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(@welshman)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 99
Topic starter  

Just a matter of curiosity. I've been recovering recently from a minor illness (a mini-stroke) and during that time my guitar has been a real pal as well as a therapeutic aid. My pinky on my left hand is still pretty numb but I can move it Ok so it hasn't stopped my playing. More than that I have found that playing keeps me alive and cherish every moment. Maybe they should put guitar lessons in hospital as part of everyone's treatment :-)

Anyone else here with experience of illness who has used their guitar to pull things back together in their life?

What did the guitarist do when he was told to turn on his amp?
He caressed it softly and told it that he loved it.


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(@frank2121)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 269
 

i guess you could say it stoped me from cracking up while i was house bound


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(@elecktrablue)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4389
 

Yes. I'm not exactly healthy and haven't been for a few years and won't be.... period. I have Hepatitis C from a tattoo I got 30 years ago and am in Stage 3 Liver Fibrosis (and there are only 4 stages). The doc says I've got between 5 and 10 years left and I'll just keep getting worse. I've also got some heart and pulmonary problems that contribute to being sick a lot. But don't feel sorry for me! I'm perfectly fine with it!! Honestly!!

My guitar (and my other instruments) keep me centered and calm. They give me a sense of "seamlessness" in a life full of crazy seams. They cheer me up when I'm down. They keep me calm when I'm upset. They give me focus when I can't focus on anything else. They allow me to vent my frustrations through them and they allow me to express my joy. I honestly believe that I would be lost without them!

I feel the same way about GuitarNoise and all of the people here! These forums give me a lot and it's because of the wonderful people! Thank you all!

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


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(@demoetc)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 2168
 

No serious illnesses for me, but sometimes, I dunno, it seems like life is an illness all to itself. Not always but sometimes.

Thing is, guitar playing (and bass playing) has always been sort of an 'undercurrent' through my life. It was a hobby, then a profession and then a hobby again, and I'm thinking at this point, at 53, it's about as a-part of me as anything. More so than most things. Like I don't have a lot of interests - just music basically - and...it's been more than enough. I don't play all the time and there was even a period of 14 years that I didn't play at all - sorta retired I guess - but one day the Music was right there, going "Hey, man...how's it going?" and the whole thing started up all over again. Not as intense maybe, not as ego-driven hopefully, but still there. In other words, all through the years, Music didn't change - I did.

It's been real patient with me, that's for sure, and I appreciate that - like a friend that knew me way before anybody else did. A private, secret, invisible friend, and it's still here, and I'm grateful for it.

It's always been there for me, even in those times when I wasn't there for it, and it's like...it doesn't care about all those silent years. Like my guitars sitting in their cases for all those years, waiting, and then finally coming out in the open again and getting restrung and played.

It's a good idea I think - to have guitar playing - or generally, Music - as a therapy. I think I've heard there are clubs that sent ukuleles out to hospitals and even overseas to troops, and I think that's a wonderful thing.

Best regards.


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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

I started playing as part of my physical rehab after nearly tearing my right arm off in a motorcycle mishap. Really made it hard at first as I couldn't hold my arm in playing position for more than a few minutes, and it got pretty painful. I still pull that out when I think I need an excuse for why I'm not a very good player after 6 years, but that's really just because I play what I feel like when I feel like it and am not particularly driven to practice. I count myself very blessed to have had such a good recovery. I have a partially numb right index fingertip that bothers me a lot. Started a year ago when I fainted after donating blood, then getting too hot, sweaty and dehydrated, hurting my old injured arm in the fall, then getting carpal tunnel syndrome while trying to get my arm supported comfortably so I could sleep. Cramped my wrist in the process and injured my median nerve. Oops. That's the way life goes. Live and learn.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@citizennoir)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1248
 

Well, I have no real physical problems.
In fact, I keep in pretty good shape, and try to eat healthy.

Though I guess playing guitar sorta pulled me through my divorce.

I have no friends or family up here in Wisco, so I pretty much had nowhere to turn with all of what I was feeling.
Of course, at the time I couldn't turn to Melody.
So - basically.... I fell to pieces.
I'm around 6'4" and at the worst of it, I weighed in at 134 lbs.
Couldn't eat. Couldn't sleep. Cried constantly.

I think I said before that an 18 year old I was working with got me back into playing at that difficult time for me.

Once I got back into the swing of things, I started writing.

That's when the healing really began.
Finally an outlet for all of my feelings that had been tearing me apart.

The funny thing about divorce is that there never seems to be an answer.
At least not a clear answer as to why it all happened.
And so the feelings are very confusing that go along with it.

All the songs I wrote concerning Mel are quite different one from another.
Some were VERY hateful.
Others very loving.
Some were even funny.
Still some were sad and even hopeless.

Regardless, they were the feelings that I was struggling to cope with or understand.

Writing songs got those feelings out of me and as I got them put together and played them several times through,
with tons of feeling and emotion.... I got over it.
To the point where I couldn't even play them anymore because I felt like a fake.
Ya see, after awhile I didn't feel that way anymore.
So I had to leave the song for a bit until I could go back and just play them like any other song.

It was a process. And very cathartic for me.
It also enabled me to forgive Mel and to understand her POV a bit better.

I can tell you that I was a seriously depressed person.
And I think the guitar may have actually saved me.

And like EB said, then I found GN, and wonderful like minded people who I could relate to in the absence of my friends
and family back in Ill.

Thank you all.
You've been a blessing.

Ken

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles


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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3460
 

Wow, some powerful posts above.

Firstly, glad to hear you survived the stroke thing Welsman. Nothing like a bit of a medical scare to make you feel all too mortal. I had slightly similar brush a decade or so ago (with a blocked artery, which was fixed with a stent) and although I recovered quickly it certainly taught me to - as you put it - "cherish every moment" from then on.

I completely agree that music has great therapeutic benefits - from playing favourite songs to coma patients through to using it for rehabilitation of both limb and spirit. :) I've not directly used it for physical therapy, but it's been a considerable help and support to me over the past few years in other ways.

All the best for your recovery. And BTW I'm now doing some daily singing practice, and have finally started recording some playing and singing practice - thanks to getting the motivation from two of your threads here. So thanks for that. 8)

Cheers,

Chris


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(@frank2121)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 269
 

Wow, some powerful posts above.

I completely agree that music has great therapeutic benefits - from playing favourite songs to coma patients through to using it for rehabilitation of both limb and spirit. :) I've not directly used it for physical therapy, but it's been a considerable help and support to me over the past few years in other ways.

Cheers,

Chris

Funny you mention because the reason i was house bound was due to being in a coma for 2 months a few months before i never heard any music while in the coma but it helped me loads after


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

powerful posts indeed. coma, stroke, near amputation, electrablues Hep C , depression.
our frail human bodies pale next to our human spirit. I like the magic that occurs when the physical
(our guitars and our bodies) transforms into the temporal, music.
I have been living with a broken heart for ten years. making music heals and assuages
and will allow me to try and break it further.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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(@welshman)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 99
Topic starter  

Thanks guys - I've loved this thread. Strength, courage and the indomitable human spirit ... and all coated in a love of music that for me became tangible the more I read! If I wasn't eager to pick up the old acoustic before I sure became eager afterwards.

I love this forum - in fact it's about the only forum on the web that I have ever encountered where there is no flaming.

Look after yourself all - and let's keep plodding away making beautiful music.

D

What did the guitarist do when he was told to turn on his amp?
He caressed it softly and told it that he loved it.


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(@kcfenderfan)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 473
 

Best of health to you, Welshman! You too, EB!!

Jim-Bone


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(@mrjonesey)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 470
 

Some truly sad stories and my thoughts are with each of you.

In my case, I was involved in a car accident a few years ago and my left (strumming/picking) arm ended up flailing outside the open window of a rolling SUV. My left hand was de-gloved and nearly amputated (1/4 inch of flesh holding it on). When I came to, they were carting me into the operating room and told me that I would not have my hand when I woke up. I pleased with them (more like demanded) that they save the hand. Well, the surgeon on call ended up being a master and was able to save it. It took many months of external fixators, steel plates, skin graphs and physical therapy to get my hand somewhat functional again. I don't have full use of it and I sometimes drop picks. If I'm having a really bad day, I have trouble moving from one string to the next. But, I have my hand and I can play (reference to being able to strike notes, not the quality of sound). My hand and wrist is always swollen and I don't have a lot of my feeling anymore and where there is feeling, there is usually some amount of pain.

Anyway, it was some time after the accident before I could even close my hand. Eventually I was able to close my fingers enough to grip a pick again, but I didn't have the movement in my forearm to be able to strike the strings. I thought I was going to have to learn to play with the guitar on my lap like Jeff Healey. Eventually I was able to rotate my wrist enough so I could start playing again. It was not only motivation for me to regain function, but it was also tremendous therapy. And it continues to be therapeutic today. My wrist is still not normal, so there is constant wear on the bones and someday the doctors say they will likely have to fuse the wrist together. So, I treat everyday that I am able to play as a gift, because it is possible that I won't be able to play for the rest of my life. So my drive is to get as good as I can, as fast as I can. Since the accident I have realized my life long dream of playing in front of people, so things are going great.

Anyway, that's my story. I don't really talk about it much (although I have shared it on GN a couple of times). My drummer doesn't even know about it. I don't like excuses or sympathy. If I know I will never have good speed, I'll make up for it with better melody and timing.

Jim

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


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(@jenny-b)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 93
 

Its very humbling to read the above posts. And inspiring too. Its wonderful to hear how well people cope with what life has thrown at them through finding a medium where they feel they can express themselves to themselves, and I don't really have the words to say what I mean, but it amazes me on just how many levels music can work(work is not the right word). I have used tuning forks as a holistic therapy, and the effect is amazing, I guess basically the theory is that all matter vibrates at certain frequencies and by just sounding certain frequencies thru the body (and energy field if you believe in that stuff), it re-aligns the molecules to where they should be. It sounds airy-fairy but believe me its powerful stuff. Anyway I've gone off the point, what I'm trying to say is that sound can be so powerful, and yet can be so simple, and I'm so inspired to hear your stories of how music has helped you. Me, it's helping me out of a black pit of depression too, as a former full-time athlete who fell into bad health and stopped training, its given me focus, and it's a relief in a way to discover such an involving interest which is nota competitive sport! Although I have to keep reminding myself of that!

Anyhoo, thanks for the stories, and good health and love to you all.


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 Bish
(@bish)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3765
 

Best wishes for a full recovery.

Music has always been my best friend. It's always been with me during the highs and helped me get through the lows in life. Even gives you an outlet to express your life experiences if you can tap into that.

Music will be a large part of me forever.

Bish

"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

I've never had a serious illness - although I did have a recent scare that made me stop and think. Seems most of the injuries I've ever had have been to my poor old left hand - little finger's been broke so many times it's permanently bent, and the worst of all was the severed tendon last year. These injuries have been more depressing than, say, a broken leg - they meant I couldn't play guitar at all for a while. Last year, there was a chance I wouldn't get full use of my hand back - fortunately, the surgeon who stitched everything back together really knew what he was doing, and I've made pretty much a full recovery.

Each time, I've had to struggle for a while when I picked up the guitar again - but that struggle's been worth it. I really couldn't imagine a life without guitars - now I'm actually getting something resembling music out of them, I never want to put them down!
Music has always been my best friend. It's always been with me during the highs and helped me get through the lows in life. Even gives you an outlet to express your life experiences if you can tap into that.

That's EXACTLY my philosophy in a nutshell! And my life experiences are what I draw on when I'm writing - if I try and write outside that particular box, I end up with a rambling mess. CitizenNoir described the process as "cathartic" - that's exactly what it is, it's a purging of the system, a purifying, healing process. Of course, it can be fun too....

My injuries pale in comparison with some of the above - Ricochet, Welshman, Elecktra and Jonesey in particular. I wouldn't like to have gone through what you guys went through (and still are going through) but yes, it does give you a new perspective on life - makes you grateful for what you've got.

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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