Silent Voices—-Robbers Don’t Use Smiley Faces

356x536_Hise_ProfilePicFor Dortha Hise, who permanently lost her voice in a very short period of time from a condition called abductor spasmodic dysphonia, humor, “thick skin,” and close family and friends have been essential. Losing her voice meant she no longer can order at a drive through or over a counter, use the phone, or scream for help, and she now depends on her husband to introduce her in social situations.  Here is a portion of the email exchange she shared with me, reminding me of the great power of the human spirit.

I have not let any of those things hold me back. While it’s been about a year and a half, I have adapted everything in my life. I use Skype and Google Hangout to conduct my meetings, and I type while the other person talks. If I want to dine alone, I go prepared with thick skin that it’s going to likely be challenging. I try to point and have all of my “sides” and “add ons” ready, but it’s still a challenge.

My sense of humor has really helped me through this. I’m able to laugh at so much more than I would have a year and a half ago when this was still fresh and extremely painful and sometimes even embarrassing. I went into Taco Bell for a friend and myself and I had decided to write down our entire order, because I thought it would be easier. As I handed the cashier the order, she looked absolutely terrified – like I was robbing the place! Oh my gosh – I started laughing and had to wait for her to make eye contact to let her know I didn’t have a voice. I kind of pantomimed it out, and let her know that I didn’t have a voice, I didn’t mean to scare her. So now I’m more careful and start my notes with “I have a vocal disorder and…” and always include a smiley face. I figure robbers don’t typically include smiley faces.

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