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New York Times Critic James Oestreich and a Lung Patient

Do handicapped people belong in public where they or the noise of their life giving oxygen machine might disturb the audience in a public performance?

Well. I’ve got a few medical issues and use a facemask attached to a tube hooked to  a BIPAP with an concentrator (oxygen) bleed in and want to throw my two cents worth in the mix here.

Tell it like it is  – like New York Times critic James Oestreich turned his review of  a concert at Lincoln Center featuring the works of Mozart and Stravinsky into a thoughtful, regretful comment of the noisy oxygen devise the man in the seat  behind him wore that was so distracting that it disturbed his focus on the concert.

One symphony concert sticks in my mind as one of the most remarkable musical experiences I have had.  The Seattle performance featured a Norwegian pianist, a prodigy.  The music flowed, I closed my eyes to absorb it, and the music filled my soul.  Not a sound, not a cough tickled the edges of the musical performance only the thunder, lilt  and scale of the throbbing sounds filled the air until I opened my eyes to center stage where the pianist and piano seemed melded into one instrument, a flow of sound.  I could see his hand move over the keys but it seemed unrelated to the sounds that seemed to pour from him as readily as the glistening sweat dripped from his brow.

Not a sound disturbed the outpouring of music – my sneeze froze in time as the pianist played to a stunned, silence audience.

Memory of that performance fired me into responding to the New York Times Oestreich critique – especially the astounding negative backlash from folks I’d formally believed to be sensitive and considerate.

The fact is I know people who will not wear their hose in nose oxygen in public.  Those folks do not understand their prescribed oxygen use sustains and feeds their organs, including the brain.  Deliberately exerting without the prescribed oxygen is to die slow little deaths by depriving your body, your organs of oxygen.

To stay home for fear of going out in public is to slowly progress into another kind of death – of growing isolation for the sake of vanity.

Being considerate and thoughtful of others’ right to enjoy a performance best appreciated in silence is common courtesy.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

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