
As the concrete wall of gunk builds up in my chest, I drink Robitussin by the gallon. I gargle a bay’s worth of salty water. I run the shower until there’s so much steam pouring out the bathroom door you’d think I had a locomotive running through.
It’s no use.
I lose my voice anyway.
And my world goes crazy.
Interviews are out without a voice. So are phone calls to set them up. In fact, phone calls of any sort are off the table – unless I want to be reported as a heavy breather to the folks at Verizon.
My family takes full advantage.
My daughter celebrates by leaving her toys strewn across the floor of our office/playroom. She doesn’t have to listen to Mommy’s yelping when a Matchbox car becomes lodged in my foot.
My husband, who was kind enough to cart home the requested Ben & Jerry’s a few days prior, enjoys his respite. Accustomed to being greeted at the door by a wife hungry for adult conversation (after a day of answering “why? why? why?” wouldn’t you?), he’s smart enough to hide his glee at the lack of incessant chatter from my direction.
The world outside the house is noticeably less polite.
There’s no pointing and laughing, but there’s a fair amount of snickering.
There are more than a few “what’s that you say? I couldn’t heeeeeeear yous,” in that lilting tone of voice I know means they’re laughing at me on the inside.
But I can’t call them on it.
I can’t yell.
I can’t poke fun.
I can’t even offer up a bit of biting wit.
And I don’t like it.
I admit it. I talk too much. But the first step to recovery for me wasn’t in admitting I had a problem.
Because two days without my voice, and I’m itching to go yell it from the rooftops.
So watch out. The next step in my yearly bout with voicelessness?
I get it back. And I start talking… a lot.
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