(CNN) — A retired conductor battling COVID-19 at a Utah hospital turned to his true passion, music, to help spread some joy in the intensive care unit.
Even when intubated and unable to speak, Grover Wilhelmsen wanted to show his gratitude to the healthcare workers at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.
The 70-year-old patient used pencil and paper to communicate with a nurse and wrote a request.
“About 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 my violin and viola? ‘”Said Ciara Sase, a registered nurse at the McKay- Dee Hospital, in a statement.
While the request required some planning and approval from the doctors, Sase was finally able to grant her wish. She stayed in his room and monitored him as he played church hymns and the “Tennessee Waltz,” he said.
“I filled my eyes with tears. It was amazing that all the staff saw a patient doing this while intubated, ”said Sase. “Even though he was so sick, he was still able to carry on. You could see how much it meant to him. Playing the violin helped calm his nerves and brought him back to the moment.
ICU staff gathered around the closed glass doors of Wilhelmsen’s room to listen and watch the retired maestro perform.
“It was honestly shocking to be there when he took up the violin,” Matt Harper, a hospital RN, said in the news release. “I felt like I was in a dream.”
“I’m used to patients feeling miserable or sedated while intubated, but Grover turned an unfortunate situation into a positive. This was by far one of my favorite ICU memories. It was a small light in the darkness of the covid ».
The man with covid required sedation after playing the violin
The hospital said the patient was able to touch a few times before he got too sick and required sedation.
Diana, Wilhelmsen’s wife of 47 years, told CNN on Wednesday that she was not at all surprised that he had requested her musical instruments.
“That’s Grover,” he said. «I wanted to touch [el violín] to thank them”.
The Harrisville couple contracted the virus at the same time, in early October. Diana said she was able to control her symptoms at home, but the virus affected Wilhelmsen’s lungs.
“It’s real,” he said, when asked what he wanted people to know about fighting the virus. “It affects many people differently.”
Wilhelmsen spent a month in the hospital on a ventilator before being transferred to a long-term intensive care facility last week, Diana Wilhelmsen said. As long as he’s okay, he said, he’s still on the ventilator. They’re working so they can disconnect your respirator.
Diana Wilhelmsen was unable to see her husband in the hospital due to visiting restrictions, but they can now be seen through the glass window of the care facility.
“We can stand outside the window and call him on the phone,” she said. “He cannot speak, but he writes on paper.”
She said she hopes her husband can be home for Christmas.
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