Laughing in the ERPosted: August 19, 2011
Today I was listening to an old Nerdist podcast with Mike Birbiglia. Birbiglia, a comedian, was telling a story about telling jokes about cancer. He was explaining how sometimes it was stressful to tell jokes about such a touchy subject. He went on to explain that often said axiom that a lot of comedians “are people who had to make things funny at home,” had to make uncomfortable situations funny as a way to cope.
This made me think of an experience I’ve had a few times.
Typically when I go to the ER, it’s because I’m in terrible pain and I usually get tests done to see if everything is okay, some pain medication to ease my suffering, and am then sent home and told to follow up with my doctor. That’s what happens when they don’t find anything bad in the tests, obviously.
Nearly every time I go to the ER, my mom goes with me (usually she’s driving). There is a lot of waiting involved in an ER visit, and typically even if you are back in a room, there’s no TV, or nothing good on and it’s just boring. Plus after several hours of being in pain, plus a car trip that can be up to an hour long (I don’t go to my local ER – that’s another story), I can get a little loopy.
So we normally joke around. It helps pass the time, and it helps take the edge off a not fun situation.
I’ve had doctors and/or nurses flat out say that I couldn’t possibly be in that much pain because I was laughing. Like pain means you have to be wailing and gnashing your teeth and writing around on the floor every fricking second? Because I’ve also had an experience when I was in a ton of pain and was told that I needed to be quiet because I was disrupting the other patients in the doctor’s office.
So, I guess it is a no win situation. But I’m not going to stop joking around, or even laughing whenever possible. Because if I’m going to be treated weirdly no matter which way I behave, then I’d rather try my best to make the situation more comfortable for myself.