Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

Readers Digest, September 2006 in an article by Dan Ferber, PhD entitled The Funny Factor, p. 102

But a growing body of research suggests that humor can tune our minds, help us learn, and keep us mentally loose, limber and creative.

In that case, my mind must be very finely tuned.

I found this interesting as my family has always faced adversity with laughter. It seems to be ingrained in our genetic makeup as the trait is shared by extended family members as well. I’ve often wondered if a sense of humor could be inherited, but I digress. It’s been known for a few years that laughter is healing, it relaxes the body, which in turn helps the body cope with stress related issues. For more on this research, follow this link.

So the decision to face AD with laughter was an easy one for my siblings and me. We chose to find the humor in each situation instead of wallowing in the self-pity basement. We never laugh at mother, but we do trade humorous stories with each other about the things that she does. I used to write about them on my other blog until I told a humorous story about a Fourth of July incident with my mother and her older sister. The responses were mixed, but mostly in the “I’m so sorry” “How sad” camp. I kept telling them that it wasn’t sad – it was funny, that I choose to laugh instead of cry. Then Deb commented (her introduction to me and the subsequent creation of this blog) and said that it was funny, that she understood, etc. The light bulb went on at that point. What is funny to us in this caregiver position would not necessarily be funny to “outsiders”. It’s one of those shared things.

Therefore, a little anecdote from this evening. First, mom is eating again. Not her old appetite but at least she’s finishing the small amount of food we’re giving her where before she would take only a couple of bites and decide she was finished. So tonight she finishes her meal, I get her tucked into bed for the evening of TV and head off to the kitchen with the supper dishes. I was gone long enough to scrape and rinse and then back to her room. I entered just as she was getting out of bed. “What are you doing mom?” She stopped and looked at me. “It’s time for breakfast”. (Um, no, not unless we just had the shortest night on record and if that’s the case, I didn’t get any sleep).


Blogger Gail Rae said...

Here, here!
My Mom's response would have been, "Well, I guess you did have the shortest night on record! So, what's for breakfast?!?"

Wed Aug 16, 03:55:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Karma said...

My mom laughs at herself with me. Sometimes the situations are so ridiculous that she even recognizes it. Thank god for humor.

Wed Aug 16, 11:12:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Karma said...

Also, I copied the html from your site to post the webring - I like the picture you used better than the one Micheal used. I hope that's okay.

Wed Aug 16, 11:28:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Paula Martinac said...

Bailey - My sister and I constantly trade funny stories about our parents; it really is the only thing that keeps us going. Some of my favorites are just kind of silly - like Mom referring to Meals on Wheels as Wheels on Meals. (I immediately picture a little plastic dish on wheels...) Sometimes there's a story that's not even that funny, but just the process of sharing it with each other makes us laugh until no sound comes out... Yeah, I say, no matter what, work that sense of humor.

Thu Aug 17, 05:49:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous Deb Peterson said...

Just last weekend my mother woke me up at 4:30 AM. "Do we have to go to Mass now?" I didn't even open my eyes. "We watch Mass on TV," I mumbled. "Are you sure?" I opened my eyes to see her standing there wearing a turtleneck sweater and nothing else. "On Channel 22. You can go back to bed," I said and she did.

I just couldn't tell that to anyone besides my sister and you guys.

Sat Aug 19, 08:25:00 PM CDT  

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