Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm not sick but.....

I have no voice to speak of (pun intended) and have withdrawn from our scheduled gig at Rockhoppers tonight. It just kills me to do this----performing is a major source of exhilaration for me and I love being part of Bayview Sound because these folks have become such good friends.

I felt a scratchy throat begin to develop on Thursday but ignored it until I went to the jam that night and found that the combination of a milky latte and scratchiness made it hard to stay on pitch or sing with any strength in my voice. Milk tends to do that to me---it was one of the unwritten laws of my college choir: don't drink milk at supper before a concert. And Thursday night it was clear that the combination had done me in.

It's very disconcerting to find a function of one's body suddenly untrustworthy. I've gotten used to the way my voice sounds in my ears; it's never been a problem to stay on pitch or to belt out a tune. But Thursday night was different, so I left early, came home and did the Neti-pot number and got out the Ricola.

Friday morning I was beginning to be dubious about whether Saturday night would find me recovered, but I went to the rehearsal in the afternoon because I was feeling less scratchy. I didn't sing at the rehearsal and came home early again. When I woke in the night with a very sore throat, I knew Saturday night's performance would not work for me.

This morning the guys are re-arranging the set list to cover for me and I'm feeling regretful but knowing I would not do myself any favors by trying to perform. I'd embarrass myself and not do the group any good either.

I heard Kris Kristofferson sing on the Colbert Report last night and he has clearly lost his voice. He sounded like I do right now, scratchy and off-key. I bet he was embarrassed too. I know just how I would feel in that situation. But voices come back if you take care of them, at least most of the time.

Guess I'll spend the day veging out and wishing I could sing.

14 comments:

uumomma said...

I'm sorry you'll have to miss this, but sounds like you've got it handled. Be well.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Momma, I appreciate your encouragement and good wishes.

Robin Edgar said...

"I felt a scratchy throat begin to develop on Thursday but ignored it"

Not a good idea Ms. Kitty. When I feel a sore throat coming on I usually gargle with very hot water that has a couple of Aspirins dissolved in it and this *usually* nips the sore throat in the bud. The sooner you deal with it the better the chances of nipping it in the bud. Of course that's true of just about any ailment. . .

Dissolve the two Aspirins in a small amount cold water first, because the plastic coating on them doesn't deal well with hot water being poured on it, then add about a quarter cup of very hot water. Be sure to use real Aspirins, or at least generic acetylsalicylic acid tablets. You can swallow the liquid too if you don't mind the sour taste.

Robin Edgar said...

It occurs to me now that you *could* do an Eartha Kitt imitation or something. ;-)

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Robin, that's helpful. I will dig out the aspirin.

And I might sound earthier than Eartha if I tried to do it today!

Robin Edgar said...

It doesn't hurt to suck on a few Vitamin C tablets until they completely dissolve either. A couple of 500 mg tablets once, twice or even three times a day can be helpful but the gargling with Aspirin is very effective as a rule. Let me know if it helped although, as I said, it works best if you do it as soon as you fell a sore throat coming on.

ms. kitty said...

I really appreciate it, Robin. I'll let you know how it works if I get to it. As you said, it's best right at the beginning. Right now ibuprofen is helping.

Mile High Pixie said...

Bless yo heart, ma'am! I completely empathize. It's easy to ignore, like "oh it's probably nothing", and then suddenly you sound like Froggy from "The Little Rascals". Take care of yourself. Your voice will come back--it's okay to rest it!

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Pixie,I appreciate the sympathy!

LinguistFriend said...

In us older people for whom milk is no longer a staple, it can become the source of an allergic response, which I experience.
My impression is that a lot of caffeine, especially when it has built up over the day, may produce edema (local fluid build-up) in the head and neck, including in the vocal folds. I expect that it depends on the individual circulatory system, but it happens with me. Alcohol has the opposite effect on the circulation (expands blood vessels), a physiologist friend has told me, but is deleterious to motor control, besides other complications.
The section of the vocal fold under the epithelium (Reinke's layer or the superficial layer) that vibrates in voice is a potential space which can pick up fluid which is transported from the more central parts of the vocal fold when vocal fold muscle contracts. This happens because of the existence of a intramuscular pressure gradient in which the central parts of the muscle have the highest fluid pressures (I have measured them in vocal fold muscle) and the medial parts of the fold have lower fluid pressure, so that the extracellular fluid which composes about 20% of muscle by volume is shifted towards the vocal fold edge, and moves into the Reinke's layer. That means that the most medial part of the vocal fold, which must vibrate freely to produce voice, has become heavier and has greater mass in cross-section. So, you have to work harder to sing (partly respiration), but that harder work will include greater vocal fold contraction, making the edema worse. There are medical treatments; practically, taking a rest sounds sensible and may well be sufficient. But if the sore throat includes an infectious process, that your MD may help.
I don't know about Robin's recommendation.
I have published the main experimental findings on intramuscular presures in the vocal fold, and measured them elsewhere in the larynx also.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, LF, for that detailed response. So far this morning I am a little better, but time will tell. I may have to consult the MD.

Miss Kitty said...

Get well soon, Ms. K! :-) Sending hugs westward.

And I hate that about Kristofferson. [sigh]

ms. kitty said...

Thank you, dear Miss K, and all my other faithful readers. I'm some better today. Darn, I was sick after all!

kim said...

Get well soon. And watch that "dissolving vitamin C slowly" -- if your teeth are at all cavity-prone, make sure you rinse out well after with water or something alkaline. Vitamin C is very acid (so is aspirin), and some teeth are more vulnerable than others (ok, to be more accurate, it's not so much the teeth that vary as it is the saliva, but it amounts to the same thing.)