Otolaryngologic Cinemascope (made you look)

by anna on July 14, 2008

Overheard in the master bedroom this morning:

Mr. Right-Click: What they are probably going to have to do, is numb your throat down, and then stick a fiber optic camera down there. Just so you know.
A: No, they numb down your nose, and then they stick it up there and then down the throat.
Mr. Right-Click: How do you know?
A: Oh, I’ve had a camera down my throat before.
Mr. Right Click: Isn’t that one of those things that I don’t really need to know about? Like the Tequila & Condoms??
A: I told you that the tequila and condoms thing was just a bit, a cheap advertising ploy.
Mr. Right-Click: Are you saying you didn’t use condoms?
A: Duh! I had no interest in condoms or what one does with them if there was tequila around!

scope.jpgI have been having coughing fits in the middle of the night for a while now, and it isn’t going away on its own like I had hypothesized it would. Mr. Right-Click insisted that I go see an ENT doctor about this, and even went so far as to make two appointments for me (the first one, they made me wait an hour with Mini, who was desperately in need of a nap, in my arms, in a waiting room full of people using canes, walkers, and/or home care aides, until finally I just walked out–why do they bother making appointments, anyway? If you’re just going to have to wait an hour?). So this morning I went and had the pleasure of reliving my nose canal fiber optic experience again, only to walk away with scripts (I love using doctor talk) for Nasonex and Pepcid AC. Seems my cough might be caused by allergies, or it might be caused by acid reflux, something I didn’t even know that I had.

Along with my scripts came a helpful xeroxed sheet entitled “Voice Care Program.” Among the tips for taking care of my voice are: “Avoid yelling, throat clearing, loud whispering, humming, singing, –and this is where it gets good–lifting or pushing heavy objects (???).”

In college, I went through a Demi Moore period in which I had to be extra careful about not putting strain on my vocal cords. I didn’t know it then, but I had developed nodules on my vocal cords that would have to be treated with speech therapy or, failing that, surgery. All I knew was that when Dr. Bender chose my essay on Jane Austen’s Persuasion to be the springboard for discussion in our upper division English seminar, and I had to read it to the class, I had to hit myself repeatedly on the chest in order to be heard.

At the time, it was a total mystery to me as to how I got these vocal nodules. I thought perhaps that it was from smoking, since I was at the time a pack a day smoker, not that this would move me to quit. I remember describing it to Tanya, who looked at me like I was an idiot, and explained, “On the weekends, all you do is run around the halls of the dorm, drunk, and screaming about how much you hate guys.” Oh. Yeah, maybe that’s the “excessive strain” on the vocal cords right there. But I wasn’t going to quit drinking either.

After the camera down my throat, I was sent to a speech therapist who made me practice saying bizarre sentences a specific way so as to not strain my voice, and tape myself whilst doing this, so that my roommates would come home and hear me saying, “Father does not like it under water,” over and over again and collapse in a fit of hysterics on the floor.

Eventually my voice got better, and I didn’t need surgery. The doctor today said that my vocal cords looked “roughed up,” but that I didn’t need to worry “too much.” Nothing like a nasal probe to inspire a walk down memory lane.

{ 1 comment }

Eden July 16, 2008 at 6:58 am

I’d be screwed at “avoid yelling”.

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