I remember a summer when I was 23-years old and bedridden for two weeks because of my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS. It hurt like a mother. (If I had known that I would later be bedridden for over a year with Myasthenia Gravis (MG), I would have treated those two weeks like a “dress rehearsal.”) During those two weeks, my friend Pat showed me the importance of laughter in battling pain. Below you’ll see the Dave Chappelle video that made me laugh sooo hard and still does.
Healthy People, Please Understand…
If you have a loved one who is chronically ill, please understand the toll it takes on our social lives. Pain and fatigue are very isolating, lonely experiences. Before I got MG, I was the one who hosted the big five-course dinner parties for the holidays and initiated birthdays for friends. But when MG came, I lost the energy to cook, call friends, and plan events including small ones. What’s helped me survive is when friends initiate events even something as simple as a night in watching movies. If you’re friend lives far away, you can still help. Just calling up and telling a funny story about your day is comforting.
My Afternoon with Pat and Dave Chapelle
As I said, I first experienced the power of laughter during those two weeks. It wasn’t the first time I was bedridden from PCOS, but at that point in my life, it was the longest stretch of time I ever spent staring at the ceiling. I was writhing in pain constantly screaming. Pat came over and brought his collection of Chappelle’s Show DVDs. We had a marathon; Pat accurately predicted the episodes I would enjoy. Since I never watched the show before, it was all new to me. I was lying there in my bed while he sat in the chair next to my bed. One sketch made me laugh despite the earthquake rocking my ovaries. Check it out: Dave Chappelle plays a blind black man who is a KKK leader. His character, Clayton Bigsby, has no idea he is black! Comic genius. Even now when I’m in pain, I sometimes watch this and it still makes me laugh:
What makes you laugh? Who makes you laugh?
–Your stylist, Jessica Gimeno