Thursday, October 09, 2008

Saint Blaise and Throat Remedies

[Photo of stained glass window of St. Blaise, courtesy of Romary by a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.]

Two weeks ago, a mild cold turned to laryngitis at the 2nd Annual Kiditosphere Conference in Portland, Oregon. My husband wasn’t surprised I’d come down with laryngitis, because he’s been to a number of gaming conventions. Even though he would make sure to drink lots of water, he invariably came home with a sore throat.

The recovery process has been slow. It is one thing to speak, and another thing altogether to sing. I’ve heard of divas “babying their voices,” and thought that surely I couldn’t do the same because I’d feel silly and pretentious. I’ve since come around. I'm not going to squirt anti-bacterial soap on my palms every time I shake hands with someone, but I may have to resist kissing my daughter when she has a cold. It’s much harder to recover for singing than it is for speaking. My voice teacher said that it would be better for me to cancel my gigs than to attempt to plow through them with a sick throat. She said that a healthy throat can withstand a lot, but a sick throat, if pushed, can develop polyps.

I was determined to get better in time for the gigs. Here’s what I did over five days that helped me recover enough to tell stories and sing for a Pierce County Library program plus a private birthday party gig last weekend*:

Rest
Rest was key. I napped whenever I could, I didn’t even attempt to do vocal warm-ups, and kept speaking to a minimum.

Steam
Twice a day, I poured boiling water into a bowl, covered my head with a towel, and gently breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth with my head over the bowl. I only started doing this when I began voice lessons.

Throat Coat
This is a syrup produced by Traditional Medicinals. There’s a Throat Coat tea, which I drink too, but the syrup is good as an alternative to cough syrup. Even when I'm not dealing with throat issues, I take some of the syrup before and after gigs.

I wasn't too proud to call upon the intercession of St. Blaise, patron saint of people dealing with throat issues. I try not to succumb to magical thinking, but sometimes it's handy to have a saint to whom I can grumble when everyone else is tired of my kvetching and moaning. Here's what I said:

"Saint Blaise, Saint Blaise,
please help my throat malaise."

Patron saint intercessions don't have to rhyme, but I find them easier to remember that way. I am reminded, however, that there is no patron saint of people suffering the common cold. What gives? We have a patron saint of hangovers, after all (as well as a patron saint of beer and wine, but I digress).

11 comments:

TadMack said...

Um... can we vote on a saint? I vote St. Hippolyta -- don't know what s/he does, but since I feel and sound like a hippo when having a cold, I think s/he sounds perfect. Plus, Saint-Hippolyte is a great sounding little village I'd like to visit someday...

jama said...

Glad your throat is better. The world needs to hear that sweet voice :).

Jules at 7-Imp said...

A patron saint of hangovers?? This is my very neat SECOND Fun Fact of the day.

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

So glad you're better! I love the whole concept of patron saints--there definitely are some unusual ones. Still thinking of a good one for the common cold....

adrienne said...

This is all good advice even if you aren't a performer. I think most of us just try to put on a good face and do everything we'd normally do when we're sick, when really what would be better for us in the long run is to take care of ourselves.

I'm going to try the steam thing the next time I get a cold.

adrienne said...

AND I am so glad you were well enough to do the gig. :)

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

TadMack: Hippolytus was an antipope: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippolytus_of_Rome

If you follow the link, you'll see an artist's depiction of his martyrdom. It looks how I feel when I have a cold. I'm convinced.

Jama: You're very kind!

Jules: Of course I'm going to ask, "What's the first fun fact of the day?"

Anamaria: It does seem like, with all the saints out there jostling for patronage, that one would be willing to step up to the job. Of course, maybe the saints are deterred by common refrain, "There's no cure for the common cold." (This was pointed out to humorous effect in Howl's Moving Castle.)

Adrienne: I didn't mention this in the post, but in my first professional library job, I came down with laryngitis, and plowed ahead with my storytimes. Afterward, my supervisor said, "You should have told me you were too sick to do the programs!" I thought, "Well, you HEARD me talk for the past few days," but it wasn't her job to monitor my health. I should have just said, "Please do the storytime for me," but I didn't want to be that new employee who was sick all the time.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

First fun fact of the day:

That a what-not is a piece of furniture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What-not

Lone Star Ma said...

I'm glad you're better!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Jules: Yes! Pa builds a what-not for Ma in By the Shores of Silver Lake under the tutelage of Mrs. Boast.

LSM: Thanks!

Vivian said...

Glad you're feeling better!