A Utah man fighting COVID wanted to thank his nurses, but couldn't speak because he was intubated at the time. So he found another way to show his appreciation.
Grover Wilhelmsen asked if he could play his violin for his nurses while in the ICU to help lift their spirits, Intermountain Health says in a Facebook post.
“He was intubated and unable to talk, but I knew from the other nurses that he’s a retired orchestra teacher. He’s been playing and teaching his entire life,” nurse Ciara Sase, says.
Wilhelmsen had to use pen and paper to communicate with the nurse, and she says he began telling her about his history with music and how much joy it brings him. She says, “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?’"
“It brought tears to my eyes. For all the staff to see a patient doing this while intubated was unbelievable"
Wilhelmsen is a music teacher with over 40 years of experience and also owns a repair shop in Ogden, Utah, specializing in violin, viola, cello and bass instruments.
"Sase and her coworkers talked thought through the details, as far as how to bring an instrument into a COVID room and keep it safe and free from damage. The team agreed that as long as Ciara stayed in his room to watch all his lines and tubes, they could manage it," the hospital's post says.
Wilhelmsen's wife of 47 years, Diana, brought both his violin and viola into the hospital, along with some music books. And then he not only played, he played for a few hours for two days in a row.
All the ICU rooms have glass doors that are kept shut, says Ciara, so she turned on her Vocera so her colleagues could hear Grover play through the glass.
“It brought tears to my eyes. For all the staff to see a patient doing this while intubated was unbelievable,” Sase says. “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.”