Topic: Oboe and Fainting?
I have a condition involving low blood pressure (neurocardiogenic syncope, for those knowledgeable in the medical field), and I faint a lot. The first time I went to an electrophysiologist, he said that continuing to play an oboe would be a challenge in controlling my condition, but he thought with some specific work on breathing techniques and other things (he wasn't an instrumentalist) I should be able to keep playing. Since then I have worked on breathing and tried to make lighter reeds that are still pretty stable and decent-sounding to reduce the amount of air pressure needed, but I still have trouble. I am currently not in school or working due to my condition, but I have been trying to play with a local university symphonic band and community orchestra. The last two times I have tried this have resulted in a gradual but dramatic worsening of my condition, forcing me to stop playing and usually landing me in the hospital for a few days. I have since learned that stress can make me worse and I have been working with a counselor on stress management. I have no idea how much of my problem when playing with the band and orchestra was stress, and how much of it was playing the oboe physically making it worse. I have noticed, however, that I am able to play the oboe for quite a while on "good" days and only for a few minutes, if at all, on "bad" days--this makes it really hard to practice consistently. At this point I just don't know what to do. The oboe is my main instrument, and although I do play other instruments, I don't know what I would do if I couldn't keep playing the oboe. Does anyone have any suggestions on breathing, reed-making techniques, or anything else that might help? I'm still trying to work with doctors on this, but I have yet to find a good doctor who is also an oboist.
I also want to mention that I had an oboe student a couple of years ago who suddenly started fainting. Although her fainting didn't seem to be related to playing the oboe, I thought it was interesting that her fainting problems started a couple of months after she switched from clarinet to oboe. I never did find out what her diagnosis was. I also have a friend who plays flute, who has a condition similar to mine (POTS). She has been having a lot of trouble playing the flute for long periods of time. She usually ends up dizzy and feeling like she's going to faint, sometimes with a racing heart. Does anyone else know of anyone having problems like this from playing their instrument, not related to poor breathing or any other playing technique?