Six months ago I started learning to play the baritone and at the time it made me realise quite how terrifying it is to be launched into a whole new world. Learning about music seemed about as complex as working out how to carb count, adjust basal rates and identify hypos.
The one advantage music has over diabetes is that the consequences of giving up on it don’t involve harming any important limbs or organs. Despite not having the potential expiration of my kidneys as a motivator, I have indeed managed to keep up the practice and am still playing the baritone in Maghull Wind Orchestra. And this weekend saw the first big test. The first musical HbA1c to see whether the good notes and the terrible notes are balancing out to give a musical performance that is in some way suitable for human consumption.
And it seems it is. We got a great review in the local press for a concert we performed last weekend and no one seemed to notice the beginner in the midst. Full credit must go to the husband who decided that having a diabetic wife wasn’t enough of a challenge for his patience, so he also took on the mammoth task of teaching me to play.
I’ve learned that basal rates need reducing by about 20% for rehearsals, to offset all the huffing and puffing involved in creating a note. But the stress of a concert is enough for me to keep basal rates at normal levels and remain pretty steady. Just like diabetes there have been some very bad days where I can’t play the right note at the right time for love nor money. Then the next day, I can do a full rehersal with no excursions out of musical target range. But the overall result is positive. And there the diabetes/music analogy must end, before it is stretched so far it becomes completely tuneless.