I woke up gasping for a clear pain free breath; a burning sensation engulfed my throat. Oh god am I dreaming?? What is happening to me, shivering I clambered out of bed to get a sip of water but each drop was an effort to swallow, so taking some parecetamol, I went back to bed and fell into a tired and restless sleep.
As the alarm went of I turned around to go back to sleep, but remembering it was a working day I got up to get ready for work .My throat was sore and as I tried to utter the words “good morning” I realised no audible sound came from my throat. All that came out was a hoarse faint whisper. Oh no I think I have a severe case of laryngitis.
But life has to go on, to improve my vocals, I searched the medicine cupboard for antiseptic mouth wash, salt gargle, lozenges and last but not least more pain killers and set off to work. There was no way I could get someone to cover me at such short notice.
At work there was a mixed bag of comments I received, I realised that being sick is an advantage to some extent especially as the sympathy that people exude is unbelievable. I endured many comments such as:
“Oh no what’s happened to you??”
“You should not be at work”
“You poor thing, can I get you anything?”
“You are so dedicated but stop being a martyr just go home!!”
“Oh great we will have peace today, Nayna has lost her voice!!”
“Hey your partner must be happy peace for few days!!”
“Is it contagious??”
By mid morning I had had endless cups of hot drinks brought to me, cakes, biscuits and yes even chocolate!! My throat feeling like sand paper, I could not bare to touch the stuff let alone eat it!! People go to great strengths to show sympathy when one is sick, if only they were this attentive when my clinic is running late and I have had to skip lunch to catch up.
I struggled on through my clinic barely being able to speak, the sympathy scale was reaching a very high score and in fact it was starting to irritate me.
Each and every new patient I saw asked the same question “what has happened to you??” just when all I needed was silence and to utter the most necessary instructions only.
But the most annoying thing was that when people realised my voice was a bare whisper, they started to speak to me either really softly them selves or really loudly as if I was deaf. Next came the sign language, and even note writing. How could I explain to the people I had not lost my sense of hearing, neither was I mute nor did I have any severe disability, only that I had lost my voice and to treat me as a normal human being.
Finally I gave up on my afternoon clinic rescheduled all appointments and went home to recover, However I did realise that next time I see or meet a person with a genuine disability I will never treat them any different to a normal human being .This morning made me realise how people discriminate against disabilities of any kind.