This Week’s Bag: My Taylor Guitar Case

April 4, 2012By 0 Comments

Mr. BB King has it right; diabetes does make you want to sing the blues.  However, for me, music has been one of the few things that are my serenity from the daily finger sticks.  In fact, because of checking my blood sugar roughly 6-8 times per day for close to 22 years (64,240 finger sticks) the tops of my fingers are as rough as sandpaper (hmm, Sandpaper Hands, that would be a good name for a diabetic superhero… I digress).   The tough calluses on the tips of my fingers have helped me to play the guitar probably better than most people with moisturized and soft dainty hands.

Everyone has an outlet for their emotions, and for me it was always singing and playing the guitar.  When I first heard Jewel’s ‘You Were Meant for Me’ over sixteen years ago, I knew that this would be the best outlet for me to air out my emotional turmoil (well, as much emotional turmoil as a fourteen year-old can have).  I took my guitar, along with my pierced eyebrow and retro clothes and joined in the coffee house music scene.  Sixteen years later, I am happy to say I am still playing.  While I am not playing out as much as I used to, my guitar still gives me a sort of peace that only another musician could understand.  Those six strings have heard more heartache and had more tears fall on them over the years, and through it all I am thankful everyday for having music in my life.  For any of you that are musicians and have diabetes, you know that controlling your blood sugar before going on stage is crucial.  Too high, you feel like you are singing as if you had the flu.  Too low, well you might as well be drunk and trying to remember the chords.  It is extremely frustrating.  But, I always have some glucose tabs tucked away in my guitar case, and a juice or soda up on stage next to my water bottle.  Funny thing is, I have had to drink a coke while in the middle of a gig once because I knew I was dropping, and it took every bone in my body to hold back the worst burp while in the middle of a song!!  I don’t recommend soda while performing… try juice instead.

This week I am performing for a very special cause.  Zebra Crossings  is  a  camp in New Hampshire for kids with chronic health conditions (including diabetes, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, down syndrome and asthma).   I became connected with Zebra Crossings while I was doing another speaking engagement with the JDRF.  This is an amazing camp with wonderful people running it who have many years of camp experience.  I have such a special place in my heart for camps like this, as a child myself trying to figure out adolescence as well as my diabetes, the best thing my mother ever did for me, besides getting me guitar lessons, was send me to diabetes camp.  Clara Barton Camp and the people I spent countless summers with there changed my life forever in the best way possible.  To have a network of people who I can still reach out to today, even if I haven’t seen them in years, to just relate and vent about living with this crappy disease is priceless.   I highly, and I mean HIGHLY recommend a diabetes camp if you have or know of a child living with diabetes.

This may be one of the last gigs I play for a while.  As life continues to spin around me and my days fill with new adventures, although my guitar will always be hanging on the wall waiting for me I find that I just don’t need it as often anymore.   For my gig this week, I dedicate it to Caitlin McEnery, a fellow Barton girl who sadly passed away last week; “Without this piece of Heaven, I would have never found you.”

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