vincent the yeller~

Brad Richardson

April 9th, 2010


So Vincent had a cardiac arrest a couple of years ago. Went without oxygen for too long… but he didn’t die. I’ll bet some days he wishes he did. Now he involuntarily pees in his wheelchair. Has to have nurses help him do everything. Must be humiliating. No longer lives at home but at a home. 

When his brain went without oxygen it caused some sort ofdementia. Not sure how or why, but it causes him to cry out…to yell…I’m told that he can be very clear thinking at one moment and then cussing and yelling the next. He is aware of this and it frustrates him. He tells Chaplain Nate from the hospice that he feels like evil comes around him when it happens. I’m thinking that maybe that’s why he wears a big cross and a rosary around his neck…

So I thought that some music might bring him some peace. The nurses wheeled Vincent into the “sun room” and he sat there with a blank stare. I sat down and started to softly play. As I took a breath to sing the smell of urine was strong…it was a bit uncomfortable. And then I thought of Jesus. I thought of how Jesus touched the lepers…the infected…the insane. I’ll bet a leper didn’t smell very good. Rotting flesh? Nope. Probably not.

“Know any jazz?” Vincent says. So I played “Georgia.” “I love that song” he whispers. He closes his eyes as I sing…the music seems to be moving right into his soul.

“No peace I find…just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.”

He yells out…and then he looks at me as if to say, “Are you going to stay or did I scare you away?” I just keep singing…

“I see trees of green

Red roses too, I watch them bloom for me and you

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”

Vincent begins to sing along with me…more like a whisper/grunt type sound, but he is singing. He is comforted by the music.

It still smells in the room. But there is peace.

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