While my voice, pitch, and tone have changed throughout my recovery from my severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), at no point did I talk like a duck 🦆. This #TBIthursday memory is about my dad. Those who know him just went “Ah ha, duck talk!” For those who don’t know him, he has the ability to make his voice sound like Disney’s Donald Duck. He likes to talk duck talk to little kids. All little kids he sees. This week’s TBI memory is about a time when he spoke duck talk during my recovery (and hilarity ensued). I say hilarity ensued but not really. It just made me giggle and hopefully this story will make YOU giggle.
It was December 2016 and I was staying in the transitional care facility connected to one of the local hospitals. I had a daily routine that rotated around occupational, speech and physical therapy. My parents were staying in my apartment in town because when they retired they moved 3-4 hours North of where I was living (and recovering after the accident) and they wanted to stay near me while I recovered. They visited me daily and were discovering places to go (in and around the hospital) while I was in my various therapies. One of those places they discovered was a coffee shop in the children’s hospital attached to the building where I was recovering. One day when I was nearing the end of my hospital/transitional care stay my parents took me to that coffee shop. It’s there that our duck talk story took place.
My whole life my Dad has been able to do funny voices and sounds for comedic relief. His go-to is to talk like Donald Duck/duck talk. My Dad was a high school history teacher for 39 years and was known in our school district for his humor (especially his puns). So, when I say that he did silly voices and duck talk it was (and still is) done with a great deal of humor. His aim when doing “duck talk” is to make people smile and laugh. He also loves to speak “duck talk” to kids to help put them at ease.
Cut to December 2016 at the coffee shop in the children’s hospital and my parents and I are finished having our coffee and treats. Before heading back to my room in transitional care we decided to walk around a skyway structure attaching the hospital to other buildings. Since we’re in the children’s hospital we see a lot of kids and their families. My Dad talks “duck talk” to each kid and usually gets a shy smile from the child and a jolly chuckle from the parents. Since I am in the early stages of recovering from my TBI, I am mainly nonhearing at this point (I have gained some hearing ability now and you can read more about my TBI and hearing loss here). So I can’t hear my Dad’s “duck talk” but I know what’s happening because when my Dad is around kids it always happens. Most of the kids he is “duck talking” to are in the single digits (9 and younger). However, we come across a young man who was in a wheelchair who has the prepubescent signs of facial hair that indicate he is likely 13 or older. Yet my Dad is on a “duck talk” roll and doesn’t notice he might be too old to appreciate being spoken to in “duck talk.” So he says something quacky to this teenage boy and the boy responds by saying “thank you” in what I can only assume (since I can’t hear) is a lower voice. I was also being pushed in a wheelchair at that time, so I was eye level with this kid. And as I was being wheeled past him as he was saying “thank you” I couldn’t help but notice the peach fuzz on his upper lip as I read his lips to see him thank my Dad. I don’t remember if I said anything to my Dad at the time but the pre-TBI me would’ve been pretty embarrassed 😊 (a perk of my TBI is that I don’t really get embarrassed). I will say that most of my TBI stories are and will be about me (since I am writing my perspective). However, this week, I was happy to share this silly story about one of my family members. Not because I want to embarrass them (I wouldn’t tell this story if I thought it would). But because my family has been through all of the scariness and hardship of this injury with me and it’s because I realize how dark and scary this experience was (and still is, at times) that I want to help them remember the silly stories too that made the scary times tolerable.
Memoir Writing Word Count
With that silly story and the stories that it inspired me to remember, I have a new memoir word count to share.
A Selby Sweetie Conclusion
I haven’t really been ending the #TBIthursday posts with a picture or video of my dog Selby (like I do for my regular Monday posts) but I decided this photo was too cute. Here she is doing a pose she does so often when she’s relaxing that I call it “The Selby.” For more Selby cuteness head over to her Instagram @selbysweetie