Last week, I was accompanying a patient to a specialist visit when, as we were saying goodbye, I told him I had to go to the hospital next door to visit an in-patient. His response? “I’ll go with you.” Normally I would have politely, but adamantly declined this offer but both of these men were from the same union and had recently had the same surgeries. I took a chance that connecting them would be helpful to each one of them. To my great relief and gratitude, I was right.
When we walked into the hospitalized patient’s room, the two men connected right away, talking about work, ‘the old days,’ their doctors, their treatment plans, the Phillies, just to name a few. Before long, it was 40 minutes and the hospitalized patient’s wife walked in the room. My other patient and I said our goodbyes and left. Walking outside the hospital, I turned and bumped right into a clown. A full-fledge, dressed in a brightly colored, full costume, clown.
Turned out the clown was a petite 70’ish year old woman who “comes every week to visit the inpatients.” And my luck was literally bumping into her this day.
I chatted briefly with her and thanked her for volunteering. And then I thought, “why not.” I asked her to stop in and visit my hospitalized patient. I explained that he had recently had surgery and was a little ‘down in the dumps.’
The next day, when I spoke with the gentleman’s wife, she thanked me for “sending in the clown.” The septuagenarian stopped in to my patient’s room and told him a few jokes and she admitted, “cheered him up.” The wife also told me that the visit from the other union member helped, too.
It certainly wasn’t how I had envisioned my day, but I am glad that I took the chance and was open to introducing the two men to each other so that they could ‘share war stories.’
And I was also very glad that no one was afraid of clowns!