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Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Physician, heal thyself (it's much harder than it seems)

So as some of my friends/family know, I have been having some problems with my voice. In brief: back in September, I had a cold and lost my voice for about two weeks. When it came back, and I started going back to my regular chorus rehearsals. The first week I had lost my voice completely by break and the next week wasn't much better. Pretty much since then, I would start rehearsal with a normal voice and I would end up hoarse by the end. Then my voice started to fade to nearly nothingness after a really long day at work, especially if I had to do a lot of talking.

The worst was probably this past weekend. We had a three hour rehearsal on Saturday, and a performance on Sunday that lasted at most 45 min. My voice is almost back to normal today. In the beginning of this month, I had made an appointment with an ENT because things weren't getting better and I was getting worried that I was damaging my voice.

So, I saw the ENT yesterday and came home with a diagnosis of GERD. It's always odd being on the patient side of things. I knew I was going to get a scope while I was there and I was right. I was wrong however about having nodes. No permanent damage, yet. I do have some swelling and it's preventing my cords from closing completely. Apparently I've been having reflux for years and never really had any symptoms. Looking back, I had a relatively few episodes of heartburn, nothing really severe, and a fair amount of coughing. Right now, if I don't do something about the reflux and stop singing (temporarily) I will do damage to my cords.

I walked out of the office depressed and with two prescriptions for meds I'll likely be taking for the rest of my life, which is a fairly long time given I haven't even hit my 30s yet. I already know I'm going to have compliance issues. Not with the meds, I can take a pill in the am and one at night and I won't forget that. The hard part is going to be not singing. I've been consciously trying not to for the last day and it has been much harder than one would think. I never really grasped how often I'm humming or singing softly to myself without realizing it. Or how often I sing along with the radio (pretty much any time I hear a song I know the words to). I guess I'm developing a better understanding of why it's so hard to make a patient comply. Even with taking the meds. I know that if I didn't know better, it would be hard to convince me to spend $15 a month (and I have low copays) on two medications to treat something I really don't have symptoms from. So I can imagine how hard it could be to get a patient (especially one with less or no insurance coverage) to take pills to treat an illness when they feel fine.

Sometimes seeing things from the other side of the fence is a good thing.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Kristen said...

*hug*

2:26 PM  
Blogger Flightfire said...

I understand about the non-stop desire to sing. I do it all the time too. Having your own personal, portable musical instrument is quite a comfort. Good luck with your treatment.

10:07 AM  

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