"The Wheelchair Waltz"
By Dr. Hamsterfuzz
As soon as Dr. La Foo and I hit the floor of the medical unit at Seattle Children's, we saw that the hospital clowning we'd had to give up four years previously was still in our physical and emotional memories. It felt natural to be back. Staff who recognized us from before were delighted to see us and when one would say, "Has it really been four years?" I'd reply, "Time flies when you're not having fun."
We had some truly magical moments, including one that took place in the large, open area under the giant Orca whale sculpture. 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.
It's pure joy to be back.