October 2, 2013 at 1:48 AMIt started at Interlochen while rehearsing Shostakovich #8. A pain in my left first finger, down at the knuckle. I thought that maybe I had over extended or otherwise strained my first finger playing that low C# for so many measures. My remedial action was to play the note an octave higher and then ice that joint and give it a rest. Several weeks later, that joint still pained me and started affecting simple things like picking up an empty sauce pan. It was time to go see a doctor.
It turns out that it wasn't an injury that would get better with time and rest. That pain I had been experiencing was arthritis. It was a diagnosis that surprised me. I had thought that something like that would come along slowly. But no, arthritis can come on very suddenly with a flip of the switch at any age.
My doctor luckily is also a musician (flautist), and appreciated my dilemma. She prescribed me a compounded cream that she swore would do the trick, knowing that quitting viola was tantamount to a death sentence and something I could use long-term without alot of risk. She called it "better music through chemistry".
It arrived today, along with my birthday present from my mother.
After reading through the instructions, I applied this cream to my knuckle and viola! My aches and pains subsided enough for me to practice like I did before. The only downside I see so far is that now I'm playing a few notes a bit sharp (rather than flat). I think I can live with that.
The next thing on my agenda is getting a new pair of glasses. Oh the joys of aging.
Happy Birthday.... go get a 4tet together to play those Birthday Variations for yourself. (Have you tried them yet?)
And Hi Christina C. :) I'm thinking I may be seeing you in the upcoming Nov. 9 concert?
Happy birthday Tom!
I'm with you, lady. No creme for me, but I struggle on. You, too! Good job.
As long as we can find a way to keep playing, though, we can't complain too much. I draw my inspiration from one of the violinists in our orchestra who recently passed away at 92 - and was playing from his wheelchair right to the end.
We might get old and decrepit, but the music remains fresh and alive forever. As long as we can still play it, we are drawing on a fountain of youth.
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