Music in the Operating Room

My music preference leans towards classical.
This past week as I was readied for surgery,
a nurse asked me where I sang. In my church
and with other local groups.

With the Syracuse Chorale and
the Berkshire Choral International
this August in the Prague castle.
As I inhaled the sedation through the mask,

 

the last thought I recall was about music.
Imagine my surprise when I awoke and
began to sing aloud! I couldn’t believe the
operation was done. But singing?

Nurses and doctors commented as I
continued singing in the operating room and
down the hall to post-op. No nerves to
interfere with my solo performance!

Never giving it one thought, I continued.
Singing while on my back has always
been easy. Whatever came to mind, came
out of me: Amazing Grace, Italian, Latin, German

and whatever I recalled singing the last two
years it seems. The brain intrigues me.
If I had planned the performance, it would
not have happened. Spontaneity.

No stress now that the operation was over,
I continued in between sips of water. Then
the anesthesiologist came by to listen. He
seemed particularly sensitive to music tool

Glancing at his phone, he sang a solo, a church hymn.
Asking to see the lyrics, I sang along with him.
We continued singing and conversing. He had a
beautiful voice. It seemed we were alone. Passing

hospital staff turned our way and smiled.
Who would have guessed that an operation could
be filled with music? How wonderful he
shared the moments with me.

Music connects people. It is its
own language. An international
language. The joy it brings is indescribable.
My Irish mother in heaven was with me

singing on her birthday. I am convinced
this happened because of her and my father
who gave us the gift of music as children
and nurtured it. Grateful!

Note:  Thank you to Sally Rose Dolak for some of the lovely photos from Costa Rica.

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This entry was posted in Berkshire Choral International in Prague, Costa Rican plants, music as international language, Musical MD in post-op, singing after surgery, spring flowers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Music in the Operating Room

  1. cindy knoke says:

    How wonderful and uplifting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! I would never have thought of spontaneous music in a hospital, except that I did it once. I don’t remember it, but my mother told me the story many times.

    I was about five years old and hospitalized with pneumonia. I sang as loud as I could, and she rushed down the hall when she heard me. “People can hear you,” she said. She was probably about to die of embarrassment.

    I replied, “I want them to hear me.”

    I’m so glad people enjoyed your music, with one joining in.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anne – I love your account of singing in the hospital. With simple sedation, I was awake and alert and not groggy as with full anesthesia. I remember every moment. What I do not recall is how I even did this. Almost like an angel’s hand moving me to sing. Good for you as well. How you had the lung capacity with pneumonia, I don’t know, except you may have had some medicine and felt much better. Just keep on singing, Anne. We never know who is listening or who might join us. My MD had a wonderful voice as he sang his solo for me. In the most unexpected places and at the most unexpected times, we raise our voices! Enjoy the weekend.

      Like

      • I never thought about lung capacity with pneumonia. I’ll bet my mother wished I’d been struck dumb. She was a very quiet, reserved person, and there she was, saddled with a child like me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Anne, not saddled at all. You were/are a bundle of joy. Kids just do that sometimes. We have tiny babies in arms at church who make us smile because they sometimes sing a note or two we just sang. How great is that? At 5 and with pneumonia, you were just expressing yourself as best you could. I imagine fear of being alone in the hospital too. My mother was an RN and was allowed with me when I had my tonsils removed at 5. I was put in a ward overnight with several other children afterwards and that night, there was a huge thunderstorm with flashes of lightning causing the sky to appear blue. I was frightened. I refused to talk afterwards too. Maybe I’m making up for lost time? Have a great weekend.

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      • I had my tonsils removed about the same age you did. I think my brother (two years older) was in the same hospital room. I don’t remember feeling lonely. I woke up crying, not singing. I’ll bet it was a reaction to the anesthesia, because I was not in pain. Mother bribed me, saying I could wear the new pajamas Grandmother made me if I’d quit crying. That worked.

        Liked by 2 people

      • In those days, tonsils being removed was common. Not so today. Our son had the operation while I was a Fulbright teacher in Berlin. He also refused to talk. The Dr. wanted to keep him in the hospital for TWO weeks. I said no and that we were going home the same afternoon. I assumed responsibility after having the riot act read me. I was not allowed to stay with him in the hospital because it was a men’s ward. I was able to don scrubs and be in the post-op room. That did not deter us. We took the subway back to our apartment where our son recuperated. There were no ice chips or popsicles because the freezer did not keep things frozen. Poor dear had to tough it out. Different countries; different customs.

        Like

      • You and I had it easy, didn’t we?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anne, of course we had it easy. The good old days. My mother used to put newspaper down first on her ironing board before covering it with a fitted cover. I went to change one a few years back and wound up reading the ad sections of newspapers and the prices of bread, milk, chicken, etc.

        Like

      • What fun to read a newspaper out of an ironing board! Old prices are shocking in a good way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Most young people never heard of gasoline price wars. I remember them in Colorado as a young person not yet driving. 17 and 18 cents /gallon with free glasses, loaf of bread or milk depending upon the station. Imagine!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I remember free glasses with a fill-up! We never had free bread or milk, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My father managed entire sets of Willow pattern plates for all four daughters. I still use ours. Sentimental reasons even though we have entire other more expensive sets. Funny how that happens in life. ^__^

        Like

      • You must have driven lots more than we did.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t recall how much driving which was mainly around town. We traveled a couple times to the East Coast from CO. Piano once per week. BUT on that drive, my father would give my mother bills to pay “on the way home” because he “didn’t want to waste money on stamps.” I hated the stops and chuckle about this today. One stamp today is much less than one gallon of gas. We had one car in those days too. My Dad would carpool with another man from work on those piano lesson days or whenever my mother needed the car. That will be another blog entry about getting a driver’s license and “having” to learn how to drive from you Dad. We opted to allow the professional driving school teach our two. Haha.

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      • We had only one car when I was young. I’ll bet you will get responses about learning to drive when you blog about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Driving lessons were nerve-wracking to say the least. The teacher picked our son up at the house and told him to drive. Just like that!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful, Mary Ann! Oh, the power and joy found in music… Thanks so much for sharing. I’m a music lover too thanks to my parents who were always singing duets. It seems I’m always singing a song. ❤ Wishing you success in surgery/recovery and much joy in every song! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bette, you are a kindred spirit. To be given the gift of music from parents keeps on giving a lifetime. I’ll bet your children are also musical from having listened or perhaps having had music lessons. Our household was filled with piano music from two pianos and later a violin added. The power of music and the joy from it are not to be underestimated. It is food for the soul and a international language. Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Peter Klopp says:

    What a wonderful way to bring cheer into the hospital where you underwent surgery! I’d wish to have been present to listen to your singing, Mary Ann!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, Peter, how lovely a comment. A big thank you! You could have been my audience! Instead I had heads turning and smiling as they listened. When the Doctor joined in first with his solo and then with both of us together, it was simply wonderful. I think my mother angel in heaven directed all of this for you see, it was her birthday, May 14. I certainly never went there with the intention of singing. Someone or something simply directed me and with great results, I might add. Enjoy your beautiful weekend in Canada. The scenery must be spectacular now too! ^__^

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mabel Kwong says:

    That is quite something to awake from surgery and to sing with one of the hospital staff. It sounded like a very uplifting moment. It’s not a place where you hear people sing as there could be an emergency right around the corner. But these are also places of rest and recovery, and when we spend time recuperating and perhaps reflect on how we got here and where we want to be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mabel. The event happened in the most unlikely of places and times and amazed me. Who was directing all this? It just came forth and when the Doctor sang his solo and handed me his phone so I could sing with him, neither of us felt out of place since music is an international language. Enjoy your weekend.

      Like

      • Mabel Kwong says:

        You are so right. Music is an international language and we don’t have to understand (or speak) the language in order to sing along. At the very least you can hum or wave your hands and be a part of it all.

        Liked by 2 people

      • International and language of the heart. Just do what the spirit moves you to do. That’s the wonderful part of it, Mabel. Keep singing, humming and moving.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Jerry M. says:

    I am amazed. That is an amazing reaction!
    Only Mary Ann could have performed so well musically in the operating room!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Clare Pooley says:

    Oh, Mary Ann! What a wonderful experience and so nice of the anaesthetist to sing with you! I have never sung in waking up after surgery, only laughed once and cried twice!

    Liked by 1 person

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