It’s not even 5:00 a.m. here, yet I’m awake already. Have been for about an hour and a half now. Granted, I had some help from the thunderstorm that rolled through, and I’ll have more from the next wave of storms headed this direction. I also had some help from the pain coming from the edema that has swollen up my right foot. Other medical problems have given me problems sleeping as well—my broken toe, my back, and the coughing fits that still go on to this day.
Yet there’s a cat sleeping next to me on the sofa. He’s curled up, one paw over his eyes. Thunder doesn’t seem to faze him. My coughing does, though.
You see, I finally (finally!) saw the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor last week. I was supposed to see him for coughing fits that would last a good five or ten minutes without a break. My primary care doctor determined that I was having laryngospasm coughing, which the ENT could treat. Well, the coughing has mostly cleared up–not all, but mostly–and I’m left with the aftermath: a voice that is not what it once was.
Believe it or not, if you include falsetto, I used to have a five-octave range. That’s no joke, even though I’m not a singer. I simply loved playing around with my voice. I would even mess with the cat sometimes, talking to it in high registers just to see the look on its face. However, he’d still come up and sit by me when he got in the mood.
Then the coughing kicked in. My voice went from a smooth, brilliant five-octaves to a croaky two octaves at most—sometimes less. If I talk too much or get too tired, my entire range sounds like a bullfrog. So much for making any music with my voice. I can’t even hum in my old range.
But the cat didn’t care. He’d still come to my side. He’d come when I’d croak to give him treats. And now, as I type this, he’s sitting next to me, coughing and thunderstorms be damned. He woke up when I coughed a moment ago, but a few seconds of petting put him right back to sleep.
The ENT may be able to give me my voice back, but my cat won’t care. He’s happy with where he is in the world. That’s all that matters to him.