I'm a verbal person; I can often have a lot to say. Thursday morning, waking up from surgery with my mouth rubber-banded shut and a tube through my vocal cords, I was doing all I could to inhibit any intention to speak. Very soon after waking I asked for a pad of paper and a pen, and started to write notes, some for me, some for Lorraine, and some for the nurses and doctors. Everyone was very patient with me, which I appreciated: Counting up now I find that I wrote over 20 pages of notes in the morning and afternoon of that day!
My notes had several purposes that day. There were a few really important requests and questions that I don't think I could have communicated otherwise. There were interesting and occasionally goofy observations about what I was experiencing. There were thoughts about the ramifications of the Alexander Techniques, and practices of patient care. I'll be writing more about those over time.
Along the "goofy" lines, there were also songs that popped into my head throughout the day related to things I was experiencing.
At one point I was feeling especially appreciative of the care of the nurses, and very much aware of all I couldn't communicate, so I wrote (in a somewhat garbled way)
"You know I can't smile without you...
... And I wiggled my restrained hands back and forth to "dance" the song, and Lorraine translated for me. They seemed to appreciate the thought.
I thought of a lot of other songs, but I'll just include a few of the better ones.
- On having my jaw and chin and nose all cut up: "Well, I feel so broke up; I wanna go home".
- Re-wrote some words to a Flock of Seagulls song: "6'-2" in a 6-foot bed" (Originally "Six Months in a Leaky Boat")
- The Ramones, "I wanna be sedated"
- Yesterday morning at home, knowing my surgeon said my swelling was going to get worse before it got better, I re-wrote a bit of "Red Rubber Ball" by The Cyrkle.
"And I think it's gonna be a while,
yes, the worst is yet to come,
my morning face is swollen like a red rubber ball."
So is this all meaningful? I don't think especially so - but it kept my spirits up and thoughts distracted at some times when I needed it. Even the attempt at having good spirits helped me and Lorraine and, I think, those working around me, too.
Dr. Adam Burdick has been a professional musician for over two decades. Teaching, conducting, and performing in various music genres, he is also a perpetual student with interest in a wide range of topics. He loves to ponder and share his discoveries with anyone interested!