Meeting Patch Adams

The day I met Patch Adams, the physician, comedian, social activist, clown, author and out-of-the-box thinker, was the day I noticed something. A label like doctor or musician does not need to define who we are.

In a hotel lobby years ago in Moscow, we were introduced and Patch Adams himself presented me with a bright red clown nose. As a matter of fact he proceeded to place it gently on my nose and then he placed another one on his nose as we stood eye to eye and nose to nose and tried not to laugh.

Actually we didn't stand eye to eye for he is very tall, not at all like the actor who beautifully played him in the movie, Robin Williams, but Robin sure did nail his creative spirit.

Now that I have been working in a Children's Hospital setting for over ten years I relate to the powerful messages Dr. Adams has shared about the need for compassion and laughter in health care. And that turns out to be a uniquely important ingredient for our human experience and for finding a little happiness along the way.

Most of us are way too busy, disconnected and even feel lonely much of the time. The need to feel connected runs deep in all of us, especially when we are sick and require healing. Music and art can lift your spirit, humor and a heart warming story will allow you to travel to places where all is well with the world.

I predict one day there will be Healing Arts departments in all hospitals, not only in children's hospitals. And these programs will not be asking for volunteers but seeking out qualified artist to collaborate as employees and work closely with staff to alleviate discomfort and strengthen the conditions for healing.

I am foremost a facilitator with music and use my gift to open the door to a deeper human connection. I understand Patch Adams is still traveling the world sharing the need for compassion and building hospitals where health care is free. I wish him well and thank him for introducing me to the power of connecting with people with whatever gift you have inside you. Hey, it is not rocket science, even a clown nose can make a difference.

As always, your comments are welcome...