The Node…. Part One.

Well this is an odd posting for a drummer but sometimes sharing the crap moments in ones life can help others.

This spring I was starting to notice some unusual things happening with my voice. It was raspier than usual. Sometimes when I sang it would just plain not work. And my usual amazing 12 note range was closer to 6 notes. I was starting to get a little panicky and went to the doctor who sent me to the ENT specialist.  (Ear, Nose Throat- not the Hobbit tree dudes… that would have been way cooler!)

The ENT then shoved a little camera down my throat via my nose. The first time there was no freezing and he wasn’t able to get a photo due to my gagging and a panic attack. (I had watched Prometheus the night before and thats how the alien’s enter their new “host”) But he was able to confirm that I had a node. The next appointment he froze my throat and nose and we got a lovely polaroid and a darling video.

Don't sing like an idiot!!

Don’t sing like an idiot!!

You can see that great lump on the bottom left chord -my right 🙂 What happens is the node stops the vocals chords from being able to close completely. Check out this site for more info. It is a weird feeling and sometimes especially after a long day of teaching or talking loudly at a club it really feels terrible. Uncomfortable. Kind of like when you bite your lip and it feels like there is a watermelon sticking out but no matter how many people you show they cant see it.

Of course everyones first question is how does a drummer get one of these??

Singing like an idiot…. I actually found that on a well known singing coaches web site and it made me laugh so hard cause I thought “Damn, thats what I did wrong….” Here I have spent all of these years protecting my ears with custom fit ear plugs and practicing my drum technique never thinking that just yelling into a mic, over top of the drums and the intermission music would be the thing that got me. Also a big one has been pushing my voice in to un-comfortable zones and plain over use.

Mainly it has been the bad habits of 27 years as a professional musician that I can thank. Mostly I blame “Night Time Damian” as he is the one that get into trouble. Nothing sounds more deranged than talking about yourself in the third person 🙂

So lets recap those (my) bad habits (straight from the web site above):

  • Vocal abuse (singing improperly, shouting and overuse of the voice).
  • Continuous coughing that can irritate the throat.
  • Tense muscles.
  • Too much caffeine and alcohol consumption (they dry out your throat).

I am now on a course of vocal rehab working with a amazing singer from the Conservatory. Turns out I don’t even know how to breath properly through a straw…. I haven’t even sung a note yet but by simply improving my posture my Converse shoes feel amazing. I have been blaming them for months and it was all because I don’t even stand properly….. Keeping my head at the right angle to allow proper air flow. I dropped my adult beverage intake by 99% and instead of my daily re-hydration regime of 6-8 cups of coffee I am drinking 1-2 litres of steeped lemon/ginger brew with some honey. Oh and going to bed and attaining more than 6 hours of sleep. Who knew????

Obviously I have stopped singing which is a real huge bummer. So I get my daughter to sing to me everyday so atleast I have an amzing 6 year old to keep my spirits up.

And most importantly not talking my face off…. I know for some this will come as a shock and others a feeling of overwhelming happiness. It’s true I finally found something to make me shut up. A node….. Stay Tuned.