Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stop It – You're Killing Me

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.


  1. I've been there... in a giggly kind of place, but inappropriate to the situation.

  2. I don't know how we would handle this without some laughter. I laughed at the milk snort. Thanks, I needed that.

  3. As my language skills improve, I can't wait to tell my family about more of the funny/sad/plain-old-weird things that happened in rehab.


  4. My pleasure, Dean. When I laugh hard now, my arm goes up. There's a joke in there somewhere – I just haven't figured out what it is, yet.

    Nice to meet you, Grace. Rehab was such a trip, wasn't it?

  5. When I laugh hard now, my arm goes up

    Hi Marce, I have to do that when I'm joking- people often think you have to be really serious on retreat..
    love joe (leading a retreat starting today)

  6. My hemiplegic brain can use the extra oxygen laughing provides. Crying uncontrollably is scarier. Thank goodness having someone put their arm around me stop my emotional lability.

    Rebecca at homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

  7. Another silver lining Marce, I'm getting greener by the minute - I want to laugh so hard milk spills out my nose.