Joseph Yikona, doctor and musician, on happiness

In geriatric medicine, patients never have just one complaint. An elderly person could have a chest infection, a stroke and a heart attack. You have to work hard to keep prioritising, but a deep satisfaction comes with this job. What makes me happy is seeing a patient who has been written off get better and walk out. But some may have terminal illness, and a different kind of happiness comes from making sure someone is comfortable enough to have a good death.

If my job gets too stressful, I pick up the guitar. In medical school I listened to Chet Atkins, Les Paul and Eric Clapton, and played until my fingers ached. Then I went back to the books.

I have a wife and two children, and extended family in the US, Finland and Zambia. I grew up in a family that put a stress on academics. In Zambia there are no Damien Hirst types. Music and art is not a career option. Brian May put his PhD on hold, then finished it. I saw that and thought I can still mix my work with my pleasure. I add influences from Zambian music to create a different sound.

Music can be used in rehab. Patients with Parkinson's disease listen to marching music to reduce the likelihood of them becoming frozen and stuck. For me it is a quick way to happiness. My location influences the songs I write. If I've had a disappointing day, I'll strum slowly. It comes out like a country song.

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