Stroke patient, hospital CEO team up in heartwarming guitar duet

Oct 8, 2021, 11:37 AM | Updated: 11:38 am

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — Robert Wallace is sadly no stranger to hospital stays. The 78-year-old has gone through a number of health issues in the last 10 years with his latest complication landing him in the ICU. Last Thursday, Wallace was admitted to Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful after suffering a stroke.

Four days later, in an effort to gain some sense of normalcy and joy, Wallace knew he needed to begin recovery. He started with finger mobility. That’s when the stroke patient received a special visit.

Troy Wood, the hospital’s CEO and a longtime friend, found out about Wallace and brought in his guitar so they could play together.

In a video posted to the hospital’s Facebook page, the two men played Les Miserables’ “Bring Him Home,” in what became a beautiful bedside duet. A hospital staff member caught the touching moment on camera.

The lyrics begin, “God on high, hear my prayer. 
In my need
, you have always been there.”

Wallace said picking up the guitar again brought him comfort and hope. After playing the more than three-minute-long song alongside the CEO, he wiggled his fingers and declared aloud, “As long as I can still pick at my guitar strings, everything will be OK.”

Wallace has been playing the guitar since he was a teenager and said it’s a huge part of the man he is today. It is his passion and playing together meant so much.

Little did Wallace realize, it would mean everything to Wood, as well.

“It’s always a fast-paced world in health care, but it is taking it into overdrive this past year,” Wood explained, adding that being in charge of a hospital during a pandemic certainly hasn’t been easy.

The hospital CEO said his staff has been working tirelessly for more than 18 months.

“People are just finding ways to maintain their energy level,” he said.

Wood said it was nice to take the opportunity to slow down. He hasn’t done much of that since March 2020.

And while the two have known each other for decades and have even played music together in the past, this jam session was different.

“I liked it so much, I said, ‘Now if I don’t make it through this, at my funeral you are going to sing this song for me,’” Wallace told Wood.

“He got emotional, I got emotional and that’s just a moment that we just really can’t create,” Wood said.

It was a moment of healing through beautiful music that neither man will ever forget.

“Those are moments that are really important in this career,” Wood said.

Just one week since his stroke, Wallace continues to recover in a rehabilitation facility. He told KSL-TV he is feeling well.

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Stroke patient, hospital CEO team up in heartwarming guitar duet