Former patient volunteers her musical talents to encourage Siskin Hospital patients

July 24, 2017

Ever since her discharge from physical therapy for a back condition a couple of years ago, Myrna Smith has wanted to come back for more therapy.

“So I started to pray about it,” says the retired music teacher, who spent more than four decades overseeing music programs for Christian schools. In time, her prayer was answered, but not before passing through a frightening and dangerous medical episode.

On April 19, she went to bed perfectly healthy. Within a few minutes, she was trembling so violently that she thought she was having convulsions.

“I was shaking like a leaf and was so very cold,” she remembers. “My husband got a heating pad and put it on my feet because that’s where I’m most often cold. And that’s the last thing I remember.”

Later when her husband awoke, he found her unresponsive. He called 911 and she was rushed to Memorial Hospital, where she was diagnosed with septicemia, cellulitis, and streptococcus. Her temperature was 105 and she remained unconscious for 48 hours.

After a week’s stay at Memorial, her doctor gave her the choice of going home with home health or going to Siskin Hospital for therapy. It was a strange way to have a prayer answered, but she was so glad to be back at Siskin Hospital for therapy!

When Ms. Myrna appeared in the inpatient therapy gym, one of her therapists recognized her from a former acquaintance. Knowing she was a pianist, he brought out a keyboard and said, “The remainder of your therapy today will consist of playing the piano.” From that time on, she continued to play daily while an inpatient.

On discharge, her case manager asked her if she would consider playing the piano as a volunteer. And when Ms. Myrna started her outpatient therapy, she decided to do just that, coming before or after her therapy sessions twice a week to brighten the therapy gym environment for other patients. The patients love the music and frequently call out requests, which Ms. Myrna easily pulls from her impressive repertoire.

“God has allowed me, since I was 13 years old, to play the piano, sing and use the talents with which I was blessed,” says Ms. Myrna. “Since my back injury my opportunities became more limited, so I consider playing for the patients at Siskin Hospital to be a blessing to me, not just to others!”

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at Siskin Hospital