Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No Pain, No Gain

I used to apply the term "No Pain, No Gain" to working out... going to the gym, going for a run, whatever moved me in that moment. These days it takes on an entirely new meaning... and it has everything to do with laughter.

It's SO not the best medicine.

Well, it is for my spirit, certainly. But for my body? That's a whole other story. The first time I realized it was a problem was many years ago, and I blame it all on my mother. [Hi, Mom!]

I had been in the hospital here in town for about a week, during which time they had done a spinal tap on me. As the week went on I got much worse instead of better, with excruciating headaches and nausea. My poor friend Susie would come see me every morning before work and every evening after work, and without fail every time she would help me up to walk to the bathroom I would proceed to get sick to my stomach from the pain of moving my head. It was unpleasant to say the least. And she was such a trooper.

At the end of the week they transferred me to a hospital in Iowa City where they did a blood patch because the spinal tap had apparently allowed spinal fluid to drain and caused "dry brain" (go ahead and insert whatever joke you'd like to make here... many others have had fun with it, believe me). Basically, the spinal fluid that keeps the brain afloat in my skull was gone and I needed it back.

My parents and my sister Janette came to Iowa City when I was transferred (as did my friends Jenny and Susie ... I'm telling you, my friends are the best), I had the blood patch, and over the course of the next few days the headache improved dramatically. One of the doctors that was assigned to me was a very nice man, and while I can't remember his real name, I certainly remember the name my mother kept calling him after he left the room.

She seriously, sincerely and repeatedly kept referring to him as Dr. Dinkledorff. I was medicated, in pain and out of it... but even I had the good sense to look at her like she had three heads and wondered if she was a bit medicated herself. You should have seen the look on her face when she realized she was wwwaaayyy off on his name, and how ridiculous the name she kept rattling off was... and then she got the giggles like you would not believe.

People, I can hardly type right now because I'm trying not to laugh at the memory.

The problem was that I was totally punchy from the week I had, so when she started laughing uncontrollably I followed suit and could.not.stop. Which made her laugh harder. Which made me laugh harder. And the whole process was PAINFUL to me. It made my head hurt worse and my body ache more and I started swearing at her to make her stop and then she'd laugh harder. She would leave the room and walk down the hall, we'd get settled down in the room and she'd come back in and it would start all over again. It took a good 20 minutes to end the process and by the time is was over we were all exhausted.

Years have passed and the laughing thing has gotten significantly worse. When I start to laugh I have to turn off my brain and take slow breaths to make myself stop because it starts a whole chain reaction of pain that is better to avoid. But sometimes, laughter just gets the better of me.

And this time, it was the fault of these three beautiful people:laura jeff becca im

I say that tongue-in-cheek since there are few people I'd love to laugh with more. :) My sister Laura, brother-in-law Jeff and niece Rebecca stopped by to see me on Friday afternoon on their way through town to watch my nephew play in a basketball tournament. We were talking about the blog I had written about being gullible, and Laura asked me if I remembered how they used to all go off and ride horses and leave me in the front yard on my plastic bouncing horse that was mounted with springs because they didn't want to have to help me ride along with them.

[I know... they were cruel weren't they? Just wait... it gets worse.]

I said, "That wasn't the worst of it... remember when I was really little and Jim and Steve convinced me they had hooked up the sprayer on the kitchen sink to a speaker, so if I talked into it when you were all out riding horses they could hear me?"

I don't think any of us breathed again for the next five minutes we laughed so hard. Apparently Laura never knew they did that to me, and the image of me as a little girl, sitting on the counter in the kitchen, waving at them out the window while talking in the sprayer was too much for her to take. She was red faced, tears streaming, shaking with laughter... no amount of slow breathing was pulling me out of this one. Jeff was no better and Becca was just staring at me like I was a freaking idiot. I definitely lost cool points for that story.

So, while it was lovely to see this beautiful face:becca 3

And Riley got to enjoy the company of others:

becca laura riley 3

becca laura riley

I am just starting to recover from the number that laughing did to my body. And for good measure, I am definitely keeping the rest of my stories about me being an idiot to myself.

Well, at least until the next time I need something to blog about.


  1. You made me cry! I'm so glad I linked to you in my blog today! I'll be busting out laughing until I fall asleep. That story is one of those that sneaks up on you.

    Thanks for the sweet stuff you said to me today. I hope you recover soon from all the laughter. I'm going to go take a hot bath and have my family think I'm bursting out in tears...well, there will be tears, but they will be brought on by imaginings of you and your siblings doing that cowpoke thing.

    I will never be able to thank you enough for the image of you waving happily out the window while talking into the sprayer.

  2. oh

    hilarious and OH so gullible.
    thanks for the laugh.

  3. Hilarious! Thanks for the Tuesday morning smile.

  4. Cut little curly haired girl talking into a sprayer...Sara that's so funny and sweet and adorable and tragic!!! (In a really giggley way)
    Love the story but so hate that you've been hurting. Prayers for a pain free day...is it possible? love and smooches.

  5. Ok...it's 5:30 a.m. and I'm in my kitchen laughing and I can't stop. Maybe I'll get the "microphone" sprayer out and wake up the family this a.m.:)

  6. It's way too early to laugh this hard. I think they call it "unbridled laughter."

    Ahhh - so many uses for that sprayer. Makes a great karaoke mic if you have a voice like mine.

  7. Oh no! What a terrible story...but so funny! I'm sorry that laughing hurts you, but I'm so glad you have friends and family to make you laugh.

  8. Wait. I don't think that came out right. I'm glad you have friends and family that make you happy - but if laughing hurts, then I promise I'm not glad that something makes you hurt!!

  9. It sounds like I was as gullible as you as a child!! I am still pretty gullible now, if the person sounds convincing. My husband and I have fun with it, he's as gullible as I am! :D FUN times.

    Heres to hoping you feel better soon!

  10. You are an open book. You just can't seem to help it. We'll hear lots more stories from you, I'm sure of it, and am thrilled at the thought.

    Tam's post on rating blogs...inspirational...that's what does it for me. You are inspirational.

  11. Yeah... don't feel bad Sara. My brothers had their moments of cruelty too - they got me to grab electric fence wires and lick batteries more than once! Sometimes it's just not fair when you're the youngest!!!! BTW - I miss trying to make you laugh - you are one person who actually finds me funny!

  12. no joke here....I actually looked gullible up in the dictionary to see if it was in there twice. I did. It's a horrible horrible (and funny) story but the REASON I did it (you KNOW I have a good one) is because I was thinking of alternate spellings. I thought it could be listed twice for that. Seriously. I'd always heard people say that expression, about it being in the dictionary twice, and I never understood it. Until that moment. I think I was 15. Oh dear lord.

    I've missed you around and was wondering how you were doing. It makes me sad that something so wonderful as laughing causes you so much pain. Just do what I do when I can't laugh out loud b/c of the kids sleeping....smile REALLY BIG and raise your eyebrows REALLY high. It helps. HAHA!!

  13. You know, I can still hear you through your sprayer in your kitchen . . .

  14. Gullible perhaps, but eager and willing spirit with magnetic doll-baby appeal sums it up too! You give new meaning to laugh until it hurts : )

    I'll never be able to look at a sprayer again without wanting to talk into it and laugh !!!!

  15. I am still laughing at the image. Wonderful post, Sara.

  16. Wow, that was too funny!!! Thank you for sharing...in spite of your pain!

  17. I love that you all found it as funny as we did!!! I'm just waiting to hear how many of you try to pull it on your kids someday to keep them occupied...

    [Leslie, you'd be the first one that comes to mind to try it, for some reason!!!]

  18. That was funny...but not so funny. Sorry, such a wonderful thing can bring so much pain. Lovely post, I really liked it. Have a great day!

  19. If you are sore for laughing so much, I'd say that was probably some good medicine for your body.

    I love ya!

  20. I love these stories! In a weird sort of way I wish I had stories like that to tell...or maybe I do and I've blocked them from my memory.

    Thanks for making me smile and laugh today!

  21. Oh my...the visual image of you at the sprayer as the rode off into the distance is hilarious!

  22. okay, i have to ask. did you have to hold down the button on the sprayer to talk????

  23. man that was a good one..
    are you still in the hospital? how so you loose fluid around your brain, how do you get it back? man sara , i wondered if something was wrong when i emailed you and you didt respond for a while. take care sheri

  24. dang it! i know that laughing is good and you have these amazing memories. but shoot! i hate that it causes you pain!

    thats it. next time we talk...im making you cry!