My surgery was one week ago! I made it through my week of silence with very few slip ups. I’m quite pleased with myself, actually! I went back to the hospital for my post-op appointment today. I was so excited about the prospect of speaking again that I could hardly sleep last night. I had a whole list of phone calls I was going to make: “Aren’t you excited to hear my voice again?”
At the doctor’s office, the speech pathologist warmed me up with a few very light vocal exercises, mostly involving humming. Then the doctor did a stroboscope (it’s gross. They lube up your nostrils and then stick in a long, thin camera) to get a view of the vocal cords. Good news: though the cords are swollen and bruised, they seem to be healing according to plan. Also – the polyp isn’t cancerous! Yay!
First hearing myself speak was… strange. After not talking for so long, I felt somehow shy, and certainly afraid of doing damage to my healing cords by speaking too much. I also really don’t sound like myself. Not hoarse anymore, but oddly high pitched, and definitely strained.
After receiving a fact sheet about how much to start speaking, I realized that my expectations were TOTALLY unrealistic. I am disappointed about how much I actually get to speak:
post op visit (today): 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the afternoon2nd day: 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon3rd day: 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon4th day: 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon5th day: 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon6th day: 2-4 hours total spread over the day7th day: 4-6 hours total spread over the day8th day: add 1/2 hour per day to the total talking time.
- no phone use until 3 weeks after surgery (ah. If I told you I would call you today – and you aren’t my Dad or fiancé – sorry. I lied.)
- no yelling, singing, throat clearing, talking for long periods without a break, heavy lifting, strenuous exercise (there goes personal training)
- no caffeine or alcohol (screwed that up yesterday with my iced coffee….)