Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heppy Holidays

My all time favorite Christmas card was sent to me years ago by my dear friend, hepatitis C advocate, Brian Klein. Santa is visiting the Betty Ford Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center. Everyone is standing around while Santa is reaching into his gift bag and asks, "Who wants a shiny new liver?"

Sometimes we just have to laugh at ourselves.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Waiting for the Doctor

My mother lives in the Southwest. During a recent appointment, the wait for her doctor was excessively long. Bored, she started looking around the office. She found a prayer wheel scratched into the linoleum on the floor. She figured that someone had gotten bored and decided to etch some art into the floor. Either that or they needed to pray.

I told her it was a good thing that she hadn't discovered hash marks on the wall, like one of those prisoner-of-war movies. Once time when I was working at a well-known hospital, a patient had been left in a room for so long that he fell asleep. No one told the doctor that he was in the room. It was Friday and everyone went home. The staff found them when they were turning off the lights. It was a horrible mistake for which there were many apologies.

When my daughter was little and we ran out of things to do, I would blow up exam gloves and do a puppet show. What do you do to pass the time at the doctor's office? Wouldn't it be great if they passed out Nintendos or puzzle books for everyone?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Appropriate Humor

My life took a little unexpected turn. While visiting my mother for Thanksgiving, she developed congestive heart failure and had to be hospitalized. My blog got set aside - sort of. Humor is a huge part of my family's life and we laugh our way through hospitalizations and colonoscopies and bone marrow aspirations. It's how we cope with fear and anxiety. I think it is a good thing - as long as we aren't laughing enough to jiggle our bodies during a medical procedure. That is a good time to stay still.

Anyway, I thought about the blog, and what I want to write about is this: when my mother was admitted, the nurse was joking around. I thought she was funny and totally appropriate. She made me feel at ease. However, another family member had the exact opposite experience. He felt the nurse was out of line. He felt she crossed over a line, during this time of grave concern.

Although we had different experiences, both were valid. What came up for me is the question, when is humor not appropriate? How do we know when to make a joke and when not to? For instance, after the attack on the Twin Towers, humor virtually disappeared from the public for about a week.Then it returned and we started to heal. How did we know how long to maintain our humorless vigil? I don't know, but we did.

Enough seriousness. Someone rescue me with a joke, please, before my liver starts to cry...