Wednesday, December 07, 2005

(Almost) Complete Vocal Rest

I'm having nagging vocal cord swelling. I'd recovered from the vocal problems I had back in '01 and '02, and was able to sing fully again, which was the big goal. To be sure, there were lifestyle changes...I teach with a microphone now, and when I officiate, I'm careful not to yell the whole game (I save it for two or three calls I really have to sell). But I came down with some mysterious ailment a couple of months ago that has been problematic. I soldiered through, singing in the community sing with my students at school (slogging through the weekly rehearsals was tough) and teaching carefully and reffing quietly. But it's not getting better and it's not going to get better until I get some rest. The Christmas break is a week and a half away, and that will help...but I don't want to wait.

So tonight, I've told my loving, supportive wife that I am on self-imposed (almost) complete vocal rest.

I'll teach.

I'll ref.

I'll tell my wife I love her and say sweet things when I go to work and when we go to bed.

But that's it.

I announced this tonight at about 9:00...and my wife supported me. But there's a wonderful side effect to all of this...

My wife is talking!

I talk so damn much that I tend to dominate the topics of conversation. I don't even really notice it. Swankette tends to be sort of shy and retiring...which works well with me since I'm such a damn loudmouth. Seriously, how do you think the cords got swollen in the first place? But with me quiet tonight, Swankette, obviously not used to the silence, started talking. She said wacky jokes. She said sweet things. These happen under any circumstances, of course, but they feel wackier and sweeter tonight. I do believe that this is actually enjoyable.

Last time I had vocal rest, it was enforced by a doctor and lasted nearly two weeks. There was question as to my ability ever to sing again, so I was scared. I learned a lot of things during that two weeks:

1. This is what Instant Messenger is good for.
2. I liked my wife more than the woman I was dating at the time. (In other words, I preferred IM-ing Swankette to actually hanging out with the now-ex.)
3. I didn't miss talking to the people I was closest to. What I missed most was the ability to talk to the guy at the gas station or at Subway.
(3a. If you can't talk, it' s not a bad idea to take people to the mall to help you buy shoes. I hadn't bought shoes with my parents since I was 12, but there it was, happening again.)
4. If you write down the sandwich you want and hand it to the Subway guy, you will learn that he can barely read.
5. When you carry a laptop around to talk to people at work, and you type in a question to them, rather than answering you verbally, they have an urge to take your computer and type back to you...which, of course, makes absolutely no sense.

I'm not going cold-turkey this time around, and it's not as serious...the stakes aren't quite as high. Swelling goes down, but the busted blood vessel in the cord from '01 was far more serious and scary. So it won't be a complete shutdown. I'll still teach, ref, and say sweet things to my wife when I leave in the morning and when we go to bed at night. But through at least Monday morning, I'll try to leave all other stuff out. And, for a change, I'll enjoy watching my wife be forced to compete with the Kitty to be the extrovert of the house.


Joe said...

That's quite distressing. Hope you recover quickly.

Shannin said...

Wow - I depend on talking way too much to give it up. I hope you recover quickly, especially so you can do the three things you love - talk, sing and ref!

tommyspoon said...

Small steno pads rule!

Hope your vocal convalescence (sp?) goes well.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Subway guy simply can't read your handwriting ;).

Good luck with the voice, man.

TeacherRefPoet said...

This will sound xenophobic, but it's simply factual--I think English was not the guy at Subway's first language. Still, I wound up pointing at stuff rather than have him just read things.