A Doctor Calls

A phone call from the neurologist in charge of my case coloured the mood of the day.

She was as good as her word on Friday when she said that she was going to treat me as her number one priority and get back to me within days with a plan for the treatment of my condition since having a brain haemorrhage and two brain seizures on 30th October last year.

I had planned to write about Beethoven’s 5th. Synmphony.

It had been playing in a local gift shop when I was looking for a birthday present for a friend.

How ridiculous, I had thought. How can anyone listen to anything as complicated as a Beethoven symphony whilst browsing round the shops. An insult enough to make Beethoven genuinely roll over in his grave.

I remembered it again yesterday.

Beethoven’s Fifth, one of the cornerstones of the classical music world, inspirational, dramatic, finely argued and powerfully emotional. Just the sort of music I have been unable to listen to since my brain haemorrhage.

Long term concentration seems to have been a problem for my, presumably, damaged brain.
Since the event, no novels but the newspaper; no symphonies but “trance” music.

I wondered if this was still the same. I have been listening to the Bach Double Vioin Concerto as described in an earlier blog. Bach, still the great healer, was working on me but what about the tempestuous Ludwig Van?

Well, my friends, you will be pleased to know that I sat down to a recording of the great Fifth with Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in excitingly rhythmic and passionate form – surely a recording everyone must hear at least once in a lifetime.

And, also, my friends, I concentrated from those first world famous darkly dramatic notes to the very last moments of C major ecstasy that brings this work to its romantically triumphant conclusion.

Brain injuries can alter, maybe heighten a typical Englishman’s reserved emotions. Ludwig Van isn’t a man for hiding away behind a stiff upper lip and I would not have disappointed him.

There was no question of distraction. No memories of shopping in that gift boutique. It was the full experience. The triumph of my love of music over that blood seeping into my brain.

Stirred at first, frightened and relieved in turns and then, finally swept away, moist eyed into those tumulous brassy strokes which wipe away thoughts of fear, cowardice and uncertainty into that quintessientially Beethovenian statement of humanity at its most heroic.

I was going to write about that but, I got that call from the neurologist.

My haemorrhage is still bleeding. No room for Beethoven now or is there? I will have to have more scans and tests, almost certainly in hospital and possibly leading up to brain surgery. This will all happen, in the neurologist’s own phrase, “on a soon basis.”

Thank you Ludvig Van.

If there was ever a time when your musical description of triumph over adversity was apt, it was today.

I think I shall play that cd again.

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