That time when you’re ordering at Starbucks and the barista says: “What was that?” “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” “Are you sick?”
That time when you’re chatting with a friend, and your voice cuts out and cracks, then dies.
That time when you’re calling across a street, and no one hears.
That time when you’re in a noisy restaurant, and you might as well just look into each other’s eyes.
That time when you’re cheering for your favorite team—er, something like that.
That time when you’re being mugged, and all you scream is air.
That time when the pastor tells you to open your hymnal.
That time when rowdy students don’t even notice your cries, let alone care . . .
My life after my accident returned almost to normal. I suffered almost no changes. My shoulder is almost okay.
But, my voice?
I used to sing in choir. I was a soprano. When I had my accident, I was intubated for two weeks. This was so I wouldn’t have to be trached. In the end, I had to be trached, anyway, and, when I finally got my voice back, it was different. It was soft. It was weak. It was scarred.
My voice has grown stronger over the last ten years, but it will never be the same. I can’t sing at all anymore; I rarely even try. People tell me I’m soft-spoken. I smile; I nod; I don’t cry.
My friend Jared submitted his perspective on my story a little late. It is he who reminded me of “these times.” So, my friends, forgive me: I lied. This is the final piece of my rock-climbing story. This is the last piece of “how to not die.”
I was visiting Jodi at her upstairs apartment when I first heard that there’d been an accident. We knew that you and Randy had been climbing and immediately wondered if it had been you.
When we found it was you, and that you’d fallen eighty feet or more, my immediate thought was, “How in the world could anyone survive?”
The next thing I remember is going to Erlanger Hospital. We were there with the usual group of friends, and we were all pretty nervous. We joked a lot to try not to appear nervous. I hoped you’d be able to laugh a bit. But then I realized that laughing could be very painful, so I hoped you wouldn’t laugh.
When we saw you, you couldn’t talk because you had a tracheal tube and other tubes for suction and things. You were responsive, and your responses to silly things people said were both heart-wrenching and a relief. You were very lucid, but you seemed tired. I remember leaving feeling very sad but also cheered by the thought of how much you had already overcome.
I remember various snippets after that: Your speaking, once you regained that ability—with your new, sexy voice—and wondering whether you’d ever sing again. I also knew you were going to have to do a lot of intensive therapy to regain your physical abilities.
Mostly, I remember being astonished that you survived and regained so much function in the wake of the accident. I certainly would never have imagined you’d recover as thoroughly as you have.
And that continues to astonish me.
(Thank you, Jared!!!)
The REAL End!
All links are from jesscy.com:
- how to not die: the fall
- how to not die: the rescue
- how to not die: the i.c.u.
- how to not die: the missing piece
- how to not die: the road to recovery
- the “real” missing piece