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