Monday, 5 September 2016

It's a laugh or cry world

gal·lows hu·mor
Grim and ironic humour in a desperate or hopeless situation.

Last Friday evening I accidentally slopped piping hot soup into my lap.  I jumped and howled in pain and consequently dumped even more soup on me.  Then I ripped my clothes off and headed for a cool shower in an effort to bring down the temperature of the contact area.  By Saturday I had an impressive cluster of blisters on my thighs so I waddled off to the closest store in search of antibiotic cream.  On Saturday evening I called the 8-1-1 Healthline for advice on how to deal with the blisters.  A patient nurse answered my call with a labyrinth of questions.

There is nothing like trying to remember your postal code while you writhe in pain.  I appreciate that the nurse was following a necessary protocol with both medical and legal objectives in mind.  But I couldn't help but be struck by the contrast between my ragged agony and her cool professionalism.  Again, I understand the need for objectivity in these situations.  Still, my mind works in metaphors and descriptive language not inches and number scores.  I did far better in describing the blistered area as twice the size of my palm.  I found it odd that she would ask me the number of blisters.  So, finally in exasperation I asked, "do you want me to give them names?"

I apologized to her saying, "I'm sorry but I just need a little humour to get me through this right now."  And her response was well at least you don't sound confused or disoriented.  In more than one way my wits were about me.