|Name Of Column
||News & Events
||Andrew Palmer, MS, CCC-SLP
||Helping Others During a Crisis
||Can We Talk?
||Talking about Voices
|This Lary Life
||Get What You Pay For
|Travel With Larys
||Freedom of the Seas - WW Cruise
|The Speechless Poet
||Len A Hynds
||Alice Whenday - Cancer Survivor
||Prose & Poetry
|Bits, Bytes & No Butts!
||Playing in the Stream
INDEX AND LINKS TO EACH ISSUE MAY BE FOUND AT: http://webwhispers.org/news/WotWIndex.asp
For those who joined us since Nov 1, 2006, you never had a chance to know our founder, Dutch Helms for that was the day of his death and what a sad day that was for those of us who knew him and worked with him. We knew he could not last much longer and during his last several months, he was in hospice and beyond communicating. At the time of his death, we were flooded with messages about him. These speak better than any one person can and we do not have room here for all of them, just a few to let you know about this man, a laryngectomee, and the person who fought through his own personal problems as he started this organization that became WebWhispers. I am copying only 7, one for each year he has been gone.
1. I came home from the hospital a lost soul, not knowing if I'd ever be able to communicate verbally again. My son bought me a computer, showed me how it operated, and left me to find my way in the world.. One of the first things I did was enter the search world looking for laryngectomy. Several hits were made, one of them with some guy called Dutch. I thought that sounded neat so I logged on to him. The luckiest day of my life.
2. God gives us life and he takes it away. Dutch was given to us as a teacher in life, let us rejoice him and celebrate the gift he gave us, courage, understanding, will to live, patience.
3. I hope his website will stay online forever. It's one way of remembering the great guy we know as Dutch.
4. After reading all the posts on Dutch's passing, finally I am ready to say good-bye and thanks. It took me awhile to stop crying when reading all the emails. Truly amazing how Dutch opened up my mail box and others. Just the looking forward to emails on WW on a daily basis and how that has touched my life and others. Never would I have believed how Proud I am to be a member of Webwhispers and Proud that Dutch was my Webmaster.
5. I have sat here the past few days reading all the mails about Dutch. I have to admit, there have been tears in my eyes and a very big lump in my throat. About one month before my operation, I stumbled onto Dutch's home page. Not an official club yet, but after reading and downloading everything he had on his site, I knew everything I needed to know to go into surgery; I would survive and even flourish afterward. Since that time, we have helped many more to flourish, with his guidance. Words are inadequate to describe my feelings for Dutch and of the acute loss of a wonderful man. Dutch was an unsung hero just doing his "job" as a Forward Air Controller during the Vietnam War, saving an unknown number of lives of troops in peril. Then, unselfishly, after contracting the "Big C", he devoted his time remaining toward helping others to transition from "got it" to "getting over it".
6. I had the opportunity to dine with Dutch and his Friend at one of our conventions and for all of you who never met the man he is exactly what you all have written about him. He cared about everyone of us who carried the dragon and were learning to live a new life. He was always there to help us get through our anxiety. Remember, checking my mail at 2AM to see what Dutch had written regarding a problem someone was having. I thought to myself this man never sleeps. I have not been active in the club for many years because of my health but what I have seen and read from the "New Leaders" , Dutch did his job again in preparing them to take over the controls of WebWhispers. And you are doing a fantastic job. Dutch was a great man, a caring man, and a person who loved his country. His accomplishments in the United States Air Force were many. He is missed by them as well and he is missed in a special way by all the Veterans in this wonderful organization. Dutch, I'll miss you, our chats, but we will all be together again. God Bless you all. And to the care-givers of Dutch, thank you for all you done; your rewards will be plenty.
7. Rest in peace Dutch I know you will watch over us from your new home. Your loving and caring will go on through the people that you left in charge they have done and will continue to keep your dream alive. They have been a lot of help to me in a very short period of time thanks to everyone.
It has now been 7 years since his death and we follow his examples and principles as best we can. We knew him well and loved him much.
Helping Others During a Crisis.
By Andrew Palmer, MS, CCC-SLP
“There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” Henry Kissinger was quoted as saying that in an interview with the New York Times in 1969. He was no stranger to crises during a long career that spanned some pretty turbulent times. I have had this quote over my desk for the past few weeks and I chuckle each time I look at it. It would be nice if we could schedule any crisis for a time of our choosing! In reality, of course, crises (almost by definition) come upon us unexpectedly and, usually, at the "worst possible time." Going through life, many of us experience stressful events, which might include losing a job, the break-up of a relationship, conflicts with friends or family members, or financial problems. According to most definitions, however, a crisis is something more than this.
A crisis is a situation which suddenly poses a significant threat to a person’s health or well-being. It is so overwhelming that, even though that individual may bring to bear all of our resources and coping strategies, he or she is unable to meet that challenge effectively. If help is not provided quickly and the situation persists, that person may experience long-term harm or simply “give up.” One of the other defining characteristics of a crisis is that it can happen to any one of us. It is not usually the result of a long-term problem but a sudden change in the status quo that can occur to any one of us at any time. From time to time, we all come into contact with someone going through a crisis. Often there are those around that person who want to help – but don’t know how best to do so. What is the best kind of help and when should it be given?
I was a graduate student working with laryngectomees for the first time in Dr. Minnie Graham's Alaryngeal Speech Clinic in San Francisco when I first read the article by Virginia Sanchez-Salazar and Anne Stark in which they describe laryngeal cancer as a series of crises. In the years since, I have re-read the article many times and am struck each time by just how true is their description of the process for so many people, and also by how useful it is to think about for all of us (clinicians, visitors, family and friends) who come into contact with that individual. In their classic article, these authors described a crisis management approach to the recovery process after total laryngectomy. Their model drew from their separate backgrounds as a social worker and a speech pathologist to define the experience as a series of crises, each of which needs a different kind of response. The first crisis occurs with the diagnosis of cancer, during which the individual is overwhelmed by catastrophic implications of the diagnosis and fears of the impact of medical treatment, loss of control and death. The second crisis occurs after recovering from treatment as the full implications of their treatment are felt. If the individual has been hospitalized, discharge is the next crisis as the patient must leave the protective environment of the hospital, and both the patient and their family may be fearful of whether they can cope. Finally, once the patient has convalesced and friends/family are no longer so attentive, the individual may have to come to terms with the reality of their post-operative status and the fact that they will always be left with some long-term deficits as a result of their cancer treatment. The needs of the individual and his or her family may differ at each one of these stages.
So how best to respond to those who are going through the crisis? Well, there are a number of principles from the field of crisis intervention that can usefully be applied. These techniques draw on methods taken from a wide variety of theoretical backgrounds and are used by professionals across diverse settings, including social workers, mental health professionals, emergency responders and those in the medical setting. They can be applied to those going through a wide variety of situations, including those who have experienced the death of a family member, being the victim of a crime, a natural disaster, war, abuse, or a medical emergency. Although many of the individuals going through these situations need the help and intervention of trained professionals, these techniques can also be helpful in guiding those of us who want to help someone we know who is going through a crisis. There are a number of models and schemes which have been proposed over the years but most of them share a number of common elements:
1. Assessing the situation: No two individuals are the same. Even though they may not be able to express their needs or concerns in an organized manner, listening actively to their individual needs and concerns is fundamental to knowing how to advise and guide them to a successful solution. This also provides the basis for developing rapport, trust, and emotional support.
2. Education: Most people facing a crisis are dealing with a situation that is completely new to them. For example, when asked if they have any questions before surgery, many people will say, “I don’t even know what to ask!” Education is critical. Providing the most important information about the nature of the crisis, how it can be dealt with, and what tools and resources are available is essential. While the situation may seem dire and endless to that individual, explaining that many of the worst aspects of the crisis may be temporary and that there are steps towards returning to a more normal type of situation over time. Most of us, at one point or another have faced some kind of a crisis. Colloquially we may talk about going into "crisis mode," by which we usually mean that we are completely focused on the threat that is most immediate. We do not have the luxury or time to deal with that which is not absolutely necessary. Thus, it is important to remember that, during a crisis, we pay attention only to that which is most critical and may have little time or attention for anything else. Thus, provide only the most important information at any one time and give written resources wherever possible so that these can be consulted later.
3. Offering support: During a crisis, individuals and their families need support. Obviously those in a medical setting are there to provide some of that support, but it is important to encourage the individual to reach out and ask for help as needed. There is frequently a streak of self-reliance and independence in many people’s characters that can make it difficult for them to ask for help. In addition, individuals may not know what types of help are available and from what sources. Providing this information, explaining who is responsible for what, and providing lists with contact information and resources can make the process significantly less stressful. Knowing that help is available down the road and that the supportive relationships will persist as long as they are needed can be a great source of relief. I see this every time a laryngectomee visitor gives the person he or she has just visited their email and phone number or address in the hospital. Sharing your contact information, if you are comfortable doing so, can be very valuable. Support can be offered in almost any setting or context, whether in the hospital, clinic or outpatient setting, in a support group, or by phone, mail or email.
4. Developing coping skills: During a crisis, many people are not thinking clearly enough in order to think of what needs to be dealt with or how to deal with it, including identifying the fact that they already have resources that might be helpful. This might include distant relatives, friends or acquaintances that might be only too happy to provide help, if asked. For example, when the individual is in the hospital, who will take care of a pet, or pick up the mail, or pay the rent? These are everyday practical things that, during the crisis of their cancer diagnosis, the individual may not have considered but, with guidance and help, may be able to come up with effective solutions for. Helping the individual and their family prioritize, work out what is most important, and determine what can be done to deal with each situation is of fundamental importance.
The crisis is a temporary situation, usually. Over time, the offers of support and resources can successfully be withdrawn as the individual and his or her family develops the coping skills and knowledge necessary to deal with their new situation every day and become independent. If this does not happen, however, and the crisis persists, professional help in one form or another may be needed. It is important to remember that this process is an ongoing one and persists even after the medical crisis of the cancer diagnosis, hospitalization, and discharge have all been successfully been dealt with. The last of the four crises in Sanchez-Salazar and Stark’s model occurs once individual has made a full recovery and has completed rehabilitation but is now faced with dealing with a new reality. Many patients that I have talked to described it taking “at least a year” to make a full recovery and by this I think that they mean not only the physical impact of treatment and its side-effects but also the mental and psychological adjustment.
Minnie Graham wrote an article in which she described using the model of Sanchez-Salazar and Stark as the basis for group therapy and support group sessions in order to help with long-term adjustment of the individual and their family. Topics that should be covered include the educational aspects of cancer and its treatment, management of side effects and staying healthy, speech and communication rehabilitation, learning how to regain and maintain social relationships, as well as the provision of support. Every time that I attend a conference or a meeting, I am always impressed by how many individuals say that their motivation for being there is to keep learning, growing and developing and to make sure that they are doing everything they can to be as well-rehabilitated and well-adjusted as they can be, as well as to be a source of help and support to others. Making these efforts are, I think, key factors in successful adjustment and, maybe, a way of avoiding future crises. To all of these individuals I say, keep up the good work!
Andrew Palmer, MS, CCC-SLP is a Speech Pathologist and Assistant Professor at the Northwest Clinic for Voice & Swallowing, Dept. of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon. Web: www.ohsu.edu/voice, phone: 503-494-5947, email: email@example.com
1. Hafen, B.Q., & Peterson, B. (1982). The crisis intervention handbook. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
2. Sanchez-Salazar, V., & Stark, A. (1972). The use of crisis intervention in the rehabilitation of laryngectomees. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 37, 323–328.
3. Hillman, J.L. (2002). Crisis intervention and trauma: New approaches to evidence-based practice. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
4. Cherry, K. (2013). What is crisis counseling? Accessed online at:
5. Graham, M.S. (2004). Alaryngeal speech rehabilitation in a group setting. Topics in Language Disorders, 24, 125-136.
Can We Talk?
My oldest and dearest friend called last night from Florida. It’s been 15 years since she moved from Connecticut and made a 5 hour drive/weekend visit impossible. Still we managed to nurture our special bond with occasional visits, volumes of e-mails and initially lots of long telephone conversations. Then I got sick and lost my voice. It was several years before I had a reliable voice and by then I had gotten out of the telephone habit. As much as I was thrilled to have my Servox and was fine with it face to face I did not like talking on the phone with it. I still avoid the telephone, using it only as a necessity, never to just to call someone and chat.
My reticence is not because people have a hard time understanding me. Very rarely is that an issue except with my dad who is very deaf and has a problem understanding almost everybody on the phone. My problem is I feel like I sound particularly tinny and buzzy and for some reason not being able to see and be seen as I talk makes me feel that robotic voice must just drone on and on. I do have Skype but having seen myself on the screen I am not sure that is an improvement! As my friend, Kit, says she feels like she has to put on makeup and do her hair before she Skypes the family so they aren’t alarmed at her decrepitude!!
So I stay off the phone. E-mail and texting works just fine for me … or so I thought. Kit called last night because she is going through a difficult time. We actually have talked a couple of times over the last few weeks and while we commiserated, I lamented that I needed a new battery since the old ones haven’t been holding a charge. (New ones are the way thanks to the guys at Lauder!!) I apologized for the quality of my tone and she blurted out, “Oh, you have no idea how good it is to hear the sound of your buzzing voice. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is just to talk to you and hear that old familiar buzz. I have missed talking to you so much. Really, you have no idea how much it means to me that you are willing to talk on the phone again. I don’t even think of it as strange sounding anymore; it’s just the way you are. I love that buzz!!”
I was stunned not only by her emotion but by the realization that this phone phobia is an issue only in my own mind. We may not like the sound of our “voice” (whatever form it takes) and be painfully aware of its limitations but our friends and family are just glad we are still able to communicate with them - period!
My granddaughter isn’t aware that I can’t read to her the way I want to, with all the inflections, different voices and sounds I hear in my head. She knows her mother and father do those things when they read to her but I don’t. She doesn’t care. She just loves picking out a story, climbing onto the “reading couch” with her blanket to cuddle with me. She helps by turning the page since it is hard to hold the book, read with a Servox, cuddle, and turn the pages with just two hands. What she enjoys and what she will remember is that Nanny read to her.
My “Buzz” is just part of who I am now. And I need to get over it since apparently everyone else has. Good thing those new batteries are on the way! I’m going to need them.
Talking about Voices
Remembering the old, Thinking of the new.
I celebrated my one year anniversary since my laryngectomy surgery last week. A year sure goes by in a hurry. I had a lot of mixed feelings aboutthis 'milestone'. Of course, so glad I'm still here to celebrate, but also sadness because of the losses that we go through during this journey post laryngectomy.
I remember going to a meeting with my SLP along with my husband and 2 adult children prior to my surgery. She was so good at explaining what was going to happen, using pictures and showing us what a TEP was and how the prosthesis would fit. She also brought in another female who had the same surgery 2 years earlier so we could talk with her and ask her questions. What I remember specifically about this day was my son crying and asking him, 'What is it that's bothering you the most, honey?' He said, 'It's your voice, mom. I'll miss your voice...the way you talk to the dog'.
At the time I reassured him that my voice would be different but I would still be the same. I'm not really sure whether that was a true statement now as over the last year my life has changed so much because of my voice. I remember feeling so shocked and sad at first over the tone of my new voice. It seemed so low sounding to me. In fact, I was nervous to talk to my son because of the way I sounded, and didn't let him hear my voice until 2 weeks after I started using it.
Our voices distinguish us from one another. It's the way we talk, laugh, imitate, sing, read out loud, and in some cases, like my son said, the different voice we use to talk to our pets! I remember going to a play that my sister was acting in and she told me after that she could hear my laugh distinctively, prior to the show, so she knew that I was there. So, our voices set us apart from each other.
I expend more energy talking now, so I pick and chose what I say. In some cases, maybe that's a good thing! Ha-ha I laugh, but it's certainly different. You wouldn't be able to distinguish it in a crowd, that's for sure. So our voices are part of who we are. My son was right about that. My new voice is now also a part of who I am.
When I reminded my son last week about my anniversary he said, 'Twas a good year regardless...love you, momma'. Right again, bud!
Maureen Mark, Pittsburgh, PA - July 9th, 2013
I want my old driving in the car with the windows down, on a sunny day, just singing the songs on the radio voice.
I want my old singing in the shower when I am home alone voice.
I want my old voice that doesn't make all the heads turn when I speak out in public.
I want my old voice that would let me laugh out loud.
I want my old voice, I want to whisper "I love you" in my husband's ear, just like I used to .....
I know I should be grateful to have a voice, and I am. But I see what can be done for GPS and Sirius and telephone answering machines, and wonder why more research isn't conducted to better our voices. Is it because there aren't enough of "us" to make it worthwhile for an inventor to focus on?
I am 3 months out of surgery and still have not ventured far for fear of having to talk to strangers.....I try to rationalize as to how I would react in a similar situation, but that doesn't work for me since I am the situation. Just wish it could be different for me.....I hope down the road to make peace with this voice, right now, not there yet.
Jack Henslee, Stockdale, CA - Class of 79, 88, 95, & 2013
Several years ago I had heard about the possibility of placing a reed in prosthesis (can't remember who was trying to do that) that would vibrate when air was flowed past it. That would create a sound that could be used for speech, and the tone/pitch could be controlled by the type of reed used. The ultimate goal would be to enable almost anyone to speak with a prosthesis, plus have the benefit to pick your own voice! I think it was deemed "impractical" and shelved but the idea still intrigues me as maybe being the ultimate in voice restoration.
Angelique "Angie" Erickson,
San Antonio,TX -
First, I know a melodious voice will not be mine again. Even with TEP speech, and able enunciate quite clearly. I wish my voice was more natural sounding, that I could speak in a higher register without straining. I would love to be able to speak, without grads whipping around or folks cringing at the sound. I own being a Lary and I made my "difference" just a part of my daily life. But, oh, how I wish my voice had a more natural timber.
Ahhh, c'est la vie, I can deal with the hand I've been dealt. And now, a 3 year survivor, doing quite well.
Michael Glasgow - Feb 2013
I never really liked how my voice sounded. When I would hear something I said played back, it sounded different. It always sounded a bit off key to me and I couldn't sing at all. So, when I think of the extremes of voice, I think on one end you have no voice and on the other you have say the voice of Sean Connery, James Earl Jones, Martin Luther King, etc. They all have or had great voices. A voice that would make people stop and listen or that could ignite a crowd.
Of course, it's not that we get to choose what our voice will sound like after surgery. We can choose the method by which we speak, but not the way it sounds. When we go in to get a TEP, they don't present us with a list of people with great voices and we just check the name we want.
When we wake up after surgery, our mouth can move to form words, and our brains can send signals to our vocal chords but there is no sound. It is all in vain as no words will come out. Suddenly you can't speak at all. Something we took for granted since we were born is now gone. At that point, my old voice wasn't so bad after all.
Now, what I look for in a voice is the ability to be understood. I would love to pick and choose my voice, but it is enough for me to know that what came out of my mouth made sense to the person in front of me. I think that once that is achieved, any improvement is icing on the cake.
And of course, there is always the written word. Anyone can put pen to paper, or today, hands to keyboard, and express their thoughts, feelings, or whatever. With the Internet, those words can go around the world and be heard by millions. The doctor didn't remove that while we were there in the operating room.
I am still new to this and am still adjusting to my new normal. At times, I would despair over the fact that I couldn't speak. I would feel like an observer when I was around people and not like I was part of the conversation. I wasn't sure what to do. Then, I met other larys and was amazed at how well they spoke, by whatever means. Some, I wouldn't have know were a lary, if I hadn't been told. These people are all the people on these forums and all those who go to the group meetings. I guess now what I want is to be one of those people. I want to be one of the ones who shows new larys what is possible.
Dave Ross in Florida
I speak with TEP and, at my age, have no desire to have an improved, new or better voice. However, I do believe the future holds great promise for those that lose their natural voice.
To illustrate: As a child in the late 40s at 10 to 12 years of age I would often spend a couple of weeks in the summer with my Grandmother and Aunt. My Aunt was secretary/typist for a small town attorney and would sometimes take me into the office for the entire day where I would sit and watch her take dictation (shorthand) and then type for hours on end. I recall saying to her, out of a clear blue sky “Aunt Carlee, one day there will be a machine that one can talk into and it will automatically type it out”! Of course she just laughed and replied that it was just a foolish day dream. We all know that came to pass within a half century or so.
So now, as a 76 year old day dreamer I predict that 1) within 20 years there will be an electronically activated voice that does so from only the ever so faint sound of a laryngectomee’s whisper, and 2) within 50 years there will a device with permanent implants in the brain which will allow one to speak via an artificial voice generated only by conscious thought of words.
Without dreams there is no future!
Len A.Hynds, Ashford, Kent, England -The Speechless Poet - 2004
“We are all different,“ so Pat wrote in an article in Whispers On The Web in February 2009. How true. I tried hands free in the beginning, and it worked fine, but the cavity in my neck was too large and I used too much air I kept blowing the seal so reverted to the straight TEP, with just the Buchanan bib, which I have used for nearly ten years now.
So many things can alter the sound of the artificial voice: The size of the cavity after the tumour is removed, the type, size and positioning of the valve, and the amount of air we push through it to produce sound. With the twenty colleagues in my support group, we all sound different and themajority have TEPs. With my eyes closed, I would know who was talking, and regional accents are always discernable. The voices of Laryngectomees.
On a personal level, my daily difficulties are being unable to speak whilst eating, and telephone calls from strangers who speak too fast or too softly, and their complete inability to understand my robotic voice. As I now live alone, I always attend an evening course at one of the local colleges, purely for the human company, not telling them of course that as an elderly Laryngectomee I graduated at University. On three occasions a member of the class has been a retired actor or actress, who volunteered to read my weeks work. Too hear their wonderful trained voices reading my stories or poetry is hard to describe. It gives me great pleasure, when I see the effect their voices have on others, and in spite of all the frustrations, I am thankful that I can still write, and hear the words coming to life through those expressive people.
Frank Klett, Central NJ - June 2008
I have been a lary for over 5 years now and can honestly say that losing my natural voice has been a minor inconvenience considering the alternative. I retired with the surgery (a bit earlier than I planned) so my need for a voice is mainly for social needs. In a way I feel I did all the speaking I needed to do in my first 65 years, since I taught at Hawaii Pacific University for several years, among other things.
I speak with an EL by choice and work on my esophageal voice constantly. Since I am retired I find the EL meets all my needs (including using the phone) and the idea of a TEP is more cost and maintenance than I need. I look forward to getting the ES down since it would be a hands free way of speaking since it would make it easier to respond to a question from my wife, but she handles the minor delay of my tracking down my Trutone just fine.
I do wish for all those that desire a more robust voice all the best and hope that they find it in our lifetime.
Marillyn Sensabaugh, Walnut Cove, NC - 2005
Probably the wish I make most often is for some sort of lock or safety mechanism on the button of my electrolarynx! I am happy using the device, and am so grateful for its invention and the innovations it has developed over the years, but I still get embarassed when I am in a quiet place (like church, for instance) and in reaching for my EL, i manage to accidentally hit the button. Funny really, especially the first time. But the jokes about my incredibly loud yet aromatically pure flatulence are starting to get old...LOL. Don't worry, I take it all in stride and laugh right along, but it would be nice if it could be avoided all together! :-)
Of course, at the other end of the spectrum, I still wish for my former voice from time to time. And I don't think I need to explain why to any of you. But other-wise, I am pretty darned happy just the way things are! I feel God is leading me in another direction at the moment. I am very much enjoying singing again through sign language, and there are several churches asking me to help them set up some kind of signing ministry at their own churches.
God bless you all!
Debbie Bosch - 2008
I am very grateful to be able to speak at all but if I had one wish it would be for a more feminine voice. ..
Elizabeth Finchem, Tucson, AZ - Oct 1978
When I'm coaching a laryngectomee student learning to use the EL, ES or a TEP prosthesis well I listen for the inclusion of vowel sounds that are long enough to improve intelligibility. Fluency with phrasing that is familiar to the listener helps. Pitch range matters, avoiding monotone without expression. The ability to emphasize the word that is meant to carry the intent of what is being said can make all the difference in the world when communicating.
Is the speaker's volume appropriate for the situation? Simply being loud is about as helpful as repeating English louder to a person that doesn't understand a word of English. Speaking too loud may lead the listener to assume the speaker is also deaf or hard of hearing…which could be true, but not yet acknowledged. To excel we don't settle for good enough.
A personal pet peeve as I listen to people speak, even communication experts, is the incorrect pronunciation of thevowels. There is a difference between the way i and e are pronouced. Is it a pin or pen you're speaking about? The use of o and a and often inter-changeable. Is it a pat or a pot? The common use of tah-day makes me wonder if it should be t'day, or today instead of today? Could it be that we have gotten lazy with our speech, or just taken up the
vernacular to fit in? If this makes me sound persnickety,I understand why. Lately I've become fed up with commentators and interviewees that begin with, "Well…I mean.." or "Ya' know". If I knew, I wouldn't be waiting for them to tell me what they have to say. Thank goodness I can change channels remotely leaving these speakers to figure out what they wish to say on their own time.
Thank you for your submissions. Edits are used for length, clarity and to keep comments on subject of the month.
Staff of Speaking Out
Get What You Pay For
I am sure everyone has heard the saying, "You get what you pay for." It is especially true with regard to the artificial larynx. In many cases, a less expensive instrument is just what the doctor ordered (literally). Price is not necessarily an indicator of quality, but it can be. Be aware of your needs as a Laryngectomee, or as a caregiver for a Laryngectomee when you make a decision to buy an artificial larynx.
I am not saying that less expensive instruments are not good. One of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) asked is: Which instrument is the best one you can buy? That can be a loaded question. There are a lot of variables that go into the choice of an artificial larynx. What I feel is the order of importance for consideration begins with:
2. Voice quality,
3. Size and weight,
5. Battery, type and life,
6. Controls, pitch and volume
My recommendation is to see what works for you. Talk to your doctor or, most likely, your Speech Language Pathologist and remember that there are a lot of choices out there. If this instrument is your first one, go for quality and endurance. An instrument that sounds good and lasts a long time with a minimum of service "in the shop" time, is your best bet. You want something that is going to last.
If this instrument that you are planning to buy is going to be a second instrument or a back up instrument you have more leeway with regard to quality, endurance and how much to spend.
We have been in the "Laryngectomee Speaking" business for going on 25 years. We started our business by marketing the book "Self Help for the Laryngectomee", commonly known as "the Blue Book", written by my father Lt. Col. Edmund Lauder (USAF retired). The audio recording "Postlaryngectomy Speech Instruction" is also by my father. We started selling speech equipment and stoma care supplies shortly thereafter. We expanded from a home based operation to a full fledged business and now we are one of the leaders in the industry in selling and servicing the artificial larynx and providing stoma care supplies.
Lauder Enterprises, Inc.
[Editor's comments - Both the book in PDF form and the audio of Edmund Lauder are available Free]
Self Help for the Laryngectomee (The Blue Book)
Written by Edmund Lauder, Edited by Jim Lauder,
PDF copy of book donated by Lauder Enterprises
How to really understand becoming and learning to live as a laryngectomee.
"Postlaryngectomy Speech Instruction"
The following is a link to the audio that was created by Edmund Lauder and is available on the WebWhispers youtube site. http://youtu.be/rtRetlucFeA Edmund was a laryngectomee, a speech pathologist, and the author, publisher, of the book "Self Help for the Laryngectomee". This tape was produced to help laryngectomees produce esophageal speech. It is a vocal extension of his book, which is available in print from Lauder Enterprises. Information on our vendors is located in our Supplier’s section.
Terry, welcome back to Whispers on the Web, after an absence of over 3 years because of your stroke. We have missed your story and comments on the previous cruises every year and you are one of our favorite Lary Travelers! So here is your first cruise in a long time and what fun to have you on board.
Staff of Whispers on the Web
Freedom of the Seas - WW2013
Nancy, Carolyn, Peggy, Pat, Ron, Dee, Ann, Ceil, Nell - standing
Terry, Lynn, JJ, Jim - seated
by Terry Duga
The week before traveling has been more stressful than I needed it to be. I am now officially retired. My last day of work was Monday, September 30. I am raring to go cruising, but it has been 3 years and there is a problem.
To CRUISE, I need a copy of my birth certificate or a passport. I thought, NO Prob. I have a passport, and have a birth certificate to get the passport, now expired, (when I originally got the passport and needed the certificate, the Indiana State Board of Health had a walk in desk where you could get copies of such documents. Sadly, when I walked over to the Board of Health, that walk-in service no longer existed. The “helpful” lady at the desk asked me which county was my county of birth. I replied “Lake County”. She vacantly said that all I had to do was go the Marion County health department and get a copy. (Indianapolis, and the capital, is in Marion County, Lake County is in Northwest Indiana, by Chicago.) I repeated that I was not born in Marion County but was, originally from Lake County. No help here. SO I went On-Line, and ordered a copy and paid for one (I need to FAX a copy to the retirement people anyway).
Monday, September 30, I receive an e-mail from the Department of Health that my Certificate is in the mail.
Remember the great lies? The check is in the mail, I will respect you in the morning, and I am from the government and I am here to help you! It is approximately 9 miles from the Indiana Board of Health to my apartment. The Certificate may be at the post office with my held email, but it had not come by the time I had to leave for the cruise.Fortunately, I called my mother, who lives in Florida had who had a copy of my Birth certificate.She and a friend of hers will drive it to the Orlando Airport and meet my plane. Hooray for Mothers.
Sunday, October 6, 2013 - Cruise Day!
I arise at about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday. This is way too early for any sane human to be up. I drag my already packed bag and laptop to the car. It is raining. I wear a windbreaker. The windbreaker is not heavy, but I it is made of Nylon and does not breathe. The temperature is in about 68 degrees, but the humidity is about 100 per cent. By the time I reach the airport, I am a sweaty mess.
Now, the day before, I made a trial run to the airport, just to make sure I had an idea of where I was going and where to park. During my trial run, I made an error and ended up in the short term parking garage. It cost nothing but the time to drive (They don’t charge below a certain minimum amount of time). And I find the long-term entrance. I have this in my mind as I drive through the rain at gosh awful in the morning. I miss the mistake I made on Saturday, but dang if I don’t end up in the wrong garage, again. I exit, again without cost, and get into Long term parking ($9 per day). I find a spot right next to a shuttle kiosk. Something is going right. I get to the terminal and head for the gate.
At security, I explain that I have a metal rod in my leg from a hip replacement. Sure enough. They need to wand me. Not too arduous. Then I head for the wrong gate. My boarding pass had my position numbered “B17, which I mistook for my gate. When I get to B17 there is an announcement that my flight to Orlando is going from B20. I go to B20, get in position and make the plane without a problem.
The flight is good. I like Southwest Airlines. The crew is good and the “Take-off" safety speech is amusing. They run a fine airline. Also, the plane not only gets to Orlando on time, it is a little early. As I exit the restricted area, I see my mother. She has the certificate. Yay, I am going to cruise! Up until that moment, I wasn't sure it was going to work out.
I go to baggage claim and get my bag. Then I wait. Peggy and Pat are coming from Birmingham on Southwest. They are supposed to be in at 12:15 about 3 hours after I get in. I read. Their plane is early (12:05), and now we are cooking. I have neglected to have my boarding materials (I was sure I had packed them) but bless Peggy, she has copies of what I need for me. The transfer bus comes and the group that has landed by that time gets on the bus.The trip is about 50 minutes, and we are at the pier. Now, I get to the desk to get my passcard (key to my stateroom and charge card on ship). They need to make a new one. I get my card and get on board. I get to my room and the card does not work. I leave my carryon bag in Pat and Peggy’s room (next door), and we go to eat (What else? I am starved.) I had no breakfast other than a package of nuts and some orange juice on the plane. After lunch, Peggy takes the card and goes to the powers that be and gets things straightened out. My room is very nice. The beds are together as a king size bed (I like it) and my luggage soon arrives. I unpack and put my things in drawers and closets.
Dinner that night is wonderful. No escargot, but the shrimp cocktail is good and the prime rib is wonderful. Jim and Ann Lauder are at our table. Ann and I share desserts. I have crème broulee and Ann has “Death by Chocolate” cake. Good times. After dinner I head to the theater. When I get there, the show has started. I have problems finding a way to a seat, and am not impressed by what I hear from the Comedian, so I return to my cabin. I end up going to bed about 8 pm. Tired form a stressful week and early wake up.
Monday, October 7, 2013
I oversleep and miss breakfast. (sigh) However, the day is going to be good. Today is Coco Cay, a privately held Island used for cruise ships. The island has nice beaches, sand, Cabanas and shops (of course, happy people spend money). Peggy and I head for shore. The tender is a two storied affair that runs from the island to the ship and back again. Comfortable. Getting on the tender is easy because the gangplank fits nicely and we don’t have sways and swells that move the tender up and down. The trip to shore is fine. On shore, it is hot. Such is the Caribbean and the joys of the almost tropic sun. We walk the island looking for Jim Lauder, as we have been invited to visit the cabana he has rented. There comes a point that I suggest that although it is not manly to ask directions that we should. A nice lady at one of the many bars offers us a ride. We accept (we aren’t fools). We go to the other side of the island and find Bwana Jim at yet another bar. I get a Corona in a special drink holder and we follow him to the Cabana, a rustic hut made out of what appears to be split bamboo that gives shade and comfortable seating. We drink beer and then some Champagne.
Lunch time is charcoal cooked burgers, hot dogs and strip steaks. They taste good, even the steaks which are cooked way beyond my preference. After a pleasant visit, we hitch a tender back to the ship and I get back to my cabin for a much needed second shower of the day. It is times like these that not breathing through my nose is an advantage.
Dinner time arrives. It is the first dress dinner. I have my sport coat and dress shirt. The menu includes escargot. But sadly, they are out (they have been having trouble getting snails). I end up receiving bay scallops in garlic butter, which are also pretty good and give me garlic butter to sop bread into. My main course is roast duck, which is excellent. I am fond of duck, but it is one thing I have never been successful in cooking for myself. When I have attempted it, I end up with a greasy concoction that is not good. This duck is excellent. Dessert is a strawberry cheesecake. Also excellent.
After dinner, I follow Jim and Ann Lauder into the casino and watch the gambling. First slots, then blackjack. I remember why, I don’t play myself, the $6 minimum bet is a bit high for my taste, and I am not good enough with the odds to really know what I am doing. I have a cocktail (half price) and watch. Eventually, the show beckons.
I love the theaters. They are state of the art facilities where the stage managers run things by computers. The musicians are good and the singers and dancers are very talented (and have gotten themselves a sweet gig). This show is a medley of Broadway show tunes. Performed with precision and energy. It is excellent.I head to my cabin after the show and hit the sack. My bed is very comfortable. I set the alarm this time so I won’t oversleep tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013.
I arise on time. Shower, dress and head to the Windjammers buffet for breakfast. Eggs, sausage links, bacon, and Joy of Joys, Lox. Lox is my treat about once a year when I cruise. I love it , but seldom get it at home. Here a toasted bagel, a smear of cream cheese the lox and sliced onion, and I am happy. After Breakfast, I explore the ship a bit. Take an elevator to the top, take stairs to the Chapel at the very top and then walk my way down exploring each floor. It gives an idea of where things are, which is good. This is an “at Sea” day, which means we are sailing throughout the day and there are no stops. This is a day to find out what is on the ship and to relax. And, relaxation is what this trip is about.
I go to the Flow Rider, the faux surf pool that allows people on short boards to try their surfing abilities. I watch a while and get some movies of kids attempting to surf and eventually wiping out. It looks fun. I think I would love to try except for a few problems. First is my lack of coordination for things surfing. Second is the hole in my throat and that pesky drowning thing. And, finally, I have had hip replacement surgery and my doctor has warned me that if the artificial hip pops out, they may not be able to pop it back into place. Falling is not an option.
I can tell that the next full day at sea I will have to return and watch the brave souls (and take some pics and flix). That night the show is Tony Tillman. He has opened shows for Bill Cosby (according to the blurbs on him). He gives a superb performance, singing, dancing and joking with the crowd. He gets the audience singing. A very enjoyable show.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
St Thomas is our stop. I get up early enough to get breakfast. Lox again. Mmmmm, I wonder if this is going to be a recurring thing. Most cruises I have taken seem to have lox only a couple times a week. This could be the start of something yummy. (OK, I know that salmon is good for you, but I cannot help but think that Lox is not, it is too good.)
Today, I just walk into the port and shopping area. I get some gifts for my pseudo kids and for my mother, who went out of her way to help me when I needed my birth certificate. The shops are nice and the people friendly. At a certain part of the day, I feel an urge. The public restrooms are very clean. I am impressed. They are cleaner than my local Wal-Mart. As I enter my stall and close the door, some man knocks on the door. I don’t want to share. But I open the door and it seems he has left his Mountain Dew on the toilet paper dispenser. I hand it to him, and close the door. It was safe with me, I can’t stand mountain dew.
Finally, I fade out of shopping and it is time to get back to the ship. I ask a trolley man how much to drive back to the ship. He tells me to go across the street and to take the free shuttle. I thank him and do as suggested. The free shuttle takes my tired body back to the ship and the second shower of the day. After dinner, I hit the show. The act is Drew Thomas, an illusionist. His claim to fame comes from being on “America’s Got Talent”. He is very good. His illusions are well executed and fun to watch.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Today is St. Maarten. Fun fact, it is the smallest island in the world that is owned by two different countries, France and the Netherlands. We land on the Netherland side. It is hot, of course. I join Peggy and others, for a shopping trip. We went to jewelry stores and I hit a souvenir (read junk) shop for a pair of salt and pepper shakers (I have a collection). We get our freebies from the jewelry shop and I buy a present for my mother’s friend who drove her from the west coast of Florida to the Orlando airport, and would not accept any gas money from me.
I try to help haggle with the shop clerk when Carolyn and Ceil are buying real jewelry. It doesn’t work. The clerk is sly and smiles a lot. I actually like him and appreciate his bargaining skills (Or refusal to bargain more than they say they have discounted the prices.) They are reputable, so says Peggy, and I am not one to deny. We get back to the ship for lunch. The buffet has carved leg of lamb. I am happy. (I am a carnivore, and lamb is probably my favorite meat). I take a second shower. (A necessity in the heat) and at the appropriate time we head for dinner. After dinner, we walk around the ship. I hit bed early and do not ask for a wake up ring.
Friday, October 11, 2013
OK, not having a wakeup call was not a good idea. I lie in bed and hear a tapping on my door. I look out the peephole and see nothing. So, I start to get cleaned up and shaved. A little later there is another tap on the door. I put on my night shirt and open the door. Peggy and security are there checking on me. I let them know I am fine and get my shower. I feel safe knowing that Peggy has my back.
A late breakfast ( lox again, I think there will be lox every day!!!) I wander out to the deck and it is raining, lightly. There are sale tables all over the ship and crowds around the tables remindful of bargain basement table. A shopping feeding frenzy is happening. Today is a day at sea, so no stops. A day to explore the shops more. And to enjoy its offerings.
After dinner there is a show, “Once upon a time” based upon children’s stories. I must admit the content of the show does little for me, however, the execution of the show is excellent and the tech impressive. The show includes “flying.” This is where the cast member is suspended by a wire and harness and seems to fly through the air. I have done shows with flying and know that it is not a easy as it looks from the audience’s view. In fact, flying can be quite dangerous if you don’t take adequate precautions in checking the rigging before the show and in handling the up and down and movement.
Here, the actors swing out all over the stage and even out over the beginning of the audience. The flying is impressive. I wonder how much is controlled by computer and how much by people. We never got a tour of the backstage, so I don’t know.
Saturday, October 12
Another day at sea. I remembered to set a wakeup call for this morning, so I do not oversleep (I can be taught). Today is another relaxation day at sea. After breakfast, I wander the ship. I get some Dust collectors to give as gifts. The day is muggy, but the ship is moving and there is a breeze on deck. Interesting thing about this ship. It is so big that although you can feel it moving, it is much smoother than other ships I have been on. There is little roll and little up and down.
I make my donation to the ships in the Casino. I try the penny slots. I put in $4.10 and after a period of playing, I walk away with 5 cents. Another reason I don’t gamble. Others are doing quite well and actually winning some money. I enjoy the company.
The final show is tonight. By the time we get to the show it has started, and seats are hard to find. We end up sitting in the back of the theater looking down an aisle. There is a very good juggler, who is a lot of fun, otherwise not too outstanding a show. A final spin around the promenade and I head to bed. I have packed my luggage earlier in the day and put my tags on the big bag and put it out for pick up.
I have opted to have the ship handle getting my big bag to the airport. The cost is $20, and, frankly, it is worth not having to schlep my bag by myself. I have my rolling computer bag and a small plastic shopping bag for my carry on stuff. We get off the ship without incident and wait for our bus to the airport. The drive to the airport is about an hour long. I read on the bus. At the airport, I head to the gate and my plane comes quickly. The flight home is on Transair, run by Southwest. The plane is nice and is a bit crowded. The flight gets off on time and lands in Indianapolis early. I head for baggage claim. My bag does not come. I check with the office. End up filling out a form and they will deliver the bag when it comes in. I admit, my emotions are mixed about not having my bag. First, I have no big desire to schlep it around myself, and basically there are mounds of laundry to be done inside the bag. (The bag came the next day and was delivered to my apartment without delay.)
The trip was a success. I did not break the bank and had a good relaxing time. As Paul Simon wrote, “Gee, but it’s good to be back home.” I look forward to the next cruise. Next year is Alaska, August 15th. Come and join us! It’s fun!
ALICE WHENDAY – Cancer Survivor
I am always surprised by the many people I meet at club meetings of people who have survived head and neck cancer in its many forms and gone on to do remarkable things.
My local hospital is in Ashford, Kent and called the William Harvey after a 16th century physician/ surgeon; a local man living before the time of Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth the First who was the doctor who discovered the intricacy of blood circulation. My support group chairlady, Nursing Sister Caroline Mackenzie, also runs a group for those who have not lost their voice through cancer, but part of their face, which has been rebuilt. I always help Caroline at the club and on many occasions we combine the two clubs together. Today it was just the face- disfigurement group, but by standing very close it was extremely difficult to detect any flaw in those smiling faces and they always consider themselves lucky not to have lost their voices.
Today I chatted for some time with an elderly lady, who is fast approaching seventy, but by her laughter and sharp brain she appeared much younger. She had a particularly rough time with her cancer, when part of her throat was cut away, but those laughing vocal cords were saved. She had been a teacher and loved swimming, and I was astonished when she told me that living down at Dungeness, an isolated spot in Kent, a long shingle bank several miles long and wide, pointing like a V shape into the English Channel, around which a rip tide always runs, she would go swimming every day. It wasn’t just the swimming that took me aback but that a distance of two miles was quite normal; a most surprising thing to do for a lady of that age and of that small stature. The lady, Mrs Alice Whenday, drives her invalid husband, who in his younger days was a vice squad police officer in my old force in London, in the car around our Kent coastline, and while he dozes in the car she swims across bays and headlands thoroughly enjoying herself. There is no doubt that she is the perfect carer for Eric.
She wanted a poem, so Caroline photo-copied this one off for her.
A THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
By Len A. Hynds
Don’t put off until tomorrow,
things that should be done today.
Cos’ cruel fate could step right in,
and steal your chance away.
Don’t put off until some other time,
the things you need to say.
You never know if there will be,
the chance of another day.
Don’t wait to say, “I love you,”
till your voice may not be heard,
or whispered into frail ears,
who cannot understand your words.
So cradle one another’s hearts,
don’t let the feeling slip,
through good and bad times, cling on,
don’t lose the loving grip.
Look warmly in each other’s eyes,
whilst still the chance is there.
Be thankful for each other,
And the pleasures that you share.
The more survivors I meet of cancer and get to know them, I realise what a special breed they are, in achieving things that in a normal life they would never consider doing and doing it quietly without any publicity, not like your foolish poet.
Playing in the Stream
Just what is streaming?
This is one of the hottest techie terms being thrown around today and means the ability to access, but not possess a video or audio media files. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Pandora Radio, and iTunes are just some examples of services that offer streaming media. Some of these services offer a free and a pay-for-service depending on the access you desire.
So now that we have this streaming thing just what can be done with it? For starters we can access the media files for entertainment either with our PC's or with special receiver that is connected to the internet and to our TV. This allows the streaming of video/audio to our TV and we can view the program just as we do our normal programming.
Chromecast to the Rescue!
The most recent “Big” product release came from Google and is called Chromecast. Chromecast connects to the TV and allows streaming from your Chrome browser via Wi-Fi. Using the web browser Chrome you can stream media from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube or any other service that you can access on your Chrome browser. Why is this such a “Big” advance? Because it sells for $35., not the $100 to $200, of the other devices being sold.
In all fairness the Chromecast does have limitations and does not do many of the things the higher priced boxes will do but for those who want a simple and inexpensive way of expanding their entertainment options this is a very nice option. The following article is a complete review and installation guide for the Chromecast:
You may have heard the term “Smart TV” or “Smart DVD Player”...these are sold as ready to go alternatives for streaming media services with no media box required. These offer ready to go access to streaming services and will probably be the standard option in TV's offered in the coming years.
Dish Network, Comcast
Most other cable/satellite providers offer “”view anywhere” streaming. So now we can watch our favorite programs anytime and almost anywhere. You might want to try out one of the free sites and see if you like what you find...if not you could share with us your thoughts in our forum under the Computer and Internet section.
Web of Trust (WOT)
WOT is an excellent browser extension to use to ensure the websites you visit have a solid reputation fo safety. It will give you a green signal for safe, an orange signal for marginal and a red signal for dangerous content. WOT’s base of users report on sites they visit and together with other known malicious databases provides you with a cyber safety net. It is available for all major browers and installs as a browser extension.
Winpatrol is a free program that monitors your Windowr’s operating system for any changes. Winpatrol also has a paid version which has a few advanced features, however the free version gives you plenty of solid coverage. Winpatrol is currently only available for Windows operating systems (any version).
“As a MULTI PURPOSE SUPPORT UTILITY WinPatrol Plus replaces multiple system utilities with its enhanced functionality. WinPatrol Plus provides easy to understand descriptions of over 15,000 programs. As a robust Security Monitor, WinPatrol will alert you to hijackings, malware attacks and critical changes made to your computer without your permission.”
Other Features: WinPatrol.exe is only 374 KB. You won't find a smaller Windows system monitor as powerful as WinPatrol. WinPatrol has been specifically enhanced to work better with Windows Vista and Windows 7. Support for Firefox 3 and Google Chrome's SQLite format is also included for the most control over your browsing experience. WinPatrol.exe has been optimized to handle the results of any Windows hooks in it's own code space thereby reducing conflicts with other security programs.
Frank in NJ
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