Music heals the soul and the body, but what does the most good is the love of family.
The coronavirus has separated many families from their loved ones. Often this happens immediately, from the first moment they know someone has tested positive.
First, the sick person is isolated, sometimes within the home; then, if the person worsens, hospitalization follows; and, once in the hospital, visits from family members are completely restricted or limited as much as possible.
Especially in the early months of the pandemic, many people faced the disease in the solitude of a hospital bed. Hospital staff went to great lengths to humanize this terrible situation, but there’s no substitute in the world for the love and companionship of those closest to us. As a result, there were many people who died alone.
Now the hospital situation has improved in many places. It’s also been proven that the presence of a family member, even if it’s only for a few hours a day, does a lot for a patient’s recovery.
That’s why the doctors at the Spanish hospital Vall d’Hebron, in Barcelona, thought it would be a good idea for 13-year-old Pau to be able to see his father. His mother, Meritxell, came up with an even better idea: Pau could bring his cello and play for his father.
Live music by Bach in the ICU
Pep, Pau’s father, is 59 years old and hadn’t seen his children for two months, as a result of the coronavirus. His condition was so serious that the doctors had to induce a coma. Afterwards, when he didn’t improve, he was connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) device, a very invasive technique that performs respiratory functions when the lungs fail: it oxygenates the blood and eliminates carbon dioxide.
It’s a complex therapy reserved for the most severely ill COVID patients when a respirator isn’t sufficient. On June 13, the doctors were able to wake Pep, who had been intubated a month earlier.
Pau entered the ICU with his cello and began his concert with pieces by Bach and Pablo Casals, and the soundtrack of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. The young musician played not only for his father, provoking tears of emotion from everyone, but also for the other patients who were awake and who wondered where that wonderful music came from. For them, it was a musical caress.
A week after his son Pau’s concert-visit, Pep’s ECMO support was removed and his lungs started working again. Although he has a long recovery ahead of him, the family “can already see the light,” in the words of Meritxell, Pep’s wife and Pau’s mother.
Music heals the soul and, it seems, the body as well. But what does the most good is the love of your family, especially during the hardest moments of life.