…which wasn’t the original plan at all!

A couple of months before my diagnosis I’d been invited to join the choir for the 2022 Kettlebaston Festival. Over the years Rosemary and I have been regular attenders, and I’ve also taken on the job of designing the programme and getting it printed. The presiding musical genius behind the festival is Gordon Pullin, but he’s now moved away from the area so the event now happens only intermittently. (And Covid didn’t help!)

I was delighted to accept at the time, but later had to warn Gordon I might not be fit to perform – much as I wanted to. In the event I came out of surgery just ten days before the first rehearsal – so I was pushing my luck when I showed up for it. Especially after deciding to stop taking the morphine I’d been prescribed after the operation.

It wasn’t my best decision.

I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms, but I did rapidly become aware of the issues the drug had been dealing with. Specifically a level of irritation that had me slipping out to the loo every 30 minutes…

Despite that we had a good and very enjoyable rehearsal, and I was pleased to discover that none of the time I’d spent learning my parts had been wasted. I was definitely winging it for a couple of the trickier pieces, but had the benefit of standing next to good singers who were also winging it, often more convincingly than me.

Once I got back, I checked with my care team. They told me categorically to carry on with my medication. I did – and the symptoms subsided and all but disappeared. Boris had been suitably subdued – and the next day I was able to sing my heart out for the actual performance, and enjoy the traditional hog roast supper afterwards. During which – thanks to June Carpenter, the festival’s organiser, making an announcement about me at the end of the concert – many people congratulated me on making the effort to sing and offered their sympathy on my condition.

All in all a good, positive experience. As long as I kept taking the tablets…!