Autoimmune Hepatitis And Guitars?!?

Trust me, they’re related.  And, not just because I have both.

So, I guess I have some ‘splaining to do.

I’ll start with the Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH) side of the equation and, for those of you who have been nice enough to request another update on how I’m doing and for those from some of the Autoimmune Hepatitis groups who are now checking this blog, fill you in on the latest part of my AIH adventure.

Honestly, while my weekly blood work results underscore that things are continuing to improve and some days I can absolutely tell that’s true, some days continue to be a lot more challenging than I might like.  Medicine induced insomnia means that, more often than not, I’m up in the middle of the night.  Fortunately, my years spent in bands and inside your radio speakers overnights have me more than a little familiar with that “Life After Dark” lifestyle.  Still, a night or any combination of more than one hour’s sleep would be more than a little welcome.

Fatigue and lightheadedness rear their heads quite regularly.  Some days, the best course is to just hunker down and let the rest of the world do the best it can without my help.  For the lion’s share of our time in Panama City Beach the days when the world has been left to it’s own devices have outnumbered the days when I felt well enough to be in the on deck circle.

BUT, there have been some days when I felt a bit better and wanted to get up and out.  On those days, because of my suppressed autoimmune system, a destination such as a mall or busy restaurant crowded with people doesn’t even come close to the agenda.

So, here is where the guitar part of the equation comes in.

Being the wise woman that she is and having been through this drill before, Johnnie understands the importance of maximizing the good days.  She also understands that the only curvy blondes other than her that I want to hold have names like Taylor, Gibson, Gretsch, Epiphone and Fender.  So, when she saw there was a guitar listed on Facebook’s local marketplace that I had expressed an interest in, she was all about “Let’s take a drive and see it.”  Fortunately, not only was it a day when I was feeling better but, it was also a warm day when the sun was out and providing us with some of the Gulf Coast’s great visuals as we drove to meet the seller.

When we met the seller and were introduced to the guitar, a 1989 Epiphone Emperor, not only was it love at first strum but, as it turned out, this guitar had a rather interesting history.

The gentleman selling the guitar was a music teacher who bought it from a friend whose father used to play it on the Grand Ole Opry. Apparently, it was a custom order that included the Chet Atkins style Bigsby. Inside the case were some set lists, some with just song titles and keys along with some religious set lists.

Supposedly, the original owner also was associated with American Bandstand.  I’m doing what I can to research these stories but, regardless of the outcome, I fell in love with the guitar and it’s now happily hanging around my neck and, on those days when I need to let the rest of the world function on its own, a little “guitar therapy” helps me to feel a lot better than I might. 

On another of the “better” days, I took the guitar to Matt Law, a terrific local luthier and performer who did a little tweaking that my new found friend needed.  It feels and plays like a new guitar and now does an even better job of making me feel even better.

Some of you have probably already figured out what this guitar has to do with my current adventure with Autoimmune Hepatitis but, in case you haven’t and, in particular, if you are one of this blog’s readers who is also wrestling with Autoimmune Hepatitis, here is the point I’m trying to make.  This is about as far from a fun adventure as you can find.  And, in most cases it is a long haul.  So, anytime you can do something that helps lift your spirits, fight the depression and get through a better day feeling even better or a bad day feeling not quite as bad DO IT!

If, like me, guitars trip your trigger, great!  But, obviously, it doesn’t matter.  If it’s knitting, cars, games, books, computers, reading, painting, writing …. whatever, DO IT!  Yes, there will be a lot of days when even making the effort to do something you enjoy is taking all the effort you can muster, but it’s REALLY worth it.  BE GOOD TO YOURSELF.  The more you can use whatever your “trigger-tripping” thing is to make you feel better, the more you’re helping your mind and body to relax and get better.  Stack the deck in your favor.  There is no downside.

OK, sorry if I’ve rambled on too much for some of you.  Today has been a VERY good day and I just wanted to share.

Now, I’m going to back away from this computer go hug my cute blonde live-in nurse and then go put my arms around that Epiphone.



About steveandjohnnie

Award winning Chicago Broadcasters, inducted into WGN radio's Walk Of Fame. Authors of the Les Paul memoir, "A Little More Les." You'll find even more about us at
This entry was posted in Autoimmune Hepatitis, Guitar Related, Partly Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Autoimmune Hepatitis And Guitars?!?

  1. Susan Roling says:

    You may ramble all you choose, Steve. You and Johnnie are so important to my well-being. I had to give two of my beloved Shelties back to God within four months of each other. I am still trying to recover and am reading “A Little More Les,” as well. So, I turn to all of my S & J resources for a happy place, and I truly love reading and listening to you! Be Well; you are in my prayers.

  2. Dianne M DAndrea says:

    Ramble all you want. Here’s to more better and bestest days! Dianne DAndrea

  3. Ellen Maslo says:

    I am glad to hear you are having a good day. I hope you start having more good days than bad. God bless you and Johnnie.

  4. Mary June Rose says:

    I love you guys. And your guitars.

    Sent from my iPad.


  5. Thanks for the update. I had a hospital visit with the flu on top of other ailments. fortunately my time has not come and I’m feeling better than ever. Please follow me on Facebook or friend me. I have put a couple of posts with some info and my idea to get people going on stopping some of the violence. I”m calling my proposed movement SAFETY FIRST.

  6. Linda Barenie says:

    You look like Roy Orbison.

    • What a nice compliment. Thank you! However, the closest I ever got to being as cool as Roy was back in the 80’s when Johnnie and I were the MC’s at a concert Roy did in a suburb of Chicago.

  7. Melanie Special says:

    Steve, hug that guitar as much as you can. Hope and pray that it and the meds bring remission, healing, strength. Johnny, stay strong and keep smiling. There must be grumpy days!
    A long time listener from Naperville IL.

  8. Linda Johnson says:

    Steve Dear, may I call you my sweetheart? You know just how to say what needs to be said to lighten my heart and sweeten my day. Thank you so much for being part of my life and always being someone I can depend on being good. But please remember this….just because Johnnie is an excellent, caring, beautiful nurse doesn’t mean you have to get sick to get her to take care of you! She is the best person on earth for you and you are the best person in all of time for her. Thank you again for what you do for others. It really does mean a difference.

  9. Nancy Hollins says:

    Steve and Johnnie,
    Thank you so much for the update. Please, keep playing and possibly record an album/ something. Know that you both are in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. Cathie Kukec says:


    That Johnnie is one wise woman! As a musician myself, I know how much music impacts our lives @nd am so glad you were feeling well enough to partake! Keep the faith and thanks for the updates. So miss you and Johnnie overnights!

    A long time listener from Darien, IL


  11. Kathy Hills says:

    Awwww… Steve awesome post, I get it 100%… you have to be your best cheerleader even though the love of your friends and family are nearby you have to believe in yourself. A day at a t time and soon you’ll be rocking on ful out!! Got your back in spirit!!

  12. D'Ann Hamilton-White says:

    Steve, you weren’t rambling, you’re giving “sound” advice [heh heh.] But seriously, it’s true and good advice — you’re a testimony to that. Appreciate your sharing with us some of your valuable time on a good day. Hope and pray those days come more frequently.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s