What makes up our professional identity?

Since surgery last month, when I had to be intubated and put in ICU due to severe aspiration pneumonia, I’ve had a very hoarse, quiet voice. No problem. Today the ENT specialist informed me my left vocal chord is paralysed but “should” heal in time. If it doesn’t they can’t fix it, but can help me have a better voice.

Still no problem? Actually it is. I feel … something … but can’t quite fully articulate what yet. Speaking is part of our professional identity. I’ve always thought I have an odd voice, but didn’t mind. I’ve spoken at conferences, and speak up at meetings.

Now I can’t get a full sentence out in one go and can’t always be heard. Yet my voice, my thoughts, are part of who I am as a librarian. What does this mean for my identity? I guess I’ll figure it out in time.

Special thanks to Penny (@greengecko29) for sharing a story on Twitter, I appreciate it more than you know: My Dad has a paralyzed vocal chord from a surgery done in the 80’s. He is 75 now, can’t sing but lectured at Uni his whole life with it. He was really worried he would lose his job at the time. Did speech therapy which helped. But yes, didn’t give up.

 

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