Whenever the New Year rolls around, there is always a 50-50 chance that I will get sick; and if it doesn’t happen in the New Year, it happens during Christmas. New Year 2007, I got a throat and nose infection. Christmas 2011, a sudden crippling fever got me right in the middle of festivities. I thought that New Year 2014 would see me through a second year in a row without getting sick — I was wrong. I got bronchitis.
My nephew contracted bronchitis within the first week of January. It had been exceptionally cold this “winter”, and I had been physically, mentally, and emotionally stressed during the holiday season, so it was a matter of time until I was affected. I haven’t had bronchitis since I was nine years old, and the last time I had any severe pulmonary disease was back in 2004 with pneumonia.
Needless to say, it really was an experience I would rather not live through — and much more so now.
The bronchitis hit right in the middle of a prayer and fasting week. It was my first time doing something like that, and I had to hold back on my self-disappointment. Coughing was tight and difficult, and each cough made my head throb. The medicines’ effects weren’t quickly effective, and bronchitis took its sweet time to go away.
After two weeks of being sick, my voice was gravely affected, to the point where speaking had become painful. I felt exceptionally miserable as I had been looking forward to two things at the start of the year:
1) Voice lessons with Ms. Kay and start to feel comfortable with my vocal fach (I lately found out that I’m not a “true” alto, but more of a soprano).
2) Singing for our firm’s CEO who’s resigning, and we’ll be performing for his farewell party.
While item 1 can wait, 2 couldn’t. We couldn’t get rehearsals underway as a lot of our members were also sick, and are taking care with a deluge of work as it’s our firm’s annual partners’ meeting. We had to call off our performance, and I felt rotten about that. But I couldn’t do anything when I couldn’t even sleep properly as my body woke up with coughing.
I also had to be absent from my music classes (more on that later), and missed four sessions. There was a moment where I just felt upset that my sickness got in the way of many things because I coughed the moment I opened my mouth, and the coughing tripled when I was in an air conditioned area. I was uncomfortable during my youngest brother’s engagement dinner as I had to do a fair amount of talking (because I love his fiancée’s family to bits).
It had been an exceptionally miserable moment. I was thinking, man, just when I thought that I found my voice, my voice goes away! It was just a freaking blow to my psyche and my emotions. The mere thought of not being able to sing or talk was just crippling. It almost felt like I had fracture the bones in my right hand and I couldn’t draw or write.
And so I stopped being stubborn. I let my body do its thing: I slept for long periods, I drank hot~warm water with honey and lemon and ginger tea, I sucked on medicinal and anti-fungal lozenges, and I went for two days without talking (and holding up pieces of paper to say what I need to say and miming). Now, after a total of four weeks, I’m on my way to being completely recovered.
I expect that by Monday, I won’t be coughing anymore. I’m happy to say that I have resumed my vocalises, and that I can bravely return to my weekend music classes and to freely fool around with my nephew again.
And now, I can happily look forward to not just two, but three things:
1) Trying out for my church’s music ministry (end of February)
2) Voice lessons with Ms. Kay (will probably start in March)
3) The “Madz et Al” chorale concert series, in which choirs coached by a current or former member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers will perform at the Cultural Center of the Philippines during a week full of music (first week of April)
Time to condition my body and my voice \o/!