2 weeks later the waiting room at Dr. Kumra's office is soothingly decorated in shades of gray. The floor is particularly intriguing--vinyl steel linoleum tiles that remind me of sharkskin. Every thing connects back to water somehow.
The doctor sprays numbing antiseptic in my right nostril and then passes the scope, a curved fiberoptic cable through my left nostril and pharynx until it offers a view of my vocal folds. The diagnosis is promising: The chords on the left side of my throat are slightly inflamed but do not show any signs of bruising. The doctor recommends that I refrain from putting any unnecessary pressure on my vocal chords for the next 6 weeks, that includes talking loud, yelling and singing--not in the shower, or the car and absolutely no karaoke.
No karaoke? For six weeks? It sounds like a life sentence. The thought of not singing produces a dull pang. I love music, I love humming melodies, I can't help but sing-a-long to a favorite tune. And it's more difficult than you can imagine, every time I catch myself in the act, I cringe. I silently belt a mantra to remind myself that every ooh, aah or woo-hoo adds stress to already swollen chords. This necessary act of restraint, is a true personal challenge.
And like anything that is forbidden, that is taken by force or circumstance, that is taken without your permission--the feeling of loss is almost immediate. I find myself thinking about the possibility of not ever being able to sing again and I get sick to my stomach. Sick because over the years I've allowed myself to forget that I can sing. I was studying music with a coach in Brooklyn for awhile and wasn't really committed to the lessons, did not put effort into practicing. I think of all that time wasted, and have to shake the negative thoughts from my head. Right then and there I make a promise to myself to reconnect to music, to find a way to sing again, even if just for myself.