Wednesday was time for speech therapy session number two. Leaving the session last week I was seriously asking myself where I could do these darn exercises without feeling like I was making a complete idiot of myself. I am generally always around people. Thinking of it in detail makes you come up with the most absurd places. For instance under the shower in the morning or on the way to work in the car just to name but a few. I know what many are going to say: ‘Why are you feeling silly about it?‘ Do them and you will know why. And as much as I try to tell myself I shouldn’t, the more I kind of do. But thankfully I have worked my way around the problem. For now anyway.
There are a few things I have noticed very quickly in the last week. Things that are rather obvious when you spare a minute or two in contemplation. The region of my neck is incredibly tense. And to think that for years it has felt absolutely normal to me in that posture. Now that I am learning to relax my neck with help of various exercises and techniques I am amazed at how wrong that area had been aligned. Also at the moment, my voice is more strained after a long working day as well as if I try to make it louder than it can be. And of course, it depends on how hydrated I am. The more water I drink, the easier it is to keep my voice balanced. With dehydration it sound scratchy.
I have never been one to drink enough, that is admittedly one of my vices. But hell I can tell you this revelation (though more than obvious) has been quite good at motivating me to keep my fluid levels topped up. Yes, some days are easier to manage than others, depending on how busy I am, but I have found that if I keep my water directly by the computer, which I go onto about every half an hour to type notes, I find myself taking a few sips whilst doing so. Ok, this is making me run to the loo about every 2 minutes at the moment, but that should hopefully get better over time once my body get’s used to the increased water supply.
When at home I try to integrate my son into the exercises. and appart from loads of fits of giggles he does manage to help me quite well. I put him in charge of checking that mummy is going things correctly. However it kind of went pear-shaped when I had to play around with the word ‘moon‘. Now, I know he is only just six, however still old enough to know not to make fun of people, particularly in situations where matters of the health are concerned. I also know my time in hopsital and probably now as well, was a much more difficult to cope with than one would think and he has done, and still is doing, extremely well. But I do think difficulties need to be respected, even if set in humorous situations. So we did have to have the odd serious word about what is ok when helping mummy with this and what can be hurtful. Thankfully I have a bright child very quick on the uptake.
Last week I posted on my Facebook group page that I thought the sound of what is coming from my neck is kind of trying to resemble a voice. I wasn’t sure whether my cords have felt disturbed in ther comfy long-term doze and thought ‘Oh ok then, for peace sake let’s just croak a bit and be done with it‘ or whether it was actually starting to become somewhat subglottig rather than supraglottic. The powers of wishful thinking are huge when you desperately want something. But, low and behold, my therapist seems to think that the sound I am reproducing is sounding more subglottically than before. There is less strain to my voice, with phonation increasing during my last session with her.
We talked about the general situation and yes, she also seems to think that medialisation of my vocal cords, proposed by the Guru himself, will probably be benificial, but applauds the approach of not jumping to it straight away. There is too much base work to be done before attacking the cords at the moment. She has numerous patients with vocal cord palsy and said the medialisation was something like the icing on the cake. Of course, after surgery speech therapy should be continued to solidify any improvements already achieved and also to learn how to use the new position of the cords.
One thing I dared to ask was my singing voice. The speech therapist said on the patients where the surgery was successful, there general pitch and vocal range returned – perhaps not to what it was before, but it returned. When I told her about my pleasure for singing and asked whether or not I would just have to live with the fact that I had no vocal range what so ever I was told that, even though it would still be a long way off, there is no reason why it should be impossible. She has had patients that were singing again. I don’t want to come across as being too over-enthusiastic but OH MY GOD!!!!! The thought of possibly using my voice like that again is totally overwhelming. And yes, I am fully aware that there is a lot of work involved (and DAMN I am going to do it!!) and I also know that I won’t be sounding like Sarah Brightman in this life time, but to just be able to sing again… Even if it is just under the shower… That would be a dream come true.
For now, I just have to let my voice surface and be happy with even the smallest of improvements. And believe you me, I am. I cannot tell you how much.