A retired orchestra teacher battling Covid-19 paid tribute to nurses and doctors caring for him by playing his violin while intubated in a hospital in Utah.
Despite his current predicament, Grover Wilhelmsen wanted to show his gratitude to the health care workers at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.
As the 70-year-old patient was rendered unable to speak, he used a pen and paper to request a nurse for one thing.
“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?,” shared RN Ciara Sase.
After going through some planning and receiving approval from the doctors, Sase was able to grant him his wish.
Wilhelmsen played church hymns and the “Tennessee Waltz” while Sase stayed in his room to monitor his vitals.
“It brought tears to my eyes. For all the staff to see a patient doing this while intubated was unbelievable,” said Sase.
“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.”
The ICU staff gathered around Wilhelmsen’s room behind closed glass doors to listen and watch the retired teacher as he played his piece.
“It was honestly shocking to be there when he picked up the violin,” said RN Matt Harper, “It felt like I was in a dream.”
“I’m used to patients being miserable or sedated while being intubated, but Grover made an unfortunate situation into something positive. 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.”
According to the staff, Wilhelmsen was able to play a few times before he require sedation.