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A nurse in Kalamazoo, Mich., has been quietly singing to patients for 14 years, and her heartwarming act has finally been caught on camera.
Robert Olson was admitted to Bronson Hospital two weeks ago because he was having difficulty breathing — and his daughter, Roberta Lytle, was afraid he wouldn’t make it home.
“He has heart problems but because of his age, they can’t put a pacemaker in,” Lytle told WWMT. “He had an episode at the house, and he couldn’t breathe. … We did not think he was coming home this time.”
One of his caregivers was nurse Brenda Buurstra. One evening, the two were watching a show on Pat Boone. Olson, despite difficulty talking, said, “I don’t like him, but I like a song that his daughter sings.” Buurstra knew he was referring to Debby Boone, so she started to sing Olson’s favorite song, “You Light Up My Life.”
“This lady just starts singing. And I’m just blown away. Because the woman’s got a voice,” Lytle told the news outlet.
Buurstra sang the tune but couldn’t remember all the words, so she found the lyrics and brought them over to Olson so they could sing together.
“He was beaming,” the nurse 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.”
Lytle added: “If you listen to the video, you can hear him trying to sing at the very end. But it changed him. It was like he knew he was going to go home.”
Buurstra understands that her job goes beyond physically taking care of patients and includes their emotional health as well. “It’s not just about medical — it’s about touching the heart and the spirit of the person,” Buurstra explained, and for Lytle the nurse’s commitment to her patients is obvious.
A week after they sang the song together, Olson was healthy enough to check out of the hospital.
Lytle said, “I just hope this woman knows what she’s done for my dad. I just hope Bronson Hospital knows what they have in her.”
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