Yesterday while I was at work I got the chance to talk to one of the clients. She is a young mother whose husband is in the military and is currently stationed at a base somewhere - not Fort Hood. She is a lovely person and we made a connection.
We got to talking about Susan, our mutual speech therapist. The woman was quite surprised that I was a patient of Susan's as well. We got to talking about why we saw Susan and it turns out that we both have Spasmodic Dysphonia (for more about Spasmodic Dysphonia see the National Spasmodic Dysphonia website). After the now normal expressions of disbelief because my voice sounds "so normal," the young woman and I began sharing experiences.
Talking about being absolutely mute and how people react to that brought tears to the woman's eyes. When she heard that I shared the same emotions and experiences as she, she started crying. She was so happy to find someone to share her experiences with who totally understood. We talked for about twenty minutes about things which helped me - including my amplified telephone (free from the state of Texas through the Department of Rehabilitation and Assistance) and my personal amplifier (brand name: Spokeman).
It turns out that this woman works for an insurance company and a part of her daily work involves talking on the phone for extended periods of time. This part of her day is absolute hell for her since she has to push her voice to be heard and then that makes her voice, already not too hot, worse.
This whole conversation made me thankful for what I have been given. Am I thankful that I have SD - no, not quite. However, I am thankful that my experiences with SD allow me to offer support and understanding to others going through the same thing. I am also thankful that my handful of readers have gained some understanding about SD through the reading of my blog and might, just might, share that information with other people that they know. Maybe the word about SD can be spread just a little through my efforts.
Voice Update: My voice is doing pretty well. I have been bad about doing my exercises - while I was sick this weekend I totally forgot them and I haven't gotten myself back on track yet now that I am up and about. I made an audio cd of me reading different stories for the members of my ASL IV class so that they can listen to the stories and practice interpreting. Realizing that I hadn't actually listened to any of the finished CDs to make sure that they really worked, I popped my copy into my CD player as I drove home. I listened to about half of the CD. I had such mixed emotions. Yes, my voice sounded pretty good but I could hear many, many breaks and hesitations. Especially on words beginning with h or the hard c sound. That was a little depressing but - I guess people need to hear a "broken voice" and realize that I can still convey meaning with it. *sigh*