Nova Scotia physician writes songs to cope with stress

·2 min read

A well-known Nova Scotian physician says the best way to cope with what he sees and hears while working is to write songs.

Dr. Andrew Lynk wears many hats. He is chief of pediatrics at the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University in Halifax, as well as being a consultant pediatrician at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

He is also a songwriter who has turned numerous compositions into demo tracks.

Lynk said if something weighs on him at the end of the day he needs to express it.

"In almost some ways it's self-therapy," he said.

One song that was turned into a demo had a connection to the CBC. Lynk was listening to Mainstreet Cape Breton a few years ago when a foster mother spoke about losing her son to an opioid addiction.

A single quote stuck with Lynk. The mother said, "I guess the drugs hugged him harder than I ever could."

"That line just seared into my heart, my soul, and in my head, and as I'm prone to do sometimes when I come home after a busy day, if there's a lot on my mind, I pick the guitar up," said Lynk.

"I'm not that great, but, I just strum away and sometimes I write a few words down."

'It's good to have an outlet'

He said it's good to have an outlet in the health-care profession. It's advice he offers student physicians and student nurses.

"It's a lot of work and a lot of sleepless nights when you're up on call, helping families through sometimes the worst days, weeks and months of their lives, so it's good to have an outlet," said Lynk.

When he wants to have a demo recorded of something he wrote he always heads to Sound Park Studios in Coxheath.

Jamie Foulds, a producer and sound engineer at the studio, said Lynk prefers a country-folk style of songwriting, but Foulds never knows what the song will be about.

"I would always be curious about what kind of song it would be," said Foulds. "He does have a unique perspective being a physician."

Foulds said Lynk's songs might not be about subjects that are new, but his interpretation will always be different.

He said the perspective is what makes some of his demos so powerful.

"I can't even imagine the stuff that he sees and has to work with on a daily basis," said Foulds.

Lynk doesn't perform the songs. He leaves that for the professionals.

"I'm a physician and not a musician," he said.

He said he's more than happy to leave his demos for Cape Breton artists to perform, so the songs are more than just his therapy.

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