Wednesday, May 23rd 2018
Although partnering with Dr. Bucket Buster mostly defies description, here are three gems from today.
1) Playing the Window: Who’s Turn is it Anyway?
A young boy and his father are in the room. Bucket Buster is waving and smiling to the child through the window. I’m not sure who pushes whom first, but I push her out of the way and assume the alpha position waving and smiling in the window. We are clowns so this means GAME ON. She pushes me out of view, WOAH! I come back, mad, and push her out of view, etc. Next time I push her DOWN from on top of her head. She comes back up, visa versa. The kid and father are eating it up. I’m in the alpha position now, preening and quite proud of myself. “Stay right there,” she whispers to me. I keep waving and preening. Now she slips a hospital mask over my face from behind and she drags me back down with her. We pause a beat, then stand up and take a bow. They applaud. We exit.
To any other clown this would be neither surprising nor interesting but actual clowning is still novel as hell to me. Those times I find myself knowing exactly what to do in the middle of an improvised clown routine are like gold to me.
2) Stuck on You:
In the morning we stop by a special request room but the patient is sleeping so we leave a note with our clown doctor stickers. In the afternoon the father finds us by the elevators and in broken English INSISTS that we come see his son. The Child Life Specialist is so thankful we’re visiting him on account of he and his parents asking her for clowns every day. Taking our note off the door I give it to them to show we had been there that morning, “But you were HHOONK SHOOO” I him sleeping. I point to the sticker of me -Dr. Be Bopper- indicating that is the BEST one. Dr. Bucket Buster protests, takes out one of her stickers and puts it OVER mine! I protest, and put one of mine over hers. She takes out another one of hers and sticks it to my forehead. So I take out a round Laughter League logo sticker and place it over her mouth. She can’t talk, and she is sad, so I rip it off her face like so many bandaids and place it over her eye like a pirate. The kid is falling over sideways laughing on the daybed, but he definitely got an abdominal workout this day. Dr. Bucket Buster is also a gut buster.
3) Farewell Party:
It is always a joyous site to see families rolling through the hospital with all their bags, balloons, gifts and gear piled high on a cart. It means that after a long stay they are going HOME.
Leaving the BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) Floor today we get caught up in a joyous traffic. A very young patient with her mom and dad are wheeling their giant load of stuff, and both sides of the hallway are lined with almost every practitioner from that floor. Music is playing, bubbles are flying and they are cheering and dancing. The child is almost too over-awed to proceed. At first she doesn’t understand what is happening until we explain “This is all for you!” We join in the party and I count not less than 30 people celebrating. Before she exits the door I see one of the aids get down on his knees face to face with her for a sweet and meaningful hug goodbye. These hospital employees do their work every grueling day and from what I see they cannot help but truly love these children. I love them too though as a clown I am only here a couple days a week.
Still the child reaches the elevator and says, “There was even clowns!”