Friday, March 23rd 2018
1) Are You Jenny the Juggler?
First thing this morning we are stopped in the hall by a Cardiology Nurse who calls me out and gushes that she has video footage of me on her phone from a birthday party that her daughter always asks to watch. We chat and I give her some Laughter League collateral and she says “Oh my daughter is going to be blown away!”
2) Dental Dance Party
One of the technicians in the Dental Clinic toured us all around the floor, culminating with a command performance in a tiny office with three nurses dancing to our spontaneous antics. The one who commandeered us insists I must learn “Soul Sister” on the ukulele. I am thankful for the direction because I need another song that’s always gonna hit besides “I Wanna Be Like You” from the Jungle Book.
3) You Can’t Wear That
In the waiting room of the Dental Clinic there is a man utterly scandalized by Dr. Gonzo’s tutu. Gonzo is wearing elements I provided him from deely boppers all the way down to socks. “DO NOT LET HER DRESS YOU EVER AGAIN,” says the man, “YOU GOTTA LOSE THE TUTU!”
4) Where Are You Going?
On the floor of mostly Super Attentive Babies, there is an extremely spunky four year old by himself. He has figured out how to use the call button to summon the nurses without restraint. “Remember to only use that button when you have a nursing problem, not just when you want somebody to play with you, okay?” they plead. So he picks up the phone, calls the operator and asks if they can come to his room and play. (!) It’s only 10:45am and already the nurses are amused but exasperated. I offer them my empathy, but kudos to the kid. How awesome is he at advocating for himself! Four years old and all alone in a hospital room? Hell yeah baby, call everyone you want. We go in and show our stuff. Then he wants to show us how he plays this video game. We say we can watch for a minute before we have to go. “But where are you going?” he asks.
5) If It’s Not One Thing It’s a Mother
We stop by a room by special request; a personal friend of family. The patient is another child about exactly my son’s age, One who enjoyed seemingly perfect health like my son too, until a recent diagnosis of leukemia. I always wonder how these parents do it. And now that I got to see this one, I am inspired and think I can visualize having what it takes to be in those shoes. It was just really great connecting with this awesome mom, and we are both delighted by the visit which is great because her child actually wanted nothing to do with us clowns.
6) Wait, SHH!
Playing the doorway of a high precaution patient, Gonzo hears the click-clack of someone’s heels nearing us in the hallway. “Shh! Someone’s coming!” he says, and we both halt the juggling and singing and FREEZE. We act overtly nonchalant and whistle while the person walks by… then resume after they pass. It was a very satisfying PAUSE in action, which is a perfect form of Dynamic Rhythm and an excellent theatrical device. By the response of everyone around us I can say I am not the only one who loved it.
7) Crouching Pout, Hidden Smile
This four year old girl was not giving up her pout for nothing; not for juggling, music, silly stuff, farts noises, no-thing. “OK what about this,” I ask, producing a nice solid “BUURRP.” Gonzo startles, recoiling in a high-pitched shriek of moral outrage, and there it is. The corner of that little girl’s mouth curls into a SMILE; not one she is willing to acknowledge or anything, because she’s very busy pouting you see, and we are super dumb clowns. But everyone actually SAW that smile anyway and let me tell you it was CUTE.
We finish Fridays in the Emergency Department. After playing to patients in the waiting room we drift around the bays looking for patients we can perk up in their rooms. It was smooth and lovely and delightful and fun… also the first time in my short time here I find myself a little low energy and without the drive to come up with anything too new and fresh. We default to singing and juggling and standard stuff, but I notice it’s still not too bad. So while I’m not proud of a lower energy period, I’m comforted in the thought that we still know what to do.