A speech therapist came this morning to assess what is happening with my husband's voice. It is the only part of his healing that is lagging behind. Happy to report the back pain is for the most part gone. He can now walk a mile at a time, and every twilight we stroll to the food market to pick up groceries for our evening meal, which more often than not, he cooks. Our usual roles are reasserting themselves.
Now, it's just his voice. It is still a raspy whisper, and it turns out he should not have been using it at all. The intubation during his surgery very likely bruised his vocal chords, and their healing requires complete vocal rest, warm tea with honey, gentle massages of the throat, yoga neck rolls, and all the things professional singers do to preserve their instrument.
I wish someone had told us this immediately after the surgery. Instead we filled his hospital room with talk and laughter, and he told his stories, sometimes straining to be heard. Once we got home, the talk continued. In fact, we believed that the more he used his voice, the stronger it would get, like a muscle. Well, now we know the very opposite is true. It will be a challenge for him not to speak at all. Even as the speech therapist was telling him this, he was saying, "Okay. Got it. I see." Nooooo. Nod your head, my love, or shake it left to right. And I promise not to shout questions from the next room anymore.