A little out of sequence, sorry, but I wanted to finish last year's story, continued from here:
Gallons of water and the threat of noxious potions did the trick, and I still had a voice when Yom Kippur arrived. The evil bug hadn't left me unscathed, however. In its wake remained a throat that felt like brittle parchment no matter how much liquid I poured down it. But I could sing just fine, and only coughed--violently and endlessly--on occasion.
The service went well, and the Louds even held their tongue. Then we got to Besefer Hayim, almost at the finish line, right before the changing of the guard (someone different would lead for Musaf). I began to sing and suddenly couldn't catch my breath, as if my vocal cords were feathers attempting to rub together fast enough to start a fire. I put down the mic, walked over to the edge of the bima, and faced left as far as possible without actually turning my back to the entire congregation, and pretty much coughed my lungs out for about a minute. The rabbi and everyone else kept singing, and I think only the people in the first row noticed anything was amiss. I recovered my composure just in time for Kaddish Shalem, grateful that the fit didn't happen during Hamelekh or another less participatory part of the service.
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