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Sunday, June 16, 2013


Experience has taught me that life can be much more fun if you are able to find humor in moments that aren't necessarily funny. For example, what happened a couple of weeks ago at Marie and Thayne's house. We had been invited over for Sunday dinner, which was delicious, and then went into the family room to relax. We were chatting and looking at funny things on our tablets and phones, and resting comfortably on their new reclining furniture. At one point, I wanted to hand Thayne my tablet so that he could see what I was viewing on it. Naturally, it was quite a reach. As I leaned over really far to hand him the tablet, the recliner that I was sitting on tipped over! I was completely unharmed, but startled. "Crap," I said, "I broke your furniture! Nothing makes a person feel like their behind is too fat as fast as breaking the chair they're sitting on!" Actually, the chair was fine, and I learned they had had the same experience. It made for some good chuckles.

I figure that if I am able to make a joke about a situation, it means everything will turn out fine. Several years ago, as some of you may know, I went on a trip to Hungary with my sister and two of my friends in search of my family. I didn't know any of them or where they lived, aside for the name of the village. We started planning the trip in October, and were going the following April. The prospect of the trip was pretty daunting. I was going to go looking for my mother's family. Would they be willing to accept me, or reject the daughter of the person who killed their sister or cousin or friend? Also, I had never traveled outside of the USA, not even to Canada or Mexico. I love traveling, but adding the stress of showing up unannounced to the excitement of my first international trip had my brain in overdrive.

At first, Liz, my sister, didn't think she would be able to go, but her neighbor, an airline employee, gave her a buddy pass. Relief. At least I didn't have to worry about that any more. I have to admit, my mind was so full with this trip and related worries and excitements, that I barely slept in those six months. I was exhausted from thinking about finding my own family, and going to both Budapest and Paris, and trying to learn a few phrases in both languages. As the time to go came closer, I slept even more poorly with anticipation. The last night before departure arrived, and I tried to get some sleep. Then the phone rang after midnight. It was my sister, and she was nearly hysterical. She wasn't traveling with us since she had the buddy pass, and was being bypassed on one full plane after another. She said she just wasn't going to go on the trip after all.

So much for me sleeping that night! When the time was reasonable, I called Thayne and Marie and told them what had happened. Before I knew it, they had arranged flights for her, and she would get into Budapest the day after we did. I finished packing, nervous and exhausted, and got ready to start my trip, relieved that Liz was still going. We headed out to the airport to get on our first flight, nine hours long, to Frankfurt, Germany. I have flown before with no problems since I was a little kid. Not so lucky this time. The stress and the sleepless night caught up with me, and I was sicker than sick. About every three hours, whoops! I went. And also on the flight from Frankfurt to Budapest. Yikes. After we landed and walked around a bit, I was good to go. But I declared my experience on the flight as my nine hours as the exorcist baby. (If you never saw the movie, someone who did can explain it to you.) I laughed about it after it was over. I couldn't have done so during the flight or I'd have yakked my toes up. Incidentally, all of the other flights were fabulous, and I ate like a healthy person while in the air. It was lovely.

One of my funniest laugh-don't-cry moments happened when I was hospitalized and eventually diagnosed with lupus. I had never been sick enough or injured badly enough to be in a hospital before. In fact, I was almost phobic about them. So here I was in the cardiac care ward because the doctors were afraid I was going to have a stroke, with a monitor attached to my chest around the clock. I had a roommate who was experiencing blood clots related to birth control pills, but I seldom saw her face because she wasn't allowed to get out of the bed like I was. She was very kind and quiet, but there were several patients in the ward who moaned all night. Between that and the fear that something serious was wrong with me, I had difficulty sleeping at night, so I had to use sleeping pills to get any rest at night.

When I took my sleeping pill, I would wait for it to act for a few minutes and then make one last trip to the bathroom for a tinkle before slipping into a coma-like slumber. On one particular evening, just as I was getting super-relaxed, I heard my roommate call the nurses and ask for a bedpan. I knew that the bedpan was in the bathroom, and I didn't want to cause my roommate to have to wait for it because I was in there, so I decided to be polite and wait. Funny that when you are freaking out and cranky and feeling horrible, you can still manage to think of others and want to be polite. So I waited for the nurse to come and do the bedpan routine. And waited, and waited, and waited some more. Finally I realized, through the drug-induced haze, that the nurse was there and that the bedpan routine had been accomplished. I told myself that I could get up and have a tinkle now.

I gathered up my IV and pole, and started to shuffle the few feet to the bathroom door. And that's exactly what happened. I shuffled right into the bathroom door frame. With my face. Well, actually my eye socket. Let me clarify. I ran into the bathroom door frame so hard that my head made a bonging sound and rebounded like one of those slow-motion films you see of a boxer getting a mad jab to the kisser. "Oh," I thought, "I think I hit my head. Huh. Isn't that something." I reached up and didn't feel any blood or anything, so I shambled on into the bathroom, did what I had braved injury for, and shuffled back to bed and drifted into my coma-sleep. When I woke up in the morning, I wasn't entirely sure it had really happened until I touched my brow bone and it said ouch. I never mentioned it to the doctors or nurses, though, because I wanted to get out of that joint as soon as possible, but I laughed myself senseless about it later. "Oh, I think I hit my head." As it rebounds and almost bounces off of my back...too funny for words! And when I laugh at it, I'm not being insensitive to somebody else's pain. Bonus!

Maybe it's a good thing that I rebound with laughter. After all, some of the stuff I have experienced is so amazing you couldn't make it up. If you did, it wouldn't be as funny. So if you should find yourself having one of those moments, try to remember what I said once when I fell on my face, literally so. "Did my nose always look like a potato?" And enjoy your rebound.