|From “An Everyday Horror Story”
by Harvey Pekar.
Art by Gerry Shamray.
Whatever lung pox I had that led to two weeks of paroxysms of coughing has messed up my voice. To clarify, it’s messed it up for an additional week after the coughing is now more or less under control. I’m starting to wonder if it’s one of the two(!) inhalers I’m on. I’m this close to having to having to use one of my Field Notes notebooks to write things out instead of speaking them.
Anyway, it reminded me of a story in Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor (issue 5), “An Everyday Horror Story,” in which our man has a long bout with laryngitis and it starts to do things to his head.
I’ll tell you, I’m starting to relate. It’s not just the voice loss, but these weird muscle spasms I’ve been getting lately.
I try to avoid soliciting curbside consultations from the medical professionals I work with, but a lot of them are just generally helpful by nature. So the other day, some of them dropped some knowledge on me. Now, I knew the muscles that were spasming (my intercostals) are the ones I use to cough but what I didn’t realize is that the reason they can take a long time to heal is because they can never truly rest, seeing as they’re the same muscles I use to breathe.
That’s what’s messing with my head. My voice I can rest, but I can’t stop breathing. Talk about feeling like a supernatural force is messing with you. It’s bad enough fighting my own procrastination, which I do every day. It’s even harder when you can’t talk and have trouble moving, or even sitting. But I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, really. Harvey got his voice back. I’ll likely get my voice back (gonna call the doctor again, though). My intercostal muscles will get better. Maybe I’ll get my groove back, too.