Friday, September 2, 2011

I Just Wanna Go to Rehab

I said, “Yes, yes, yes!” 

I used to sing well. And, I loved to sing. But chronic, allergy-related coughing and misuse of my voice left me with more of a croak than a singing voice. It got to the point where I would not even sing when I was in the car, alone!

I tried throat lozenges, allergy medication, cough suppressants and resting my voice. Nothing helped, I felt discouraged and, well, sad. I finally found my way to The Blaine Block Institute for Voice Analysis and Rehabilitation.

After an endoscopy to examine my larynx and esophagus (my vocal chords), I got the good news. There is no permanent damage, just severe bruising. The even better news is that, with therapy, I should be able to recover my singing voice. It was amazing to look at the photographs of my vocal chords. This is a whole new level of getting in touch with my body!

Now, comes the rehab part. My speech and language therapist gave me a series of exercises to rehabilitate my voice. The first round of exercises (they’ll change as I make progress) takes about ten minutes, twice a day. After sounding a note on a pitch pipe, she had me repeat and sustain that note for as long as possible while singing "eeee." Then I do the same exercise, on the same note, while buzzing the lips. The second exercise is to go from my comfortable low note to my comfortable high note. The third is the reverse, to go from my comfortable high to my comfortable low. The final exercise is a series of notes (G A B C) where I sustain the note for as long as possible to "oooo." I immediately noticed I was having trouble with the breath necessary to sustain a note so next time we'll work on that.

To assist my practice, she provided a CD with all the exercises including the sounding pitches. Most of the time I do these in the car. The first time I did them, my son asked, "Is that you or is that the CD?" I told him it was both. On the next set, I heard a third voice, his! Now the joke around our house is to let loose with some "eee's," "ooo's," or lip trills to locate one another! Our two Yorkies are quite amused!

I'm grateful to have this opportunity to reclaim my voice. I'm looking forward to relearning how to effectively use my breath. Last December, at my Solstice Celebration, my chosen word for the year was "breathe." Lovely how its significance is affirmed in this rehabilitation process.

1 comment:

  1. I say, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Can't wait until we can sing together!