A Sacred and Safe Place

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A Sacred and Safe Place

When I entered Martin’s room at a local nursing facility, it was hard to believe that he was transitioning. His color looked normal. His respirations were steady and deep at 40 breaths per minute. His snoring was so loud and steady; it seemed more like he had fallen asleep in his favorite recliner while watching baseball on TV.
After several minutes of playing, Martin displayed no visible response to the music. While I varied tempo and mode over the next 30 minutes, Martin continued snoring away. I had to smile as I imagined him waking up to ask, “What’s the score?”
At the 35-minute mark, Martin began presenting symptoms of apnea. At first, his breathing paused only for a few seconds. But as I altered the music to accommodate his changing condition, the duration of his apnea increased to 10 -15 seconds per event. Soon, Martin’s respirations had dropped to 5 breaths per minute.
Martin’s nurse whispered, “He’s close, so close now.” As his breaths were now barely audible, I felt led to stop playing and let the room rest in silence. Over the next two minutes, Martin whispered two final breaths and was gone.
Martin’s nurse nodded, acknowledging his passing. She then said, “I’m amazed by how music can affects us. While you were playing, I could feel myself relax and get sleepy. For Martin, you created a sacred and safe place where he felt free to let go. This was truly a gift.”

2019-02-26T03:42:46+00:00 February 4th, 2019|Blog Post, Patient Experiences|0 Comments

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