My first roommate in rehab had broken her hip while sneaking out of her daughter's house for a cigarette. One morning over breakfast, she gave voice to my sentiments in her
tobacco-roughened Alabama accent: "I hate this place.
Get me out of here. I can't stand it another day."
I lost it: I laughed, I howled – I went into a complete hysterical fit. Sensing that Helen was not amused, I tried to stifle my giggles and focus on my flat-as-roadkill sausage. But bursts of laughter continued to erupt out of me for several more minutes.
I remembered something I'd read in the thick stroke notebook I'd been given on my arrival in rehab. An effect of stroke can include "emotional lability – uncontrollable laughing or crying for no apparent reason."
The next time I saw my husband, I asked him, "Am I behaving inappropriately? I mean, any more than usual?"
"Like when we were having lunch with your mom and you laughed so hard you snorted milk out your nose?"
"Okay, the milk bit," I conceded. "But the situation was pretty funny – you've got to admit."
(I’d relay the story here, so you could see my point, but it's really one of those things where you had to be there.)
"It wasn't that funny," my husband said.
Okay – maybe you had to have a stroke and be there.