Silent Treatment

Today is the second day of seven days of complete silence. I cannot talk at all, full stop, for a whole week because they found a polyp on my vocal cords. According to my ENT, it’s not serious, just a burst blood vessel most like caused by strain. He said he can tell by the way I talk I’m rough on my vocal cords. Not to mention, I have been told by plenty of people I talk a lot.

I have no idea what caused this or how long it’s been there. I have a sneaking suspicion it goes all the way back to the Pandemic when everything moved to Zoom. For some reason talking on web conferences and speaker phones strains my voice more than just talking to people in person or on a phone. Don’t believe me, than maybe the Today show will convince you…

Doing Zooms not only left me a little hoarse, but physically drained. I think it’s because I was wasting more oxygen trying to talk at a higher register during those meeting than regular ones. It’s hard to believe anything could waste more oxygen than a regular meeting.

There was a time during the Pandemic I was feeling short of breath, and worried it might have been COVID-related. The bizarre thing was I’d only feel it from talking. I could still do things that required decent lung capacity like long bike rides and swimming.

Once the Zoom calls started to dissipate, things got better. But then around the Spring of this year, I noticed I was getting hoarse after talking for a while. As I said before, I have a reputation of talking a lot. I even talk to my dogs and to myself when no one is around. However I never used to get hoarse or laryngitis. I thought it might be allergies since they were really bad this year due to the massive amount of rain California got in the winter. My general practitioner thought that might be the case as well, but suggested I go see an ENT anyhow.

The one they recommended suggested I try Flonase for 6 weeks before coming in to make sure it wasn’t allergies. After that didn’t make a difference I went in, and got scoped and sure enough, there was the polyp.

You gotta love the word polyp. It could be nothing or life-threatening. It’s like a placeholder for potential doom.

The ENT told me the first thing to try is resting the vocal cords for 7 days. He said, “vow of silence” no talking whatsoever plus a low dose or Prednisone.

I told him it was ironic this would happen now. For years I wanted to do standup comedy and for various reasons (you’ll have to see my act to know why), I didn’t do it. But now that I’m actually a working comic, NOW I lose my voice. I also asked if I could defer the start of the silent treatment for week or so because I had a couple gigs coming up. He agreed and asked if there were some YouTube clips he could see of my act. I told him to check out this site and my Instagram and even gave him a couple tickets to one of the winery shows I produce.