Many of us have certain music that speaks to us. I'm a Bob Dylan guy. Don't know why. He just speaks to me. I like all kinds of music, but Dylan always has something to say. Maybe I just feel good singing along, knowing I can sing better than him.
My friend Craig Walker likes opera. Here's a story of how a special song came to him at just the right time.
I showed up at the hospital yesterday only to find that the surgery center was closed and the door that I was supposed to enter was locked. I found a nurse taking a break on a nearby bench and explained that I had a surgery scheduled in a short time and I couldn’t get in. She responded that surgery was closed, with all appointments cancelled, and that I should go home.
Somehow, that just didn’t seem right. I had talked with the surgeon just the day before, and I couldn’t believe that she would not have called me, if it was cancelled. Instead of leaving, I walked to the hospital main entrance. About a dozen personnel were outside in a tent like structure. I had to pass through, be interviewed about recent travel and how I presently felt, and my temperature taken. They told me to go into the main reception area, and someone would look me up in the computer and find out what was going on.
The main reception area was huge but had only one other patient. The young lady behind the counter, six feet away from me, used her computer to confirm that surgery was to start in half an hour and told me where to go. I was met by an attendant who said that I would be taken in right away because patient #1 had failed to appear. Later, at the end of my surgery, the surgeon was informed that patient #3 had failed to show up as well. I then related to the doctor my own experience, and she said that she was going to have look into that.
Since the surgery was minor, and on my nose, a minimal amount of preparation was done and I was soon in the operating room under the bright lights. The music piped into the OR was loud and obnoxious. A nurse asked if I liked it, and I responded in the negative, telling her it wasn’t opera music. Verdi’s opera Il Travatore was soon playing, much to my delight. The staff was so kind. There is nothing quite like listening to opera while undergoing surgery and I recommend it highly to you.
About a half hour later, the wonderful lady surgeon was well into removing part of my nose when came the unmistakable opening notes of the Anvil Chorus. When I was a graduate student in Zurich Switzerland at age 22, I attended the first opera of my life. It cost 1 Swiss Franc (27 cents) as a student and I sat in the 7th balcony. It happened that the opera that day was also Il Travatore. I still remember when the Anvil Chorus began. It was during that piece that I fell in love with opera and have remained an opera fan all of my life.
Now 58 years later, I was listening to the same magic music in a different country and under very different circumstances. There is a certain and unforgettable cadence to the Anvil Chorus. When the chorus plays, the music soars and brings the soul right along with it. It is truly remarkable music. I pointed this out to the surgeon and how the music just lends itself to hammering, or slicing and dicing. She agreed that it was very nice music to slice to. Forgive my dangling modifier but I then worried that perhaps the surgeon might get carried away, or more specifically, that more of my nose might be carried away than is needed. Fortunately, the surgery ended before my nose and the opera did.
In just another week, if the pathology is good, I will have my nose repaired. We can be thankful that one of the principles of modern medicine is to not send the patient out into the world with only half of a nose. In what I was told would be a long and complicated procedure, two surgeons will labor to construct a new nose so that I will be complete once again. I can only hope that the Anvil Chorus will mysteriously appear to weave its magic over the whole operating room. I am convinced that hope will carry me through.