Monday, August 31, 2015

Hospital Humor

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

Hospitals are not normally funny places, but I've been spending so much time in them lately (as a visitor/advocate) that I've actually contracted the highly contagious disease of morbid humor. This suggests an unhealthy mental state, but I prefer to think of it as a destination event for surviving medical absurdities.

Take skyrocketing hospital costs for example. Sharpies and doctor scrubs are way more expensive than pen and paper. So why do surgeons insist on drawing on their pants with permanent ink? I don't know how widespread this practice is, but I can tell you from experience that one particular orthopedic surgeon went through multiple scrubs in one week. His sketches were quite informative and he showed impressive artistic talent considering he was drawing the hip bones upside down from his perspective. In less time than it takes to say Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA), Dr. Michelangelo created his masterpieces of bones, breaks and repairs on his cotton canvases. This was done to explain surgical procedures to family members.

Speaking of HIPPA, weren't privacy laws being violated when Dr. Mike chose to become a walking art gallery?

My sister asked the surgeon if she could take a picture of his pants to share with our California based brothers. Being Kanela and afflicted with morbid humor, I just asked for his pants!

In a follow up visit, this same surgeon displayed the X-rays of his handiwork while quoting John Keats, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." Again being Kanela, humor often just comes out of my mouth unbidden, so I thanked him for giving me such a classic compliment! Again our skyrocketing hospital costs. Big egos are expensive to feed.

I found the next hospital visit to be hilarious. The nurses did not. This particular patient, prior to his hospital stay had just had a difficult time with Macy's employees trying to return a man's leather belt. After inhaling copious amounts of anesthetics, cognitive dysfunction kicked in. This patient/customer thought all of the nurses were Macy's employees. I was given the dire warning,"Whatever you do, don't mention Macy's!" Being Kanela, I injected some medical laughter into the situation by "accidentally" mentioning Macy's to this disgruntled customer. I was highly amused.

I've read that some hospitals are employing clowns to lighten the mood of patients. This is fine as long as the patient is not suffering from coulrophobia, the excessive fear of clowns. I personally know two people who are borderline coulrophobics and would have zero tolerance for these circus costumed characters. They would run screaming through the halls and out the closest exit. Would that be funny? Morbid humorist says, "yes," although said humorist is not that fond of clowns herself. She would probably be laughing as she ran screaming through the halls.

And what about those robotic hall cleaners that wander willy-nilly around the hospital, even controlling the elevators? (Willy-nilly is a funny word.) I find these child-sized robots quite comical in a creepy sort of way. Of course, I even find some child-sized children to be creepy. Morbid humor strikes again!

If you have a hospital humor story that you would like to share, feel free to email it to me. Who knows, with your permission (and relinquishing of all future rights of ownership), you may see it in my Hospital Humor book on the NY Times Best Seller List 2016

Sandra Warholic Seeley is the creator and author of Kanela's Korner and The Sandra Seeley Column. She is a lifelong educator who has taught in Hawaii, where Kanela was born; Bethel Park, where her 3 children were born and in the inner city schools of Pittsburgh Public where her passion for the underprivileged began. Kanela's Korner is often 95% fiction and 5% fact, leaving the reader to do the math. Her motto is: Funny or not, here I come! Her faithful assistant, Wolfgang, is always by her side. He looks just like a black Lab and works for treats. To contact the author, click the following link.

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