An elderly violinist had just suffered a stroke. His face drooped, his right hand was feeble. His wife brought a tape player to the hospital room. There he sat, silent, his body motionless, his face animated, listening to his own recordings of ten and twenty years previous: the violin concertos of Beethoven and Bruch, the solo partitas of Bach, for hours and days on end.
“How do you feel?”—knowing, both, that he would never play again.
“I feel fine. I’ve made enough music already.”
Charles Bardes is a physician who lives and works in New York City, where he teaches and practices general medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University as Professor of Clinical Medicine and Associate Dean. He is the author of Essential Skills in Clinical Medicine and articles related to medical education. (3/2006)