Here Comes the Sun

The 6th-floor palliative care room at Baycrest is neat and tidy. In the bed lay a woman in her 80?s with the sparse hair of someone who has recently undergone chemotherapy. Her face was worn and gaunt, but she was dozing peacefully. The bed sheets were crisply folded around her. At the bedside were flowers, stuffed animals and cards. The green LED on the bed-side monitor blinked softly. In the corner was a portable cot (recently used) with it’s sheets and pillows stacked on top of it.
Palliative-Image
Along the window sill were a dozen framed photos of the woman at various stages of her life, surrounded by her husband and children. The expressions of the people in the photos showed that the woman was much beloved and respected. In one, she stands with her hands enclosed by her husband’s; they are in their 70’s and are clearly much in love.

Standing beside the bed with a guitar in her hands is Chrissy (a member of our music therapy staff), speaking softly to the woman. “Your son tells me that you love music, and especially the Beatles” she says. Laying her sheet music gently on the bed next to the woman she begins to strum softly and sing:

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

 

The optimistic music fills the room with warmth. With a faint raising of the eyebrows, with an barely audible murmur, I see the woman respond to the music. I sit for 30-minutes, listening to the guitar and Chrissy soft voice. I watch as she speaks to the woman in the bed asking her if she likes the song, if it reminders her of anything, would she like to hear another, etc. There is only the faintest of responses to these questions, but enough for Chrissy to adapt and select the music she is playing. Then, it is time for us to go. We quietly slip out of the room and let the woman sleep. Chrissy is off to see another client, and I am off to my office to deal with a busy day of meetings.

One of the best parts of my week is when I am scheduled to job shadow a member of my team. I try to visit with each individual at least yearly to better understand how and where they work and the issues they are facing in delivering their services to our patients, clients and their families. Each one of them is contributing mightily to the Baycrest vision, each in their own way.

I feel honoured to be working with such a compassionate and dedicated team.