Of all the problems and difficulties this disease has cursed me with, one easily stands out: it has made me mute.
My voice has gradually faded from normal over the past 5 years to a faint, hoarse croak that's just about unintelligible on my better days; on my bad days I can barely produce the faintest whisper by (it feels like) screaming at the top of my lungs.
It's worse than being mute, actually. There are times when I'm just loud enough to be understood, which, of course, is like being teased with it and then having it yanked away. The irony is that the two DBS procedures I had years ago, which did an excellent job of quelling my tremoring, also evidently zapped my brain's speech center.
I used to be, if not the life of any particular party, at least intermittently entertaining. I could give as good as I got, usually. I once, in a duel of wits, got Jay Leno to admit a draw. (Probably an off day for him, but still ...) I have, on occasion, come unsettlingly close to understanding the rudiments of string theory. (Maybe.) I mention all this, not to brag, (well, not entirely), but to give you an idea what it's like to be the same person on the inside and have to endure nervous sidelong glances from restaurant patrons who apparently think you're on the verge of soiling yourself.
I still have quick comebacks and bon mots that constantly spring to mind when I'm in a crowd. The only difference these days is that no one hears 'em but me ...