Losing My Voice

I remember very well when I lost the majority of my voice. It was in 1982, and I was working for Zee Medical Service selling first aid supplies. It was July, and the company was having an “event” in Atlanta at a hotel. I got an unusual sore throat which quickly developed into the worst pain I had ever had in the throat. Felt like I was being stabbed in the vocal cords with a needle. I got hoarse and then totally lost my voice. The pain lasted a couple of weeks, but the hoarseness in my voice lasted months. I didn’t think it would ever get back to normal. I could talk, but if I tried to sing it was terrible. No higher register, and cracking all the time.

I couldn’t sing, so I started writing songs. I worked out a melody on the guitar and recorded it on a little cassette player so I would not forget them. Words once written are in stone, but melodies are as elusive as butterflies on the wing. So I “netted” them and once the song was finished I kept the hope in my heart that I could find someone to sing them on a demo for me. My daughter was really coming along on her singing and I had an idea that she could do it.

One day early in 1985, I was riding down the road singing along with the radio, and I was able to carry a tune again. Gradually I regained part of my voice. I was able to sing again and went on to sing on some of the demos I occasionally post here. What you hear is about half of what I once could do.

I finally went to a specialist in 1999 when my voice started bothering me again. He found a big lump on one vocal cord, and was pretty sure it might be cancerous. I had surgery, and he found that it was a big lump of scar tissue. Having messed with it again caused me almost another year of being unable to sing, but I eventually got my singing voice back…but again further diminished. I am convinced that whatever I had in 1982 caused that scar.

Nowadays, if I talk a lot or sing a lot it’s somewhat painful and it takes several days to make a comeback. Back when I was going to Church they always wanted me in the choir, and I would sometimes go…but I guess nobody realized the problem I had even though I made it known. I have some days or weeks now when the old singing voice is ok, and some weeks when it is weak.

Much as I wanted to be a singer and still love it, I just couldn’t take the strain of a run at “America’s Got Talent” even assuming I was good enough. Quite honestly I give thanks for the ability to sing along with old Bing Crosby, or Keith Whitley from time to time. That’s still a pleasure and I’m danged happy with that as things stand.

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