Why Laughter Was the Best Medicine After My Stroke

Why Laughter Was the Best Medicine After My Stroke


In 2012, I had a brain stem stroke which rendered me unable to walk, talk, or move anything but my eyelids. This made communication difficult. I was in the hospital for 12 weeks and I learned rather quickly that if I wanted to keep myself together mentally, I needed to laugh.

A lot. I had always heard that laughter was the best medicine and I found it to be true. Laughing helped remind me that even during my awful situation of learning to walk and talk again, there was something to smile about. For at least 30 seconds, I could temporarily forget where I was and what had happened to me.

Delanie Stephenson, the author

I was very fortunate to have someone stay with me every night during my time in the hospital. My husband, mom, and sister-in-law were the ones that stayed with me most. Lots of laughter helped fill the long nights which would have been rather boring had I not had anyone. I would joke with the nurses; they saw me in my most vulnerable state so why not laugh, and many would want to come to my room just for the laughter.

I would laugh while I received medicine, during bedpan adventures, sponge bath time and more. The most fun I had was when my sister-in-law would spend the night with me.

When my sister-in-law was there, I felt like I was having a sleepover. She would paint my nails, give me a facial and put makeup on me. We would watch funny movies and laugh until we fell asleep. She was particularly concerned with making sure my lips were not dry. She was always putting Vaseline on my lips since I couldn’t do it myself.

One day, my sister-in-law came in for her shift to stay with me and she noticed my lips were dry again. She grabbed a packet beside my bed and put the contents of the packet on my cracked lips. I noticed this brand of Vaseline had a thick consistency and it didn’t smell right. I also noticed that my sister-in-law had not looked at the packet before applying the substance. Remember, I couldn’t talk at this time, so I couldn’t tell her something wasn’t right.

I did, however, make a face like someone would make if something was sour or they didn’t like the taste. At this point, my sister-in-law knew something was up.

I kept kind of smacking my lips to try and draw her attention there. It took a few moments and she finally realized the problem involved what was on my lips. She picked up the packet of what she thought was Vaseline and revealed the truth of what it really was: lubricating jelly. There was a full supply of this (for reasons that are best left unmentioned!) on the table beside my bed.

When my sister-in-law realized what she did, there was a look of horror on her face at first. But when I bust out laughing and she saw I wasn’t upset, she started laughing too. I mean really, what was I going to do? Get out of the bed and yell at her? I couldn’t even whisper. She quickly wiped the lubricating jelly off my lips, which doesn’t taste good if you were wondering, and found a Vaseline packet.

Moral of the story: Before you apply anything to your lips (or someone else’s!), read the label. It’ll do you a world of good.

Delanie Stephenson is a young woman, wife, and mom who’s life changed at the age of 33 due to a brain stem stroke.

She’s the author of The Calm before the Storm and Mom Had a Stroke.


Shared from the The Mighty website

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