Laughing at Illness

Laughing at Illness

Laughing at Illness

My favorite thing on this Friday is laughter. I mean, who doesn’t love laughing? When you have an chronic health condition, it is practically essential.

Of course funny movies are good. Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory can be hilarious, but could you find humor in your own medical drama?

Laughing Zebra

photo credit: JohnBurke via photopin cc

For outsiders, this may seem odd. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be very much funny about being sick. Inside the circle there is a lot that is hilarious (or can be made hilarious).

When you get into the grove of the medical system and have adjusted to this new reality, if you allow yourself, almost anything can become funny.

Much of my medical life has been spent laughing. Usually after the fact when the tests are over and the pain has subsided, there is humor in the way you can spin an otherwise troubling story. Yes, a good portion is potty humor, but that’s just the way these things roll.

Right now I’m waiting for my body to indicate that it’s time to have a kidney transplant. Heavy stuff.

One of the signs that it’s time to schedule the transplant will be that I will stop producing urine because that is the main function of the kidney.

How to make the heavy stuff lighter?

Now, every time I go to the bathroom, I emerge and announce, “everyone can keep their kidneys; I’m still producing urine.” It’s a small way I celebrate the miracle that is urine, and it makes me laugh. No one else thinks it particularly funny, but it keeps me from obsessing about the amount of urine I’m producing. Any pee is good.

Was that TMI? I have a feeling I’m headed in this direction:

Funny E-Card

One of the most brilliant comedic performances I’ve ever heard came from Tig Notaro a week after she learned that she had cancer. She was already scheduled to perform and decided to go on stage anyway. You can see that through her humor, she is processing the gravity that life can be. Her performance was so powerful, and really funny, that Louis CK posted it to his website and thousands got to hear the laughter that can come out of illness.

You can download her performance on iTunes or listen to a portion of it that was replayed as Act One of This American Life.

And now a cartoon: Medical Cartoon

 Have a happy, laughter-filled Friday!