“The Day”

Things have been quiet here, so here’s the random blog update. I’m working on a big review of the two speech amplifiers I’ve tried out but that’s gotten a little involved.

After the long winter, there is one day every year in Montreal where everyone pours out onto sidewalks, wears too little clothing and sits out on terraces to soak up the warm weather. Our friend Darin calls it “the day” and said “if you have to ask if it’s ‘the day’ then it’s not ‘the day.’” With record temperatures yesterday, it was “the day.” We spent several hours on the porch (the cat spent more), photographed the apartment for an ad on sabbaticalhomes.com (feel free to contact me if you’re looking for a posh rental in Montreal September 2010 – June 2011, but this isn’t going to be a good bargain for your friend who just finished a PhD and is moving to town to start a postdoc and wants to rent a place for $800 a month). Last night we went out to dinner to celebrate M’s completion of external beam radiation for her cancer. I wore shorts all day. It was excellent.

Dinner was its own adventure, as Ouzeri is one of our favorite restaurants but we haven’t been there since well before my first surgery. It’s simply too loud. It’s one of those places where the only soft surface is other people, which appears to have become a fashionable feature of 21st century restaurant design, at least in Montreal. And when it’s full of people it is so loud that people without speech disabilities are hard to hear. We decided to try out the speech amp there, especially once I discovered the “high” setting (a full review of my two speech amps is forthcoming). It sort of worked. Not really, though. The idea was that since there were more than just Carrie and I, I could just shut up and listen to the conversation if it got too loud. We arrived early at 6:30 and at first it was surprisingly successful. As the night went on, it got harder and harder for people to hear me. So the speech amp isn’t a panacea, but it did work fine on a bar terrace later in the evening.

More importantly, in domestic and less intense social setting, the speech amp has had one very good effect. I strain my voice less, which may or may not be the reason for its quickening recovery. I sort of sound like “me with a cold” some of the time now and may well try a venture into school next week. So that’s nice. Carrie can understand me reasonably well without the amp now if we’re just together at home and I manage to not raise my voice at all so that’s good.

In addition to the voice, side effects continue. I’m just bemused by the taste thing, since everyone says it’s temporary. But it’s still there so every meal I eat that I haven’t eaten since before the surgery is a surprise in terms of what it actually tastes like. I’m also still not fully healed from the trache, which just means changing a bandage every day for now. There’s still some swelling. My mouth, eyes and nose are dry.

But the most annoying is the fatigue. It could be all I’ve been through, or I could be hypothyroid. We just don’t know. It’s not constant. It comes and goes. I find myself calculating: “if I do this, I will need to make sure I don’t do this other thing.” If I do too much in one day, I pay for it the next (this was always the case but the threshold of “too much” was much much higher). But it’s not actually quite predictable like that. Now that I can more or less talk, that is the part I like the least.