Friday, October 7, 2011


Back to my blog home page:

I'm working with Jules in her room this morning when I hear the most beautiful sounds coming from the piano in the front sitting room of the nursing facility.  The granddaughter of one of the residents is playing the theme song from a movie called The Piano by Michael Nyman. Take a listen while you read....

Her  interpretation is so emotionally touching that Jules comments softly, "That girl has such a soft hand!"

We finish putting the Cam boot on Jules' leg for her fractured ankle, and she transfers into a wheelchair.

"Would you like to listen to one song on our way to the gym?"

"Oh, yes!" I am relieved that Jules wants one song. I do, too. Sometimes you share a few moments with a patient that will propel the treatment forward unexpectedly.

This is exactly what happens.

We roll into the sitting room to find a young tatooed woman with black hair highlighted with bright red, adorned with a gold nose ring, playing the piano.

She plays us a song she has written herself. It sounds as if she could be a composer/musician for Wyndham Hill. Afterward, she shares that she has been a foster child to the daughter of one of our residents, and while she feels a connection to her grandmother, she has struggled greatly with her foster mother. It is the frustrating push and pull  of the maternal relationship she struggles with as a young adult that drives her fingers along the ivory keys with such feeling.

Her music changes the course of both of our days. Jules is radiant and energetic after the song. We go into an amazing treatment session after which I tell Jules that this is the transition point. This is the day she turned the corner in her treatment. She is excelerating toward much improved health and is closer to discharging to home.

The young musician stays on my mind throughout the day.

In a quantum moment, I am reminded of the angst my son felt when he was young. It has, no doubt, contributed to the passion with which he now performs as a classical oboist in Boston. I ponder over the hardships of my life that have honed my ability to feel genuine compassion for people in emotional crisis, especially when they verbalize consequences of difficult life decisions and shed tears over their children.

I'm not saying that we have to experience hardship to be great at what we do.  I am saying that when we feel intense emotional conviction and need an outlet for that energy, it can act as a springboard for immeasureable creativity and connection to others.

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