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Diabetic Bassists???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by GROOVEjunkie, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. Hey, am I the only Type 1 Diabetic bassist in here???

    I'm curious if anyone else has to balance their bloodsugar in between sets (and songs - YIKES!!) and how they handle it.

    Playing bass can be very physical (not as much as, say, a drummer, but arguably more than a guitarist) and therefore challenging for a diabetic.

    Can anyone else relate?

    Excuse me while I squeeze a blood sample out of my finger and slam this glass of OJ - the show must go on!!! :bassist:
  2. SoyBase


    Jul 1, 2001
    Atlanta, Ga
    Type 1- 24 years.

    Lucky for me, i have a "mild" case. I always worry about my sugars dropping during a show, so I make sure to eat a good meal before hand and sometimes have a small coke or something about 15 minutes before showtime (depending on how many carbs i eat for my meal and what my sugars were before the meal). I've never hard low blood sugars so bad to where I pass out, or become incoherant, so I'm lucky there.

    I've tried the OJ thing, but in all honesty, it doesn't sustain my sugars and gives me a stomach ache. Must be the acids in the juice. Most people would say that coke (or some other non diet drink) isn't good for it, but hey, its always worked for me. Over the past 8+ years, I've managed to keep my AIC's between 5.5-7, so that keeps me and the doc happy.

    About 2 years ago I switched to the Freestyle Flash and will never go back to sticking my finger. Sometimes it can be tough to get blood from my arm, but its worth saving my fingertips. They always run specials on those too. I got mine for free after the rebate.
  3. I was diagnosed with Type 2 in January. I avoid eating fried food before a gig, take my meds and keep small boxes of raisins in my gig bag to give me a quick boost if needed. Oh yes - and I only drink water when playing.
  4. I've been a Type 1 for 23 yrs and a bassist for 17 and I'm happy to say I've never had a real bad experience on stage yet either (like bottoming out so bad that I pass out or anything like that). But it is hard to tell sometimes where my BS is at during a set and almost impossible to stop to check while we're on stage. So you have to hope your good before the train leaves the station on that 45-60min ride. I wear the minimed 508 insulin pump which helps, but, even still, depending on the time of my last meal and its carb and fat content, it can be a hassle.

    I remember starting a set and my blood sugar was 127 (perfect by all accounts, though IMO on the low side prior to vigorous set [or so I thought]). So we're playing and I'm wondering halfway throught it: "Am I sweating like a pig because it's freakin hot in this club and I'm hopping around like a fool" or, "Is my sugar dipping low on me because of all the activity?" After the set I still feel a little weird so, as usual, I disappear to a side room in the club where we store our band crap (people who don't know me must believe I'm totally antisocial ;) )and check my sugar and it's HIGH 415 :eek: !!! I figure the stress from playing and worrying must have triggered the liver's glucagon response and/or the spagetti dinner with cheesy garlic bread I ate for dinner 2.5hrs earlier must have been slowly creeping my BS up through the statosphere. I had to bolus insulin like a fiend to get it down by the end of the night and it really drained me. That being said, having a LOW bloodsugar is just as crappy, especially if you can't catch it quick enough and it gets below 60. I ALWAYS keep my glucose tabs on me (and a drink, say, a Yuengling brew, to help wash em down) in addition to either a chewy granola bar or Glucerna's diabetic bars. And I have a smaller meal before the show vs a high carb/fat filled dinner.

    I use the Accucheck Complete glucometer with the Comfort Curve strips (mostly because my insurance pays for them) and I check my sugar anywhere from 5-10x a day, but only on my left (fretting hand) and usually only the side of my thumb so as to not make playing too uncomfortable. I may look into your meter where you get the sample from your arm. Any track marks :D ?? Just kidding. Diabetes sucks but it won't slow me down (that much).
  5. SoyBase


    Jul 1, 2001
    Atlanta, Ga
    AMEN to that! Its funny, bassist 17 years and diabetic for 24, coincidence, eh?

    I was tempted to try the pump at one time, but the mix of insulin i've been using for years now has kept me in check, so I won't fix it until its broken, if you know what i mean.

    I've had the same thing happen with the high sugars. I'll eat sushi or something like that for dinner now so the carbs can work slow. I guess I'm always "carb concious" these days!
  6. RD


    Jun 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I've had type 1 diabetes since 1965. I used to be quite the wildman, and it has cost me. I have all the complications to the point that I don't play out anymore. But, I still jam with friends and love to play. I also love to follow threads on talkbass etc.
    I'm lucky that my employer has stuck with me. Otherwise, I think it would be a short trip to the street.
    Word to the wise, if you have the disease, it's no joke, control your blood sugar the best you can and listen to your doc. Keep it simple. Drink a lot of water. Moderation in all things, and keep jammin'.
    Existence is in fact, spectacular!
  7. Type II. just a little over two years now.

    My blood sugar is always high and I get exactly zero energy from it. Ant life a be-atch.

    The doctor has not put me on meds, so it's exercise and watch my diet.

    I have never had a real sweet tooth and I'm not overweight, but I never realized that just about everything has some sugar in it. I find that mostly, it's just hard finding things that I can eat and stay healthy. It has to be no/low sugar, low carb, low fat. So it's all low taste! Good thing I don't have a sodium or high blood pressure problem. I'll just start eating straw!
    Well, thank God for the "low carb" craze that hit a while back, I guess it was good timing for me.

    Exercise, probably the best thing about my problem, as long as I keep a good schedule I feel better than I have since I was young, but if I fall off the wagon or simply can't, I start to feel like crap and get very sluggish and then it's ten times harder to get my schedule back.

    Oh well, what can you do when life give you lemons? Make lemon aid, just make it with Spenda. ;)
  8. Yea, when my BS swings I lose energy too, especially from a low.

    BTW, I had to change my logon name from "GROOVEJUNKIE" to "theGROOVEjunkie" because I registered in a hurry and all those CAPS annoy me!!

    I'm a diabetic and a little anal - coincidence?!?! I think not!!!

  9. RD


    Jun 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    A good diabetic is certainly "anal." With me it spills over into editing my posts for spelling etc, when nobody cares anyway.
  10. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I'm Type 2, an engineer (does that imply twice the anality?)and have sleep apnea...beat that!!!!

    Thanks to my CPAP machine, I don't fall asleep at work any more...and equal thanks to my employer for cutting me some major slack while I was sorting all this out...
  11. RD


    Jun 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Can anyone think of a famous/successful diabetic bassist? The famous musical diabetic that I know of was Jerry Garcia. But, he didn't play bass.
  12. Can anyone think of a famous/successful diabetic bassist? The famous musical diabetic that I know of was Jerry Garcia. But, he didn't play bass.

    That's a good question, RD. Actually, I recently finished the book on the music industry by the drummer of Semisonic ("Closing Time" fame) and learned he's a Type 1. BTW, great read. I'm glad I had to survive another way; what a game the industry is.

    Yeah, I know he's a drummer (which has gotta be tough to manage, too) but he did fine drinking a lot of cranberry juice while playing (and eating Tums because of nerves) :cool: .

    Then there's BB King who's also a diabetic guitarist who eats Burger King (and is most likely a diabetic as a result :scowl: ).

    But bassists...hmmm...dunno.

    Anyone else know?
  13. Okay, so I was a tad bored and decided to take up the task and find a famous diabetic bassist. I felt inspired to start B.A.D., bassist against diabetes. Maybe??....D.U.B.A. diabetics united bassist association.......errrr, I'll work on that. :D

    well finding a diabetic bassist is not so easy let me tell ya! Either there are not too many bassist that are diabetic OR(!) one would have to be famous, a bassist, and be diabetic. We all know the two that aren't likely, so in order to find a bassist on a "famous diabetic" list, he/she would have to do something other than play bass. :( ;)

    Before I list my findings, here are two great looking recipes for sea bass for the diabetic. :rolleyes:
    Broiled Caribbean Sea Bass
    Caribbean Sea Bass with Mango Salsa
    Apparently, there are more fish recipes for the diabetic than diabetic bassist, also Dr. Bass is quite popular in the diabetic field as well. :crying:

    Here is list of famous daibetic musicians I found:
    Ella Fitzgerald - Jazz Legend

    Tony Bennett - Legendary Singer

    Mick Fleetwood - Rock Singer (Fleetwood Mac)

    Jerry Garcia - Lead Singer (The Grateful Dead)

    Dizzy Gillespie - Jazz Trumpeter

    B. B. King - Rhythm and Blues Legend

    Tommy Lee - Drummer (Motley Crue)

    Andrew Lloyd Webber - Musician & Broadway Legend (Phantom of the Opera)

    Bret Michaels - Rock Musician (Poison)

    Elvis Presley - Singer/Actor


    I did find a great site that listed famous diabetics with a section just for musicians. The closest they had was someone who played bass clarinet, and the bass vocalist from the Temptations. Close but no cigar. Check it out here huge list non the less.

    Well........here it is! DUN-DA-DAAAAAA.......The all inclusive list of famous diabetic bassist.........drum roll please! :D

    Joe Paciolla from the band Enertia, Not on a list of any kind but google did get some results of him and diabetes in a review. Tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea who he is.


    Stewart Davis A New Orleans Jazz Bassist. On no other than Louis "Satchmo" Armstrongs web site. How's that for famous!

    With a list like this we will never form BAD, or DUBA, ?DABEL?? still needs work.. :D :bag:
  14. RD


    Jun 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Great work C-O-F! A nice effort there.
    I think part of the problem is that many diabetics don't let it become known, for good reason (job discrimination etc.)
    It's also very hard to imagine one of the Beatles being diabetic and starving for his art in Hamburg. Starving doesn't work with diabetes, for art or any other reason.
    I think the need for steady income probably thins the ranks of potentially sucessful diabetic bassists, and musicians of any kind.
    I think most diabetic musicians got the disease after becoming sucessful ( i.e. Miles Davis, B.B. King etc.)
    But, I'm pulling for one of you guys to beat the odds.
  15. So true.

    I used to wish I could just take off on a marathon tour and just "make it" in music. But diabetes always made that impractical if not impossible. So, taking my parents advice, I always focused on getting a "good job with benefits." All in all, I guess I made the right choice (though not as exciting).

    Chunk-O-Funk...thanks for all the research on diabetics (and fish recipes :) )
  16. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Im diabetic (10 years, half my life).

    We need a cure for this. It makes me miserable.
  17. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Thats the only lifestyle that interests me. If I cant do that I dont want to live. If they dont come out with a cure then I'll probably kill myself living that way.
  18. RD


    Jun 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Hey Nick Man cool down, we'll find a cure, just hang around a while!
    When everything about life with diabetes is considered, depression often raises it's ugly head. I always try to remember that the existence of any damn thing is miraculous beyond imagination. So, my problems, desires, and life, for that matter, really do have great value, even if I never do what I've always dreamed of.
    I say broaden your horizons a bit if depression is a problem. See a shrink. Smell the roses. Look past the thing that frustrates you. There is always the thing that you don't know of, and someone who does the things you do know much better than you. I don't think life supposed to be easy, or even well defined. But, it is stupendous. If you quit, I think you'll probably end up in a place where you have to deal with the same problems anyway.
    Consider a quadraplegic, he probably would not be able to kill himself, while having many more reasons than a diabetic to want to. Yet minds, like that of Stephen Hawking, go on. No doubt he would have a hard time playing a bass, let alone making it on the road.
    Jeez Louise, I can go on. Okay, I'll stop. I don't mean to preach.
    But really, don't do yourself in if you can't be on the road, or a star, or a whatever. Just plug in and make a beautiful noise. Go ahead, without the van, and the road, and the fans. Even if no one hears you. Just value all that is, including you.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    You were the first diabetic Bassist i thought of Nick ! I pray that cure comes.