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It’s all in your head February 8, 2014

Posted by Judy in Musings.
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When I was in college, I started doing alot more singing in public. Choir concerts, recitals, solos in choir concerts, church . . . you name it, I was there. Along with the singing came a problem, I always seemed to get attacked by a throat frog in the fews hours prior to a performance. Invariably, I’d start freaking out, drinking water practically by the gallon, and then, the performance would go off without a hitch. It happened so much that my partner in musical crime, aka my BFF, started telling me “It’s all in your head! You aren’t really sick! You just “think” you have a cold, but you are fine.” In fact, 10 years later, when I was getting ready to sing for her wedding, she asked how I was. “Well, I’m getting a cold, so I think we’ll change the key.” She just cracked up laughing . . .”Yeah, the ‘cold’. Riiiiight. You’ll be fine!”

Imagine my surprise, when while reading an assignment for Vocal Pedagogy, I cam across “psychogenic hoarseness”. I turned to my classmate and said jokingly, “This must be my issue!”
From Meribeth Bunch’s book, “Dynamics of the Singing Voice, p 130.

Sometimes hystercial hoarseness may present itself when a singer is under great stress. . . . . Very occasionally the singer may become so frightened that acute hoarseness will appear on the day before or the day of a performance. . . . . when the singer can cough or clear his throat with a clear sound, the problem is unlikely to be an organic one.

I was mostly kidding about this being my issue, since performance anxiety doesn’t usually attack me until minutes before a performance and not hours or days. But, it was entertaining pretending that we’d found a reason for my neurotic behavior =)

It would seem that performance anxiety isn’t only limited to singing. Apparently, it extends to surgeries, as well. About a week ago, I came down with a cold. An actual, honest to goodness cold. The timing couldn’t have been worse since the hubs was about to go out of town for four days. (READ: more exhaustion all around for me as I’d be dealing with the little humans on my own 24-7). Around day four of the cold, which was Monday, I got a killer toothache whose pain then extended into the bones of my face. Not fun! Not only did it hurt to chew, my facial bones ached and I could hardly open my jaw. I called the dentist, but wasn’t able to get an appointment until the following Monday, which would be the day before my surgery. Were it any other week, I’d probably just have toughed it out. It didn’t, however, seem very prudent to wait until the day before surgery to see what was up with my tooth and the bone pain.

I made the decision to go to convenient care. This decision wasn’t made lightly. Going to convenient care wasn’t exactly going to be convenient. We’d just gotten 6-8 inches of snow, which meant that I would need to shovel the driveway and clean off the truck. Additionally, I’d have to somehow keep the little humans entertained. Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold. (You know it’s been a real winter when 20 degrees seems not too cold!) We spent half an hour bundling everyone up and then headed outside. They played in the snow while I shoveled and cleaned off the car. Saying it that way is misleading, making it seem that it was easy. In reality, my facial bones were killing me, I was feeling wiped out, and I had an extra 25 pounds (aka, The Little Boss) on my back. It took me an hour to get everything cleared away. Usually, I can shovel the walkway and driveway in half an hour. I was moving S-L-O-W-L-Y!

Anyway, I dropped the babes off with a friend and showed up at convenient care. I regaled the doctor with my tale of the ache, the surgery, blah blah. She confirmed that I didn’t have an ear infection nor did I appear to have a tooth infection. But, since the surgery was so close, she decided to do a 5 day antibiotic just in case it was bacterial. There was a very small chance of this, but I think she gave me the meds to make me feel like something was being done. As we chatted more, we discovered that she was the doctor that was to do my pre-op physical on Friday. Funny coincidence, right? She informed me that the surgery likely wouldn’t happen if my nose was still all stuffed up since that could make it more difficult to wake up from the anesthesia. She wished me luck and sent me on my way.

I spent the next day and a half all worried that the surgery would have to be postponed because of my silly cold/toothache/whatever I had going on. Heck, even the doctor said she was worried about me! Merrily, she was pleased with the improvement when I saw her for my pre-op physical today, so the surgery is still on for Tuesday! Phew! So in this case, as with singing, it would seem that the “performance anxiety” and freaking out was all for naught.

Having said that, I still am having a bit of performance anxiety. I keep thinking that the geneticist will call and say, “I’m sorry, the lab made a mistake. You actually DO have a genetic mutation.” Or maybe when the radiologist is going to place the wires the morning of the surgery, he’ll find another tumor. Or maybe I’ll be in the 5% of people whose tumors do not have negative margins, thus requiring another surgery. Or any other number of things that I can concoct in my brain. Blech! Maybe the nice anesthesiologist, who I consulted with this week regarding medicinal allergies and vocal cord preservation, would be willing to knock me out from now until after the surgery on Tuesday. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry anymore. That seems reasonable, doesn’t it? *crickets*

No, you’re right, totally unreasonable. *sigh* I’ll just busy myself reading and sleeping and baking and whatever else I can think of to do between now and then! =)


1. rlape85 - February 8, 2014

As humans we go thru different feelings and is quite normal. Just keep trusting that God will continue guiding your life and that every test you have done God has put his hand on it.
English Standard Version Psalm 18:2
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Love you.

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