Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Voice

Last week, I watched a TED video that featured Roger Ebert, the legendary Chicago movie critic, with the title, "Remaking My Voice." Ebert lost his ability to talk when cancer (and the surgeries for cancer) destroyed his jaw. Ebert talks on the video through a Mac PowerBook that simulates a human voice. He also had his wife and two friends read his story because he finds the artificial voice annoying and figured we would, too. 

The beauty of TED talks is that they are never longer than 20 minutes. I'll give you warning here, you will get choked up toward the end. 
His story made me wonder if I could deal with not being able to talk. I think most people, at one point or another in their lives, wonder how they would deal with being deaf or blind. I don't think most of us have ever thought about what it would be like to lose your voice. 

Because I've always been comfortable with the written word than the spoken word, I think I would find a way to deal. I would have to depend on other people more than I do now - I wouldn't be able go through the drive-through by myself or answer a phone call. I'm sure I would use social media even more than I do right now. 

Then a few days later, I received news that my uncle had cancer and would be losing his voice box. Roger Ebert's story took on a whole different perspective to me. He will be having surgery April 25th at Mayo Clinic and although he barely talk now, he'll be able to say final words to those he loves most. I'm hoping that he can use some of the new technologies to augment his communications, but I'm hoping even more that this surgery will get all the cancer. 

Keeping my fingers crossed and saying my prayers.

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