BATAVIA – It could be lunchtime outside the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC), or in the lobby of the building when it has downtime or in the driveway of his house in the summer . The important thing for Dr. Harry “Guy” McCrea is to take out the guitar every now and then.
McCrea, a clinical cardiologist with Rochester Regional Health, working primarily at UMMC in Batavia, was doing this Monday for a little while outside the hospital entrance doors during a break.
âThe one song that everyone likes, because it has harmonica in it, is ‘Heart of Gold’ (by Neil Young),â he said. â’Freebird’ (by Lynyrd Skynyrd) is always the joke for everyone. Everyone says … ‘Play me’ Freebird. ‘ Nobody wants to play it because it’s long and it’s hard and difficult, as an artist, to play.
Most of the people he plays for outdoors enjoy hearing the harmonica, McCrea says.
One of the main benefits of playing music is stress relief – not just for him, but for others, says the cardiologist.
âDuring COVID you obviously can’t play, especially last year when we didn’t really know what was going on and it was scary for everyone. We were all under duress … and so what I started doing was I started playing on Facebook (on his own page), like I was doing an hour, and putting in place free concerts online.
McCrea, who said many people knew him by his nickname, âGuy,â started playing in his basement because it was cold.
âLast summer I started doing concerts in my driveway, which was really, actually, pretty neat because during the warmer weather the COVID numbers tend to go down and things are going a bit. better and we can be outside and still be socially distanced, “he said.” I would ask people – family and friends – to come with their lawn chairs and sit in isolated groups around our garden. Actually, we have the land next to it on top of that, so we have a lot of extra land there. I live in a cul-de-sac and that was pretty cool, because you could look around your ass. -de-sac … My neighbors were on their porch and they were listening to music … “
It was a great way to have live music and allow her to do something that relieved stress, McCrea said.
âIn hot weather especially, I bring my guitar every day. I don’t go out here every day, a few times a week for 15 or 20 minutes and I go out and play and scratch, âhe said. âSometimes the staff come out and listen. Sometimes people stop and listen.
âIf it’s colder or raining, I go and play in the lobby sometimes. It all depends on my availability, âhe said. “I think it’s just super important, especially as a doc … to have a little bit of stress relief and downtime and to really recharge your batteries, mentally and emotionally.”
The only thing about medicine is it’s really hard, Guy said. âYou arrive in a scary building. This is not your house. Everything is very clean and very clinical, and can be very cold at times, âhe said. âSometimes, depending on what the patients are going through, humanity gets lost in medicine. I think of reminding ourselves – sitting there and listening to them.