Singus Interruptus

I’m having a throat problem and it’s very scary. This morning and yesterday we performed at schools and my singing voice just stopped working during two of the shows.

We were doing a song called “Hey, Little Ant,” a story song where I play the ant. During the song, I am hidden behind a curtain playing and singing while Beth plays the kid who is singing in front of the curtain.

About halfway through, my voice seemed to get caught on the way from my throat to my mouth. I felt a sharp pain and the sounds came out like it would if someone was out of cell phone range. As I tried to control it with technique, tears started rolling down my cheeks from the pain. I made it through, though not without some sputtering and dropping some lines. It was agonizing for me and I know it was for Beth, too. (The audience knew nothing!)

I have had a mild tickle in the back of my throat for the last week. I told Beth that I was worried about it. I was taking cough medicine and speaking less, but otherwise I was just waiting and hoping it would go away.

This morning, it sputtered again at the end of our first show, so we agreed that I would lay back and let Beth handle 75% of the vocals for show #2. It worked and, once again, we pulled it off without a hitch. (This is how performers get through some shows – with the help of their fellow musicians and a quick prayer to God!)

I don’t have Covid or Strep (tested today) but the doctor at the Urgent Care thinks it could be Acid Reflux. That could be it, but I remain worried. They want me to come back on Friday if it still hurts and then we’ll talk about a steroid to reduce the inflammation and/or acid reflux. In the meantime, I’m taking some Prilosec and I’ll slow down on the late night snacks.

Y’know there’s nothing I hate to talk about more than my own sickness. It’s probably an old tape left over from the “big boys don’t cry” stage of my life before I learned to talk about emotions or anything else that might show weakness or vulnerability. I know better, now.

Truth is, I’m 60 years old. While I still hope to have many more years enjoying the stage, jumping around while playing and singing and teaching kids, my body is changing. Perhaps yoga and clean living will keep the undertaker away for a decade or three, but I have to recognize that I ain’t 30, 40 or even 50 anymore. I get tired and sore after a few hours of driving, unloading, setting up, playing and then doing it all day after day. It’s a grind.

I also don’t sleep as well as I used to. Again, I don’t like to talk about it because I feel like a whiner, but there’s nothing good about four hours of sleep going into a long day.

So, the Adventure isn’t just about roads that twist and turn. There’s lots of that in our bodies and in our minds, as well. As Jon Kabot Zinn said, “ wherever you go, there you are.”

My job has never been easy. It’s physically and mentally demanding and draining. For that reason, I’m going to have to take my foot off the gas, tap the brakes and spend some time in the garage. You wouldn’t drive a sixty year old truck like one right off the assembly line. It’s not something I want to say or listen to, but it’s the way it is.

The Universe may also be saying, “Shhhhh.” There’s lots to meditate on, think about and plenty to do that’s creative and quiet. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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