Monday, September 8, 2014

The hospital songs

NUMC (Nassau University Medical Center) on Long Island.

September 8, 2014
Day 131

Andy and I were at the hospital on Saturday night to visit with his uncle in the ICU, and things were once again depressing.  Even though he's been healing and holding on for almost a month now, he's still connected to lots of tubes and machines, and still struggling for his life.

One of the nurses had to come in while we were there to replace one of his medication IVs, something that happens very often.  While she was there, a tune played over the hospital speaker system. 

We'd been going there to visit Uncle Fai since August 12th or so, but I'd never heard this particular tune played before, so it took me by surprise.  It was Brahms' Lullaby.  The nurse said something to Andy, but I didn't hear her, so I asked again.  "They play it whenever a baby is born," she told me.

I was floored.  How wonderful!  Here we were, sitting by the bed of someone with a very serious medical situation, where other patients have come and gone, and even died, from their own serious medical situations, and we're listening to a beautiful lullaby announcement of a new child's birth.

It was, for me at least, one of those hugely emotional moments when you realize how amazing this circle of life really is, and how many lives begin and end in hospitals everywhere.

A few moments later, she added, "I think they let the father press the button to play the song, too."  Wow!  So touching and sweet!

Then my mind went to another place briefly.  I wondered what song they'd play if someone had just died.  Some grim reaper theme?  Darth Vader's theme music?  Maybe the Hallelujah Chorus?  I guess they decided correctly that no song should be played in those cases, because music of any kind would be inappropriate.  I can't imagine them guiding a weeping family member over to a musical console to press the button of their choice. 

The birth announcement music though?  That's pretty damn cool! 

Just before we left, I was surprised and delighted as once again the sound of Brahms' Lullaby was played throughout the hospital, for all the staff, visitors, and patients to hear...and remember.



  1. Wonderful articulation in your writing Sean. Once again, prayers for Andy's uncle~
    I had to comment on this because Brahms' Lullaby is something that Leighanna has gone to bed with for 714 nights of her precious life. That was an unknown fact and wonderful touch that NUMC or ("nickmick" that the former EMS transport girl will forever remember that hospital as being named that... was NCMC at the time) does to honor new life.
    Continuing my thoughts and prayers for the entire family~

    1. What year did NCMC become NUMC? Now when I say I'm going
      to NCMC, my kids think I mean So. Nassau!