Mike Strollo

Mike’s Care Team

Veterans Home of California, Yountville

Attending a Boz Scaggs Concert Fulfills
One Patient’s Dream

Yountville Veterans Home resident Mike Strollo has every CD and record that musician Boz Scaggs has put out—but he’d never seen him perform. And now being on hospice for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), didn’t think he ever would.

But on one of her weekly visits with Mike, Collabria Hospice social worker Calai Brown noticed a newspaper he had left open with an ad circled: Boz Scaggs was performing at the Uptown Theatre in Napa that coming weekend.

“He told me that Boz was his favorite musician of all time, and that he’d never seen him in concert,” she explains. “With a concert available so close, I offered to see if I could set him up to attend through our Sentimental Journey program.”

“You Make It So Hard to Say No”
Mike had reservations about the idea. “With his COPD, Mike can get short of breath just standing up and requires 24-hour oxygen,” said Calai. Because of that, he hadn’t left the Veteran’s Home in five months.

“But I knew how much this chance to see and hear Boz would mean to him. I had to gain his trust by ensuring every possible need could be met, so he would be able to enjoy a night out.”

The first challenge was tickets: the concert had sold out months before. “I pleaded with the Uptown Theatre to find a way for him to attend, and they really came through.” One of Mike’s concerns was not having access to a power source for his oxygen machine. “American Medical Response (AMR) arranged for his transport, and the Theatre was able to arrange with Scaggs’ crew to create a spot for Mike with an electrical source for his oxygen so he was covered for the entire evening.”

But even with tickets, medical care and transportation arranged, Mike was hesitant to go, with no close family to attend with him. Calai arranged for three others from Mike’s care team who knew him well—social workers Candice Simonds and Annette Henke, and aide Pilar Louro—to join the evening.

“What Can I Say”
“Then he started to allow himself to get excited,” Calai said. “He told me he hadn’t had a real burger in two or three years, and requested that we go to Nation’s for dinner before the concert, since it was across the street from the Theatre. So we did: we had burgers and pie, then hit the show. He laughed and smiled all evening, and had a blast. He was able to stay for almost two hours of the show.”

Now, a photo from that evening is prominently displayed on Mike’s bedside table. “It’s the first thing he talks about to anyone he sees,” says Calai.

“Attending a rock concert might not be a typical hospice experience. But our patients are more than their diagnosis. We’re here to help people live their life to the fullest, and with that experience—getting out and enjoying food and live music with others for an evening—Mike was able to do just that.”