Vocal Injury Journey- Part 7
Since having my laryngeal manipulations and massage done (3 times now!), my vocal instructor can now work on flexibility and re-strengthening my chords. Before, my vocal chords were looking clearer, but everything from my throat-up was extremely tight- throat, tongue, lips, etc, that the sound was almost refusing to come out! My voice sounded like Kermit! Now that it loosening, we are finally making progress.
I find it interesting that I can now sing a High D6 with ease like I’ve never done before, but having the hardest trouble singing a Bb 4, which has always been and should be something I can do in my sleep. That’s where the damage was, though, so I get it. We have figured out a way to work my “bridge” on AHH vowels, but the second I throw a hard consonant like a F, K, TH, etc in front of it, it goes completely bonkers. We are also retraining breathing, and removing all of the silly body manipulations (like jutting out my chin) that I started habitually doing to force the sound out when I was injured.
I’ve learned that I easily already have a range of D3-D6, which I didn’t really know, because I’ve not used the entirety of my range for years! It’s kind of the equivalent of an extreme body builder or athlete that needs a very strong, bulky musculature. Chances of said athlete being able to do the splits and have extreme flexibility when they have such a heavy muscle mass are slim, because the muscles shorten and thicken. Same with the vocal chords- if you use heavy weight when you sing (like I have been asked to do for years) and not continue to strengthen the remainder of your range, it depletes rapidly. All of this has been super fascinating- I feel like I can write a book about what I’ve learned.
I took a break at the beginning of August to go on a mini-vacation. I would put it in quotes, because it was “only 4 days in CA”, but I had the most fun I’ve had in years and it was all paid for and planned by my thoughtful man! Isaac had started noticing me go a bit in a downward spiral, even with the progress I was having, because it wasn’t quick enough. I was getting jealous when I saw the celebration of my show’s 1-Year Anniversary. I wasn’t invited, and although it really deeply hurt my feelings, I kind of understood why? I haven’t been a part of the cast for the last 6 months. But, living in town, still being on the “Cast Roster”, and watching it all unfold on Facebook was really heartbreaking to me.
I decided to take a hiatus from social media, and we went to Mexico and San Diego and stayed on the beach, spent time with friends and on the water. I got to spend a few hours driving a speedboat, had lobster dinners overlooking Mexican beaches, my first bonfire with friends on the sand, with waves crashing at my feet. I didn’t answer phone calls/texts, and didn’t even have my FB app on my phone. (I still don’t!) It was just what the (therapist) doctor ordered… I’ve needed that sort of escape for YEARS. The drive down to CA was one cloudy version of me, and the drive back was a recharged, emotionally stable, and calmer version. It showed me the importance of removing yourself from your environment every once in awhile and experiencing something new!
I found out a bit prior to my vacation that I wouldn’t be returning back to work until the earliest October 1. I’m having to hear the story through a game of telephone of 4-5 people, so I’m not entirely sure what’s true and what’s not. All I know, is that I received a rather hurried phone call on July 6, and was told I needed to give a “yes” or a “no” to return back to work by August 1. If it was a no, I had to wait until October to be put back into the show, because they needed to hire a new cover. If it was a “yes”, I would need documentation by my doctors. The confusing part to me was that I was given ½ an hour to make this decision, and I legitimately tried to make it happen. Call me crazy, but I did… a month after clearing up my hemorrhage. My doctor refused to give the approval until “At the earliest” my ENT appointment date of July 25, which was too late, understandably.
Worker’s Comp made the decision to keep me out of work before I could open my mouth. I have to say, now that the decision was made FOR me, I am relieved. It’s CURRENTLY the week I “should” be back in the show… and I’m not even close yet. We just started singing through my libretto at voice lessons, and there are about 30 different rough patches still (anything that’s in mid belt, really…) This gives me the time I need (but didn’t want) to continue to heal. As my teacher said, even if I had to be out an entire year, that is only (hopefully) 1/30th+ of my career, instead of ending it after 7. I reluctantly agreed with her… but I KNOW they’re all right. Patience really is the greatest virtue, along with persistence. ;-)