A Trip to the Voice Doctor 

Author:                Sarah Williams aka: Sarah 6238


I arrived at nine o'clock sharp and walked into the fanciest 
doctors office I've ever seen. Dark green plush carpet, tasteful 
antiques, about a million dollars worth of art on the wall. The 
receptionist asked me to have a seat and said that the doctor
was  running a little late today.  

My stomach was doing the most interesting things down there. 
As is usual in surgery I had been asked not to eat before coming 
in. It might have also had something to do with the fact that
I've  never had any surgery done before and the thought that this
was the  first big unalterable step on the way to becoming the
woman I've  always needed to be.  

As I sat there, worrying, thinking about all the things that 
could go wrong, I could still hear Dr. Mayer going through the
list  of possible complications on my first visit, things like,
scarring, infection, trouble swallowing, and five or six other 
things I can't remember. The one that scared me the most though,
was that my voice might just return to it's old pitch sometime 
after surgery. He said what ever happened there was no way to
fix  it again and that I'd be stuck with the way it turns out,
good or  bad. He made it clear that he wasn't making any promisees,
or  guaranteeing anything.  

I asked Dr. Mayer, exactly what he was going to do to make my 
voice change. He told me the technique was his idea, and that
only  he and god could do this, and that neither of them was going
to  tell anyone else. He said he was afraid that if he told how
it was  done, some fool who wasn't as good as he was would try
it and screw  it up. Then the technique would get a bad name. Well
OK, I didn't  like that much, but squeamish as I am I'm probably
better off not  knowing.  

I must have set in that waiting room for at least two hours, 
though it seemed more like a week. Finally a nurse came and took 
me to a room and got me into one of those cute little hospital 
nighties. Then I was off to the operating room. I sat there for
a  long time, shivering, wondering if this is just a dream. Then
the  nurse came back and started doing all those nurse things, 
installing all kinds of wires and sensors all over me. When she'd 
finished she told me to take it easy, don't worry, and don't pay 
any attention to the things the Dr. said to her during the  operation.
She said it would sound like every thing was going  wrong, but
that this was just the way Dr. Mayer was during surgery,  and it
was really going to turn out fine. I was to speak when he  told
me to and there would be times he would ask me not to swallow.
I had no idea how hard that would be. She covered my eyes and
the  rest of me except for my neck and in came the doctor.  

As soon as he came in he asked the nurse "did you give her  your
little talk". She said she had and then he asked me to speak  into
a mini tape recorder for a few seconds. He then began to  shoot
me up with a local anesthesia all around my adams apple and  started
drawing on my throat with a felt pen.  

As soon as I was good and numb he began to cut. The incision 
was about two inches long, it followed a line that already existed 
on my neck so it wouldn't show later. As he cut he used an electric 
device to stop the bleeding. I could hear lots of sizzling and
the  sound of his scalpel. I began to wish they had put me out 
entirely.  

From the time Dr. Mayer walked into the room, It had seemed he 
was in a foul mood, and though he was always polite to me, he
was  incredibly rude to his nurse. This got worse and worse as
we went  along. I, of course, couldn't see what was going on, but
from the  sound of it he just couldn't get what he wanted from
her. He'd say  "OK, pull it up this way, no that's too far, come
on get it right  honey." "I can't do this if you can't do what
I tell you". "NO,  that's not right I can't see". "Please honey,
this is getting all  screwed up, if this doesn't work its all
your fault". "Don't be  stupid, pull it over here". It got so bad
I couldn't see how she  kept from punching him out right then and
there.  

This all went on for about an hour. Sometimes it hurt a lot  but
I didn't say anything because I didn't think I could talk. I  could
feel him suturing something that was very tough in my throat. 
I think he broke several needles doing it. He kept repeating "don't 
swallow, don't swallow". I tried to keep from it but the urge
was  incredible. Sometimes I couldn't stop and he'd  say "OH SHIT,
DON'T SWALLOW", you've got to stop swallowing. As  he worked,
he'd ask me to say something. I'd try to talk, some  squeaky noises
would come out, and he'd put in another stitch.  

Finally he said "that's as far as I can go, it sounds pretty 
good". I wasn't so sure, but I was so relieved that it was over,
I didn't argue. In a few minutes I was stitched up and he was 
gone. It felt like there was a huge lump in my throat when I  swallowed,
and it seemed like I was going to choke, but I fought  the urge
because the thought of gagging and coughing scared me to  death.

The nurse got me up and cleaned me off, and back into my  dress.
She took such good care of me that I started to feel a  little
better. She gave me the post opp instructions and I was out  the
door.  

There I was, in downtown Beverly Hills, feeling sick, scared 
and lost. Here's one point of advise, don't do anything like this 
alone. I found my rental car and sat there for a while just trying 
to breathe and get my head together enough to drive. I needed
to  eat so I stopped in at a fast food joint for lunch, which I 
promptly threw up in the parking lot. I didn't like that much,
but  it didn't hurt as much as I thought it was going to. I felt
a good  bit better after that, and I went back to my room to see
if I could  sleep.  

The doctor had asked me not to turn my head side to side or  tilt
it back for at least two weeks. this made driving in the big  city
kind of tough. I had a lot of pills to take for pain and  swelling
and to prevent infection. It figures, the antibiotic he  gave me
was a pill that would choke a horse, but I managed to get  them
down anyway.  

If you should ever get desperate enough to try this crazy  operation,
there are some things you should know. The first is that  no matter
what anyone tells you, it hurt. It hurt a lot for the  first two
weeks, and for the next two it felt like I had a cramp in  my throat.
The pain is almost gone now after six weeks, but my  voice is
still hoarse most of the time. I don't think that I was  one of
Dr. Mayer's big successes, they said that the goal was to  give
me a voice that sounded female on the phone. I still have  trouble
convincing people on the phone that my name is Sarah, but  as I
get back more and more control of my voice, it's slowly  getting
better. At first I had almost no dynamic range. Now I've  gained
back about half the range I had originally and I feel it  stretching
a little every day.  

The voice modification surgery, as its called, cost $4,000 not 
including travel and expenses. They ask that you stay in town
for  at least two days after surgery, so they can check up on you.

Looking back, though the whole ordeal was as hard as anything 
I've ever done, I'm very glad I did it. The change I got wasn't 
all I had hoped for, but it did help a lot. It gave me at least 
$10,000 worth of confidence. I'm no longer afraid to talk and 
person to person I seem to pass without question. I feel reborn
and  my new life feels so right.  

If you wish to get more info you can write to the doctor at: 


         The Beverly Hills Institute
         of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery
         416 N. Bedford Drive
         Suite 200
         Beverly Hills, CA      90210
 

   
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