Tag Archives: Hospital

The Little Boy and The Old Man

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.
РShel Silverstein
I had the chance to observe a music therapist at work in a local hospital setting. The ward was made up of patients with dementia, and music therapy was aimed at improving their mood during their stay, which would contribute to their overall well-being. We all know how distressing, isolating and lonely the hospital environment can be. I certainly felt it, watching the nurses and doctors go from patient to patient, solving one problem at a time, doing their job professionally and extremely well, but not being able to give individuals the personal nourishment and interaction that all humans crave for at a basic level.

Madam W used to be a dancer and a dance instructor, teaching dance groups in schools. Now she is long-retired, reduced to lying on the bed, being fed through tubes, not being able to talk or swallow. But whenever someone walked past her bed, she would lift her eyes and hands up to that person, only to shift them down again when the person has walked past her bed.

“Are you expecting a visitor?” The therapist gently asked. Madam W shook her head. Yet she continued to look expectantly at everyone who walked past her, raising her hand in a waving gesture. We felt that she was trying to initiate some social interaction. One can only imagine how active her social life must have been as a dancer and instructor. How much joy she must have derived from being able to move her limbs and body. How much she must be suffering physically and emotionally now.

I don’t want to grow old if I can’t do what I love.
But we don’t have much say over such things, do we?




Every Saturday, Dr Beat Ritchner gives a short cello recital at the Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap to raise awareness and funds for his Kantha Bopha Children’s hospitals. With great, wheezing breadths (which I tried to ignore), his cello becomes his voice, crying for children all over the country, and the world. Children whose parents are too poor to afford even basic healthcare. Children who die from simple ailments, easily curable in a developed country. Children who don’t get a chance in life, because they have been disadvantaged from birth.

In between pieces, he narrates reasons why the existence of his hospital is so important for the children of Cambodia. He gives facts, figures – the number of children that would die each day, if not for the Kantha Bopha hospitals in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. He argues that the government should help, but isn’t doing as much as they should, and one can easily sense his frustration at this point.

If I didn’t see it for myself through the touching video, it would have been hard to imagine – the thousands and thousands of mothers, fathers and children – people who get Hope from the existence from a hospital such as this. And the lives that might have been lost if not for Kantha Bopha.



To a certain extent, the visit to the hospital made me realise how oblivious I am to the good life I have.

And when realisation strikes – the realisation that it could very well be me living in a mud hut, a 3km walk away from the nearest hospital, too poor to buy basic painkillers, or vitamins… All in a twist of fate… The realisation slams me like a heavy weight that drags my guts down to the depths of my stomach. And at night, before I sleep, in the air-conditioned room and under cosy comforters, I wonder to myself: “What good did you do to deserve the wonderful life you have?”

And the self-reply whispers: “Maybe its time to start doing something MORE to make yourself worthy of this life you’ve been given.”