I don’t think of myself as a particularly funny person. I have always enjoyed making people laugh but that has just been a side effect of my love of telling stories. Laughter is like any other reaction that informs a storyteller that the listener is engaged. I enjoy laughter for the same reason I enjoyed receiving rejection letters back when I was submitting my writing for publication–it meant my work was received, and considered, and an opinion had been formed. I guess I just like being heard.
Sickness as a greater idea is in no way humorous. It is a moustache-twisting, fairy tale thief of energy, time, money and peace. (Now that I think about this, that image is kind of funny.) There is no sane person who will sit down and argue that you should laugh about illness. If someone tries I highly recommend the punch-them-in-the-face method of argument. It is quick, efficient and only barely exceeds the amount of time and energy worth spending on such a person.
I do think, however, that being sick as a day-to-day experience can be side-splitting. This is a very foreign idea to those who have not spend a great deal of time around the sick, but it was something I was familiar with long before this past year. I’ve had bedridden friends manage to set rabbits loose on recovery centers and draw mustaches on nurses’ framed portraits. And I have my own experiences.
I want to tell you three stories of silly sickness. It might not be funny to you at all. This might be because I’m just not telling it right, or else because it just isn’t very funny. But to me this is part of the being sick experience and it’s very funny to me.
The Stubborn Wedding:
Two years ago we were invited to a spectacular wedding. One thing about me you have to know is that I positively adore weddings: I love the schmalz, the tears, the music, the food, the dancing, and on and on. I love picking out gifts and cards for them. I love stressing over what to wear. I love cooing over the dresses and the centerpieces. I just am a sucker for weddings, and this one was tops. It was in a gorgeous manor with great food and spectacular views, lovely personality and great stories. We were put up in the nicest bed and breakfast I have ever seen. The weather was perfect. Only one thing was wrong: I was desperately ill. At the time I was dealing with the fallout from having MRSA, the main thing of which was having absolutely no immune system. I had a 102 degree fever and white spots on my burning throat.
And darn it if I did not go to–and enjoy–every part of that wedding. Swaying slightly, I chatted with newfound family members at the rehearsal dinner bonfire and cried at the ceremony. I laughed at the speeches and argued with cousins. I even danced! And after it all I went back to the bed and breakfast and shook violently from fever in the very fancy jacuzzi.
(This might seem more crazy than funny, but to me it is hilarious. I also feel that I must add I was not contagious at all–merely very ill.)
This is the story of the aforementioned MRSA. I had some weird blisters on my nose and a slight fever the day of a church retreat and so managed to get into the doctor before heading down. He thought it was probably shingles but wasn’t sure and so gave some antibiotics and antivirals just in case. As you’ve probably noticed I tend to be a stubborn fool and so insisted on going to the retreat despite the goings on, over my more sensible husband’s objections. I was feeling ill and feverish by the evening but thought the meds would probably help and felt proud of myself for going to bed early.
Unfortunately I woke up at 6am with my face so swollen my eyes would barely open and my forehead very red and spongy. Somewhere in this world is photographic proof that for a weekend in 2013 I looked like a half-Klingon without the need of any prosthetics. Had my fever been lower and my condition been less contagious (at the emergency room they pumped me full of steroids and gave me the sort of meds generally reserved for warding off malaria) I would have fit in at any convention anywhere, given my war cry was up to snuff.
The Ball Game:
And now a story from the relative present. A few months ago we were visiting my in-laws for the weekend, largely to free my husband up from having to do everything while I just lay there and watched. (Basically how things go nowaday.) This turned out to not go as planned when I had a terrible weak spell and found myself utterly unable to make it up the stairs to the bedroom on my own, collapsing halfway up.
Now Tucker, my in-laws’ labradoodle, and I have a very special relationship. Since he was a puppy he has wiggled with joy whenever he sees me and to this day gets extra zoomies when I’m around. So when he zoomed up the stairs, squeezing past my collapsed self, then running back down to me I assumed that he was trying to help. We all–my husband who had run to assist me, my in-laws who were not far behind–smiled and laughed at his puppy-ish attempts at aid.
But we laughed a lot harder when he ran back up to the top, grabbed a ball and dropped it down the steps to my captive form. He wasn’t trying to help at all–he was trying to play.
Matt picked me up and carried me the rest of the way up the stairs and into bed, and poor Tucker had to wait until another, better time for catch-and-throw.