Thumbs Up

Dr. Noobie and I knock very softly on the door of a teenage patient. We open the door a crack. The room is quiet — silent really — and the only light is coming from the cell phones held by the three young men seated against the wall perpendicular to the bed. The patient, a teenage girl whom we’ve been told might be cognitively delayed and is having headaches and possibly sensory issues, is lying in the bed with her head at the foot of the bed. She is buried in the sheets and we cannot see her face at all. We step back and begin to close the door slowly, quietly — but the Mom, seated on the bed stroking the patient’s back, says “No, no, please come in! Honey, the clowns are here.” We are skeptical about entering, but because of the Mom’s request we enter the room and quietly close the door. We start singing — as softly and beautifully as we can — You Are My Sunshine. The Mom is smiling and nodding. The young men are still engrossed in their phones. The room still feels tense and we still cannot actually see the patient. We continue singing but switch to a “do” sound. “Doo-doo-doo-doo doo doo...” we finish the verse “doo-doo doo, doo doo-doo doo doo.” Noobie looks at me. We cannot help giggling. We just said DOO-DOO like 35 times! One of the guys on his phone by the wall lets out a short laugh. We continue with our next verse, “dookie-dookie-dookie-dookie”, and all three of the guys by the wall laugh. The Mom whispers to us, “She is laughing!” I am relieved and excited, but we still cannot see the patient at all so I am also nervous. I usually rely very much on noticing the details of the patient’s reactions to help guide artistic choices — but in this case we have to trust the others in the room. We continue to our final verse, “Poop-poo-poo-poo-poop...” One of the guys on the wall says to another, “They are singing ‘poop’!” The other guy says, “Yeah, I know. I can hear them too.” We finish the song. No one claps. The room is quiet — silent — again, but a hand emerges from the pile of sheets and gives us a thumbs up. 

Dr. Me Me