The second day of laryngitis is the worst. The first day, you’re just coughing, and the doctor feels your throat and nods, as if you’re supposed to be well-versed in the language of doctorly nods. Pursed lips means: It’s bad. Raised eyebrows mean: Well, I never. That sort of thing. I am not a nod reader. It’s only when he scrawls across the receipt that I know what the nod means: acute laryngitis. So I begin taking the meds. The second day, that’s when the meds kick in. I’m wracked by coughs. Or is it racked? I’m never sure. These aren’t the tinny coughs that come from a scratchy throat. These are resonant, rising from subterranean grottos. As they rise, they acquire layers, and when I cough I sound like I’m in an echo chamber with a baritone who’s lost his way. My voice is Marlboro-manly, the way it never is when I speak.
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