Since Friday, Aug. 25, roughly around noon, after waking up from the anesthesia following my surgery, I had to keep silent until my follow up check-up on Thursday, Aug. 31.
That’s right, Radio silence. No talking. Not even a whisper. To allow my voice to hopefully regain its strength. I have a recurring problem with my vocal cords, where a papilloma grows on the tissue folds and impairs the volume and quality of my voice. That is why it sounds raspy and many people think I have a cold.
This is my third major surgery in eight and a half years. Actually, not bad, according to my doctor, who is the preeminent physician in this field of laryngology.
However, a third time was not a charm, when it came to remaining silent. Oh yes, I did it, to help ensure that I could speak clearly, but it was very difficult this time.
You do not realize how fast we speak, how quickly the topics of conversation change until you cannot join in. Also, my two children are older now, and more interesting to talk with then ever. I missed asking them questions about their day and activities.
My wife and children and my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and my niece and nephew were very understanding, but a thumps up or down or shaking your hand from side to side conveys only so much emotion.
My colleagues at work were also very compassionate. Tuesday, my production day for the Herald, it was hard due to the amount of information that must be relayed between the formatters, the executive editor, the copyeditor, a co-publisher, my reporter and me.
It was not an easy task. They are many times you feel like blurting out a simple word or two, or even a short sentence, but you can’t and it’s hopefully better in the long run.
What I did learn, is that even though you may want to say something, not everything needs to be said. I listened to others more attentively, and I tried to show more empathy by listening since I couldn’t respond.
Silence is not so golden, but the lessons learned from being silent are worth their weight in gold.