Batty had x-rays a couple of weeks ago and hip dysplasia was not evident. He's on muscle relaxants until we can work out what his problem really is, but even with muscle relaxants, he still has difficulty sitting or lying down. When the vet comes back from holidays in his homeland Scotland, we'll look at other possibilities. Who knows? Maybe he really does have spline problems. We'll see.
My health is also being investigated. With my voice easily affected by two or three songs and feeling strained most of the day, I decided to get a professional opinion. When attending Kan's 莫鎮賢 official re-debut at Olympic City, I ran into Anders Nelsson (also a little interesting history about Anders here) and he recommended that I see an old school buddy of his; an ear, nose and throat specialist. At the doctor's clinic, I described the tightness around my throat, the raspiness after singing only two or three songs and the severe cramps I've experienced at the top of my throat over the last several months. He was surprised by the cramps and said that he'd never heard of these cramps in his thirty years of practice, and simply recommended that I find myself a good singing teacher. He was a very nice doctor but somehow I think his knowledge might be out of date. He did however say that my vocol chords were fine after looking at them through a mirror in my throat.
That evening, I related the doctor's findings and his surprise at my cramping experience to a good friend, a practising doctor who is a genius in so many ways. As soon as I described my cramps, he responded with one of the medical terms for the condition: Laryngeal Spasms. That night, I researched laryngeal spasms on the internet and came across a condition that nearly perfectly explains my symptons; Spasmodic Laryngeal Dystonia, also known as Spasmodic Dysphonia.
Armed with this revelation, I downloaded a list of Speech Pathologists in Hong Kong to get further help. The question was which one should I visit. Everything is a gamble. Will the doctor understand my condition? Spasmodic Dysphonia wasn't understood until only recently. For many years, people with severe Spasmodic Dysphonia were referred to psychiatrists instead of speech pathologists. From the list, I first chose only those doctors whose title explicitly included Speech Pathology. Then, being an Australian, I chose only those doctors who had studied in Australia. That narrowed the list down to just four or five. Choosing someone with a clinic convenient for me narrowed it down to just two. I chose one of those, someone who by chance has the same name as a famous actress from the early days of Hong Kong theatre.
My first examination appointment is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. With any luck, the doctor will understand the condition and be able to teach me the exercises and precautions necessary to recover fully. The tightness in my laryngeal muscles is affecting my singing, and it's generally uncomfortable for much of the day. It's also causing tension in my jaw and more than a little teeth grinding. Correcting the problem is very important to me, and now is the perfect time while I am relatively free of work obligations. It would also be an excellent opportunity to learn the correct way to speak. I generally begin to lose my voice after chatting for anything more than forty minutes or so.
Update (December 1, 2007)
I didn't have Spasmodic Dysphonia, just severe strain. I'm feeling much much better now. More water, more sleep, less coke, less coffee and some steam. What a difference! Now it's time to begin vocal training again, pretty much from scratch. My chords will require time to build up their strength again.
Thank you all for caring ;-)