Wednesday, December 11th 2019
Animal impressions. Working with Dr. Sweetpea for the first time today I learn among other things she is excellent at animal impressions. I mean, her horse may sound like a cat, or her giraffe like a cow… but you get the idea.
For a teenage patient in pre-op, Dr. Sweetpea shows off a trick she learned from Dr. Gongolfin’ where you squirt a blob of sanitizer into the air and catch it. When I try to copy her my blob of sanitizer squirts away from me and lands on the patient’s bed. The patient and her parents explode in laughter. “Embarrassed,” I take my partner and get out of there. Dr. Sweetpea and I agree that of all things to lose control of and accidentally drop on a patient’s bed… hand sanitizer is a very benign violation, and that this may just well be a routine worth repeating. (We also agree that “Benign Violation” sounds like a great band name.)
In pre-op we have a lively patient start to really enjoy the song about his name, “The Cooper Song.” He is bed-dancing so much the head nurse comes over and puts grippy socks on him so he can get out of bed and dance with us for realz, which we do for like TEN rounds of the song. We only pause once when another nurse has him choose what color cast he wants after his operation. Bright orange. Then more dancing!
At one point I’m not sure if the place where I keep information is in my *head* or in my *butt.* (Also, don’t say “butt!”) Because I keep farting, I mean, forgetting. I mean, a fart is what it sounds like when your butt forgets something. You know what I mean? Dr. Sweetpea does.
Traveling from the lobby to the 10th floor after lunch, we are serenading a cute baby in the elevator. Two doctors get out with us on the 10th floor and then turn around laughing as they realize they missed their floor -the 8th- because they were enjoying the song! Woops! #SorryNotSorry
On another floor a patient is being wheeled in her bed by a medical team, followed by her parents (who, incidentally, are holding hands). The group reacts upon seeing us so we follow them to the patient elevator and make a little music party of it. The patient has developmental delays and I was expecting her to not be feeling well, but then she sits up and starts dancing in her bed! Tongue out, classic dance moves -think Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction- and even a bow at the end. Everybody cheers and this girl is QUEEN! Then her elevator comes and they wheel her on, presumably headed to surgery.
Finally, there was a special request. When we get to the floor, the 5 y/o girl is sitting in her stroller outside her room. We say we’re looking for Ayanna and “have you seen her anywhere?” She sits up and points, “THAT WAY!” Off we go looking, only to come back empty handed. No, “THAT way!” she points. Off we go again, *failing* to find Ayanna every time. The nurses are all laughing; we also search behind the nurses’ desks. Nope! This is serious, we need our superpowers. So (thanks to inspiration from medical clown colleague Calvin in California), we don hospital gowns as capes and rip holes in masks for our eyes, pull out our kazoos and egg shakers and boldly take off down the hallway once more, SURE to find Ayanna this time. Instead we run past a huge group of well-heeled business folks on a tour of the hospital. They are perhaps startled, but then linger where we keep consulting with the mystery girl in the stroller. At last she reveals that Ayanna is actually this cartoon character painted on the wall. So we serenade here there, before finally saying our goodbyes and leaving the “mystery girl.”
We hospital clowns LOVE a good boss. And when that boss is also PRANKING us, well that is just another priceless gift on another priceless day. Especially when that day involves a new partner with whom connection and creativity seem to ooze naturally.
Hooray Dr. Sweetpea!
And PS: Thanks to Calvin Kai Ku for the great idea: