Composer Makes Music Following Transplant
by Jennifer Hudspeth
November 14, 2012 7:41 PM
It’s been said music heals the soul...but for one Sioux Falls resident, music not only did that; it also helped heal his body. When faced with a kidney transplant, Wally Ost relied on his love of music to help him get better. In the months since his surgery, his recovery has been nothing short of astonishing. We think Wally Ost is Someone You Should Know.
Dr.'s visits have become a familiar routine for Wally, but it hasn't always been that way. Instead of looking at medical charts, Wally would rather be looking at treble-clefs, notes, sharps and flats. He's a composer, a musician, and teacher. Those who know him well say music is his “bread and butter.” But all of that came to a halt when Wally had a stroke, and his health only continued to decline.
Wally Ost says, “I was in worse condition than I knew.”
With the stroke behind him Wally was hoping to feel better, but he started having dizzy spells, he was confused and his mind was foggy. What he loved most was taken away; his ability to play music.
Wally says, “Music was the one outlet I was still able to work. I couldn't play my music but I could think it, and I'd write it down, and I could sketch it.”
At 74 years old, Wally learned he needed a new kidney to survive. While the news was hard to take in, soon came music to Wally's ears. He was going to get a transplant. Wally received his kidney on August 20th and shortly after it was like the light turned back on. Wally's musical abilities began to come back.
“This is something beyond what I was able to do before my transplant,” says Wally.
Dr. Larry Burris with the Sanford Transplant Center says "Music is something he's really good at obviously, and he enjoys it very much. Now he can do that so it's great, it's truly the gift of life.”
It’s a gift his medical staff at Sanford has come to enjoy. He keeps the transplant team up to date on his newest endeavors, including a benefit concert featuring 8 songs Wally composed during the whole ordeal. But perhaps the happiest moment for Wally came just a few short weeks ago.
“Since the transplant, I felt good enough to start playing my tuba again,” says Wally.
Wally has now triumphed over his stroke and kidney failure; a miracle he owes to determination, good doctors, and a lifetime of loving music.
Wally had not been able to play his tuba for about 5 years. He recently played in his first concert since his stroke. He is still not able to play the piano, but hopes that will come back with time.