Thursday, April 22, 2010

Laryngitis Silences Only the Voice

The fading voice came on like gang busters yesterday while at work. A slight rasp progressed rapidly to no voice save a whisper. No power coming from these vocal cords and not a thing to be done about it except surrender. Sure, I've had a cold the last couple of days but no symptoms that would keep me from the tasks at hand; certainly not from my paying job. Unwritten rule: never call in sick. Doctors don't get sick. Not true but most of us act like dumb heroes where relatively minor personal illness is concerned.

By the end of the day, my patients were expressing concern for me. Finally the big picture sunk through my thick skull; being around others with whatever viral nastiness was afflicting me was probably not a great idea even with the hand washing routine that rubs my skin into desert dryness on a regular basis. I could have worn a mask and continued working, I guess.

Overnight, during my sleeplessness bereft by headache, low grade fever, chilliness, and achy muscles, it was clear that seeing 10 patients today in clinic would definitely NOT be in their best interest nor in mine. Much as I hate to languish at home and think about appointments canceled at the last minute, it had to be. I have to reassure myself that this (calling in sick) is unusual for me. I work with migraines, back aches, tired body and soul and trudge forward. Very few things keep me home when I've committed to being there, to showing up.

What have I done today at home? I've rested my voice. No choice there.

I've played Bananagrams on Facebook. I've checked and written emails. Listened to music. Taken in nutrition (sort of). My head hurts too badly to read a book so I think the next plan is to bust out my current audio book, The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee, another tale of World War II and the aftermath and listen, just listen the hours away.

I hope my voice is usable by tomorrow. Even if it's not, I'll probably pretend like it is and get back in there. "Oh, I've got a bad case of allergies. I apologize for my voice."

Tell me I'm a fool to not stay home when I'm ill. Or, tell me to get my arse back to work. Tell me the truth because honestly, I don't know anything right now. All I know is that laryngitis silences only the voice. The mind, the eyes, the ears, the hunger, the pain, the restlessness all go marching on.


  1. Definitely stay home - that's my vote. You want to heal quickly and that's going to happen best when you're resting - boring as resting can be. Can you rent a really cheezy movie?

  2. Hope you're feeling better by now. The last time I lost my voice I was teaching. It was an indication that I had truly lost my "voice" and I needed to find a way to make myself "heard." It wasn't a one-day thing and I found a way to teach anyway.


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