Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Silent Psychiatrist


This morning, I woke up and got ready for work. Time to go and I called to the kid to come. Only nothing came out. Nothing. I felt fine, but I'd lost my voice. Completely, barely a whisper emerged.

It was just before 8. Kid announced she felt sick and went back to bed. I fetched the carpool kids (--the issues of what to do about carpoolers when one's own child is sick could be its own entire blog). My first patient was for 9:00 and it seemed like too short notice to cancel. I did croak out cancellation calls to the next couple of patients with the thought that they might have a hard time conducting the session without my input; some people don't come in and just talk spontaneously, they look to me for direction, a little more than I sometime wish and a lot more than my voice could tolerate today.

As shrinks go, I talk a lot. As people go, I talk a whole lot. I think I'm probably in the top ten percent for talkativeness in the general population, though I quiet down when ClinkShrink tries to monopolize the podcast.

So suddenly, I couldn't talk. I figured it would be a good experiment, or at least a good blog post. I listened and I let the sessions flow a little more organically. There were places I'd normally interrupt to ask questions-- I didn't. At the end of the session, I asked how it went. The first patient said it was fine once he realized I felt okay (I felt fine). With that, I called the rest of my patients and left the choice to them-- a couple came, a couple didn't. There was one session I'd wondered about, and I did end up having to do a fair amount of talking/croaking.

I wondered if I would be a better therapist-- I sometimes think I talk TOO much. I don't think it was better. I don't think it was particularly worse, either. I'll be happy when I can just talk again. Camel says to rest my voice, Roy says to gargle with salt water. Off to hot tea with honey now. Thank you for letting me croak here.