Why aren’t doctors telling more jokes?

I asked that question as an aside over on the Mighty Casey Media blog earlier this week. We’re all about the comedy here at MCM. That, and the self-referencing that is “meta.”

Hey, a grrl’s gotta build links somehow, right?

Back to the topic at hand: laughter, its potential to heal, and its place in healthcare.

I know from hard personal experience – cancer for Christmas, remember? – that laughing in the face of adversity makes you feel more like you can deal. With illness, with financial setbacks (How much easier to manage would the recent debt-ceiling bitch-fest have been if they’d been trying to crack each other up, rather than beating each other over the head? Just asking. ), with family trauma, with pretty much any sling or arrow of outrageous fortune – nothing can’t be softened by a good belly laugh.

That’s truth, not conjecture.

The first time I remember seeing/hearing the phrase “laughter, the best medicine” was in Reader’s Digest, when I was a grade-school kid just learning how to read past “see Jane & Dick run.” It made perfect sense to a seven year old – I always felt better after a good laugh.

None of the doctors I’d met to that point seemed to have the same philosophy, and my experience since then hasn’t revealed any hidden comedy gold in the MD zone. Other than Ken Jeong. Medical care itself can be funnier than ****, considering the positions and situations we find ourselves in.

Stirrups. Hospital gowns. Turn your head and cough. They’ve got a million of ’em.

Here’s my proposition: let’s help our healthcare providers, and ourselves, find the funny. I’m not suggesting that you prepare a five-minute standup set for your next annual physical – since your GP only has about seven minutes to spend with you, you want to keep it short and tight! – but encouraging the healthcare providers in your life to look at you, and laugh with you, will make a huge difference.

Really.

It will make them see your humanity, and help them connect with their own. In the most dire of situations, if you can laugh – particularly with your medical team – you’re building a pathway to healing. Try it. Even if you’re dealing with a chronic – or a terminal – illness, helping yourself move toward the lightness that laughter brings can make dealing with the most sucky of circumstances possible.

Try it. And let me know what kind of difference it makes.

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If laughter is the best medicine …
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