At 2:30, yesterday, Julie and I were ushered into examination room #2 at The Voice Clinic of Indiana. In a moment, the nurse entered to take my vitals. No surprise that my blood pressure was up a bit.
She asked me a question. I hesitated. I pointed to my button, the one they gave me that announces I am on total voice rest. She smiled. “It’s okay. You can talk to me.”
I thought for sure my first words would be at the prompting of the surgeon, and only after specific instructions. Silly me. All right, here we go.
I opened my mouth to say, “You know I had surgery, right? I thought Dr. Parker would guide my first words.” That’s what I meant to say. That’s what I eventually said. But, on the first try, only silence and air escaped my mouth.
Give it another try, Gina. Ah, here it came. “I thought . . .” and that’s all I could muster. What a croak! Why didn’t anyone warn me how hard it would be to speak and how terrible I would sound twelve days after surgery?
It was rough, but it was glorious. And things just kept getting better.
Dr. Parker arrived. After some opening chit-chat, he put the scope through my nose and into my throat. He had me hold the devise to my neck, then instructed me to give him an eeeeeeeee. I gave him my best eeeeeeeee, and then he gave me the wildest news . . .
Recall that my pre-surgery voice came in at 115 vibrations per second. Dr. Parker said that was right on average for a male. Julie was with me, so he measured her voice. He said that females usually register between 200 and 250. Unsurprisingly, Julie’s feminine voice came in near the top, at 246. Dr. Parker said that if we could get me to 180-200, that would be pretty good. The speech therapist said that voices can be perceived as female as low as 160.
I spent the past twelve days in constant conversation with myself over what to expect, what I wanted, what would work for me. I never expected what Dr. Parker would now announce.
I melted into tears of joy. Julie burst into a wide smile. Dr. Parker said, “The emotions are no surprise,” and smiled at me.
My mind was racing. When I am fully recovered, I will sound like a woman. I will be able to talk on the phone and be taken as a female, without hesitation. When I meet people in person—say, our waiter at a restaurant—those pesky “he” pronouns will not trip up folks. When together, Julie always immediately jumped to my defense, “You mean ‘she,’” and I did the correcting when alone. No more! My voice will match my chick glasses and lipstick and necklace and everything else! Yay!!!
Dr. Parker next showed us my vocal cords. “They are healing beautifully.” He brought up a picture from before surgery so we could see the difference, how much shorter they now are. Wow, wow, wow.
All of my concerns were allayed. I had not coughed too much. I had not ripped the stitching apart. His good work took hold. I never imagined such a wonderful report.
Answers to my questions came back as good as I could have hoped:
- I may resume walking briskly now. In a week, I may run.
- I may eat acidic foods, but don’t overdo it. I will be on precautionary medication for acid reflux for another month, but there is no need to put it to the test.
- Sleeping lying down is fine. He said, “I didn’t tell you that you had to sit to sleep.” We debated who told us. Perhaps, it was the nurse in the recovery room, but both Julie and I vividly recall the chat happening—and my being part of it—before surgery. Very befuddling. And I could have been lying down all this time!
I suggested to him that I would have loved to have had the post-op instructions before the surgery, so that I could be prepared, especially for having some appropriate food on hand and being able to practice the silent cough. He responded very favorably, appreciative of my constructive comments.
For now, I am to take care with speaking, limiting it to about half of what I might normally talk. No straining my voice. No singing until it feels like I can do so with ease. In five weeks, I see him again, then have my first voice therapy session.
I am simply over the moon. If you read yesterday’s post, https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/post-op-appointment-day/ , you know how on edge I was anticipating this day. To have this under my belt, and for every last aspect to turn out so wonderfully, I’d say I’m speechless but, thankfully, I am not! Praise the Lord!
Finally, lucky you: I have pictures. Oh, yes I do! I know you can’t wait to see the gross-looking things. And I can’t wait to show you.