June 15, 2007

My Health Scare

I've been battling laryngitis for months now. I finally saw an ENT doctor yesterday:

I know I should really rest my voice, but I will have a hard time of it. For example, I made the above video which consists of non stop babbling for over 5 minutes.

In mid February I went to watch my nephew, the best goalie prospect in Canada play.
I started talking to my brother, and nothing but non comprehendable whispers came out. I dismissed it to the air in the coldish arena. When I got back home, my voice was fine.
The reason I wasn't so concerned, is the same thing happened before at the end of "discussions" about meaningless futile stupidness with my wife.
I noticed by late March that my voice would weaken considerably as the day went on. This continued to the point that I would only have a good hour of voice a day.
Those closest to me were starting to bother me about going to the doctor. I'm a man, and I need to be doubling over in pain before I see a doctor dammit. And my laryngitis was not painful. I was not spitting up blood. But I knew this wasn't normal.
I started doing lots of internet searches. And I kept telling those bugging me to see a doctor, lets wait a week. A week turned into months. Finally, at the end of April I went to a walk-in clinic. He told me to go to the hospital for a heart and lung xray. I went in 3 days, which was a Friday. Took the xray. The nurse told me, "you can go." What did that mean? Did it mean, yep the xray came out because I can see all the lumps in your lungs? I asked when will the doctor contact me regarding the results. I was told the technician won't be in until Monday.
The suspense was killing me. I waited until Thursday and since I didn't hear from the doctor's office, I decided to call. I said, "did you get my xray results." I was told they are fine. "What about the referral?" We are waiting to hear back from the referring doctor's office, I was told.
My voice got progressively worse. My internet searches got more refined. Did I have the big C. Is that why I can't speak normally at all now? Is the tumor in my throat getting bigger? I know it could be anything. But I am pessimistic by nature.
I started thinking it had something to do with GERD, because I was noticing an acidic taste in my mouth in the mornings. I started taking Rolaids extra strength tabs, but they weren't helping. I starting drinking lots of tea and cutting down on pop and coffee.
I finally got a call on Monday. A cancellation freed up an appointment slot for me Thursday (yesterday). I really didn't want to go, but I knew I had to.
Within one minute of sticking the camera up my nose to view my throat, the doctor told me my vocal cords are crossed. And this happened from misuse of my voice. WOW.
I asked if that was common, he said no. I asked about GERD, he said it is a possibility since I have ulcers that are in my vocal cords as well. He hesitantly prescribed omeprazole. But I'm starting to think the pills are helping me already.
He recommends that I go to a speech pathologist to learn to talk (and shout?) again.
Canada is great for medical. OHIP covers everything but the drugs. The drug plan I am on paid for 90% of the prescription (which would have been $77 without the plan, for 50 tiny pills).
Now about my "crossed" vocal cords. It is just starting to hit me. What the hell is that? I haven't found anything about the condition on the internet. Is it naturally reversible? If not, is my voice screwed forever? Is there an operation available to correct it (good luck convincing me to go under the knife for something like that).

During this whole process, I never once lost my faithlessness.

As an atheist, I realize this is my only shot at life. I thanked the doctor and sincerely meant it (because he saw no signs of cancer). I am too young (46) for The Big Sleep. Plus I am motivated to outlive my wife. I don't want to die until I can experience what it is like to be single one more time:)

I haven't posted the following video on this site yet. It does shows how bad my laryngitis is. This one is funny (at least I think so). Jews Control The World:


  1. Damn, Wino! Just listening to you made my throat hurt. "Crossed vocal cords?" WTF?

  2. As an amateur musician, I have some awareness of vocal ailments, and I've never heard of crossed vocal cords, and can't imagine how it could happen. People sometimes get nodes on their vocal cords from overstressing them; could "crossed" be a weird way of describing that? If that's what it is, it's important to avoid overusing your voice for quite a long time (months, perhaps); it's not dangerous, AFAIK, but is a serious nuisance till you recover.

  3. I envy you Canadians and your health care. In America, we have to work hard at jobs we hate just to be able to go to the doctor. LOL

    Hope you feel better and glad it wasn't anything worse. Thank Science!

  4. Wow, glad you're okay, wino.
    Look at the bright side: now you have an excuse not to have anymore of those "we need to talk" conversations...
    you can just look at her mournfully and whisper, "I can't."

  5. Well, not being very good in these situations, I'll just say sheepishly: "Get well soon, Master..."

  6. First off, for those who don't know, Wino, is short for an ID I used on Yahoo message boards "Gardenwino" which was an affectionate nickname for my wife.
    Secondly, I am experiencing no pain, so I don't consider myself sick or ailing, though I sound it.
    Thanks for the concerns though, and I am still concerned that the ENT doctor might not be right, though I am not even close to looking to get a second opinion, because he seemed very sure.

  7. Vocal chord problems are more prevalent than you might think. My uncle had "permanent laryngitis" for some time: almost no voice. It turned out to be warts on the vocal cords. Like you he didn't suffer any pain. Many in my family put it down to his smoking but his doctor (reluctantly) stated it had nothing to do with it whatsoever. There doesn't seem to be a straightforward cause for it... And he doesn't sound like "Deep Throat" anymore...

  8. Here's to hoping the problem gets taken care of.

    A couple of years ago I went through a severe crisis, both physical and mental due to a serious lapse of judgment on my part.

    Without getting into details, suffice it to say that I feared I would lose everything that mattered to me in my life. Not once did I waver in my atheism and I eventually worked my way through it.

    Now, if I had turned to Christianity and the crisis eventually passed, I would have attributed it to a miracle from "the Lawd!" But since I did not turn to religion, the crisis passed because it became plain that there was nothing wrong with me and my problems stemmed from my irrational fears and panics.

  9. good luck to you, with your voice. I hope you feel better soon.

  10. You sound like the Godfather, dude! Badass!