Just back from the local hospital's ENT specialist; Ive had a "scratchy sounding voice" for a couple years or more. Frankly, I just kinda assumed it was a by-product effect of having quit smoking a few years ago, but figured it was worth a look. Literally.
Laryngoscopy lets the MD do a direct visual exam of the larynx while you use it (the letter "e" was popular for some reason). I am pleased to announce that there is no sign of anything looking remotely cancerous, so there's that. Me being me, of course, there actually is something gone adrift though.
If you follow the wiki-link above you'll see an illustration of the human throat/larynx on the R/H sidebar. The parts labeled cartilage are what the muscles of the throat use to regulate the vocal cords (I'm probably saying this badly, but that's the gist of what I remember the Doc saying). In my throat, one side of the cartilage is bent in a "U" shape such that it covers the upper aspect of one side of my vocal cords. The Doc thinks I may not be using that side of the voice box at all.
The last time I took a shot (fist, I think, but it could have been an unbroken beer bottle) to that part of my throat was in the mid-ish 80's, so I have my doubts the two are all that related. Whatever the cause, there definitely is something out of kilter in my vocal regions (which oddly offers little comfort - or balance - to my nether regions).
The nearest laryngology medical specialist is a fellow in Dallas, so I'll be getting to know him just as soon as I confirm that the health insurance will pick up most of the tab. I already know the hotel stay will be on my own dime, I need to learn more about our policy as regards out-of-region specialists and the like.
So, crappy voice is due to physical deformity and not cancer. It's always something, you know? The view from here may still be kinda crappy, but so far I've gotta say 2014 is looking up.
Well, down really, but you know what I mean. :)