Thursday, December 7th 2017
Partnering with Dr. Dazzle today, it’s hard to pick a favorite experience, so here are four!
[Note: Names and other identifying attributes have been changed for privacy.]
1) FLIPPER CLAP
Entering the room of 7 year old Samantha, we ask if we could come in. She says yes, so we go back out, so we can come in, one after the other back and forth, with a lot more knocking and other nonsense with the door. Pretty typical stuff for a hospital clown no doubt, but for me -the newbie- a lovely thrill. After various exercises in singing, juggling, bubbles and silliness, Samantha holds up her little stuffed animal seal -complete with an IV in its flipper- and makes it clap for us.
2) WHAT’S IN A NAME
Nearing the open door of a 6 year old named Lachlan, Dr. Dazzle starts foaming in mid-conversation. “I’ve always liked the name Lachlan,“ she says to me overtly, “But I’ve never met anyone named Lachlan, have you?” “No I haven’t!” I say, “I’ve always wanted to,” etc. etc. As we carry on, the boy sits up in bed and waves us over, “You should get in here!” he says excitedly. “Oh hi,” we say casually, “We were just saying how we never met anyone named Lachlan. It’s such a nice name. What is your name anyway?” We look at him and he looks at us. “Lachlan,” he says. NO WAY! We freak out, startle response, the works. He explodes with a laughter that fills the room and blasts down the hall, thrilling his mom and cracking up everyone at the Nurses Station. We trip this theme repeatedly, shocked and awed every time that this could possibly be his name, and frankly I’m impressed how much exercise the little guy is getting right there in his bed, wiggling hysterically. Thank god laughter is the best medicine because that’s why we’re here and this kid’s laughter is GOLD.
3) DON’T MIND US
When we come in to the Surgical Floor Activity Room to get our notes from the Child Life Specialist, the two year old in her caretaker’s arms is NOT thrilled with our arrival. Carefully I back up, excusing us and explain, like… I just need to blow some bubbles on… Dr. Dazzle’s head. Dr. Dazzle starts singing a sweet lullaby about bubbles. The toddler stares at us blankly and we carefully back our blowing and singing antics out into the hallway. Note in hand, we begin our rounds down the corridor, tracked by the incredulous gaze of two beautiful little curious two year-old eyes.
4) BLACK MAGIC
Today was the first time I’ve tried Black Magic! It’s a routine where Clown #2 leaves the room while the patient chooses an object. When Clown 2 returns, Clown #1 points to ten different things that it could be, and -after much consideration- Clown 2 guesses correctly.
In this room there are two patients, one on either side of a dividing curtain, each lying there listlessly watching TV. They are boys, 9 and 11 years old, one with a visiting 14 year old brother. Our first hope is for them to let us open the curtain so we can perform for everyone together. It isn’t long before they are on board, kicking Dr. Dazzle out of the room so they can choose an item for her to guess. At this point a medical specialist starts to enter, but agrees to wait in the hallway until we finish the trick. After agreeing on an item (the #1 button on a bedside phone) the two boys continue choosing every item for me to show her to guess from. “The blanket! This Minecraft sword! That Get Well balloon! Your nose!” and so on. I cut them off carefully so I can execute the trick.
Dr. Dazzle returns and the boys make sure I remember every item they chose. After performing some great indecision for a while, she nails it. “WHAT!” says one of the boys, “HOW!?!” says the other. I tell them the truth; that I have never seen Dr. Dazzle perform this amazing trick before. We exit a room full of excited boys, and the specialist enters, smiling.