Hospital Clowning: Dr. Dazzle Day

Thursday, December 7th 2017

Partnering with Dr. Dazzle today, it’s hard to pick a favorite experience, so here are four!

[Note:  Names and other identifying attributes have been changed for privacy.]

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1)  FLIPPER CLAP

flipper clap.jpg

Entering the room of 7 year old Samantha, we ask if we could come in.  She says yes, so we go back out, so we can come in, one after the other back and forth, with a lot more knocking and other nonsense with the door.  Pretty typical stuff for a hospital clown no doubt, but for me -the newbie- a lovely thrill.  After various exercises in singing, juggling, bubbles and silliness, Samantha holds up her little stuffed animal seal -complete with an IV in its flipper- and makes it clap for us. 

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2)  WHAT’S IN A NAME

Whats-in-a-Name-Shakespeare.jpg

Nearing the open door of a 6 year old named Lachlan, Dr. Dazzle starts foaming in mid-conversation.  “I’ve always liked the name Lachlan,“ she says to me overtly, “But I’ve never met anyone named Lachlan, have you?”  “No I haven’t!” I say, “I’ve always wanted to,” etc. etc.   As we carry on, the boy sits up in bed and waves us over, “You should get in here!” he says excitedly.  “Oh hi,” we say casually, “We were just saying how we never met anyone named Lachlan.  It’s such a nice name.  What is your name anyway?”  We look at him and he looks at us.  “Lachlan,” he says.  NO WAY!  We freak out, startle response, the works.   He explodes with a laughter that fills the room and blasts down the hall, thrilling his mom and cracking up everyone at the Nurses Station.  We trip this theme repeatedly, shocked and awed every time that this could possibly be his name, and frankly I’m impressed how much exercise the little guy is getting right there in his bed, wiggling hysterically.  Thank god laughter is the best medicine because that’s why we’re here and this kid’s laughter is GOLD. 

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3)  DON’T MIND US

bubbles and music.jpg

When we come in to the Surgical Floor Activity Room to get our notes from the Child Life Specialist, the two year old in her caretaker’s arms is NOT thrilled with our arrival.  Carefully I back up, excusing us and explain, like… I just need to blow some bubbles on… Dr. Dazzle’s head.  Dr. Dazzle starts singing a sweet lullaby about bubbles.  The toddler stares at us blankly and we carefully back our blowing and singing antics out into the hallway.  Note in hand, we begin our rounds down the corridor, tracked by the incredulous gaze of two beautiful little curious two year-old eyes.

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4)  BLACK MAGIC

black magic.jpg

Today was the first time I’ve tried Black Magic!  It’s a routine where Clown #2 leaves the room while the patient chooses an object.  When Clown 2 returns, Clown #1 points to ten different things that it could be, and -after much consideration- Clown 2 guesses correctly.  

In this room there are two patients, one on either side of a dividing curtain, each lying there listlessly watching TV.  They are boys, 9 and 11 years old, one with a visiting 14 year old brother.  Our first hope is for them to let us open the curtain so we can perform for everyone together.  It isn’t long before they are on board, kicking Dr. Dazzle out of the room so they can choose an item for her to guess.  At this point a medical specialist starts to enter, but agrees to wait in the hallway until we finish the trick.  After agreeing on an item (the #1 button on a bedside phone) the two boys continue choosing every item for me to show her to guess from.  “The blanket!  This Minecraft sword!  That Get Well balloon!  Your nose!” and so on.   I cut them off carefully so I can execute the trick.

Dr. Dazzle returns and the boys make sure I remember every item they chose.  After performing some great indecision for a while, she nails it.  “WHAT!” says one of the boys, “HOW!?!” says the other.  I tell them the truth; that I have never seen Dr. Dazzle perform this amazing trick before.   We exit a room full of excited boys, and the specialist enters, smiling.

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Posted in art, childhood, comedy, faith, health, Hospital Clowning, love, making art, mental health, music, ukeoke, ukulele, work | Tagged , | 2 Comments

UkeOke: Someone to Lava

A long long time ago there was a volcano
Living all alone in the middle of the sea
He sat high above his bay watching all the couples play
And wishing that he had someone too
And from his lava came this song of hope that he sang
Out loud everyday for years and years

I have a dream I hope will come true
That you’re here with me and I’m here with you
I wish that the earth, sea, the sky up above-a
Will send me someone to lava

Years of singing all alone turned his lava into stone
Until he was on the brink of extinction
But little did he know that living in the sea below
Another volcano was listening to his song
Everyday she heard his tune her lava grew and grew
Because she believed his song was meant for her
Now she was so ready to meet him above the sea
As he sang his song of hope for the last time3

I have a dream I hope will come true
That you’re here with me and I’m here with you
I wish that the earth, sea, the sky up above-a
Will send me someone to lava

Rising from the sea below stood a lovely volcano
Looking all around but she could not see him
He tried to sing to let her know that she was not there alone
But with no lava his song was all gone
He filled the sea with his tears and watched his dreams disappear
As she remembered what his song meant to her

I have a dream I hope will come true
That you’re here with me and I’m here with you
I wish that the earth, sea, the sky up above-a
Will send me someone to lava

Oh they were so happy to finally meet above the sea
All together now their lava grew and grew
No longer are they all alone with aloha as their new home
And when you visit them this is what they sing

I have a dream I hope will come true
That you’ll grow old with me and I’ll grow old with you
We thank the earth, sea, the sky we thank too
I lava you
I lava you
I lava you

 

 

Intro: CC chord G7G7 chord FF chord CC chord G7G7 chord CC chord


 

Posted in art, love, making art, music, ukeoke, ukulele | 1 Comment

At Rise: Dental Rules

Friday, November 17th 2017

At Rise: Mom is driving kids -Girl 6, Boy 9-to dentist.

Mom: OK remember you guys, no eating for a half hour after your appointment.

[Pause.  Boy bolts up from Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.]

Boy: Wait, no READING!?!?!

Mom: NO, no “eating.” Remember?

Boy:  Ohhh. PHEW!!!

SCENE.

#Priorities


Posted in childhood, comedy, domestic life, food, health, love, parenthood | Tagged | 1 Comment

Hospital Clowning: Pillow Talk

Thursday, November 16th 2017

pillow

Sometimes our reconnaissance about a potential patient gets overridden by the parent.

We get notes from the Child Life Specialist on every floor with a run-down of the patients that day; name, age, gender, anything significant going on with them medically, language and what their personal likes & dislikes may be.  Then on each door is information about what level of precautions are called for with regard to infection control etc.   We also do our best to ascertain what’s going on at the moment; whether patient or family are *asleep* for example, totally at peace or in the middle of a consultation or procedure, etc.   All this information we have before even knocking on a door.  Some patients will be having a so called “bad day” for various reasons and we are asked to “please skip.”

While in the process of skipping one of those rooms with my partner yesterday, the Mom opened the door and asked us to come in.  Her 17 year old son was in bed pretty profoundly knocked out from treatment.  We truly would not have chosen to impose ourselves upon his circumstance but the mother insisted he has a very keen sense of humour.  We agreed it would be a brief visit, and my partner apparently knew what to do.

Mom told her son, “Honey, someone’s here to visit you.  I’m going to open this eye for you so you can see!”  My partner went around to that side of the bed and leaned over him to say hi when the eye opened and told him a succinct, apt joke.

“Awesome!” said the patient, closing his eye again.  We all giggled and the mother spent a few more minutes sharing just exactly what a brazen sense of humour her son has, sharing a couple of his favorite jokes and pointing out how essential it is to be able to laugh.

It is not always the patient who benefits most from our unique brand of “Health Care.”


 

Posted in comedy, education, faith, family, health, Hospital Clowning, love, making art, mental health, parenthood, patience, work | Leave a comment

At Rise: Favorites

Wednesday, November 15th 2017

fart warning sign.jpg

[Mom is climbing under boy’s blanket with him for bedtime snuggles.]

Boy:  I love you so much!

Mom:  I love you so much too!  And furthermore… *pfffft.*  That’s how you know you’re my favorite; because I save my farts for your bed.

Boy:  Ah… yes!  And that’s how you know *you’re* my Favorite Mom!

Mom:   Why, because I’ve eliminated all the competition and I’m all that’s left?

Boy:  Yes, AND!  Because I save all my farts for your FACE.

[Scene.]


Please note:

  1.  I’m not proud of these events per se, I’ve just recorded them as they actually occurred.
  2. OK I’m a little proud, of him for having such a great sense of love, of humour AND… for using the magic number one phrase for collaboration in a creative and peaceful world; “Yes, AND…” 

That’s my Boy.

 

 

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Hospital Clowning: No Eyed Deer

Wednesday, November 15th 2017

Q: What do you call a deer with no eyes?

A:  Dr. Be Bopper learning to clown!


Today was my fifth day clowning at Boston Children’s Hospital in a week.  And since it’s still only my 3rd week at this job, almost every day has been with a new partner.  Each partner is a whole lamborghini box of chocolates jalopy clown car unto theirself.  Learning the style of my partners, their repertoires, their decision making styles, their humor and performing inclinations is a dizzying undertaking, much less discovering MY clown; how I can be in these situations, what’s needed, what we’re doing, what I can do, what might be funny and what the freaking heck song I can play next.

So I muddle through, scouring the scenes for ways I can connect, cheer or make a difference, slowly learning to feel more comfortable in my own clown skin. So far I find it most gratifying when we come upon a situation and inspire a *change* in energy for the better.  What I have found recently though is just incredibly awesome kids and their amazing parents.  Plenty of good, fun, silly, sweet or poignant times… but when I leave their rooms it is ME who has benefited from THEM.

There is a girl -I’ll call her Michaela- whose 7th birthday is today.  I’ve had the privilege of seeing her three times in the past week, including today.  She has so much going on medically I have never seen her out of her bed and it takes extra effort for her to speak, yet I have never seen her without the most sparkly smile on her face, radiating an aura of sweetness and joy.  She is pure angel incarnate, yet with a spunky personality and adorable sense of humor.  I just feel grateful that my partner & I were able to squeeze in a visit to her today (even though her floor was not on our schedule) and to give her plenty of shout outs from the in-house TV studio where we hosted “CLOWN BINGO.”  The patients come play live in studio or by TV from their rooms.   When they win they call down to the studio to claim their prizes and woo-hoo we announce them on the air.

Maybe I don’t have anything too profound to say about today except that I’m just happy to have been a part of Michaela’s birthday.  She knows me now and I sing songs to her.  Her family is amazing and I’ve never seen a more joyous explosion of balloons and celebration in a hospital room.  AND she won at Clown Bingo.  TWICE.


Posted in comedy, education, faith, family, health, Hospital Clowning, love, making art, ukeoke, ukulele, work | Tagged | Leave a comment

New iPhone Sample Movie

Monday, November 13th 2017

Yesterday my phone took a swan dive to its final demise. I seem particularly talented at dropping and breaking cell phones. Especially for a juggler.

Determined to get proper protection this time, I hauled off to the phone store for what I hope is the last time in a long time. Thankfully my son came with me, to help compensate for my lack of interest or enthusiasm for having to learn some new technology. That being said, I now own an iPhone, and look at some of the tricks it can do!

1) “Live” photos, which are really mini video clips of you ask me.

2) iMovie, like, I just edited my first movie on a PHONE.

3) In fact, I don’t even know (care) what else this thing can do. Just, here’s the movie (made and posted from said iPhone):

2017-11-13 CircusKitchen New iPhone Sample Movie [41 seconds]:

Phew!  There it is.


 

Posted in art, childhood, comedy, domestic life, education, family, making art, marriage, mental health, money, patience, work, work-life balance | 2 Comments