Intubated coronavirus patient thanks hospital staff with violin serenade

COVID-19 patient thanks medical staff by playing violin
COVID-19 patient thanks medical staff by play... 01:31

Coronavirus patient Grover Wilhelmsen's request from his bed in a Utah intensive care unit was one his medical team had likely never heard before. 

Intubated and unable to speak at Intermountain Healthcare's McKay-Dee Hospital in October, the retired music teacher used a paper and pen to ask if his wife Diana could bring his violin so he could play a thank you to the doctors and nurses.

"Was he speaking through that violin?" CBS News asked Diana.

"That was the only way he could speak, and he let the violin do the talking for him because he couldn't talk himself," she said.

He wrote the note to nurse Ciara Sase, who said she cried when first hearing him play. She was so inspired, she piped the music into the hallway so her colleagues could hear.

Grover Wilhelmsen plays the violin from his hospital bed in Utah.
Grover Wilhelmsen plays the violin from his hospital bed in Utah. Intermountain Healthcare's McKay-Dee Hospital

"One of my coworkers described it as a light in the COVID darkness, which I think is perfect," said Sase.

She said he played his heart out and it touched hers. "This is something that will follow me for the rest of my career," said Sase.

Sometimes, music is the very best medicine for the patients and those who heal.

  • Chip-Reid_bio_140x100_bw.jpg
    Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.