Public Parking
A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
Voices, and the Noise of War Criminals
Monday, May 13, 2024 | Tammer El-Sheikh
I was pleased to hear that the incision would run from one side of my neck to the other, following a natural wrinkle. The original plan was to begin a descending cut under one ear for several inches, then proceed across the neck and back up to the other ear – a “horseshoe incision” that wouldn’t age as well. In any case, I was facing a bilateral neck dissection to remove a large malignant tumor on my thyroid and an unknown but significant number of affected lymph nodes in the area. To my relief, this was a curative operation with a high rate of success and a prognosis for a statistically “normal life,” which, during the first several months post-op, felt anything but normal. My old voice was gone, and I didn’t know what to make of the new one. Although vocal paralysis is a risk in a total thyroidectomy, I had avoided this fate thanks to sophisticated nerve-monitoring gadgetry, but I emerged from the operation with a kind of breathy cookie-monster voice that, two years on, has settled somewhere in the vicinity of a fashionable vocal fry.