Thursday, February 26, 2009

Laughter is good medicine

One of the more interesting symptoms of bulbar onset ALS is excessive/uncontrolled laughter and crying. We used to joke that the bouts of laughing and crying were kind of like the weather. You just need to be a little patient and the storm will pass.

I remember one particular incident where something got Bill laughing and then he couldn't stop. He was standing at the kitchen sink and I watched helplessly as he just "slid" down the cabinets to land in a pool of laughter on the floor. Fortunately, at least on this occasion, he didn't hurt himself! I jumped up and got behind him, to lift him safely as he'd carefully taught all of his caregivers. Only...his legs were not in a cooperative mood. I'd get him about half way to standing and he'd start laughing again, melting any bit of strength in his legs. After 3 attempts, I realized that until the lauughing passed, we didn't have a prayer of getting him vertical again.

So...we managed to get him propped up in a corner, leaning against the cupboards. I grabbed a glass of wine for each of us and pulled up a seat on the floor right beside him. You can get a very interesting perspective on life and your housekeeping skills from this vantage point! The dogs must have thought we'd lost it, but decided to join us as well. What a site! We enjoyed the wine and talked about a lot of different things that night. The laughter ran its course in about 30 minutes and once he was back in control, we were able to get him safely standing again. We were back to "business as usual". I've often joked that my life is "The Truman Show" and this was definitely one of the funnier episodes!

Lessons learned:
1) Life is about falling....Living is about getting back up!

2) Laughter is good. Too much laughter is not so good.
3) Take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment...don't fight it - join it!
4) Hire a housekeeper!

No comments: