I made a joke to my friend S. that the first stage of recovery is Stage 0: “The Fuck Did I Do?”
You would have thought that I would have learned more patience ater al these other surgeries. No, I have not learned my lesson. Surgery isn’t a magic wand, so of course you’re not going to see your final result right out of the operating room. The patience required is superhuman. Here you have waited your entire life to hear yourself with your authentic masculine voice, and it is just out of reach. In some ways it is harder to wait right now than it was when I didn’t think I had any options.
Today I flew back out of Baltimore on my way home. Since it has been six fully days since surgery (day one being day zero in my counting), and I was told to give myself a week of voice rest… I thought, well, I will be able to speak to order a drink at the airport.
Oh ho ho, was I wrong. Here I thought this whole week that my voice was in there ready to use, and I was just controlling myself to stay quiet. No. I can’t speak if I tried. All that came out was a lot of air and hoarse sounds, nothing like the rich deep voice I imagined was just on the other side of my lips. I guess it isn’t ready for real. Dang.
Well that teaches me to try to slice a cake before the timer goes off… It’s all batter still!
But I will say, in the noisy airport, I started to try to hum a pitch, and my range vibrates so low that it reminds me of a boat whistle. I love it! It’s all I can do, but… I did not have realistic expectations of what I would be able to do on my return home.
Sitting on the plane, I sent my voice surgeon Dr. Simon Best at Johns Hopkins a quick message to let him know that I tried to take my voice for a one week test drive and got nothing. I asked if his voice therapist Ashley Davis would sent in a referral for me to get voice therapy as soon as possible at University of Texas, Southwestern, back home.
I had a momentary fear that perhaps my voice is permanently broken and I will never speak again. I will not be able to perform this job, and I will have to wear this “Sorry, I can’t talk to you,” button forever. Right? Well, moment of insecurity in which it all flashed before my imagination.
Of course, this Stage 0 comes before you can see how things are really going to heal. You remember that none of your surgeries looked the way they do right after surgery, and they all took time to heal and settle. Fortunately, I don’t have to go back for at least a month, and I could actually give myself full voice rest until then. That’s a luxury I need to be thankful for. I have my Text to Voice app, and I got this.
Settling in for recovery, videos of my voice to come soon. <3
[Type III Medialization Laryngoplasty Thyroplasty Voice Lowering]