Having chronic hepatitis C is not funny, but, living with it can provide endless amusement. I laugh the most about hepatitis C when I attend support groups with others who are learning to live and laugh with this disease. I have seen people laugh even in the last stages of liver failure. People who die with a smile on their face seem to do so with dignity and grace. This was eloquently stated when Anne Lamott declared, “Laughter is carbonated holiness.”
Norman Cousins referred to laughter as “inner jogging.” Before his death in 1990, he used humor to cope with two severe medical conditions. Cousins translated his personal experience into a medical art. He worked in a hospital and charged the staff with a daily task – learn a new joke and tell it to the patients and staff. He replaced apples with a joke a day to keep the doctor away.
Perhaps a laugh a day does not keep the doctor away, but it sure makes life more bearable. Humor can help us talk about the unspeakable. Peter Ustinov mused, “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.”
For further reading or laughs:
Patch Adams www.patchadams.org
Cousins, Norman Anatomy of an Illness Bantam Books
Lamott, Anne Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith Riverhead Books
Laughter Heals Foundation laughterheals.org