Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I have no voice

There is something about not being able to speak that I find disempowering and disturbing, even though I know my voice will soon come back. I have to be patient and let this virus work itself out of my system.

There was another time I lost my voice that was a lot more disturbing. I had overdosed- it was very bad. I had to be intubated, and on a respirator, and spent a few days in intensive care. Afterwards I could only speak in a whisper. They told me that this was an effect of the intubation, and that as my vocal tract re-epithelialized, my voice would probably come back. But they also told me that there was a small chance that I had sustained a vocal cord injury and that it wouldn't. It was a very long wait, wondering if I had destroyed my voice.

The whole episode was very traumatic. You don't just come out of a coma like it happens on TV. It happens in stages. And for a while I was very confused. I saw that I was in restraints- but the other patients in room (there were 4 of us) were not. I thought that they had succeeded in breaking out of their restraints- I thought that this was what we were supposed to do. I saw all of these monitors- I thought they were TV's. I thought it was some kind of game show- to have people break out of their restraints. So I kept trying, and then pleading for them to let me out, telling them that I give up, I lost the game, I can't do it.

I had the worst bruises on my arms and legs from where the restraints were. They eventually faded and my voice came back for which I am very grateful. They had told my parents that I might either die or have brain damage, that they would do what they could. Sometimes, when I am having trouble concentrating or remembering something- I wonder about the brain damage.

I did it to myself- and yet it was a very traumatic experience. I know it was traumatic for my family, too. I think I am glad I didn't succeed. Most days.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow. I can't imagine. I am glad you are ok. I understand (sort of) the what is brain damage? questions. EVer since my surgery in 2011 that killed off a chunk of cerebral cortex I have a hard time not getting upset if I don't remember something or can't figure something out, even though sometimes if I slow down I realize that it is because of cycling or just normal forgetting. And sometimes it is the brain damage and I get mad again. Nobody's fault, just frustrating.

I am so fortunate that my long battle with suicide has only included psych stays. I'll never be quite sure how that is true.

Waking up confused is awful. When I had my hysterectomy I was confused because I remember them telling me that I would be going to sleep from an IV med and getting sleepy but then I remembered being bagged. I thought I'd had an asthma attack on the way down but it turned out that when they extubated me and gave the first dose of morphine that my body was overly sensitive to morphine and tried to go back under and my memory of being bagged and yelled at to breathe was because they were trying to get air into me while reversing the morphine. At a lower dose I did fine. IT is still a scary memory that I have nightmares about sometimes.