A man plays violin while he’s intubated and battling COVID-19 in the ICU of the hospital. And the touching performance brought the nurses to tears!
Grover Wilhelmsen is a retired orchestra teacher who lives in Utah. A talented musician, the man plays the violin, cello, viola, guitar, bass, and piano.
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But one day, a bad cough sent him to the emergency room. Two days later, he was in the intensive care unit (ICU) battling COVID-19.
While there, doctors intubated Grover which meant he couldn’t speak. But he still had the universal language of music at his fingertips. So, he scribbled a note on a piece of paper for his nurse, asking if his wife could bring him his violin.
"I said to him, ‘We'd love to hear you play, it would bring so much brightness and positivity into our environment’,” said Grover’s nurse, Ciara Sase.
Grover’s wife dropped his instrument off at the hospital. And the man used his God-given talent to bless his caregivers by playing the violin.
Man Plays Violin, Leaving Hospital Staff In Awe
Grover Wilhelmsen couldn’t use words to thank the medical staff. But instead, the man played the violin for several hours each day as a way to express his gratitude and offer encouragement.
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And Grover’s touching performance certainly had the desired effect.
"It brought tears to my eyes,” Ciara recalled. “For all the staff to see a patient doing this while intubated was unbelievable," she says. "Even though he was so sick, he was still able to push through. You could see how much it meant to him.”
"It was honestly shocking to be there when he picked up the violin. It felt like I was in a dream,” said another nurse, Matt Harper. “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.”
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Grover’s performances included the Tennessee Waltz and many church hymns. And the powerful moment is something the hospital staff will never forget.
"It's a very humbling memory and experience for me to be able to look back on. It's a very special one that I will forever hold dear to my heart,” Ciara explained. “To sit on the end of the bed, read music, and play an instrument-that's beyond anything I've ever seen before. It's something that will forever be in my heart and will follow me for the rest of my nursing career.”
WATCH: Man Plays Violin For Nurses In ICU
The profound impact this man playing the violin had on his caregivers just goes to show the power of music. God gave Grover Wilhelmsen this gift and he, in turn, used it to pour out his heart when he physically couldn’t speak. And all with the goal of inspiring and motivating others.
"He truly wanted to do it as a thank you to the staff for taking care of him," said another RN, Jared Sillito. "It was a real morale booster to all of us."
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In fact, when Ciara Sase tried to thank Grover, he wrote, “I do it for you guys because you all are sacrificing so much to take care of me.”
"He truly is special and made a mark on all of us," Ciara recalls. "When I started to cry in the room after he was done playing, he wrote to me, ‘Quit crying. Just smile,' and he smiled at me."
Using God’s Gifts
Grover’s determination to give back is an inspiration for all of us. His family is especially proud.
"(He's) my amazing dad," said his daughter, Rebekah Blume. "What an amazing person to be able to sit there with a tube down his throat and still think of others and ‘what can I do for them'."
After more than a month in the hospital, Grover Wilhelmsen finally left the ICU and headed to a long-term care facility. There, he is expected to make a full recovery.
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God gives each one of us unique gifts and talents. And He has a special purpose for all of them. We pray this inspirational short story encourages you to put your own talents to use as only you can!
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