A Day in the Life of a Home Care Nurse and Her Relationship With a Car Radio

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Excerpt

KDFC is a classical music station in San Francisco. I am a retired home care registered nurse; I worked in that specialty for 20 years. I was called by physicians to visit patients in their homes to assess for safety, do intricate dressing changes, or teach families how to do complex treatments. I covered the territory between San Francisco Marina district and Hunter's Point, (the entire city), plus Treasure Island on occasion. Consequently, I spent a lot of time in my car. I don't know what I would have done without my car radio.
Throughout the day, music was intertwined with the events of my professional life. In addition to devising a plan of care, communicating with other clinicians, providing treatments, dealing with insurance companies, and calling doctors for orders and guidance, there was having to find those elusive parking spots close enough to my patient's home so travel time would not infringe too much on patient time. Every minute counted, it was called “productivity.”
Instinctively, after a trying encounter with a patient, a physician, a manager, or a relative, I reached for the radio knob as soon as I returned to my car, hoping to hear just the right piece of music to calm my soul. If I was lucky, Alfred Brendel would be on the air, playing Schubert's Impromptu no 2 in E flat at that very moment or YoYo Ma would be making his cello sing l'Elégie de Fauré. On the other hand, Charles Dutoit conducting the William Tell Overture would have certainly match my mood in a reverse psychology fashion. Any piece by J.S. Bach would also have been fine. At times, like the one mentioned above, if pop songs had been allowed on KDFC, “Milord” belted out by Edith Piaf would have been most appreciated.
After having witnessed a patient take his last breath and peacefully gone to “l'autre monde,” I would gladly have welcomed Mendelssohn's Song Without Words Opus 62 No 1 played by Novacek, or The Song to the Moon from Dvorak's Rusalka, performed by Joshua Bell on his magical violin.
San Francisco is a city with old pipes and many cars. It seems that there was a never-ending work on the streets to either replace or reface sections—frequent detours were inevitable. While waiting for a flagman to give me the go ahead, I dreaded that Shostakovich's frequently dissonant sounding music would come on the radio to frazzle my nerves; being late for an appointment was not recommended, so was missing the exit to Treasure Island while driving on the Bay Bridge from the city and ending up in Oakland. One had to drive back; time was the essence. But don't forget to turn on your music and enjoy the view as much as you can; it makes it all worthwhile.
Matching the emotion of the moment with the right piece of music is a touch-and-go situation. The interesting thing is that some pieces of music adapt themselves to your mood no matter what they are supposed to represent. There is probably an explanation for that but without formal musical training, I can only talk about feelings and happenings in what was my everyday life.
For as long as I was working, I kept looking for that perfect piece of music to lighten up, brighten up, and match the moments. Talented announcers—keep them coming. There are still quite a few professionals out there who need your support.
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