Slow Start

I’m off to a slow start today, in part because it’s my day off and I *can* be, but also because I’m not particularly eager to do the things that lie ahead of me.

About a month ago I had a CT scan of my larynx, to try to determine why I have had intermittent vocal weakness for the past two years or so. We know it began with a virus that also damaged my eustachian tubes and played havoc with my vestibular-ocular connections, resulting in congestion headaches (the former) and vertigo (the latter-initially extreme, more recently mild but frequent). Since the EarNoseThroat doctor has been back on the case, we have dealt with the headaches and vertigo with a combination of well-timed Sudafed (Did you know it can be used to make methamphetamines? No wonder it’s a bad thing to take at bedtime…) and exercises given to me by the Physical Therapist.

The vocal troubles, however, were more mysterious. First they took a picture of my throat with a little camera on the end of something that looks like a big pen. There were no growths on the larynx (good news!), so I went for the CT Scan. That revealed that the left vocal cord is essentially paralyzed, although not fully, which explains the vocal instability.

The doctor asked when I had my last chest x-ray? I almost laughed. Are these common? The last time I had an x-ray I was about 6 years old and had eaten sand, but wouldn’t admit why my tummy was violently upset. He explained that the next step was a chest x-ray to see if there was other damage to the vagus nerve, which controls the left vocal cord and also travels into the chest.

For some reason I felt very nervous about the x-ray. Of course it’s a lot easier to have an x-ray than a CT scan, but I was just worked up about having it. When the technician asked if I could be pregnant, I said, “No, my husband’s been out of town!” She seemed to think I was rather odd. Then the results were inconclusive. When I asked what that meant, the ENT nurse said, “Well, there may be some inflammation of the vagus nerve, or maybe the x-ray was just fragmented.

The conclusion to this medical essay is that I must go and have another CT scan, this time of my chest. I confess to feeling ather anxious about this, too. It’s important to verify the condition of the nerve. If it’s really inflamed or damaged, then they cannot send me to speech therapy to exercise the vocal cord. And if that’s the case, I don’t know what they will do for me.

I would deeply appreciate prayers today, from those who are so inclined.