una palabra

(spanish for \’one word\’) the most frustrating, horrible, difficult part of this whole mess was being unable to communicate with the world around me. i just had to let go of all responsibility of the situation around me. the first few weeks, my only response was yes (eyes up) or no (eyes down) which made conversations short, to say the least. then we tried using a communication board. letters A – F were in the upper, left corner. letters G – L were in the upper, right corner, letters M – S were in the lower, left corner, and the letters T -Z were in the lower, right corner. i was to look at the cluster of letters that had the letter i wanted , and whoever was holding the board would go through the letters until i said yes with my eyes. easy, right? WRONG! the board wasnt useful at all at first because my eyes couldnt move much so they couldnt reach the four corners. so when i was asked who my favorite character from gossip girl was, i had to choose the \’s\’ for serena because my eyes couldnt reach the corner with the \’b\’ for blair (who was obvi my fave, right alks? sorry set!) after my eyes improved and i could use the board, it was painstakingly tedious and it took 10 minutes to spell out one sentence. but for now, it was the only way i could communicate so i got used to it. if only i had my voice back, everything would be so much easier, i thought. but it had been weeks and i was told there was a possibility it wouldnt come back…i started mouthing the alphabet constantly,imagining the sound of each letter rolling off my tongue. but in reality, with each letter there was silence. one day i was crying in my room and my nurse came running in and exclaimed, \’i heard her cry.\’ my mom replied, \’yea sorry! she will be fine.\’ my nurse responded, \’no, this is the first time i heard her cry!\’ there was a voice behind my tears, and a few days later, my laugh too! this was great but i needed a voice behind my words. a few weeks later, my mom and i were in speech therapy with emily. i was trying to get my moms attention, so i tried mouthing the word \’mom,\’ though i felt like it was pointless because it was way too subtle a movement to get her attention. i started to mouth the word \’mom\’ but to my surprise, a soft, weak sounding \’mom\’ came out! i had a voice! my mom and emily screamed with joy and disbelief.finally! but my progress was bittersweet. i realized my voice RARELY came on, was so difficult to use, sounded nothing like me, and was so unclear and unintelligible. but it was a voice! martin luther king jr. said, \’our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.\’ i did die when i was forced to be silent. but that day, i came back from the dead because i wouldnt be silenced anymore.

4 thoughts on “una palabra

  1. Oh Hershey…I've just wanted all along for you to regain your voice…I know that we all have. However soft, I know it's there…and it grows stronger every day. We'll giggle again soon about great and goofy Bollywood movies alike :).MLK's words were sharp, but know that you were never (and never could be) really silent in the minds of those who know and love you.


  2. Dude, my favorite thing to hear you say is \”Anchal, Come on.\” or maybe just hearing you sing Killing Me Softly. Paawan will still do the \”one time, time.\”Love you, as always.


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