In the summer of 2008, Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Fred Hersch spent two months in a medically-induced coma. Not only did he survive, but when he awoke, he remembered having a series of dreams and nightmares. Working with the Grammy-winning director Herschel Garfein, he shaped those memories into a music theater piece called "My Coma Dreams." It's about one man’s time in a place where the line between life and death is somewhat blurry.
Now, we’re used to the arts having a narrative storyline, but you might be surprised to learn that medicine can be a narrative practice too. Fred Hersch’s piece is being presented in conjunction with Columbia University’s Program in Narrative Medicine. Dr. Rita Charon, executive director of the program, and composer Fred Hersch join us to explain.