Tag Archives: laughing

A New Perspective on our Children’s Hospital Visit Today (Thanks to my Husband)

3 Oct

The Author, my husband, chilling in the back yard on a rare day off.

Guest Post by my amazing husband, Patrick, who was my chair getter and gopher today for our hour and a half long visit this morning (And no, we didn’t get photos this time either.  I really really plan to do that next time:)  Here is a photo of the hospital… does that help?

We went to the St. Francis children’s hospital this morning with Bean to spread some cheer and bring a smile or two to some kids that need them.  Knowing my wife like I do, and having complete faith in her ability to interact with kids on almost any level, I was pretty well prepared for the end result – that kids who weren’t smiling before would be smiling and laughing after. That played out pretty much like I thought it would.  It’s the other things that happened that caught me off guard a little.  Namely, the effect that Bean has on adults.  My wife included.

It’s odd having this little make believe creature that shows up every once in a while.  I don’t think people realize just how much of a ‘separate’ entity Bean is from Byn.  It’s like flipping a switch when Bean goes ‘on’, and for the kids that’s always made it much more believable.  The fact that there’s technically an adult sitting there in plain view and obviously moving her mouth in time with Bean’s words is somehow….  overlooked.  When they do notice Byn, it’s more along the lines of, ‘Would you please get out of the way so that I can talk to this monkey’ kind of thing.

So, having seen this particular oddity in action before, I was prepared for the kid’s reactions.  We got to see several more kids this time than last (I think about 10 or so), and they all were left smiling at the end.  The first little boy we saw was the oldest.  I think the nurse said he was 13.  He was also the hardest sell.  He obviously didn’t think that it was ‘cool’ to talk to a purple monkey so he tried (albeit ineffectively) not to smile or interact much.  Despite his efforts he did crack a few smiles here and there and exchanged a few short sentences.  The funny thing is that as our visit kept on and we went from room to room, this particular boy sort of followed us around.  He was hooked up to an IV and had some sort of shunt into his sinus cavity, so along with him came a full cart of gizmos and doodads, as well as a nurse to make sure things didn’t get tangled or anything.  I kept watching him out of the corner of my eye, and he was really enjoying watching Bean interact with the kids, laughing over things being said, etc.  A couple of times I looked directly at him, at which point he got all serious again and headed back toward his room.  Then, we’d get to the next kid’s room and he’d show back up to peek in on Bean.  It was really interesting seeing his inner child at war with his ‘big boy I’m a cool cat’ self.

We came across three Hispanic kids, two of which spoke no English at all, and one of which spoke a little.  It’s really amazing that Byn can still interact in ways with these kids that brings smiles to their faces without the use of any words.

There was one little girl, 5 years old I think, who had full head bandages on.  The nurse said she’d suddenly started having seizures and they had done some sort of brain surgery to try and alleviate them.  She enjoyed Bean the most of any of the kids I think.  LOTS of laughs playing peek-a-boo and exploring the similarities between Bean, her, and her little stuffed monkey that she had there with her.

So the kids I expected.  I know Byn’s talent enough that even seeing her bring a 13 year old ‘I’m all cool’ boy out of his shell didn’t surprise me.  All of the adult nurses and doctors and parents though….  that caught me a little off guard.  I mean, I know that I enjoy Bean, that Bean makes me smile and laugh, but I guess I always just assumed I was pretty weird like that.  It IS my wife, after all.  None of the other adults there who lit up like freaking Christmas trees happen to have that excuse though.  And light up they did.

Several of the parents of kids who we’d already visited found a reason to leave their kid’s rooms for minute and then just happened to swing by the room at the end of the hall with Bean’s voice coming out of it so they could peek in the door.  The nurses and doctors were the same.  I can’t imagine working in that environment all day every day.  I know it’s got to have it’s rewards, and some moments of genuine joy and fulfillment, but there’s bound to be an awful lot of stress involved to.  I applaud them all for dedicating themselves to something I’m honest enough to say I don’t think I could handle on a daily basis.  It shows in the general atmosphere of the place.  They make a real effort to decorate the entire floor in cheerful colors and lighten the place a little bit, but it’s still obviously a hospital.  For kids.  Kids who are really ill and really suffering.  The strain was showing on the staff’s faces in slight but still detectable ways, especially when they came out of a child’s room and there weren’t any kids around.  They would visibly ‘slump’ a little bit.  I could tell they were putting a lot of effort into being as positive and cheerful around the kids as they could be, and it cost them some little bit of themselves when they were out in the hall away from the patients.  Until they heard Bean, that is.  I think by the time we left I’d seen every nurse at least three times.  They just happened to have things to do that took them by the room we were in 🙂  It was really nice seeing them smile too.  A pleasant surprise.

It’s also really nice seeing the effect that trip like this has on Byn.  She really ‘recharges’ from this sort of thing. I appreciate this quality about her more than I can say.  Gosh, I love my wife!

Check back soon to meet our new friend *J* AND see new Bean videos for our Imagination Month.
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