Isabella was able to leave the NICU after 12 weeks. She and her mom had regular follow-up visits with Dr. Perlman, but those ended when she was 5. Recently, Isabella became a Grey’s Anatomy fanatic and was thinking of going into medicine, and after reading a blog her mom kept when Isabella was in the NICU, asked if she could meet Dr. Perlman. The three met for lunch this summer, and when they shared with Dr. Perlman Isabella’s love of music, it gave him an idea.
“I would love to put together an orchestra of all my former patients that have gotten into a serious study of music,” he told them. “We should do something with Isabella. We should put something together in the NICU. I’ll call you.”
The summer came and went, Marcia says, and then they got a call from Dr. Perlman inviting Isabella to come back to the NICU during World Prematurity Month and play guitar for the babies.
The day of her appearance in the NICU, Isabella was focused on the music but was thinking about the babies too.
“It just feels really good to play music for them and help them,” she says. “I was in their position, so I’m grateful to give back. It felt good to be able to go and play for them. It’s just amazing.”
By the end of Isabella’s performance, her audience had grown. Isabella looked up and to her surprise saw the room was filled with doctors and nurses, some of whom had taken care of Isabella when she was a baby.
“It was really sweet of them to come and listen,” says Marcia. “They’re so busy and they’re saving lives and making miracles happen. We were really touched that everyone took the time to come and listen to her play.”
Isabella is working with the on-staff musicologist at NYP Komansky Children’s Hospital to continue visiting and playing music for the babies.