Playing for smiles

One of my favorite parts of my job (probably my most favorite), is drawing smiles from people who probably don’t have much occasion to. There are some people I see repeatedly who I especially love to play for because I love to see them smile. One, for example, I saw yesterday. I’ve never seen her out of her bed, and often when I go in, she’s talking and she sounds very sad. She’ll say an Eeyore-like “hello,” and then I’ll begin to play “Jesus Loves Me” or “You Are My Sunshine,” and she smiles and laughs and sings along. Yesterday I played both, and when I was finished and started playing for her roommate, she began talking and sounding sad again. I was about to leave when she spoke to me directly and said she missed Santa Claus this year and asked me to ask him to come around. I wasn’t really sure what to say to that, but I started playing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and she laughed and sang along again. Afterwards she said a somewhat cheerier “bye-bye!”

I have another patient I see out in NJ who I’ve been told is generally a “half-empty glass” kind of person. One day I got a call from one of the Compassionate Care social workers just to tell me that this patient told her how much she loves my visits and is always eagerly awaiting the next. There really is nothing to make someone’s day like being told your work is appreciated. I still haven’t quite gotten a smile from her, but last time I saw her, she sang along to “Eidelweiss,” which I quickly learned is her favorite.

In other news, today I got a certificate for passing the National Institute of Health’s online course “Protecting Human Research Participants.” I took the course as a requirement for the Bedside Harp mastery-level certification, and now if I am ever involved in an institutional research study, I have this under my belt.

Two new songs I learned:

I Love You Truly – a parlor song from the turn of the century by Carrie Jacobs Bond, popular in 1912 recorded Elsie Baker. Also recorded by Pat Boone, Victor Borge, Al Bowlly, Bing Crosby, The Ink Spots, Liberace, Guy Lombardo, The Platters, and Lawrence Welk, and of course – Al Martino.

and O Sole Mio – a Neapolitan song from 1898 made popular by the likes of Pavarotti, Enrico Caruso, Mario Lanza, and Elvis. The lyrics were written by Giovanni Capurro, and the melody was composed by Eduardo di Capua.

2 Responses to “Playing for smiles”

  1. Ryan says:

    Awwww… that’s really sweet, Kitty! You’re a wonderful person. :)

  2. Kitty says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words :)

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