Joy L Cancer

It is universally accepted that humour can defuse an explosive situation, spice up a flagging event and lift a grounded party.

And, looking to history, it has even been suggested that Queen Victoria DID NOT SAY “We are not amused!” (If truth be known, she probably nearly laughed her crown off…)

Even when you think your darkest hour is nigh, humour can leap or sidle in and rescue you, or – at least – temper the situation. Take doctors (I would readily have given you mine!). Many years ago, recovering at home after a cancer removal operation, I haemorrhaged and thought I was losing my life’s blood. Ever the dramatist, while visibly calm, I envisaged a frantic, clanging, ambulance ride, and pints of blood transfusions; and rang the hospital
‘Sorry, I can’t help you!’ (gulp) …’Ring your doctor, tear up an old sheet and place blocks under the foot-end of your bed. Get in and lay there, quietly…’ A cradled ‘phone severed my ‘buts…’ Not a funny situation.

My own, lovely doctor, was on holiday. His deputy duly arrived and coldly eyed me.

Thrusting a Post Office Tower-sized needle in my arm, he registered surprise as I flinched. ‘You’re very lucky, you know!’ he said. Certain I was heading for the Exit door, I felt anything but…A lark’s egg-sized tablet (?) followed the injection. Again, he seemed surprised when I nearly choked in an effort to swallow it. There wasn’t the hint of a smile, or a word of comfort; just a few perfunctory, medical questions. I wondered, fleetingly, what his marital bedside manner was like…

Straight-faced, his errand of mercy (?) over, he closed his bag of tricks, unconsciously trapping the cord of my husband’s pyjama trousers, peeping like a pale snake from behind a pillow. They trailed after him like a comatose tiger.

Brave little thing that I was, I smiled through my pain, even inwardly giggling. And the fun was only half over…

Obliviously taking the trousers “walkies” across the bedroom floor, the doctor tripped over a bed-block, making a hastier getaway than planned, through the – fortunately for him – open doorway. Shades of Peter Sellars ‘Clouseau’! Returning seconds later, his cheeks glowing like hot coals, he unceremoniously plonked the offending trousers on the bed, and without a word, left. Despite his efforts, the patient lived to tell the tale!!

The tears of pain I shed that day were as nothing compared with the tears of laughter. Ironically, and totally innocently, in a simple, brief, comedy-cameo, the miserable doctor with the dire, bedside manner did me a power of good!

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