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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Laughter, The Best Medicine




“She is hilarious!”  I heard my co-worker say.  I glanced at him and at the other three co-workers, noticing their playful grins.  While waiting for a meeting to start, I was distracted reading a document and missed their conversation. 

“Who are you talking about?”  I asked, now intrigued. 

“Ms. Clarkson.”  My coworker said.  “She comes up with jokes, and witty remarks that makes everyone laugh.” 

Ms. Clarkson was a new resident in the nursing home.  She came to us for rehabilitation and her stay was expected to be about a couple of weeks.  I had met her during her admission.  She was kind, but there was no humor in her demeanor that day. 

Normally the first day of admission is not a fun day.  There’s stress and uncertainty for the new resident.  They often are experiencing pain, discomfort, or exhaustion from the health issues they are going through.  Even if they come for a short stay, it seems that sometimes the terrifying thought of getting “stuck” in a nursing home crosses their minds. 

As it turned out, when Ms. Clarkson started to feel more comfortable with the staff, she shared her jokes, and even expressed her humorous sarcasm that often got a laugh out of her caregivers.

Ms. Clarkson was a widow, trying to continue living independently.  Her  husband had passed away several years ago, and they never had children.  In her early eighties, this stage of her life was not an easy challenge for her to face alone.  But she was not ready to give up. 

I looked forward to my visits with Ms. Clarkson once she was more settled.  Our conversations became enjoyable, full of laughter.  Her humor was unique.  When she rested, she liked to watch TV, and to drink coffee.  She knew how to balance her day.

One day, I was on the mission of getting her dentures fixed.  As I came back from the dentist office, I rushed to find Ms. Clarkson to return her dentures so she could eat comfortably that evening.  I found her in the rehab gym, eagerly doing her PT exercises. 

I raised my hand, showing her a plastic cup containing her dentures. 

‘They are fixed!” I said, with excitement. 

She seemed curious to see the dental piece.  I gave it to her, she scrutinized it, and her lips curved into a smile of satisfaction. 

“They did a good job,” she exclaimed.  “They even marked it with my name...” 

I thought it was a great idea as dentures can get easily misplaced in hospitals or nursing homes.  But Ms. Clarkson offered a different rationale.  She popped the dentures into her mouth and flashed a mischievous grin, adding:

“... I guess in case I ever get murdered!” 

Everybody burst out laughing.  I had no doubt humor and laughter played a significant part in her health recovery, and her successful return to her home.


Photo source: Inspired Wednesdays

"Laughter reduces pain, increases job performance, connects people emotionally, and improves the flow of oxygen to the heart and brain." (Psychology Today)

“Laughter is the spark of the soul.”

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” ~ Mark Twain




17 comments:

Bica said...

She has a good sense of humor, and, I'm betting, was a breath of fresh air. I love it when people can find humor in the midst of their challenges. :)

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Doris,

This lady knew the recipe of life. Everything with a healthy dose of humor changes the day and your surroundings. We have laughed on Saturday, October 20 as we went to the Theatre and saw the performance of VoicePlay. Five men that produced the voice of instruments and a lot of humorous stories. We had to hold our bellies and I can't recall a time in years that we've laughed so much. It relieves and is so healthy.
Hugs to you,
Mariette

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Doris .. I shall enjoy relaying this story - what a great lady to make fun of so much ... my mother would have belly-laughed too ...

Laughter is the best tonic that's for sure and I love the Mark Twain quote ..

Fun story - thanks so much for sharing with us - cheers Hilary

Amrita said...

I trie d commenting from my iPad this morning but was unsuccessful, so I am back on my laptop.

This is a sparkling post indeed like all others. Having a cheerful and positive attitude towards life works like medicine. God bless you

Munir said...

Thanks for sharing. This is funny. You are right we do need to have sense of humor.
Nice to see you back. We miss your stories.

Sistergirl said...

Amen! I love being around people who can laugh. I hate being around mean face coworkers.

Beth Stilborn said...

It is a blessing to be able to face life with a sense of humor -- especially towards the end of life when there are so many things that could make a person depressed. May we all be able to enjoy our lives the way this lady does! Thanks for sharing.

Damyanti said...

Completely agree with Mark Twain.. and your experience validates it.

A Plain Observer said...

well, that punched line made laugh

Diane J Standiford said...

The residents at my retirement/asst liv home are always yukking it up! They are great. One fella fell down again, this time splitting his head "a bit," upon his return we told him "We like to keep you in stitches around here!" That was good for a laugh. I am the youngest, with MS, at 55, and they inspire me every day! They go all out for Halloween too.

Cloudia said...

you are Social Worker to ALL of us!

Thank You


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Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Another wonderful and inspiring story, Doris! Laughter really is the best medicine!

Cynthia Stevenson said...

I agree with Ms. Clarkson: Laughter and a good sense of humor help us put "life" in perspective. I hang-on to my faith, my love of others and my being able to laugh at the snowballs that life throws. Blessings! ~Cynthia

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

What we all have in common is a sense of humor. It is what connects us all.

Jen said...

Your site is amazing! I am an RN and have recently quit my job and am pursuing law school. I want to stand up for people and help them demand the best care possible. You are an amazing writer!

Hope to see you following me back very soon!

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Randall Cogburn said...

Yep, I concur!! :) I try to make my dad laugh everyday since I know it makes him feel better being pretty much declining in health. Nice post Doris, you seem to have a hard job since i know a little about what Social Workers face.

~Randall