Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Happy Hospitals

Tuesday: hospital day.

I woke just before dawn but this particular Tuesday found me feeling rather fragile emotionally and physically.  

Is that the time already? Could I stay in bed a bit longer, please? 
Why must there be a noisy argument over the bathroom 
- haven't we had that conversation before?  
Ok, I'm awake. 
I'm up and the adjudicator, etc.

When the busy 'breakfast shift' was done and everyone had left for their activities, I went back to bed to curl up until the familiar morning pain subsided or until I was forced to get up for my own scheduled appointments, whichever came first.

It was a good day in many ways:  the hospital is nearby so it didn't take me long (or much effort) to get there;  I found a free parking space straight away in a car park that is usually full to the brim and often takes a few laps to find a spot; the sun was shining, and I made my first appointment in time.

Successful treatment allowed my joints to move freely again, hooray!  Normally that would be enough to boost my mood yet I still felt tired, weak, flat and unmotivated with 90 minutes to kill before the next appointment. What should I do?

Go home and do the chores I left behind? 
But I don't feel like doing much and then I have to come back anyway. 
Later, it may not be so easy to find a car park, 
and why use up extra petrol unnecessarily? 
The sun is shining, begging appreciation. 
I am feeling out of sorts, my energy is low and I can't be bothered with the extra walking and driving to go home and come back. Will it overtire me?
I need some TLC. 
That sunshine is inviting. 
I have crochet in my bag. 

The answer: nurture my spirit at the outdoor café with my crochet and a long black coffee. This tea drinker does enjoy a decent coffee every now and again.  I usually avoid caffeine because it is a stimulant and thus affects my pain levels but, in this case, "Pain is pain so what's the difference?" I shrugged.

I enjoyed my coffee, watching the comings and goings and hearing snippets of conversations around me while my 3.5 mm hook created ribbing for some future fingerless mitts (Red Heart pattern #LW1919 or #WR1919: Easy Crochet Wristers by Kim Kotary).

The café gradually filled with an early lunchtime crowd.  A lady approached and asked to share my table (for four with only me on it). Of course I didn't mind at all, as long as she didn't mind me crocheting away.

Thus the conversation started as I learned that she was also waiting (for relatives to complete their appointments).  We made friends and had a lovely chat. There is nothing like sunshine, a good cuppa and nice company to pass the time and cheer one's day, but if that isn't enough to provoke a smile, then it's time for some serious treatment … from the masters of medical mirth …

Two clown doctors wearing white coats, stethoscopes around their funny hats, red noses and carrying ukeleles.
Clown Doctors!

Our hospital has its own 'Dr Phil' – 'Dr Phil Betta'!  He and his colleague had been quietly strumming their ukeleles over lunch. To cheer us up, they proved that they could actually play their ukeleles properly, creating silly renditions of well known tunes, witty one-liners and finishing with a group sing-song to 'Pearly Shells' complete with hula-dancing actions. 

Now that helped to cheer me up properly – I still laugh every time I think of them.  I agree that 'laughter is the best medicine' and the Clown Doctors do an excellent job at that sort of medicine.


Studies have shown that laughter is good for wellbeing and general health.  The Clown Doctors are great practitioners. Even though they mainly visit children, their antics benefit everyone.  It was fun watching passers-by, hospital staff and visitors alike,  glancing at our singalong; even those who were trying hard to keep a straight face, couldn't help but smile.

Imagine what it was like to be a child.  Five minutes felt like five hours. Imagine being stuck in a hospital bed without one's friends and family, unable to play like healthy children, perhaps confined to bed by medical equipment.  

Clown Doctors are a great therapy. They help distract the children from their pain and problems, even for a few moments.  They can make jokes about the hospital environment and the child can feel like there is someone else who understands them.  I was frequently hospitalised as a child and it was lonely at times, especially when my other school friends could not relate to my experiences.

Laughter helps to relieve stress, improve circulation and promotes physical healing.

These Clown Doctors get around too. Even in the blogosphere, Clown Doctors describe their days on their own blog: http://www.humourfoundation.com.au/our-work/clown-doctors/clown-doctors-blog-from-the-wards.html

The Clown Doctors have a sponsored campaign at the moment called 'Clowning For Kids'. They are asking members of the public to "take a silly selfie that would make a kid smile".  Pictures uploaded to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #ClowningForKids before 2 April will earn a $5 donation to the Clown Doctors.

What a shame there are only two days left of this promotion but that is still time enough to take a picture!

Thank you, Clown Doctors. You certainly made me feel better today!

Here's to Happy (and Healthier) Hospitals!

Links & References

Clown Around for a Good Cause, #ClowningForKids, Commonwealth Bank, March 2015: https://www.commbank.com.au/about-us/sustainability-and-community/community/clown-doctors.html

Clown Doctors, see also The Humour Foundation: http://www.humourfoundation.com.au/our-work/clown-doctors.html

Clown Doctors blog:  http://www.humourfoundation.com.au/our-work/clown-doctors/clown-doctors-blog-from-the-wards.html

The Humour Foundation: http://www.humourfoundation.com.au/

Kotary, Kim, Easy Crochet Wristers, [free crochet pattern], pattern nos. #LW1919 or #WR1919, Red Heart Yarns: http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/easy-crochet-wristers


  1. I am glad to read the hospital day turned out alright for you in the end! The clown doctors look like a lot of fun! I have heard a lot about them but never saw them in action (which might be a good thing, considering that means I don't have to be in the hospital). :)

    Take care and blessed Easter days

    1. The clown doctors are regular visitors and I see them about the place most weeks. They are very funny and witty. I wish I could remember the lyrics of "Molly Malone" that they rearranged into a ridiculous and racy story! It is reassuring to know that Vaudeville skills are still alive and well.
      Thank you Anne for your well wishes. May you have a peaceful Easter. I am looking forward to a 4-day break and family time.

  2. Wow. What a difference in hospital visits we've shared recently. I'm glad yours was positive. Am now 5 days into a full elimination diet and no caffeine so hoping to feel some benefit at least in my wellbeing if nothing else. Wishing you happy days and lots less pain in the coming days, J9x

    1. Wishing you positive results from your dietary changes by the time you read this, Janine. I rarely drink coffee but consider my coffee as one enjoyed on your behalf! May the Easter break be a peaceful opportunity for rest and recuperation. Take care, xx

  3. good for you to pick coffee and crochet over chores! Love those clowns!

  4. Yes, well, here I was a few weeks ago telling Janine (J9sHappiness above) about the benefits of cutting caffeine out of the diet and then I gave in this week and had a strong coffee anyway against my better judgment! Every now and then the needs of the spirit take precedence over the needs of the nervous system...that's my story and I am sticking with it! ;-)
    Thank you for supporting my decision to ignore the chores, teehee. The Clown Doctors are lovely, full of energy and fun, guaranteed to make you smile.