I don’t know if laughter is the best medicine, but it is certainly good medicine.
There is a lot of talk these days about positive attitude and how essential it is to coping with chronic illness. That is true, but I would add that a sense of humor may be just as important. The ability to laugh at our own foibles and missteps is sometimes just the tonic we need.
I can come up with dozens of examples of multiple sclerosis imposing on my life in a frustrating way, and quite a few instances where strangers have had a laugh at my expense. That’s no fun but, hey, that’s life.
The good-natured ribbing of friends is another matter. That kind of humor lets you know that you are still one of the gang, and not so pathetic that you can’t take a joke.
Then there’s the time when having MS became the excuse that got me out of an absurdly awkward situation worthy of a sitcom.
My husband and I were visiting London on business, but we had several lovely social functions on our agenda. This particular evening, we were scheduled to attend a cocktail party at a small art museum. I was beside myself with excitement as I slipped my little black dress over my head and shoulders. It felt a little tight as called out for my husband to zip me up. That excitement quickly turned to panic as he let loose with a soft whistle and I realized that the dress, when zipped, barely made it over my backside! Oh, why hadn’t I tried it on before packing? Just a few months ago it looked so darling on me. Amazing what two or three pounds can do. All right, maybe five.
So there I stood in my awkwardly high heels (another foolish error on my part), leaning on my cane, and wearing a dress that was straining at the seams. We weren’t about to let that stop us, so we optimistically headed out into the winter chill to hail a cab. As if having MS and walking with a cane and high heels weren’t challenging enough, the tight dress exaggerated my odd gait to the point of ridiculousness.
Arriving at the museum, I carefully situated myself with my back to the wall, doing everything in my power to avoid mingling. There were very few seats around, so when a chair became available, I sat down… warily… hoping I wouldn’t split my dress open and expose my backside in the process. I could almost feel the groaning of the tiny threads holding it all together. While hubby mingled, I sat.