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When she was suffering, a hospital worker held her in his arms and hummed

Jennifer Reinhart says that for the first time since her fall, the hospital worker made her feel like she was going to be OK.
Jennifer Reinhart
Jennifer Reinhart says that for the first time since her fall, the hospital worker made her feel like she was going to be OK.

This story is part of the My Unsung Hero series from the Hidden Brain team. It features stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.

One night in 2003, Jennifer Reinhart was asleep in a loft above her living room. At some point, she started to sleepwalk, and ended up too close to the edge of the loft. She fell 10 feet, landing on furniture below.

In the weeks that followed, she endured three major surgeries and a medically-induced coma. When she gained consciousness, she was in tremendous pain.

One particular night in the hospital still stands out in her memory. She was on a large amount of morphine to help her sleep through the pain, but the medication gave her horrible nightmares. When she woke up, she was dripping with sweat and shivering.

"I was so cold, but shivering made my whole body hurt," she recalled. "And so I was also crying because it hurt so bad. And I was shivering and I couldn't stop."

She managed to reach the call button and ask for the nurse. When they came in and saw that Reinhart's sheets were damp with sweat, she told Reinhart that she would call someone to get her out of bed to change the sheets.

"I just was panic struck because every single piece of me hurt so badly. I didn't know ... if I could even survive being moved out of the bed," she said.

The nursing attendant who came in was two or three times the size of Reinhart. He walked over to her and tenderly scooped her out of the bed.

"Like a little baby," she said. "So tenderly and so gently. He held me like I was made out of tissue paper. And he just held me very still and quiet."

While nurses changed Reinhart's sheets, he continued to hold her. Then he began to quietly hum.

"There was something about the power of the sound of his voice, and the vibration in his chest, and how gently he was holding me, that just put a balm and a soothingness over that pain that I was feeling," she said.

After he set Reinhart back down on the bed, the nurses changed her hospital gown and brought her warm blankets. For the first time since her fall, she felt like she was going to be OK.

"I felt sure that I was going to live through this. And that I'd get back home to my children," Reinhart said. "I wish he could have known just how much he helped me."

Listen to All Things Considered each day here or on your local member station for more stories like this.

My Unsung Hero is also a podcast — new episodes are released every Tuesday. To share the story of your unsung hero with the Hidden Brain team, record a voice memo on your phone and send it to

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Autumn Barnes
Laura Kwerel
[Copyright 2024 NPR]