Friday, September 03, 2010

Sorry for the delay

It feels like a long time since I posted here. These weeks have been busy: running around playing at being an HR/visa professional, pulling my hair out, pretending to be a writer (aka procrastination taken to a whole new level), enjoying the winter sun and finally settling down to the idea that we may actually stay in Brazil after all. One of my goals for the year was to start taking voice lessons again. I majored in vocal music in college, but it was a rough road for me. Besides the fact that I both loved and was terrified of performing, there were issues with one of my teachers, a borderline verbally abusive type who put me in tears after every lesson, and I left my senior recital with a sense of relief that I might never have to embarrass myself on stage ever again. I gave up singing for years.

It's been a goal for a while to return to vocal training, but one that kept needing to be put on the back burner. Finally I have time, money and emotional energy to try this again. So when a lady at the church we've been attending told me she was a piano teacher at the Federal University, I asked her for a recommendation. She sent me to a lovely mezzo-soprano who lives a few neighborhoods away and we had our first lesson last week. Out of practice for almost 7 years, I expected it to be a bit painful, but was surprised when the first thing she suggested was that I visit a ear/nose/throat doctor and have a video laryngoscopy of my vocal cords. Huh?

She explained that she heard a lot of air in my voice and that before she could work with me, she wanted to make sure it wasn't serious, anything that could damage my cords. And I left her apartment after the lesson/consultation thinking that it was going to be a waste of time and money. After all, I was just out of practice.

On the phone with my parents that evening, I mentioned this to my mother, who cooed, "Well, okay. With your deformed epiglottis and everything...that problem you had when you were a baby..."

The inappropriate term for my reaction: WTF?

Excuse me? Confusion, much? I had never, ever, ever been told that there was anything wrong with my voice or vocal mechanisms until this teacher casually suggested that I visit a specialist. My parents somehow forgot to mention* that as a child I had a condition known as stridor**, and while it probably has nothing to do with the tiny gap in my vocal cords that I have now, it was nevertheless a bit of a shock to hear this. Especially given my lackluster college performance. It might have been worth it to visit a specialist THEN rather than now. Because, yes, my vocal cords don't close all the way. I have a video to prove it. And now, in addition to voice lessons, I'm making appointments with a speech therapist.

Poor hubby. I have a feeling all the vocal exercises I'm going to have to do aren't going to be pleasant to listen to. Ooh. Ha. Hiiii.

* They had five children, so I suppose they're justified in forgetting things from time to time. :)

**A search of stridor related studies shows interesting, if frightening, a 1953 study of 80 infants with stridor, the authors write, in the awkwardly non-politically correct language of the day, that "no fewer than 16 other infants with stridor were mentally retarded."


anne said...

heard about the stridor phone call....:D
and bet you weren't as lackluster as you thought, in college, but it would have made sense to know it then...
am sure hubby will enjoy you striding about the house, vocalizing. At least, we all loved it when my brother did it for years and years (he's in opera, you might recall) It was just part of the "sounds" in my house!

Anonymous said...

I remember driving to Havertown to hear you sing with your college group and I thought you sounded wonderful! Grammy did too..OK we may be biased but I'm sure Vance is too. as for stridor it have with ALOT of children not just the challangedit is actually a tern used to describe the chest sounds worse than croup but easily treated with treatments which I am sure your parents did. Again just a family trait to forget to tell you of the major problems of our childhood..I had whooping cough but over the years it has changed from me to Nancy to Greg so 1 of us had it anyway

Anonymous said...

One of my babies was exposed to whooping cough by an Amish neughbor, who was unaware of the danger of bringing her child to see the new baby when he had whooping cough. When our baby started having coughing spasyms, she was taken to the Dr. They gave her gamma something, and in 2 days the coughing stopped. Did she have whooping cough? The dr. was uncommitting. It was Kathi, and she was 3 weeks old.