It was the best of times – it was the worst of times –
NAH, it was the Summer of SUCK.
(TLDR: Lots of health issues, a couple of studio issues, but Emma Langford and other folx made it all better)
I thought I had coined this term myself, but then discovered that it was used by other people during the summer of 2020 (height of the pandemic), and I thought – fair. And then when I tried to create a graphic, I found this video by gamer Johnny Chase, so I screenshot and am using it because:
- These are my branding colors
- It was easier than creating it myself
I mentioned in my blogpost of 6/22/2022 that I only intended to write this summer when I had something to say because I was exhausted. I only wound up writing a promo about the Emma Langford House Concert – which I’ll talk a little bit more about later in this post.
I haven’t written about the takeaways from the NATS Conference in Chicago because I returned home from Chicago on 7/6 with COVID. After successfully avoiding it since March 2020 (fully vaxxed, fully boosted), I came home sick. I took Paxlovid and got better, which allowed me to take care of all the house concert details I needed to handle. I tested negative on 7/14 and again on 7/15. A miracle drug! Right?
And then, on 7/16, I got a rebound case. It was so bad. People have said to me, “Oh, I had COVID. It’s just like a bad cold.” Maybe for them it was.
But for me, it was like bronchitis and strep had a baby, and that baby punched me in the throat.
Once I tested negative for COVID (on 7/25 – nearly 3 weeks after my initial test), I was still sick. Then it felt like strep and an ear infection. I went on a Z-pack and then on prednisolone because I had coughed so hard that my vocal folds were totally inflamed and I had a three week case of laryngitis.
Ironic, because on 6/20, I had my VFs scoped and the doctor told me that they were the healthiest ones he would be seeing all day. Here’s what they looked like then:
I don’t want to know what they looked like in mid-August, after three weeks of coughing (three weeks? I’m still coughing!). But my voice has come back. Mostly.
(I also received unexpected news about a student who wasn’t returning in the fall, which was emotionally devastating to me. I try not to take those things personally, but I feel very invested in my students and it was out of the blue, and came right in the middle of the rebound case, so it was especially hard on me.)
But enough emotional drama – back to my health.
Just as I started feeling better and had head voice and chest voice (but no mix), I had an accident and split open my right hand in 3 places and had to have stitches. This was the week of the house concert. Fortunately, I had done the bulk of my house prep, and had help for the other things.
The day of the house concert, I reached for something and my thumb hyperextended and it popped out of place (it had dislocated a couple of days earlier also). The pain was excruciating; but I had a lot to do, so I outsourced a couple of things that I couldn’t do (chopping shallots, moving chairs), and everything was fine.
A few days later I realized I still couldn’t bend my thumb. We were in the car on the way to Milwaukee for Irish Fest, and my MD husband said, “I’ll bet you weakened your hand in the fall and the dislocation tore your flexor tendon.” So I called Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore to make an appointment. Which had to be after the cataract surgery I was having on my return.
So this is what happened since I returned home and will be happening over the next few days:
- 8/24: Cataract Surgery #1 (pretty straightforward)
- 8/25: Went back to eye doctor because I started freaking out over something that’s normal
- 8/30: Met with hand surgeon – he confirmed my husband’s diagnosis, scheduled surgery for me and sent me off to get an pre-op physical; post-op with eye doctor
- 9/1: Flexor Tendon repair scheduled at Lutherville SurgiCenter
- 9/2: Cataract Surgery #2
- 9/6: 2022-2023 schedule begins
The high points of this summer were:
- The NATS Conference (until I got sick)
- The Emma Langford house concert, which I will write about separately
- Milwaukee Irish Fest
- My best friends have returned from England to the DC area!
- Friends like Lisa Dickinson, who made me hot chicken soup and left it on my porch when I was sick, who picked me up from Cataract Surgery #1 because my husband was working, who made delicious food for the house concert, and who came to Irish Fest with us (along with her husband Mike, who was also very helpful at the house concert)
- The devotion of students like Kay-Megan Washington, Andi Rudai, Sam Rudai, Vivie Labellarte, Dissonance McManus, and Sela McMullen, who helped out with the house concert prep, both inside and outside the house. Sela also helped the day before, after her final lesson, and drove me to my surgery post-op on 8/24.
Kay-Megan, Vivie, Dissonance, Sela (plus some rando with a tambourine) also reprised their showcase performance of Birdsong at the house concert, only this time the solos were sung by the songwriter herself. Thank you to Emma Langford for agreeing to include my students on this song. At the end of this exhausting diatribe, enjoy Birdsong featuring Emma Langford, cellist Alec Brown, and students from Mezzoid Voice Studio:
While this was, truly, the Summer of Suck, and there were loads of disappointments, moments like this make it (almost) all worthwhile.
I promise my posts going forward will be positive.
Unless, of course, something unexpected happens. Which would