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Laughter: My Favorite Coping Mechanism

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

By Melissa Nelson

The most important thing my dad taught me to do was laugh, especially while sitting in the ER. When psychologists talk coping mechanisms, I would say the most important is laughter. My favorite thing to do whenever I go see the doctor or I’m getting ready to have a medical procedure is crack jokes and be sarcastic.

I have always found that life is always serious, no matter your journey, so why not bring in a little humor? It works with doctors, friends, family, and especially for my students. But, most importantly, it helps me cope with my lifelong struggle.

I wrote these jokes when I was 20, about six months before I was going to have a revised Fontan procedure and get a new pacemaker (named Pete):

"The difference between pacemakers in old people and pacemakers in young people is...well, there is no difference—it’s the only thing keeping them alive."

"If you weren't so heartless I wouldn't need to be here."

"I'll lead you straight to the heart of the problem."

"There are so many electronic devices out there, why wouldn't you want me?"

"It doesn't matter where you put me, I'll always know the rhythms of your heart!"

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