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:
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:
And Riley got to enjoy the company of others:
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.