Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Embracing gratitude

Gratitude has never been my strong point. I tend to focus so hard on the future that when I achieve something, I forget to really savor the success. I blow right past like a ski racer, dodging obstacles and rarely extending more than a quick wave and a thank you to people who have assisted me along the way. I'm even worse with the Universe when opportunities arise or things just happen to fall into place for me. I really have to consciously stop myself and force myself to take a breath and feel gratitude.

So, on that note, I want to thank all my friends and fans who have been so supportive during this difficult time. Your emails and calls have been SO appreciated. I especially want to thank all the folks who came to the show last Saturday at Swallow Hill. It really meant a lot to me to have your support and I was so happy you were able to share what was a truly magical night for me.

I owe Vicky and Andy a huge "thank you" for so many reasons. They've been so kind and supportive with regard to my vocal problem and other personal issues. They are wonderful friends and I'm blessed to have them in my life. They are also damn fine songwriters and it was an honor to share the stage with them. Saturday night was one of the most magical performances of my life. I was more present and able to pour so much more energy into the songs because I was so thankful that I actually had a voice to sing with. Vicky brought tears to my eyes twice with her new song "Tears In A Bottle" and her performance of Andy's song "Will You Tell Her." Andy had me beaming with his interpretation of my song "Here." It was the first time I've ever heard anyone perform one of my songs and I'll never forget it.

I also want to thank Dr. King and his staff for ridding me of the vocal polyp and for showing a high level of kindness and understanding. I chose their office because they were in my insurance network (when I thought I still had insurance) and because of their location. I hate choosing healthcare providers based on insurance networks alone with no recommendations from actual humans who have used them, but I was very lucky this time.

When I started noticing my vocal trouble I felt like things were coming to a grinding halt for me. Tom was gone for two months, winter set in with a chilly vengeance, and I spent most of my time alone. When I learned of the polyp everything came to a stop and I felt stuck in so many ways. I'm a planner and it was so hard to have to wait, not knowing what I'd be able to do in the future or when. I had to settle into living each day at a time which is wise, but not in my nature. It's been a challenge to stay in the moment, but I think I've achieved a new level of ability to live in the present and to accept that there are times when you just have to let things take their course. Trust that everything will happen as it should and enjoy what and who you have in your life right now.

Vocal and medical bill update

My voice is not 100%, but it is improving every day. The more I sing, the more I think it's really just out of shape. I also probably have some residual swelling in the cords that's going to take some time to go down.

Dr. King has been great answering questions and checking in on me to see how my recovery is going. If you're in the Boulder/Denver area and ever need to see a ENT about vocal issues, I highly recommend him. He rocks! :-)

With regard to the issue with my bill, Dr. King's office also came through for me. A billing code doesn't exist for the procedure I had because it's relatively new, so that was the reason there was some confusion over what code to use. The billing department lowered the surgery charge from $1800 to $1200 and they also set me up on a monthly payment plan. I really appreciate their willingness to work with me and to give me a discount on the surgery charge because of the misunderstanding.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Looking good, feeling bad

Last Tuesday, I had my vocal cords scoped for what I hope is the last time. The prior week had been extremely emotional for me (for reasons I'm not yet ready to share). I'd been crying frequently and talking more than I should have. My voice sounded terrible and I was terrified that I had done damage to my cords. Fortunately, the scope showed that my cords have healed nicely. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't have pictures to prove it. I sang a little the day after and though my voice is very weak, it sounds pretty much the same as far as I can tell. The muscles in my throat are really out of shape, but I think with regular vocal exercise I'll get my old voice back again.

Dr. King thought my hoarse vocal quality was probably because of all the mucus in my throat from crying and the stress I was under, and I agreed for a couple days. The lidocaine used in the endoscopy always irritates my sinuses tremendously which makes me feel like I have a cold for a couple days afterwards. However, on Thursday, I realized that something else was going on and by that night it was clear that I'd come down with something. I dragged myself to my friend Galen's office for acupuncture on Friday and I think it really helped because I had more energy and my head was clearer afterwards. She also gave me some Chinese herbal cold capsules which I've been taking every hour. This explains the hoarseness and weakness in my voice that I was experiencing, but it also means I have a short amount of time to recover before the show next Saturday. I'm doing everything I can to rest and help my body fight this thing.

As grateful as I am to Dr. King for his compassion, kindness, and skill with the laser, I'm not very happy with his office. I learned Tuesday that the procedure cost almost twice what I was quoted by the doctor and his staff. Instead of $1,000 for the procedure, it was actually $1800. Apparently, the doctor quoted the wrong code to billing. So, my total with the surgery and the other visits is over $2700. The last visit isn't included, but I'm hoping that my new insurance will pay for most of it. Then again, they are an insurance company and if there's a way they can get out of paying, I'm sure they'll try.

I guess I'd better start booking shows again so my voice can pay off its debt.