I graduated from my special speech therapy program for Parkinson's Disease patients on Friday. My speech therapist Nicole led me through LSVT-Loud designed especially for people whose voices have been reduced to a whisper like mine had. We met for an hour a day for four days a week with homework each day with two times a day on weekends.
For me, the most frustrating part of having Parkinson's so far has been being reduced to having a voice that couldn't be heard on the other end of the couch. I felt trapped in being able to communicate with anybody, including my wife, my kids and my grandkids. At church we sat in the very back row to avoid having to talk to anybody. At a fast food restaurant, my wife would order and at a restaurant with a waitstaff, I would tell the waitperson that "I'd take the same as her" pointing to my wife.
Nicole ran me through a variety of exercises everyday which had me belting "Ahh's" going up and down the scale. She took decibel readings each time to let me know where I stood.
I moved on to phrases and then to reading whole sections of copy, including a book. I learned about breathing and how to "Think LOUD."
What now? I have to practice everyday to keep my voice in shape. As a Parkinson's person, I have vocal chords that need to be recalibrated often, at least everyday. I haven't gotten all the way back, but I can see it on the horizon. I've been given the tools.
Nicole, you've been a world-changer for me. And to Gladys, my wife, you've been beside me through all this. You're my world-changer too.
I'm on the way towards getting this under control and I praise our Almighty God for that.