Yesterday I played for a Ukrainian woman whom I’ve seen before. She doesn’t speak much English, though I believe she understands. She was sitting in a wheel chair with an aide by her side. She was very agitated. I know she likes classical music, so I started to play a theme from Finlandia, which was the first thing that came to mind, and she immediately visibly calmed down and even started to hum along. She started to say something in English, and that was the first time I’d heard her speak it. As I played, she became agitated again and tried to get up. She managed to get out of her chair and walk a few steps with the aide close behind with her chair. The aide tried to get her to sit back down but she kept yelling at her in Ukrainian. Eventually she did have to sit back down because she got tired, and she started speaking to me in Ukrainian again. Then she reached out to me and kissed my hand. She pulled further and kissed my wrist. I played for her a little longer, and when I started to leave, she kissed my hand and my arm again. Though my BSH training yelled at me to get to the nearest handwashing area, it was such a sweet sign of gratitude – at least, that’s how I understood it.

Yesterday I also played for a woman I’ve seen a few times, who’s always curled up in bed and rarely speaks. Last time I saw her was the first she’d said anything, and it was to tell me to take a quarter lying on her table! She’s obviously in a lot of pain and to think she wanted to give me a tip – well of course I didn’t take the quarter but thanked her anyway. Yesterday she told me that her daughter just died of cancer and that she hopes she sees her soon. She repeated that over and over. It was so sad. And yet again, she told me to take the quarter from her table.

Latest song learned: On A Clear Day – requested by a sweet lady at Cardinal Village. It’s from a musical of the same name from 1965. Probably the most well-known version is from the 1970 film with Barbara Streisand (I just happen to love Robert Goulet’s voice).

2 Responses to “Experiences”

  1. Becky says:

    Aww! Very cool! When a patient drools on your harp or it gets dirty, what do you use to clean it with that won’t damage the finish?

  2. Kitty says:

    I don’t let patients get close enough to drool or make my harp dirty. I try to make it a point to wash my hands before touching the harp if I touch someone. That doesn’t always happen, though, so I rub a little of the handwash on the strings. In training, we asked about how to clean the wood safely, but never really got a definitive answer. Let me know if you hear anything from anyone else!

Leave a Reply