And it often lessens the need for pain medication and mood stabilizers “because they’re in higher spirits,” Axen said.
Axen’s supervisor, Sue Walroth, agreed that patients are more likely to feel “that someone cares about them … and the emotion and the feelings really come out when he sings,” Walroth said.
Norma Laskoske’s lips quivered as Axen gently held her and lulled her with the 1940s jazz standard "Time after Time." The 89-year-old, who is suffering from pneumonia and lung cancer, softly mouthed the words to the song, her eyes welling with tears.
“If he would come in 24 hours a day I think I’d be well and I’d be out of here but then I wouldn’t see him,” Laskoske said. “He has a beautiful, soothing voice and the nice thing about it is when he looks at you, you know he’s singing to you. It just pierces my heart.”
Brian Vanculenburg, 66, echoed Laskoske’s sentiments. He said Axen’s rendition of golden oldies, such as "Pennies from Heaven," really helped to lift his spirits and he enjoyed being able to discuss his love for music with “The Singing Nurse.”
“What I like is … he sings from deep down here,” Vanculenburg said as he gestured to his heart.