Wednesday, April 7th 2021
Today’s rounds were performed courtesy of Dr. Mal in plain clothes serving as “Tour Guide” carrying the iPad with two of us clowns on it, geared up and ready to play. As of yet we’re still mostly remote due to Covid in spite of all being vaccinated and rearing to get back in person. Dr. Mal follows all the hygiene and medical protocol and gets us into the room, then it’s up to us to engage the child.
Today was notable for two different young ones of similar age, each of whom were extremely shy and demure when we entered. Fortunately a little music did the trick and opened them right up. With the first one, after three songs, I finally test the water and overtly invite the patient to engage. “OK, I’ll play this next one, and maybe you can tell me if it’s right.”
It’s the only song I know from “Frozen,” and the patient -who up ’til now hasn’t said anything to us- says, “That was right. That was really right.” And just like that they engage, play with us, and even help Dr. Gon Golphin with a magic trick.
The other similar patient I mentioned who also wasn’t talking to us until the song was over, raised both hands over their head and clapped with one arm in a bright little neon cast. So damn cute.
Another patient we saw was a teenager with a pretty disaffected demeanor, but thanks to the power of fart jokes we got plenty of smiles there and maybe even a couple guffaws.
Finally there’s a patient who is there for their own protection both from Covid-induced “behavioral” issues (aka: depression and worse), and also to protect them from an abusive family member. We are finding lots more kids with this profile than before Covid-19, and sometimes they end up sharing information about their precarious circumstances. We delicately navigate the situation and keep the focus on the child and the play. Then after the visit we collaborate with the Child Life Specialists to make sure they are aware of anything we may have unexpectedly discovered. I never dreamed a life of performing would bring me so close to certain heart breaking circumstances. But these kids deserve validation and laughter more than anyone and I could not be more grateful to try to help deliver it.
Anyway, FWIW here is the only song I know from Frozen.