I’ve been blogging for years about the benefits of listening to classical music, and I’m happy to experiment on myself, but it’s sometimes hard to tell when something is working. However, being able to see a dramatic change in other people really hits home.
I had just that opportunity to observe this recently. A few weeks ago, my 88-year-old father was diagnosed with stage 2 kidney cancer (he’s totally fine, read on). He had the kidney removed successfully; however, he has a long history of waking from anesthesia poorly, and we were warned he would probably also have confusion and memory loss for days afterwards.
When we went in to see him more than an hour after the surgery, he was barely conscious and had extremely poor muscle control. I panicked and put an mp3 player loaded with Mozart piano sonatas on him. To everyone’s astonishment and huge relief, ten minutes later he was sitting up joking with the nurses, and knew exactly where he was and who we were. He had no subsequent confusion or memory loss.
The next day when I went to see him at lunchtime he was barely moving, waiting for his pain pill and picking very slowly at his lunch; he also had quite a bit of difficulty controlling his coffee cup. I put the mp3 player with Mozart on him again and he dozed off for about ten minutes. When he woke up he moved without pain and gobbled down his coffee and dessert.
In addition, he had his surgery on a Wednesday afternoon, and we were told if all went well he would go home on Saturday or Sunday. The hospital discharged him on Friday morning. Five days after his surgery, he is walking, driving, taking out the trash, going grocery shopping, and takes one over-the-counter pain reliever at night only.
And how well did my father take to listening to the music? When I went to pick up his medication he asked for more batteries for the mp3 player, so he must not have minded too much. And while I still have a bit of difficulty believing what I witnessed, there’s no doubt I saw the unmistakable differences for myself.
If you have a loved one undergoing surgery soon, pick up an mp3 player (if you don’t have one rattling around in a drawer somewhere) or your phone, and load it with Mozart piano sonatas. You might have as dramatic results as my father did!