Hospital Clowning: You Never Know

Thursday, January 18th 2018

gowning up.png

Today we gowned up all the way three times.  That’s three times more than I ever have before.  Twice were for rooms that we almost blew by until curiosity revealed a situation ripe for Hospital Clowning.  One was Javier, a shy 5 year-old boy for whom we invented a whole game about announcing his name.  He would count to three, and from behind the precautionary masks we would give it our best, messing up the timing all over the place, of course.

Another was Jenna, a somewhat cynical 8 year-old girl whose Dad laughingly enjoyed our challenge in trying to please her.   Our ignorant clowns stumbled into a whole improvised guessing game-song about what on earth her name might be.  Pleased or not, we definitely left her with a story to tell.

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So many tiny babies in the CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit).  I’m getting accustomed to teeny babies all suited up in leads, wires, cables and tubes.  How wonderful they are getting their congenital heart defects repaired and so many will go on to live healthy productive lives!

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pointing finger

Getting off the elevator at the end of our shift, we run into a Mom-Grandma caretaker “frequent flier” whose child is a huge fan of the clowns here.  “My baby’s not doing well,” she tells my partner, through the palpable effort of a strait face.  She asks if we can come visit, and though our shift is over we say yes.  The “baby” is a 22 year-old familiar to our team from having spent so much of her life here with organ issues and now neurologic complications to boot.  She is lucid and responsive with her eyes as we sing and perform music and silly antics for her.  A doctor comes by and insists that we need to make her *laugh.*   After our joke-telling bit fails and I’m digging into silly noises, she musters the strength to whisper, “You guys need to GO.”

Apparently this patient is known for being BOSSY.  And that works GREAT for clowns, who are all about status and all too happy to do a boss’s bidding.  One of our goals is to PARTNER with the patient during our routines.  And above all else, to put them in CHARGE.

At least that part of the mission accomplished.



About circuskitchen

performing artist, mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece... just a regular extraordinary person
This entry was posted in comedy, education, faith, Hospital Clowning, love, making art, mental health, Mindfulness, music, parenthood, patience, ukeoke, ukulele, work, work-life balance. Bookmark the permalink.

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