VOICE

Feb 24 2013

throat

the itch in my throat became something else quickly. it progressed from intermittent and almost unnoticable feather tickle to the persistent pressure of serious pustule in the space of an early evening.

i went to the mirror and tried to look as far down my throat as i could. i thought i could see what it was. it seemed to be some sort of spot. i thought at first it might have been a kind of puncture in the flesh, but i could not perceive any depth to it, so i decided it was reasonable to conclude that it must be a surface spot. I coughed and coughed but it seemed to have no effect. better get a doctor to see that if it gets worse, i thought.

the next day when i woke up i noticed immediately that i was unable to clear my throat. i could direct the contractions of the inner muscles of my neck, but no sound issued when i attempted to cough, and there was no sensation. i tried to speak, and again i felt that there was some muscular action, but no sound was produced.

i returned to the mirror and opened my jaws as wide as they would go, but it didnt take much to see that the situation had become more serious. the spot was no longer localised, but appeared to have consumed the entire space beyond my mouth. i was surprised that i had not noticed the strange colour of the spot, but now that it had filled my entire throat, i saw that i could not tell what colour it was. it might be white, or it might be black, or some colour in between those colours, if any of those alternatives can really be considered colours at all. i remembered that it had previously been a very deep pink back there, but things were clearly no longer the colour they should have been. i noticed again that there was no dimension to the spot, or lesion, or whatever it could properly be called – it was flat and dull, and yet it might easily stretch on forever for all i could really say.

i took my toothbrush and tried shoving it back there, but before i felt it touch anything it was no longer in my hand, and i could not tell where it had gone. i attempted to swallow some breakfast, but unabated hunger informed me that nothing had made it to my stomach.

an hour later i was in an emergency room fumbling with a pen and paper. SORRY I HAVE NO VOICE I NEED A DOCTOR, i wrote, PLEASE.

“You need to tell me the problem,” said the nurse, “This is a very busy department. You don’t know just how busy. It might be better for you to see your regular doctor.” i opened my mouth and pointed it at him. “Ah,” he said, “Hmm.”

With surprising speed and efficiency, I found myself funneled into a small, private examination room, where a large and intimidating man introduced himself to me as Doctor Jones. “When did this problem first come to your attention, Mr. Smith?” he asked, after squinting into my mouth. LAST NIGHT, i scrawled.

“You should have come in weeks ago when you first noticed something was wrong,” scolded Jones, “You are obviously suffering from Oblivion.”

OBLIVION? i wrote.

“Oblivion, of the throat. If we had seen you earlier, we might have been able to resect it. As things stand, we could attempt to operate from beneath, through an incision in your upper chest, but as you might imagine, there is some difficulty involved in sneaking up on Oblivion. I see you have adapted to pen and paper. Will you be comfortable writing in future, do you think? You may never have a voice again.”

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE, i scribbled.

“We can’t do anything much at this stage,” he said “Or maybe at any other stage either, in the event that there is any change. We will try. Unfortunately for now it will be necessary to lock you away in a secure facility to control your infection and prevent any possible contagion.”

i set my grim jaw. WHATEVER IT TAKES, i wrote.

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