Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just What is My Problem?

Well... I have many. However, the current and most pressing problem is that Chai Tea, our 19 year old, left home pre-maturely. We had her on a path we thought she wanted to be on that she decided to step off of and we are in the process of learning how to relate to her in a different way as we deal with her not being a part of our every day life. This includes a family counselor that the four of us left at home are seeing.

Another big problem in my life is my voice. I was diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia, or SD, in December of 2005, after nearly 3 years of going back and forth to the doctor and several months of speech therapy. It is a neurological condition which causes the folds surrounding my vocal chords to spasm and slam shut over the chords when I speak. There is currently no cure. I had some limited success with botox injections but have stopped getting them after more than a year of no results. They are very expensive and the go around with the insurance each time and the amount of money we are required to pay is no longer worth only a chance at a result. I am able to communicate one on one in a quiet place and am able to talk on the phone as long as there isn't other noise on either end and it is with someone who is used to hearing me. Even then though, it can be difficult and I have to repeat myself often. The more people that are in the room, the harder it is for me to be heard. Places like church, restaurants and most social situations are nearly impossible for me to communicate in.

I've never been much of a computer person. In fact, I have an aversion to most technical things and usually only learn enough about them to do the most basic of functions... like using my cell phone, my digital camera, and the remote to the TV and DVD player. Over the last couple of years I've become more and more reliant on e-mail as a form of communication. I was never a fan of blogs until I started one last year. I did not mention my problems with my voice on that blog until shortly before I deleted it because I had found a place where I could be normal and my voice didn't matter.

My last blog, Laughing Always Helps, was more about having fun for me. It was a way for me to escape from the things that bothered me and an attempt to connect with other people by making them laugh and maybe brightening their day for a moment. There are dangers in blogging, like just about anything I suppose, and it is important to me to strive for balance in my time spent on it. I think it is far too easy to substitute Internet relationships with personal relationships that require more effort. I learned during my time after deleting the blog that there were benefits from my blogging that I really missed. I also learned that with this new blog I want to be more real. Laughing is a big part of my life. My kids often call me a laughaholic. But... crying is also a big part of my life. The part that I hide from everyone. I'm not planning on turning this blog into a boohoofest or anything. I am just acknowledging the fact that I'm struggling.

What other problems? I'm clumsy. Just today when we were at Double Shot's baseball game I was walking back to my seat after standing at a hole in the fence for an entire inning in an effort to get a picture of him doing something spectacular in right field, when I slammed my leg into hitch sticking way out from a long bed pickup. The silent screams that rang out through each cell of my body are still echoing throughout my very being. Tears spontaneously flung from the corners of my eyes as I furtively glanced about for any witnesses. Thankfully, there were none. I do believe I may have a permanent reminder, though, in the form of sizable dent in my right shin. I also regularly spill things on myself. Like everyday. Today I did not. However, someone sitting behind me at the game spilled their nasty cheez whiz nacho slime all over my stuff.

I also like food. A lot. But, we won't go there. Not today.


Junebug said...

I so hate it when I bump my shin on something. I always think that it's going to be a permanent scar. I also try to remind myself later when I forget why I have a bruise. i usually bump into something when I am headed for bed at night. And I have to be quiet then too. I'm sure you're not any clumsier than any of the rest of us. My mother-in-law had a problem with her vocal chords like that and so does her daughter. Does it make you choke sometimes too? I hope not.

Elysa said...

I love you, sweetheart...whether your laughing or crying...or even doing both at the same time.

Stephanie said...

You are marvelous.. all of you. Your struggles and your laughter. I cherish you and we have never met. So there... I hope that doesn't make what I feel any less valuable.

Oops actually we have met once did we not.. in a birthing room.


Coffee Bean said...


I'm pretty darn clumsy! LOL! When I was getting the botox injections I had some trouble with choking.

Elysa and Stephanie,

Y'all are very sweet. Thanks.

april said...

Have I come over here to tell you I'm glad you're back? I did notice you disappeared for awhile.

Is your voice disorder the same thing that NPR host Diane Reams has?

I have moments when I rely on blogging to keep me in touch with other people because I spend most of my time at home with kids and adult conversation is something I long to hear. I agree that there are dangers in blogging.

I'm glad you're back, I enjoy reading about your family and your mishaps.

Coffee Bean said...

Thanks April,

I had to look up Diane Reams because I don't know who she is. Yes, we have the same thing. Now, I've got to go learn more about her!

Angie said...

Hi Coffee Bean (if I may call you that),

I hopped over here from April's blog and have enjoyed reading yours. I was particularly interested in this post because I have voice problems, too. I haven't been officially diagnosed, but I think I have a mild case of adductor SD. I abused my voice like an idiot when I was a young teenager. Long story...

Anyway, my voice often suddenly chokes or cuts off when I'm enunciating short vowel sounds that require my throat to be open--especially when speaking loudly. I've actually written a humor piece where I talk about trying to avoid short vowel words--and about the difficulty of shouting my order at the drive-thru (I don't even try to order a Big Mac!) I also have difficulty swallowing food from time to time. I've read about Botox injections, but the idea of someone sticking a needle in my throat scares the heck out of me. I don't know that my problem is severe enough to resort to that anyway.

By the way--like you, I'm a coffee aficionado, my favorite color is green, my favorite tree is the Aspen, and I am clumsy. Maybe we're twins separated at birth! On the other hand, I don't want animals in my house...looks like you're a pet person.

I'll add your blog to my line-up of reads!