I really need to talk right now...
November 4, 2011 6:42 AM   Subscribe

I woke up this morning, and my voice is gone. That would suck at any time. BUT, my sister's wedding is tomorrow, and I'm the maid of honor. Is there anything I can do?

So my voice has been sort of iffy for a few days, I'm guessing from allergies or something. Yesterday, I woke up and it was horrible, but it started to get better as the day went on. I had to do some talking at work, and by the end of the day, my voice was shot.

This morning, my voice is pretty much gone. I can hardly vocalize at all. I'm panicking because tomorrow is my twin sister's wedding. I have to give the most important speech of my life in front of 120 people!

I put myself on vocal rest yesterday and will continue that. I have taken an antiinflammatory as well. Can a doctor do anything? Is there anything else I can do? And if it doesn't get better, WTF should I do when I have to make my speech? I am so upset that this had to happen now.
posted by afton to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
This article basically says drinking alot of water is all you can do.
posted by quodlibet at 6:46 AM on November 4, 2011

You might see if anyplace nearby carries a product called Entertainer's Secret. (Your best bet is probably local, independently owned pharmacies.) It's basically a non-medicated lubricant spray for the throat. It might not cause you to regain your voice, but it would probably help to reduce the irritation that comes with talking (and therefore leads to losing your voice as the day goes on).
posted by maxim0512 at 6:48 AM on November 4, 2011

Don't speak at all - at all, not even to speak to your sister (pass her written notes) - until you do the speech.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:49 AM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Reach out right now to find someone to give the speech for you. You may not end up needing that, but it's better to plan for it now than to run around 10 minutes beforehand to find someone to do it. You can stand next to them while they give it.

Lots of liquids. No talking. None. No whispering (makes it worse). Don't talk at all until just before you give your speech, and then only enough to figure out if you have enough voice to give it. Carry a noteboook and pen with you and use that. I'm really sorry this is happening right now!
posted by rtha at 6:49 AM on November 4, 2011 [8 favorites]

Where do you live? I lost my voice this year too and someone gave me a Chinese herbal medicine. Mail me!
posted by Yellow at 6:52 AM on November 4, 2011

Best answer: *pulls up chair and sits down*

Water. Lots of it. Both hot and cold.

Honey in all sorts of things. Straight honey by the spoonful, honey in lemonade, honey in tea, honey in hot water.

Lemonade. Cold and hot.

Orange juice and oranges.

ABSOLUTELY NO ORAL COMMUNICATION WHATSOEVER. Not even whispering -- whispering makes it worse, paradoxically.

I have had that total a voice loss twice in my life, under similarly inconvenient circumstances. The first time I did all of those things, it came back within a couple days. The second time, it came back the next day.

The "absolute zero-tolerance no verbal communication" may have done the most good. The temptation to whisper is REALLY strong - but don't do it. Do not use any kind of oral communication AT ALL until the speech (okay, maybe five minutes before, try saying a few words to see how you sound). But that kind of total rest helped a lot, and helped me have a very quick turnaround. I didn't sound my usual lovely self, but it was okay.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Oh -- and if you absolutely can't speak during the speech even -- maybe set something up where you write it down on a series of cue cards, and you and your sister select a "vocal stand-in" -- you and your "vocal stand-in" go up to the mike together, and you stand there handing him or her a series of these cue cards with the text of your speech, and they read them. That way you're still visibly participating.

It will look a little silly, but weddings often have these last-minute hiccups that get solved in creative ways, and everyone will sympathize and think it's adorable.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:57 AM on November 4, 2011 [9 favorites]

Try warm salt & water gargles, if you can't handle the taste of the salt then just warm water. The salt will help kill off any bugs in your throat and then suck on a spoonful of honey. Hot black tea with lemon and honey. Run a Humidifier to keep the air around you moist. Do not talk no matter what.

I know a singer that swore by a nice glass of red wine before a performance to loosen up things.

The good news is even if you have to get up and croak out the speech, it's a wedding people are very magnanimous and will think it's lovely that you are trying even with a sore throat. It will be a great story for afterward "Hey remember at your wedding the time I tried to give a speech with no voice." So don't stress it will only make your throat tighten up which will make things worse.
posted by wwax at 7:44 AM on November 4, 2011

I have to give the most important speech of my life in front of 120 people!

Will you have a microphone? Talk to the DJ and do a sound check. You may not have to speak very loudly at all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:07 AM on November 4, 2011

I'm going to second wwax's suggestion of warm salt water gargling (about 1tsp salt to a full glass of water). I would specifically recommend doing it about 5 minutes before you try to give the speech. Lots of other good advice here too, of course, especially the no speaking/no whispering until the speech.
posted by yoink at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2011

Best answer: This just happened to a friend of mine! He had someone else read his speech while he pantomimed along. It was a hit (but I would guess this only works if you have a mostly funny speech, not a mostly sincere speech).
posted by chickenmagazine at 10:01 AM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, it could instantly transform a "mostly sincere" speech into a mostly funny one.
posted by yoink at 10:48 AM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The cure we swore by in my university's theatre department was Throat Coat tea, ideally with lots of honey. You can find this brand of tea at most grocery store chains now, but your chances are higher at a Whole Foods or co-op. Try to avoid tea with caffeine, as it dehydrates. And supposedly dairy products can make your throat "gunky" but I think the jury is still out on that. I'd avoid dairy just to be safe.

And get lots of sleep tonight, if you can!
posted by castlebravo at 10:52 AM on November 4, 2011

I'm a classical/choral singer and can extol the virtues of vocal rest and throat coat all day long. However, I'll relate a little story to you, that might help you feel a little better about all this.

A couple years ago I was also in punk band that required me to do all sorts of howling, screaming and belting. I lost my voice (from a cold/sinus infection/whatever) and had a show that evening. I could barely squeak out a few words, let alone sing for a 30 minute set. I was really reeeeaaallly stressed about it.

Right before I went on stage I took a shot of whiskey. I don't know if the booze relaxed me (and relieved my stress & muscle tension in my chest/neck) or just cleared out my throat turpentine-style but miraculously I was able to sing! A little raspier than usual, but I made it through!

Maybe take a shot of whiskey before? But tons of water and herbal tea all day leading up to it. I'm not a doctor, so this is just my experience with voice-losing! :)

Also be sure to have a glass of water on stage with you in case you get a tickle and start coughing.
posted by dm_nyc at 11:28 AM on November 4, 2011

In addition to the home remedies above, get thee a prescription for PREDNISONE if there's still time tonight. A short course works wonders and doesn't require that you taper off.

IANAD, but I've had it prescribed in similar circumstances -- laryngitis, but I HAD to talk for work reasons.
posted by kestrel251 at 3:28 PM on November 4, 2011

Best answer: I had this same situation happen to me last month at my friend's wedding. I used 'Ultra Chloraseptic' anaesthetic throat spray. You can get it from pharmacies. Active ingredient: benzocaine 0.71%. It worked enough to get through my speech on the day.
posted by honey-barbara at 5:46 PM on November 4, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I have asked my fiance to read my speech for me if it comes to that. Right now, there is no way I could do it. Maybe by tomorrow, if I keep with everyone's awesome suggestions, I'll get lucky. Vocal rest has been harder to do than I would have liked, but them's the breaks. One of the other bridesmaids has the same issue, funnily enough!
posted by afton at 7:55 PM on November 4, 2011

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