A Soulful Serenade

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Giving thanks takes on a more poignant meaning in our Covid-19 universe this week. A Hallmark card isn’t enough it seems. So how about a violin serenade?

Grover Wilhelmsen, a 70-year-old retired music teacher, couldn’t talk after he was intubated to help treat a Covid-19 infection that had spread to his lungs. But he still wanted to give thanks to the nurses and doctors taking care of him in the intensive care unit in Utah.

So he passed a note to a nurse, sending word to his wife Diana to bring his violin.

“Toward the middle of my shift he wrote, ‘You know, I really want to play here at the hospital. What do you think about my wife bringing in my violin and viola?’” Ciara Sase, a nurse at Intermountain Healthcare’s McKay-Dee Hospital, said in a news release.

The reaction was understandably emotional. Sase broke down in tears as Wilhelmsen began his soulful serenade. She then shared the music with others by piping it into a hallway.

“For all the staff to see a patient doing this while intubated was unbelievable,” Sase said. “Even though he was so sick, he was still able to push through. You could see how much it meant to him. Playing kind of helped to soothe his nerves and brought him back to the moment.”

Wilhelmsen is now in a long-term acute care facility after spending a month at the hospital. He remains on a ventilator, and doctors are working on weaning him off from it.

But his random act of kindness at the hospital will be remembered forevermore.

“I’m used to patients being miserable or sedated while being intubated, but Grover made an unfortunate situation into something positive,” Matt Harper, a RN at the hospital, said in the news release. “This was by far one of my favorite memories in the ICU that I’ve had. It was a small light in the darkness of COVID.”

Have a listen for yourself: