This is my piano. It is in the room where I see patients in my house. I frequently play it between appointments. Aren’t I lucky?
Music is almost as much a passion to me as are medicine and homeopathy. I sing in two classical choirs and have occasional singing lessons.
As a girl, I was a very serious piano student, mostly as I had a very serious piano teacher! I played in lots of concerts and competitions and did exams.
All this as well as years of academic exams has given me a lot of experience of exam pressure and performance anxiety.
GPs are frequently asked to help people facing such ordeals. Often it is for a driving test or to cope with giving presentations at work. I often prescribed a small dose of a beta-blocker, propranolol,10mg. It works by blocking the bad effects of adrenaline in the body, such as palpitations, trembling or sweating. Vitally, it is not at all sedative as it does not cross into the brain. Hence it is safe for driving and does not stop the brain working. Snooker players and violinists have used it for years to counter shaking fingers.
As a girl, waiting for my turn to play in a competition, I remember having sweaty hands, a sick feeling and running frequently to the loo. We each experience our own reaction to nerves. In some poor students their minds go blank when faced with a question. Whilst still happy to prescribe propranolol, I have a set of homeopathic remedies that also help, chosen according to the patient’s personal pattern of symptoms. These are, of course, safe and do not interfere with mental or physical performance. They are also legal for use in competitive sport.