October 20, 2021

COVID: The Road of a Long Hauler… part 4

Areia Cobb
Photo By:Photo Attributed

I could hear the doctor's voice reminding me to breathe normally and telling me how great I was doing as I tried not to throw up and resisted snatching the tube from his hands.

Vocal Procedure

It was now June and schools were out, but life hadn’t slowed one bit. My surgery was towards the end of the month and my vocal procedure was mid-month. My oldest was recovering from yet another baseball injury while conditioning for football and the gym schedule for my youngest had increased from 9 to 14 hours/week. Not to mention, the camp he qualified for in April was less than a week before my surgery.  Now, I know I said that school is out, but learning never comes to a complete stop in my house, so I had to make sure my boys’ summer curriculum was on par and their learning schedules were all set. A mom’s job really is never done… With that out of the way, my husband and I could tag team to divide and conquer just as we do when school is in session. He takes the oldest and me the youngest. After learning that is.

Summer Learning

The Wednesday before we left for my son’s gymnastics camp in Florida, was also the day of my vocal procedure. My appointment was over an hour away, so I drove to my cousins’ house who lives near the doctor’s office, and she took me. I had no idea what to expect and didn’t want to be alone. It is always nice to have another adult present for whenever my body decides it’s had enough. Unfortunately, my fatigue sometimes comes out of nowhere, and when it hits, it is a force to be reckoned with. Of course, my husband could have taken me, but I also didn’t want my son to miss practice. Much of my family had been very concerned, so this was just another way of including them in my journey. When I got up that morning, I could feel my sinuses starting to drain, but was unsure of what to take since I was less than two weeks out from surgery. I put an allergy pill in my pocket and decided to wait to ask for direction. My appointment wasn’t until 3, so I was fatigued by the time we got there. I sat in my walker and my cousin rolled me in. This was my first time meeting the doctor who would operate on me just a week later; so, I’m glad we hit it off.  He was very understanding, detailed and answered all our questions.

During the appointment, some drops were used to numb my nostrils and a long tube was fed down my nose. Let’s just say, the drops weren’t enough! I could hear the doctor’s voice reminding me to breathe normally and telling me how great I was doing as I tried not to throw up and resisted snatching the tube from his hands. I mean, I guess I should have been relieved he didn’t have to go down my throat, but yeesh! After a few minutes, he had enough live footage to draw his conclusions. He said that my vocal cords were opening and closing properly and there were no abnormalities on them; THANK GOD! He then diagnosed me with Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD).  This occurs when the muscles around the larynx (voice box) are tight during speaking and can occur after viruses. Good ole COVID! He recommended speech therapy following my surgery to help retrain my vocal muscles. 

Vocal Cord Procedure, this is an inside look at the folds of my vocal chord. This was a very uncomfortable visit but needed to get my life together.

Camp

The drops used to numb my nostrils didn’t help my already draining sinuses, and although the doctor told me I could take Allegra, by then it was too late. A headache had already begun to set in. For me, there’s no such thing as just a headache. I get migraines and it was well on its way. I took my onset medicine minus the Aleve I normally take with it (because of surgery) and stayed at my cousins’ house for a bit to eat and rest while waiting for traffic to die down. We were leaving town the next morning and I hadn’t finished packing. I really didn’t have time for a migraine and was hoping this rest time would help. After a couple of hours, I headed home. I had just enough relief to make it home and crawl in my bed. This migraine was not responding to meds, and I needed some sleep before I could finish packing.

By Friday afternoon, I had finally started getting some relief from my migraine. We had been in Sarasota since Thursday, and I had been in the bed since our arrival. While my main reason for getting there early was so that Preston would be rested before his camp started, I was hoping to see some sights. Nevertheless, I was thankful I was well enough to make it to his camp. Our hotel was minutes away from the gym that was hosting the camp, so our drive over was quick. Once there, we got a good parking space, so my walk to the door was short. These things were very important to me, as I was hoping to conserve as much energy as possible. The camp consisted of four different 3-4-hour sessions spread across three days and I wanted to be there to watch as much as possible. Things were looking up until I got inside and realized that the parent viewing area was up a flight of stairs while the only restroom in the facility was downstairs. Anyone who knows me knows that I go to the little girl’s room more than any pregnant woman I know, so “holding it” would prove to be my nemesis. I made it through the Friday and Saturday morning sessions but needed to rest by session 3. I asked my husband to take plenty of videos while I relaxed at the hotel. While I was sad I would be missing the session, I found joy in knowing that this time next week, I would be on the road to recovery.

_ _ _ _

Join Areia Cobb every 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month as she shares her road to recovery from COVID-19 and how being a COVID-19 Long Hauler is affecting every aspect of her life; as a wife, mother of two active boys and a working professional.  It’s our hope that these journal entries provide hope, inspiration and information as you or your loved one travels your COVID-19 long haul.  

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