My Chronic Humor

Published on 10 June 2024 at 00:00

Humor is often used as entertainment for all. We all love funny movies, boisterous comedians, and at times even the family clown. Some might not know the true significance of humor, as it pertains to the psychological impact it has on individuals.  Most important humor is a psychological defense mechanism.  It can benefit an individual tremendously when used appropriately. On the other hand, it can often hide an underlying problem a person is experiencing.  I would like to focus on how humor has benefitted me over the years while I coped with living with chronic illness and disability. Humor has helped me so much,  especially enabling me to accept my prognosis and continue living my life the best way I can. I developed my philosophy to life, "If life sucks, deal with it. If shit happens, clean it up." I did not let the seriousness of my illness consume me. I must admit that my antics came at the expense of my parents. I rather make jokes, than wallow about my episodic declines in my health. I have learned to cope and live with chronic illness for more than 20 years now, even though it does not get any easier for me. You take it day by day and find the humor when you can and can.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

- Charlie Chaplin

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

- E. E.  Cummings

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

- Dr. Seuss

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.”

 - Audrey Hepburn

“I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.”

- Bob Hope

Humor is no doubt a great stress reliever, since the physiological impact illness-related stress can bring, can do so much more harm to your body. At times I joked about all the injections that I have taken over the years, I went as far as telling my doctors that my butt has more holes than a tea strainer. I remember when I was hospitalized,  I used my weak heart status to flirt with the female nurses and doctors as well. A perfect example, was when I could not get things my way, I used the heart card like "you know my heart can't take that." It worked all the time, my smart-ass humorous antics were a game for me. During one particular hospitalization, I was on blood thinners to help prevent blood clots, so when I fell and got hurt, I ended up with a hematoma on my butt. I honestly did not understand the seriousness of the situation, and despite the pain I endured I still found the funny in the predicament. Since I was at a teaching hospital, every medical student on the floor wanted to come and see a patient with a hematoma the size of an orange on his ass. As you can imagine I grew annoyed with the spectators. So my response was to simply say, "Don't you all think you had enough of ass for the day." That did not go so well with the senior doctors and their medical students. If it does not hurt to laugh, it means you not laughing hard enough.

“I think the scariest person in the world is the person with no sense of humor.”

- Michael J. Fox

“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”

 - Grenville Kleiser

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”

 - William Arthur Ward

“Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.”

- Mark Twain

“Our humor turns our anger into a fine art.”

 - Mary Kay Blakely

There is so much debate about being woke, what people fail to realize is that you need to be self-aware to be woke. Taking life too seriously can give you an ulcer or even an aneurysm. One needs to laugh at oneself first or just be willing to suck it up for a change. I often tell my friends that I have so many issues to deal with, even taking a dump hurts. I don't even hide my humor from my medical team. I joke about the size of my heart like my heart is so big even my own body does not want to give it up. Keep in mind, I was diagnosed initially with cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart), and congestive heart failure. I have beaten the odds, even the Grim Reaper is afraid of me. I guess I got to keep my heart, big heart and all. I guess I have so much love to give. Joking about all my health setbacks has enabled me not to fall into depression or even let it creep up on me. Some may have not liked my sense of humor, especially my parents, nonetheless, it helped me in so many ways. It is important to find healthy ways to cope when you find yourself faced with a lifelong chronic illness. I am fully aware that humor may not benefit everyone who lives with chronic illness or disability, although it sure does make life bearable at least. A big part of living and coping with chronic illness is acceptance. So, if humor helps make life bearable, why not?

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”

- Proverbs 17:22  

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

- Maya Angelou

 “It's your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don't take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver.”

- Betty White

 “People with a sense of humor tend to be less egocentric and more realistic in their view of the world and more humble in moments of success and less defeated in times of travail.”

- Bob Newhart

“You sharpen your ideas by reducing yourself to the level of the people you are with and a sense of humor and complete relaxation, even when you’re discussing serious things, does help to mobilize friends around you. And I love that.”

- Nelson Mandela

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