Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Almost 10 years ago I got laringitis for the first time ever. It was during my first paid singing job for the Disney Company. I had rehearsed for 3 weeks, and we were heading towards performance week, which in this case was 1 week of performances-26 to be exact. It was for the premiere of the film Hercules. We were in a live pre-show of the film...similar to some of the shows you see at the Resort. We were performing in the Chicago Theatre. We performed 3 or 4 times a day right before the movie, kind of like a movie theatre schedule. 3 days into our 1 week of performances, my voice was completely gone. There was little lead up, just one morning, goodbye voice.
I panicked. I was barely 18 and still living at home, so my mother and I started calling every otolaryngologist we could find to schedule an appointment. Finally we found one that could see me before my first show on day 4. He took a look, listened to my dilemma and gave me some cortisone to get through the next 3 days with a promise to follow-up with an appointment. I promised. The cortisone worked like a dream (my fellow castmates had let me in on that secret...so I knew how to approach the doctor), and I was able to finish the performance week. There were no understudies, so it is a good thing this worked out.
After the show closed I went to see an amazing specialist in Chicago, Dr. Bastian. He took some photos of my vocal chords and found a swelling on either side that was touching together and thus hardening the swelling into a nodule. He prescribed me with vocal rest, as these swellings were from abuse and overuse. That meant no talking. I think this lasted at least a week. I got very good at writing very fast...and creating my own signs. After a time, the swelling had no significant change and he told me he could operate and remove the nodule or I could adapt. I chose to adapt.
After that I finished a college music program, and sang several demanding roles in DC-area regional theatres. This was 8 shows a week, working full time during the day, and teaching voice on the weekends. I took good care of my voice, drank a lot of water, and never lost my voice.
That brings us to now. I do not have laringitis like that time in Chicago, but ever since this spring (and the most horrible allergy season to date), I have felt that my chords are swollen. I have not had this confirmed, but this past week, there is no sound on certain notes and pitches. I am getting nervous about this, so I put myself on vocal rest. My husband explained to my daughter that I was like Ariel and had no voice. She has been really patient with me, lip-reading, and trying to decipher what I am saying. She also sometimes catches herself doing it back to me. I quickly motion to my ear and mouth: I can hear you, you can talk out loud. It's so sweet.
Being on vocal rest takes a lot of discipline. I went to the zoo with my kids and my friend today, and I only broke a few times, once when I couldn't find my baby....but my friend was so patient with me too. I have to shoot the rest of the Nuvaring stuff tomorrow and it is SO much copy, so I will have to talk, but before and after and on Friday I am still going to rest. I just hope that I can get the recording that I need to, done on Saturday. It is coming to an end, and I am starting to get nervous about my voice holding up. I also, don't want to go to the doctor because A. it is expensive and B. I do not want an operation and C. I am scared to see how big the nodule has gotten.