Finished work for the day. On the road again, I arrive at the Associate parking lot. Hike to the CHOC Children’s cafeteria for dinner with my wife and fellow Radio Lollipop volunteer. That’s some good food (really!) Change clothes. Clock in.
“Hey everyone! How was your week? Like your hair! Yahoo! Who brought the cookies?”
Tables to cover, baskets to fill.
“What’s the craft? Who’s the DJ? Who’s the producer? What floor do I have? What’s the song of the night?”
Cue to the music. Lights! Camera! Action!
“You are listening to Radio Lollipop!”
Show badge to security, enter the elevator. Toddlers, children and teens, OH MY! Kids doing laps around the floor, IV poles in tow. Where do we start? Let’s check to see who is in the room. Boy or girl? What age? Is he or she sleeping? Do we need to gown up?
Knock on the door, “Radio Lollipop. May we come in?” Enter the room. Wash hands.
“Hi, my name is Dew Rag Donald. Do you know about Radio Lollipop? Tune into channel 36. Dial 5555 to request your favorite song right from your bed. Our craft for the night is to make a doggie! And the song for the night is ‘Who let the dogs out.’ Whoa! Cute blanket! That’s my favorite team too!”
Kids: video games, laptops, TV, shy smiles, sad eyes, mixed with big grins. And bandages, tubes, machines.
“Would you like a stuffed animal?”
Adults: some exhausted on the sofa sleeping, some playing with their child, some conducting business on their laptops, some looking for non-medical conversation – sports, traffic, weather.
“Do you have any questions? Anything else we can do for you this evening?”
Leave the room. Wash hands. Finished our floor, back to the studio.
“Anyone need help? Can I answer phones? “
“This is Radio Lollipop! What do you want to hear tonight? Oh, you have a joke to tell on the air. SUPER! Great joke!”
Deliver prizes for the song of the night winners.
One of the patients come down to the studio and becomes the DJ. Another little girl wants to sing on the air. What a cutie! Family members come in to send messages to their siblings/cousins/friends upstairs.
Sign off, paperwork, file the music away, clean the tables and empty the baskets. End of the night huddle: laughs, news, upcoming events.
Clock out. Homeward bound, tired, feet hurt, emotions up and down, late night. Maybe I’ll take a break next week?
“No way,” says my heart. I love these kids.
“Dew Rag Donald” has been a Radio Lollipop volunteer for a year. He lives in Irvine with his wife and fellow Radio Lollipop volunteer, “Fancy Nancy,” who is an associate at CHOC Children’s.