The end result of the examination was the recommendation of vocal therapy, because my mechanism and how I use it was all fudged up and backwards. I just finished my third session tonight.
Good news: no structural damage.
Bad news: still pretty beat up, and everything that I've been doing, I've been doing backwards and in such a way that it's added tension to my vocal production.
Good news: I've been teaching it the right way, even using most of the same terminology and imagery that my voice therapist uses.
Bad news: How I've chosen to provide examples for groups of people in front of me (read: a chorus) has given me tons and tons of bad habits and bad practices.
Good news: I love my vocal therapist. He's starting me from the beginning, with easy-to-understand and gentle-to-use exercises to get me through the areas I need to pursue.
Bad news: I'm starting over, from the very beginning, which is frustrating as hell for somebody with a master's degree in music that has been a professional singer as recently as a few months ago.
Good news: maybe, if I'm ever in a speaking profession again, I can avoid the annual "week without a voice" in the middle of October.
Bad news: Because they didn't find anything weird or anything wrong, we're back to the drawing board with the cause of my current coughing other than "hyper-sensitivity," which is annoying as f***.
Good news: taking the relative vocal rest of not directing a chorus at this point, and not singing in a chorus, and not needing to sing professionally all give me the luxury of starting over and forming good habits.
I'm still struggling with a lot of personal demons in regards to this: the source of the physical tension I'm carrying around; the psychological burden of knowing that next December, we go through this all over again; trying to figure out how - if - when I'll start to sing again; is it WORTH it, for me to go through this, considering that we don't really need my singing voice for much around the house these days? I'll figure it out, though. I'm off to a good start.