After an elderly man entered a hospice program, he was denied a pacemaker, ensuring that he would die from his heart problems. However, when the elderly patient’s daughter saw what the nurse was doing with her dad, she made it her mission to show everyone.
After an elderly man was placed in hospice care at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, his daughter went to check on him. What she saw Brenda Buurstra doing, however, was more than she expected.
When a person enters the hospital, medical professionals are expected to use whatever necessary methods to ensure the survival and health of their patients. Sadly, when someone enters hospice, their caretakers are merely there to make them as comfortable as possible during the last months, days, or even hours of their lives.
Robert Olson seemed to be in prime health when he retired at the age of 85. However, soon after, his condition began to quickly deteriorate, leaving him with breathing issues and fighting for his life. It was then that the hospital placed Olson in hospice care, which is a death warrant for most patients.
Hoping to spend the last days of her dad’s life with him, Roberta Lytle went to visit her elderly father in hospice, checking up on his health and quality of life. After her arrival, she quickly noticed that one of her father’s carers wasn’t providing the same level of care as the others. It was then that she dedicated her time at the hospital to inform others about the nurse’s unconventional treatment.
According to WWMT, Lytle secretly recorded nurse Brenda Buurstra offering her elderly father an unorthodox type of treatment. Buurstra had discovered that Olson’s favorite song was “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone. So, she learned the lyrics and crooned it to the senior citizen as he listened in awe.
“He said, ‘My favorite song is “You Light Up My Life”.’ And I just started singing it,” Buurstra said.
Lytle couldn’t believe her ears when she first heard Buurstra belt out the timeless ballad, so she pulled out her cell phone and quietly captured the heartwarming act of kindness. Incredibly, Lyle watched as her father, who could barely speak at the time, joined in, softly singing his favorite tune as his caring nurse gently caressed his hand.
Although Buurstra’s compassionate investment in her patients makes their stay in hospice a little easier, her care for Olson is particularly unique. Within days of the nurse’s private concerts, Olson’s health began to improve. A week later, he was released from the hospital.
“We were watching a show on Pat Boone, and he told the nurse ‘I don’t like him, but I like a song that his daughter sings.’ And this lady just starts singing,” Lytle said of Buurstra. “And I’m just blown away. Because the woman’s got a voice.”
Lytle has attributed her father’s recover to Buurstra, revealing that he could barely even speak when he was first admitted. To her dismay, doctors told her that it was likely he would die in hospice care.
“He has heart problems but because of his age, they can’t put a pacemaker in,” Lytle told WMMT. “He had an episode at the house, and he couldn’t breathe. So they took him to Bronson Hospital. He was there about a week. We did not think he was coming home this time.”
Although Buurstra has been serenading her patients for more than a decade, this is the first time her selfless deed has been brought to light. Not only has the nurse learned and performed their favorite songs on request, but she also prints out the lyrics so that they can sing along with her if they choose.
“I have sung to patients for 14 years, and this is just the first time I got caught,” Buurstra said.
Buurstra explained that, while she loves to sing in general, she finds that it improves the quality of life for her patients. In some cases, such as Olson’s, it even helps with their recovery.
“He was beaming,” Buurstra said. “Even through his little venting mask he was wearing, his eyes lit up. His whole countenance changed, and he had a big smile. You could tell that song lit him up. Literally ‘You Light Up My Life,’ that song really just lit him up. You could tell it touched his heart.”
Brenda Buurstra concluded that she became a nurse not only to care for patients’ medical needs but also to touch them mentally and spiritually. She knows that the hospital is probably the last place they want to be and hopes to make their stay, however long it might be, a little more bearable.
“To make that awful hospital stay they’re going through just a little bit better, a little bit brighter,” Buurstra said. “I wanted to be on a team of positive people, and that’s what we have here at Bronson. I’m not the only nurse who goes above and beyond at Bronson. This is what we do every day.”
Lytle thanked Buurstra and expressed her desire to tell the singing nurse that she’s an irreplaceable asset to the hospital. Without Buurstra going above and beyond to help her critically ill father, he may not be here today.