Durham veterinarian Michael Grafinger, DVM, isn’t your average vet. In addition to providing emergency and specialty care to family pets, he donates his time and skills to caring for injured wildlife like big cats, bald eagles and sea turtles. But a while back, it was Grafinger himself who needed medical help.
“I just woke up one morning with no voice,” he said. “My son had contracted a summer cold, so I thought I must have laryngitis.” An active runner, skier and father of three young boys, Grafinger also began having trouble breathing during exercise. “I just couldn’t get the air I needed when I was running.”
His primary care doctor prescribed steroids, antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor, medication used to treat acid reflux. None of those helped. Then he saw an ear, nose and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) who found a cyst on a vocal cord but wasn’t sure that was the cause of his problems.
Meanwhile, the situation was getting more and more frustrating. “Clients couldn’t understand me on the phone,” said Grafinger. “I reached a point where no one could understand me, frankly.”