When I was little, my parents asked me what kind of instrument I wanted to play. I told them violin or guitar.

They signed me up for piano lessons.

Naturally I resented them for many years as I cried through hours of training because I was absolutely miserable and had to endure Royal Conservatory of Music examinations. Interestingly enough, by some twist of fate, I fell deeply in love with the piano. I think it came with the acceptance and mutual understanding with my parents that I was never going to be incredibly gifted in this talent, but I was good enough to pass. Music became a huge part of my life. When I was in high school, I learned to play the flute and joined the school band. I devoted myself to the endeavor during those awkward years, and had a lot of fun along the way.

When I started university, my parents asked me what kind of extra-curriculars I wanted to join. I told them probably a music ensemble of sorts.

It never happened.

Naturally I resented myself for not pushing myself out of my comfort zone and auditioning for something, if anything at all. Instead, I played occasionally in the comforts of my room and would have sore fingers or be short of breath after a few songs. Each time I played, it was a sad reminder that a piece of me was slowly disappearing, and that it would soon be gone.

When I reflected the other day, I realised I had never really lost the music in my life; it just became so entwined in my life, I almost lost sight of it. Now I see it in the orchestra of care.

Each day is a performance. The preceptor asks me a question, and suddenly I’m in sympathetic overdrive. The spotlight shines on me. My heart races, and my face blushes. In the operating room, my hands tremble as I stitch and everyone is waiting for me to finish so that they can go home. I try to ensure everyone has an everlasting impression.

Each day I’m listening. I’m listening for the right notes, in or out of tune. I’m listening to the heartbeats, listening to each breath, listening to each percussive response, listening for each instruction, and listening to each lesson given. I’m hoping I pick something up. I’m looking for the right quality of sound. I’m keeping track of the rhythm.

Each day I’m asking. I’m asking for stories, for clarification, for feedback, for demonstrations, and for ways to improve.

Each day we are collaborating. Much like the orchestra works together to deliver an amazing performance, we work together to deliver amazing care.

When people ask me if I still play music, I smile and tell them I do, in my own little way.

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