Have you ever thought of losing your voice? Oh my God, scary, isn’t it?
Certain incidents or experiences in life haunts you for a while. Sometimes musing on such happenings give you a better understanding and even change your perspective on how your approach to certain things should be.
That day I was at work. A gracefully old lady in her nineties was heard talking in her room while I passed by the corridor. I knew there wasn’t anyone in the room. I just peeped in to check if she was alright. She was lying in bed, all comfortable. But, it was evident on her face that something was worrying her. She was seen staring at the ceiling and talking. She didn’t notice my presence. As I listened closely, her voice was trembling; as she continued, I heard her say:
“ ….I don’t want to lose my speech. I am scared. The doctor in hospital said I can have another stroke. If I have one, I am going to lose my voice. Last time I had one, I remember how difficult I felt to be able to talk again. My brain was sending messages to my mouth, but I couldn’t speak. I felt so helpless. But I didn’t give up. I don’t want to lose my speech, it is a powerful way to communicate. I once had a friend, who couldn’t hear or speak. I remember once her mother couldn’t find her where she was as she wanted to call her for lunch. It was scary. I don’t want to lose my speech….”
I approached her and without startling her, I interrupted. Because I had to distract her from getting too upset, as already she was in the verge of tears. I sat beside her, gently held her right hand in mine. We talked and I tried to reassure her without her knowing. A smile, a touch, a few words is enough sometimes to calm people down. I only left the room after I saw her falling asleep. It was heartbreaking for me as I heard her pouring her heart out.
Many times, I wonder what’s going on in people’s minds. Mainly when I deal with people living with dementia or surviving after a stroke. While some people can express their feelings in words, some can’t. People can communicate a great deal with their eyes, with gestures, body language, even with behaviours and approaches. And many of us have learned about it too. But have we ever succeeded to acknowledge a person’s fear of losing something/someone?
Most of us live with some kind of fear in our lives. It’s not because we are weak, but because we value certain things more in life that we can’t accept to lose it. It could be a person, a thing, an emotion, a dream, a memory, an achievement, an exam, a sense, an opportunity or even ourselves.
So the next time you hear someone talking about something that they are afraid of or worried about, will you be patient enough to spare a bit of time, sit with them and listen? I am sure they are not seeking solutions or easy answers, just an ear, and just the feeling that someone is near itself is enough to make the person feel better.
~ Chinchu Gibu