In this blog, I bring you a lyrical story by Medical Clown Shiri Breuer, entitled “Miracles Do Happen.”
Setting: Hadassah Hospital Emergency Room
I pass through the rooms. Here is a dark room; here are a grandmother and a grandfather; here is a mother in pain; and here is a young girl lying in bed, looking at the ceiling, not responding.
"Bonjour," I say. The grandmother answers me and the exploration begins. At the same time, I look at the girl, her eyes fixed on me, but she has no expression. Is she conscious?
In the meantime, the atmosphere in the room becomes more relaxed, and the grandfather also enters the picture. For a moment, we are “walking” around Les Champs-Élysées, chatting in French and Hebrew.
The mother asks the grandmother in English, “Is the girl laughing?” The grandmother replies, “No,” and the mother asks me to leave—the girl should rest, she says. I leave without hesitation and continue to the next room.
There is a familiar girl there, and we continue with the games and the meeting.
When I finish, on the way back I see that the first room has changed unrecognizably.
It's bright. The girl is sitting at the table eating. "How are you?" I ask the mother. "It's a miracle," she says. "I do not know what you did, but from the moment you left, she started talking—for the first time since we came here, and she asked to eat."
"So can I come in?" I ask. "Yes," the mother answers. I go in, take out a balloon, blow it up, and give it to the father, who is standing on the other side of the bed. The balloon flies off, because I didn't tie it up—and the girl just laughs. I blow up the balloon again, and again the air comes out and the girl laughs a simple laugh, a relaxed laugh. The mother doesn't believe it. Yes, again and again and again.
The next day I arrive and it turns out that they are already in the ward and will go home the following day. The mother thanks me. “It was a miracle,” she says; “I do not know what you did.” She tells me the story—how they almost lost their daughter, how she almost drowned and, at the last moment, they rushed her to Hadassah’s emergency room and she was saved. But they did not know her cognitive state. The first time she reacted was after I had been in the room.
I am amazed to see the effect clowning has in the hospital. When I entered the room, I felt that something was stuck there. The clown, unlike the rest of the staff, comes from a different place. By allowing myself to relax the atmosphere, to see things in a new light from a different place, I enabled the girl to choose something new (which she must have already been ready for herself).
So sometimes... miracles do happen.—Shiri, for seven years a Hadassah Hospital Medical Clown