I keep pretty good health and count my visits to the doctor’s surgery in years rather than months or weeks, but a month ago I made an appointment and trotted off to Springfield House Practice.
When I visited Ballycastle in August on an annual sailing trip, I managed to fall into the marina and in doing so bashed my elbow (you can read about it here). It wasn’t really that painful at the time but even after a few weeks I still had this squishy lump a bit like a large blister and it didn’t seem to be healing, I had also developed a trigger finger – the index finger on my left hand – the same arm as my squishy lump. I thought it better to find out why the lump wasn’t healing and whether the two things were connected.
The doctor was from County Antrim and knows Ballycastle well and we had a nice chat about the area and a laugh about me falling in before he told me that the two things weren’t connected, yes I did have a trigger finger and the squishy lump was olecranon bursitis. The bursa is a fluid sac on the elbow which helps the joint move smoothly and is normally flat but a blow to the elbow can cause extra fluid to be produced and for the sac to swell. He told me it would reduce over time – he was right, it has. There wasn’t anything he could do for my trigger finger as the only real solution is surgery, but he thought ibuprofen and resting the finger would help - and herein lays the problem.
Being a right-handed guitarist, my left hand is my fretting hand and my index finger is particularly important with barre chords and generally moving around the fretboard. Fortunately, unlike others with the condition, my finger doesn’t lock shut but it can be painful especially first thing – it does ease off as the day goes on. In a few weeks I’m off to Alvor in Portugal on a Guitar Retreat and I felt I should perhaps rest my hand so that I might actually be able to play!
I have a wee Alesis MIDI USB keyboard and I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to perhaps spend some time practising on this. To hear the keyboard it needs to be played through a DAW (digital audio workstation) and I have a couple of these – Acoustica’s Mixcraft and Magix Music Maker. I chose the Magix software as you can create songs from audio loops. Needless to say I spent more time playing around with these than practising the keyboard! It's great fun - I created a SoundCloud account and I have uploaded them there. I also found some old recordings I had made when I opened up Mixcraft. If you can bear to listen to them I have added a page with an audio player to the site called "My Music" you can get to it from the menu at the top of the page on the left.
This track "Friday's Cure" is based on the same chord progression as The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love"