Sunday, November 05, 2006

It Could Go Away Again Forever

From THE WEEK MAGAZINE, November 10, 2006

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams has made a miraculous recovery from a strange disease called Spasmodic Dysphonia that made it impossible for him to talk normally for more than a year. SD, which affects some 30,000 Americans, affects the portion of the brain that controls speech. Sufferers typically cannot speak at all unless reciting poetry, laughing, or using an exaggerated falsetto or baritone. Most patients never recover, but Adams' voice returned to him suddenly while he was chanting "Jack Be Nimble" as an exercise. "I don't even know if my voice is going to last," he said. "Maybe this is an illusion. It came back, but in a few days it could go away again forever."

From a December 2005 entry posted on the Dilbert blog

It’s bad enough to find out that I’ll probably never speak normally to another person for the rest of my life. But to make things worse, my notorious cleverness makes people think I’m joking when I explain it. The following scene has been played out about 100 times in the past week.

Me (hoarse whisper): “Hi. How…are…you?”

Other Person: “Ooh, sounds like you have laryngitis”

Me (hoarse whisper): “No…it’s a… speaking disorder. It’s.. permanent.”

Other Person: “Ha Ha Ha Ha! You’re funny.”