September 28, 2013

My 48-Hour Vow of Silence.

I have taken a vow of silence.

Stop laughing!

I'm serious.

As quite a few of you already know, I have problems with my vocal cords.  I talk too much, too frequently, too loudly.  I always have, I guess.  When I was in my early twenties, I worked at a chocolate shop, and it was there that I had my first real problem.  My throat ached, I could feel myself straining to speak and it was difficult for me to serve customers.  I went to a specialist, voiced my concerns and he told me to shut up.

I didn't listen.

Five years ago, I began to worry that there was something deadly wrong with my vocal cords.  I was incredibly hoarse, my throat was sandpaper, and the discomfort became acute.  My voice began to change.  It had always been either "husky" or "sexy" (depending on who described it), but it was rapidly becoming gravelly and it sounded awful.  I was an engine in need of oil.  I began to refer to myself as the Marlboro (wo)Man.  People have always told me that they like my voice, but believe me when I say that there is nothing sexy about vocal cord nodules.

Things worsened.  I love reading to my children but I had to cease reading completely - I couldn't do it - it was too painful.  I barely spoke.

I was quiet and miserable and things did not improve.  I needed a solution.  My physician referred me to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT).


Funny aside:
The doctor that my g.p. sent me to was wonderful, but he was obsessed with clowns.  Clown kitsch reigned supreme in the office and by that, I mean it was EVERYWHERE.  Shit like this:


and this:

and this:

I thought it was weird.

The guy in the above picture actually looks a bit like the ENT specialist.  When I met Dr. S. for the first time, I said:  "What's with the clown thing?"

ENT seemed discomfited.  I felt a bit ashamed, but still I pressed on.  I guess I don't know when to quit.    "Why clowns?"  ENT was evasive and mumbled something about hiding behind a happy face, masks and emotions.  Hmmmn.  I told him about an exhibit about clown sex that I had heard about on the CBC.  Uncomfortable silence.  Then he asked me more about it.  I told him what I remembered.  He seemed interested.

We got down to business.  He soaked a cotton ball in a numbing agent, and I watched, horrified, as he inserted it into my nose with a long pointy thing.  There was worse to come.  After a minute or two, he removed the cotton ball and shoved a tube up my nose.  It snaked down my throat.  Uncomfortable is an understatement.

ENT told me that I had a growth on my vocal cord and that he would monitor it for a couple of months.

It grew.  My symptoms worsened.  It had to come out.  There is a story by Margaret Atwood about a cyst; it's called Hairball.  I thought about my growth.  Would it begin to talk, like the boil in How to Get Ahead in Advertising?  

The "thing" was removed.

At my first post-surgical appointment, I noticed that a LOT of the clowns were gone.  I said nothing.  


Today, I was at an outdoor festival at the Western Fair Market.  My throat has been very hoarse for the past few days because I was cheering the children on at a cross country meet.  Big mistake.  I am paying for it.  My throat aches.  I have decided that my vocal cords need a rest.

On the way home from the market, at 3:48pm, I announced to the family that I was taking a vow of silence.  The three of them cackled.  My husband said:  "Is that a promise?"  I nodded and laughed my head off.

I am almost 7 hours in.

Just in:  Nathaniel has hijacked my blog!  Richard and Nathaniel were laughing at what I had written when I came in to the office and saw N typing madly:




The boy is laughing uproariously at this.

I will tell you more about my silent adventure tomorrow. In the meantime, Simon and Garfunkel perform a tune just for this post: