This patient is a young 16 year old girl who is facing the difficult situation and reality of a new chronic diagnosis. What makes this girl stand out is not only her predicament, but her general essence. This young woman is someone who has had to move far from home, leaving half her family behind to be treated for a disease that was completely unexpected. Yet, instead of being angry, moody, depressed, or temperamental, the typical behavior of any teenager, she is optimistic, hopeful, selfless, positive, and a delight to be around. All the nurses and the staff love to spend time with her, and everyone has taken her under their wings to make sure she is as comfortable as possible.
Since this patient is going to be here for a long period of time, the music therapy team has been consulted to work with her. The patient was offered to learn the ukulele, and she jumped at the opportunity to participate in this activity. As clinicians, the music therapy team knew that she would enjoy having a new hobby; especially since she was worried about sitting idly by for months at on end without any school work or friends to keep her occupied.The patient took to the ukulele like a natural. She understands how to tune the instrument, how to play chords, and she has memorized the finger formations of four different chords in just one week. The moment she plays a whole song and she realizes what she has completed, the smile that lights up her face makes us realize how important our job is.
We are more than just the ukulele teacher to her; we are her support, her friends, and her emotional outlet whenever she needs to get out of her room to cope with the situation. Yet, even when one would think she is at her lowest, she finds some light and continues to find the silver lining.
Not only has this young girl been motivated by music and the power of learning an instrument, but she has influenced our lives as music therapists with her optimism and simple joy in life.
Music Therapist MT-BC
Chris Evert Children’s Hospital
Broward Health System