Friday, March 21, 2014

A Good Laugh

I found myself laughing a big, deep, belly laugh all by myself while lying in bed. I’d gotten a phone call and had been rolling in laughter until tears were squeezed out from my eyes. This story is not for the easily disgusted, it is indeed far too much information to put out there on a blog. But since folks sometimes accuse my blog of being a downer, I figured I’d share the twisted humor that delighted my soul.

Two background ideas were running in parallel. The first is that times are often very difficult at the hospital where I have worked for the past 1.5 years. Stress can be unimaginably high. In the midst of such, I have a few friends who live a little ways away who make it a point to care for my soul. There’s always a top bunk available, a fridge with food in it, and a house full of fellowship.

The second running storyline is that I have had terrible gastrointestinal upset for over two months. It must be some Africa-induced misery. I’ve taken all the antibiotics, antiparasitics, probiotics, etc that have been recommended in multiple courses, yet to no avail. Still I am rushing out of the OR for the nearest toilet all too regularly.

Earlier today I called to ask my friends what days they would be leaving to go out of town (as I know they are travelling soon). I was in a rush, so I got off the phone after just a couple of questions, finished what I was doing, and headed back to care for my patients. I never thought of it again. But they did. For hours they wondered if I was alright, if the day had been something awful, if I needed their support. That is just the kind of genuine, caring people that they are. Finally, hours later as I lay in bed, I got the call. “Do you need anything? The door is always open. We are here for you and can come get you if there is something wrong. You can come out of town with us if you need a break.”

I responded that today was actually a surprisingly good day, with excellent patient care and multiple episodes of encouragement. The person on the other end of the phone line was a friend of rare quality, who immediately brings a sense of comfort and familiarity beyond what most could in years of knowing them.  So, I just bluntly told her the real reason that I had called earlier. In the midst of one of my GI moments, I realized that I really needed to do something about all of this terrible diarrhea. The situation had gone on too long, and suddenly I realized my desperation. Enough was enough. This was ridiculous. I needed labs, and blood tests, and evaluations only available in the big city which was many hours away. Since I knew that they were travelling to an area where there was a major lab, I was considering getting them to take down a stool sample in a coffee can and a vial of blood for me so I could get a real diagnosis.  It had initially seemed like a brilliant idea. It didn’t seem awkward until I said it out loud.

The contrast of her concern for my well-being (now completely alleviated) and my true intentions was too much. I got totally tickled. We both began laughter too great to continue the conversation. It was the rolling type of laughter that could make one pee their pants, the type with risk of losing control, the type I usually only dare engage in with my sister. Well, during the intervening time since I had come up with this great idea and made that initial phone call, my doctor from home had recommended another regimen of antibiotics, so I had decided to hold off on the stool sample. Through my choking laughter I told her that she was relieved of the wierdness of poop transport duty. I was laughing too hard, we had to hang up the phone. And so then I just laid there in bed with alternating giggles, then full on obnoxious loud laughing bursts. Tears rolled, cheeks tired, abdominal muscles became sore. It was wonderful. I was reminded of how good God is to give moments of delight. As well as how good He is to give friends and fellowship of such caliber that could encourage and protect my heart, as well as be considered close enough for intimate requests of a much more embarrassing nature.

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