A Song That Built Trust, "You Are My Sunshine

I work as a bedside nurse at the West Island Palliative Care Residence, located on the western tip of the island of Montreal. West Island Palliative Care Residence is a 9-bed community hospice offering interdisciplinary care and support for patients and their families at end of life.
I recently helped welcome an older lady who had spent several days in the ER of a local hospital. This lady was in the advanced stages of cancer with underlying dementia and delirium. Unfortunately this lady had been restrained in the hospital due to persistent agitation and arrived to us with fear and suspicion. It was difficult for us to initially connect with her, she was screaming in pain and fear despite our gentle approach.
Despite trying many different ways to relieve her discomfort and ease her fears, we were unable to make a connection with this patient. Then I began to sing gently at her bedside and the first song in my head was "You are my Sunshine". I continued to sing this at her side as my colleague joined in. Within a few moments our patient began to sing along with us. She remembered every word and began to look at us during the song. It was poignant to see how she began smiling through her tears with a look of trust. As we continued to sing, we were finally able to administer painkillers, bathe and reposition her. I must say that this powerful moment will remain with me for a long time.
As I reflect on this case, I can honestly say that I am honoured to be a part of the incredible journeys that we share with our patients here at the Residence. I am glad to be a part of something so special.

Maxine Lybert