Where I Probably Die of Starvation

There is news on the State of the Voice! I had my doctor appointment yesterday. Expect relief within weeks! Which is nice because it has only been 7 weeks so far, he said sarcastically.

The VA hospital is a 2-hour drive from here. I got up before 5 in the morning, which is my usual bedtime of late. My appointment was at 9. Fortunately, my bud took me, so I had someone to talk to instead of just waving at occasional fields full of cows along the way.

So the doctor’s appointment. The doctor asked me questions you’d probably expect. Do you smoke? I quit 6 years ago. Do you have any acid reflux? No. Other stuff, too, about my diet. Do I eat a lot of spicy foods? Tomatoes and acidic foods? Citrus? Those are all yes answers. I mean, I don’t have a ton of citrus. I don’t drink much in the way of juice (diabetic), even though I love orange juice. But I have been drinking the snot out of that lemon ginger tea the last 6 weeks or so.

He felt my neck and throat, which is a little tender, but more annoying than anything. The throat itself is sore, but lozenges help. Anyway, he had me say the letter “e” in an elongated manner, moving up the scales from low to as high as I could go. Then the other way around, from high to low, like I was singing. It’s the high end where things break up, though it is much improved compared to a month ago.

He also had me say the phrase, “We eat eels daily.” I’m pretty sure that was some sort of post hypnotic suggestion he was planting and I’m now a sleeper agent for the Greater Wisconsin Cheese Alliance. Which is really going to put me at odds with me being off dairy (mostly).

Then came the fun part, where he sprayed this medicine into my nose. Okay, that wasn’t the fun bit. That stuff slid down my throat and tasted bitter as hell. The fun part was when he took a camera and shoved it up my nose…well, down my nose. Time to look at the vocal chords. And no, you can’t see footage because for some stupid reason that was not an option, even though I told him it was for a very important blog. He also wouldn’t hold my phone to film what he was looking at. Really not a very blog-friendly doctor, I must say. I put that on Yelp.

Felt a little odd going down my nostril, but it wasn’t uncomfortable.

“Oh, I see you’ve had your tonsils out. There’s the scar right there,” he said.

“I was 3. Thanks for pointing it out, doc. I’m very sensitive about that.” I’ve thought seriously about seeing a plastic surgeon.

Karl in the Waiting Room

While the camera was down there, he had me repeat the “e” exercise, first from low to high and then in reverse. And the “eels” mantra, too, which is probably now going to make me start the next Great Cheese War. Damn the Wisconsin cheese mafia!

Anyway, the doctors said the vocal chords seem to be moving properly. There is quite a bit of mucus around them and he prescribed an anti-acid medication. I don’t quite get that. I don’t have trouble with heartburn or reflux, but okay.

I should see marked improvement in about 2 weeks with the medicine. Oh, and the following restrictions until I’m back to normal: no coffee or caffeine. No citrus (so no more lemon ginger tea). No tomatoes, no marinara, no spicy foods. Thus, no pizza. No chocolate. No food within 3 hours of bedtime.

Basically, my throat isn’t going to kill me, but I am probably going to starve.

Okay, I’m being melodramatic. If I’m back to normal within a few weeks, this is not a big deal, really. Things like soda and and chocolate I already steer clear of. I do love tomatoes in my salads. The spicy foods is a bit of a sting, I admit. But I can leave the Tabasco off my eggs and stop munching on jalapenos for a couple of weeks. Not eating within 3 hours of bedtime…now there’s the tough one. It’s going to be hard not snacking in the wee hours.

When I asked the doctor about exposure to cigarette smoke, he said that that’s the least of my concerns. If I can tolerate it, I should be fine. But if I start coughing or it bothers my throat, I should cut and run.

I spent a while at the American Legion a week ago and it wasn’t too bad, even though that’s a smoking bar. It was only half as populated as usual, though. Snowbirds have already started their migration north. And I’ve been playing my regular poker nights, where I’m the only non-smoker. That’s not too bad, either, but we’ve been playing on one guy’s lanai (which is fancy talk for “screened in porch”) so there’s plenty of ventilation.

So I think the next step in the field test is tomorrow night. I’m going to give karaoke a shot. Obviously, I still have to stay with songs that don’t go anywhere near high notes, but that’s fine. I need some microphone therapy and to see some friendly faces. To see something other than my four walls.

So, got any requests? Keep ’em low. Well, at least don’t make ’em high.

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