From the archives …
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One of the many things that I’ve learned through the years of being with people in the most devastating circumstances is the incredible power of humor. In fact, there is a classic book in pastoral care written by Heije Faber comparing the role of a hospital chaplain to that of a circus clown – and it is a very complementary comparison! One pediatric intensivist that I worked with for years used to rely on me to make some sort of crack about something as we were walking to tell parents the worse news they could hear. It wasn’t that I was making fun of the situation or what the doctor had to do. It was simply that brief respite from some soul crushing times.
I learned the same thing when I was sick. Lying in an ICU bed in the middle of the night can be a pretty lonely time filled with thoughts of doubt, worry, fear. But one thing that the night shift nursing staff could count on was at some point they’d hear me laughing out loud at something that I saw on the Comedy Channel. After one particularly brutal day medically for me, the night nurse came in to do something. I made some sort of joke. Her response, with a smile, was “how can you joke at a time like this?” My response was “Ya Gotta Laugh”.
So, this section is going to be dedicated to helping to at least put a smile on our faces. Now, I’m the first to admit to having a bit of a strange sense of humor. A lot of things I think are funny, are not experienced that way by some. But that’s OK – in that moment, at least I’m smiling! So share with us some fun stuff – occurrences that have happened to you along the transplant journey, things you’ve seen, heard and even enjoyed. I can tell you from working in them for thirty years, hospitals are full of real life soap operas and indeed could be labeled “Comedy Central”. Let’s hear from you. Organ transplant stories all have something to laugh about.
Let’s try one here. Some members of the hospital staff were walking into work when they saw a group of people looking around a flower garden in the park outside the hospital chapel. That group was all dressed in OR garb and looked like they were ready for major surgery. One of the newly arriving employees asked one of the searchers what they were looking for. “We’ve got the meanest, crankiest most selfish man in the city in the operating room waiting for a new heart.” One of the surgeons replied. “We’re just looking for a stone that will be a right fit”.
Ya Gotta Laugh!