The Full Stories
TELL US YOUR STORY:
THE LIGHT INSIDE HER
by Dr. Hamsterfuzz
"Cindy" has severe autism and had been restless and hard to reach...
She had pulled onto the floor everything in the room that wasn't securely fastened and a guard was stationed just outside to keep her safe and prevent her from leaving. We were told by the nurse that we could try this particular room, but that we probably wouldn’t succeed with an interaction.
When Dr. Loopy and I entered, Cindy was rocking back and forth in a chair with her back to us. We approached, calling her name and talking to her. I began juggling scarves while Dr. Loopy played the guitar. Cindy ignored us so we came around, sat directly in front of her, and continued to juggle and play music. Still no interest. About to leave, I instead reached into my pocket for a magic trick called a D'Lite, a fake thumb that lights up your thumb when you press it. Dr. Loopy had one, too. I slowly reached out, being careful because some children with autism don't like to be touched, and extracted a red light from the tip of Cindy's finger.
"Did you see that?" I asked Dr. Loopy. "She has a light inside of her." "Wow," said Dr. Loopy, "That's amazing!" Cindy began to engage.
Cindy's interest grew as Dr. Loopy and I passed the light back and forth and then took turns throwing it up in the air and catching it. I put the light back into Cindy's finger and then Dr. Loopy took it out again. Cindy rocked backward and let out a long, hearty laugh. Dr Loopy passed the light to me and I put it into Cindy's finger, saying and visually demonstrating that she should pass it on to Dr. Loopy. She raised her arm and pointed her finger toward Dr. Loopy, who took the light and passed it to me. We passed the light around and around. Each time, Cindy reached out her finger to receive the light and then again to pass it on, stopping only occasionally to let out a peal of laughter. The guard was intently watching us through the window: this was the first time he had seen this level of connection with Cindy.
It was time for us to leave. "We'd better put it back; it's her light and I think she'll need it," I said, reaching toward Cindy's finger one last time to return her radiant light.
THE DRAINAGE DANCE SONG
by Dr. Hamsterfuzz
Dr. Truman B. Awesome and I were making our rounds when a doctor asked us if we could see her patient in a private kidney dialysis room. “Of course!” we said...
The 3-year-old girl was standing on top of the examining table with tubes coming out the sides of her body. Parents and staff were trying to get her to move around so that a build-up of fluid would drain down the tubes. I looked at Dr. Awesome and said, "You know the Drainage Dance Song, don’t you?" He answered with a resounding, "Yes!" and reached for his percussive shaker. We made up a fast, rockin’ song on the spot, complete with shaker solo. "You hop on your feet to the rhythm and the beat, then you dance all around ‘til the fluid runs down!"
Music flowed out of the clowns, and the fluid flowed down the tubes, as the little patient enthusiastically jumped up and down and danced from foot to foot. As we left the room full of smiling staff and parents, we added a new prescription to our clown doctor remedies: “The Drainage Dance Song—vivace, fortissimo, four/four beat! To be taken to the last drop!”
THE WHEELCHAIR WALTZ
by Dr. Hamsterfuzz
We were interacting with a girl of about 14 who has Down Syndrome; she was in a wheelchair with a cast on her outstretched leg, dressed and coiffed to the nines, right down to her sparkly gloves...
After addressing her as a princess and admiring her parade worthy wave, we decided to celebrate the occasion with a waltz on the concertina and ukulele. I asked the girl if she would like to dance and pointing to her daughter's hobbled leg, t her mother indicated that she couldn't dance, to which I replied, "Well, of course she can dance, she has wheels, right?"
The girl's face lit up. She removed her gloves to maneuver the wheels and spun around to face me as the music started. The three of us waltzed with broad, sweeping gestures and grins to match, transforming the atmosphere, fleetingly perhaps, but memorably. Staff members craned their necks to enjoy the moment unfolding; the mother's cell phone camera came out, and people in the balconies above, surprised to hear a waltz, stopped and watched the scene below.