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How One Disney Tune Is Helping A Nurse Get Through The Pandemic


Earlier this year, Kelly O'Connell of Denver, Colo., started a new career as a labor and delivery nurse. But getting a job at a hospital during a pandemic - well, you can imagine how stressful that was.

KELLY O'CONNELL: I think becoming a new nurse is totally crazy anyway. But in the beginning, it was scary, just mostly worried about bringing the virus home to my family.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: O'Connell was one of many of you who wrote in to tell us about the song that is helping you through this difficult time, and it's a song she enjoys along with her 3-year-old daughter Fiona.

O'CONNELL: Hey, Fi. Come over here, baby.

FIONA: So I love the "Lady And The Tramp" song 'cause it's my favorite.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: "Bella Notte" - you know, the "Lady And The Tramp" song from the Disney movie.


GEORGE GIVOT: (Singing) Oh, this is the night. It's a beautiful night, and we call it bella notte. Look at the skies...

O'CONNELL: It's kind of ridiculous. It's kind of this, like, big accordion playing, and they're singing to two dogs eating spaghetti. So it's kind of this, like, ridiculous thing that just makes me smile.


GIVOT: (Singing) Side by side with your loved one...

O'CONNELL: I'm still breastfeeding our youngest. And so I pump when I'm at work. And I found myself when I was pumping - I was looking at the news and just getting really scared and depressed. And you hear code blues over the loudspeaker. And it's kind of this, like, ever-present hum of coronavirus at work. And it's kind of exhausting. And so I found myself listening to that song.


O'CONNELL: Fiona calls it the sickness. And the first time I heard her say that, it just made me really sad. And I think a lot about what this is going to leave her with, this insistence on being distant from people.


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) They have stars in their eyes...

O'CONNELL: The biggest thing that I tell her is that this is temporary. And I heard my husband - she - they were in the other room, and I heard her asking what temporary means. And he said, you know, like, mommy and daddy love you, and that's forever. And that's the opposite of temporary.


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) When the one you love is near, oh, this...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was Kelly O'Connell of Denver, Colo., and her daughter Fiona sharing "Bella Notte" from the "Lady And The Tramp" soundtrack.

O'CONNELL: Can you sing, (singing) and they call it bella notte? Sing that. Ready?

FIONA: Call it bella notte.

O'CONNELL: Yeah. OK. Can you say bye-bye to my friend?

FIONA: Bye-bye.


GIVOT: (Singing) Oh, this is the night. It's a beautiful night. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.