Two months ago I lost my voice. And I still have not managed to recover it. I sound hoarse, which works fabulously for reading poetry, but the sexy raspy thing is now just annoying and uncomfortable. Every single time I speak on the phone, a client or friend asks me if I’m sick, hung over or exhausted. My answer is, “No, I’ve just lost my voice, that’s all.” But they are beginning to not believe me. And I am having my own doubts too.
I used to lose my voice all the time, but I often attributed it to lack of sleep, partying, shouting, and smoking. My chronic tonsillitis did not help much either. But my tonsils were removed eight months ago, which is also when I consequently quit smoking, and my partying has been reduced to intimate dinners with friends and relaxing on the beach. I sleep about eight hours a night.
So what the Hell is going on?
This morning I went to see my ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat doctor). He is the sweet, older Catalan man who removed my tonsils last year, and who I think is always trying to set me up with his son. After a thorough examination, which triggered my gag reflex and I almost threw up all over the guy, he tucked his little flashlight and tongue depressor away and told me, “Your vocal chords are a bit red and inflamed, but there is nothing really wrong with your … throat.” He put his hand on my shoulder, tilted his head sideways, and then added, “The problem is with the pianist in your head.”
Now, I realize I have a lot going on inside my head. But a pianist? I instantly had the vision of a small little figure, dressed in a black tailsuit, encouraging his fingertips to make love to the white and black keys of a grand piano shining brightly in my frontal lobe. Once the musical notes danced their way out of my ears, I registered the kind doctor’s words, awoke from my little daydream, and said, “¿cómo?”
According to my doctor, there is a pianist living in my head. And my vocal chords are his grand piano. Supposedly he is up there composing and banging around on the keys. Passionately. Ruthlessly. And with no intermissions. Dr. Torres Esteban told me that my wild, unsettled head was the cause of my voice cracking. And then he wrote me a couple of prescriptions to help with the inflammation, told me to refrain from speaking altogether for a couple of weeks, plugged my cell phone number into his iPhone, and told me he would call me in September to arrange for me to see a logopedia (a speech therapist) to help train me to speak properly again.
For someone who speaks a lot, this is all very worrying.
On one side, I’m being told not to speak. But then there is the other theory – that I need to get something off my chest. Over the past few weeks I have had two friends and a holistic doctor all give me another source for my voice loss. Apparently I have a secret. A deep, dark secret that I’ve kept so well hidden inside, that not even I know what it is. Apparently when there is something inside us that we don’t voice, our voice can actually break down until we speak that secret. I have spent a good part of this week thinking about what secret I could possibly have. And I’m drawing a huge blank.
Pianists and deep secrets are nestling up together inside me. I would love to get rid of them both…but first I guess I need to identify them. Until then, I will attempt to not speak so much (yeah right), will down my little pills every eight hours, and will continue working on my “You Can Do It! List” until hopefully all my little worries diminish. Once all is (not?) said and done, and my voice is back to its normal cadence and tone, I will look forward to singing something other than Tracy Chapman and Chavela Vargas in the shower.