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Singers....how goes your vocal chords post-op?

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Michellemar

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Hi, I'm pretty new, AVR April 19th, heart Cath day before, to check... If radiation did more damage while no one was looking ( had that 40 yrs ago, yep, Hodgkins mantle treatment). But I am a mezzo in a dynamite Chorale of 50-60 people, with a totally brilliant music master directing us... Pig's ears into silk purses... Just now I'm getting my high mezzo notes( okay, was, am mostly in bed now, get a little dizzy singing along to our tapes) when my energy was redirected to my toes or somewhere, because NEED my feet up w/in hrs of waking up. Anyhow, back to voice. I use vocal ligament for my higher notes, not vocal folds AS much... But Hodgkins knocked out my bottom jaw salivary glands (ergo dry mouth) and everybody keeps bringing up that intubation for breathing. I'm terrified for my voice... Keep hearing angels giving ice chips, but is that for thirst, or moistening...? With dry mouth anyway.... Any hints, tips, or anything from you guys? Thank God for this site, I've already learned so much already.... Michelle
 
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Mileena46

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In my case.....horrible thrist. Of course, dry mouth also goes along with that. I didn't notice the dry mouth because all I could focus on was needing water!

Mileena
 

JimL

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My voice was definitely weak after surgery, but that came back, perhaps within a few months. But now all that they want me to sing is "Far, far away."
 

normofthenorth

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I'm a former professional singer, now mostly casual in-the-shower and around-the-house. Around an octave below you. I didn't notice any vocal deficit post-op, after maybe the first week or so. Some people do experience sore throat post-op, along with assorted other sorenesses (in addition to the obvious surgical ones).

Drinking water is usually a pleasure as well as a need, but we're usually not allowed to do so for hours pre-op, and we obviously don't do it during the op. Immediately post-op, we're naturally thirsty. But there's concern that we'd hurl if we drank a glass of water, and that could be traumatic and destructive, so we're kept to ice chips. They're great at keeping our lips and mouth moist, and they give us the illusion that we're drinking water, sort of, but without the hurling hazard. And we're still thirsty! Better than the alternative, though.

If you've arranged a serious singing gig in your first week or so post-op, I'd definitely reschedule! And your lungs will be recovering from the "insult" for a little while post-op, which will affect your singing voice. Otherwise, I wouldn't expect problems.
 

Luana

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Intubation shouldn't be a problem for your voice. Most likely you'll be extubated shortly after surgery when you wake up in ICU. If you're intubated for several days, or longer, there could be a problem with your voice, but that should not happen unless you have some serious complications.

Ice chips will seem like the best thing ever once you wake up. I had a mint tea bag on my dinner tray (all liquids) and my nurse made it into ice tea for me and added some Splenda. It was so refreshing and tasted like the best thing ever.
 

Michellemar

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What a relief, I did not at all expect such positive posts. I had visions of scarred vocal chords from that tube...and a hoarse voice. Because of hip replacements and ankylosing spondylitis everywhere ( spine about all fused top to bottom) single outlet for all my physical energy, and I used to be very athletic.....ak! Is my singing. You know I am wondering after all these posts everywhere, that hypothyroidism could be so under diagnosed as well as women being missed for RCA and LCA blockages, because we're so "asymphtomatic".... I hope the word is getting out ... Sexism here...how many men are told it's in your head...just wondering ...so many women I read about were told to go home, not even "take 2aspirin and call me in the morning".... At over 90% R or L blockage!! unbelievable. The ones I read bat had created collaterals... I guess the ones that didn't ... Weren't around to post!!! I was 91-93%RCA blocked, Drs. Knew I'd had radiation, but no symptoms ( that made anyone suspicious.... Like ..out there, tired???) and if not for one aware doc, wouldn't be here!
Thanks for the help on the voice thing...it's really my whole life...not that my voice is so great!!! Michelle
 

JimL

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I think many of us have discovered that doctors are not all-knowing, and sometimes even a little prejudiced. My GP nearly killed me by diagnosing my congestive heart failure as bronchitis and then pneumonia -- Here, take this antibiotic, and call me when it doesn't work either.
 

epstns

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Michellemar - I don't want to pour water onto your campfire, but I had my valve replaced on Feb. 28 and I'm still very hoarse. We think it is a side effect of one of the meds, as there is no pain, just hoarseness.
 

Michellemar

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Epstns...thank you actually alot, I'll be having choices after my heart Cath Monday after tomorrow. Jimeny, I look at the clock from my bed and wonder if I'll be still seeing it 10 days from now.... Now that is abject fear!
Back to the reality of beherenow.... What meds might be making you hoarse...? Or made you hoarse maybe, as in the hospital? Anything I can do to help save this mediocre voice...like I hope they have some kind of lubricant they can put on that thing for those of us who can't make saliva, or something... I'm really glad about your posting about this, please don't feel bad! Michelle
 

Bugsy

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I had a sore throat for a few days after surgery but have had no problems singing these last few years. Probably sing 30 songs a night a couple of weekends a month.
 

Jason

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Michelle, I had my aortic valve replaced as well as an ascending aortic aneurysm replaced on March 7th. I woke up with the tube still in, and they didn't take it out for a while as my blood gasses were not good yet. They took it out and it didn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would going into the surgery. I was hoarse for maybe the rest of that day (Monday) and part of Tuesday at the most. Since that time my voice has been back to normal, singing in church, etc. My breath still isn't where it was for holding notes, although the inspirometer says I am back to full capacity.

When I was in ICU, before they would give me ice chips for fear of hurling, the wonderful nurse had a cup of water and a small sponge on a stick. Kind of resembled a toothbrush. Anyway, dry mouth was an issue for me, so he would soak the sponge in cold water and run it around my mouth, thus eliminating the dry mouth (for a while, anyway) before they could give me ice chips. That was darn near the best feeling ever. That and brushing my teeth for the first time, later that night!

I will be thinking of you on the 19th, and hope all goes well!
 

epstns

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Michelle,
I'm currently taking lasix, warfarin, lipitor, amiodarone and metoprolol. I've been very hoarse ever since I came home from the hospital - surgery was 6 weeks ago. I don't know what's causing the hoarseness, but I suspect one or another of the meds -- just don't know which. Doctors have been clueless. . .
 

Michellemar

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Jason, thank you for your response. And I was just getting my snarky I can hold notes for a REALLY long time thing down... I know I stopped for a month and lost my five top notes(!). Do you mean your muscle strength isn't back yet to Hold the note steady...or it just quits, or you're out of breath...and if it's the control...egad it's only been a month... One week w/o singing (bad idea) and I can start wavering..which is horrible.!!! Well until I warm up, but...still!
Thank you, Jason, look forward to posting post-op.(!). Michelle
 

Michellemar

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Live near Santa Barbara, California, treated at US
Steve, that's one long list.... Or am I so new it isn't one, long list (!). I know you've been having your share of the speed bumps... I assume that list will lessen, or change, or is the voice now not being a very big deal for you right now...
Hope you're getting stronger every day, from these posts it looks like you're still kinda in the middle early stages, somewhere down in the foothills. I like that saying Eat Rest Drink Walk Sleep Breathe Repeat not necessarily in that order(?) Thanks for posting. Michelle
 

guyinva

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Sep 7, 2010
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Virginia
In my case, the intubation wasn't the problem. I was put on Amiodarone after my surgery for a-fib and that really did a number on my voice. Constant coughing until the dr. took me off. Now all is cleared up and no problems at all.
 
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