Laughter, the Best Medicine

We are back to whispering, but for the past few hours we witnessed such a transformation.  I have been very encouraged.
Natalie was, of course, not pleased to be staying in the hospital another night.  She was also beginning to think of all of the things she would be missing in the next few weeks because she could not be around any noise – even the ride home in a car was daunting because “cars can be so noisy”.  In her discouragement she began to wonder why no one had come to visit???  I assured her that, not only was it still a school day for everyone else, she had just had back-to-back brain surgery and that is not really an open invitation to drop by.
As she drifted off to sleep I emailed my friend, Nina, to let her know she was welcome to come and bring Kandra (a good friend of Natalie’s since birth who lives here in Oregon).  The hospital is between our two homes.  Natalie beamed when I told her, but worried because the girls like to laugh together and, just hours before, laughter had caused a great deal of pain.

She cannot see her scar in the
mirror so we had to take a photo.
She will be proud of this one!

Kandra came prepared to sit quietly beside Natalie and write notes back and forth.  Nina took me for a much-needed walk and when we returned… there sat Natalie and Kandra…laughing of course.  Apparently is was worth the pain that it was causing – the more it hurt the more funny it was.  We were quietly whispering on the parent bed/couch while the girls whispered and then…giggles and laughter.  As time went on and pain meds kicked in, the noise level rose to almost normal levels.  Our nurse was able to get Natalie out of bed without much trouble and said that she thought Natalie would be ready to go walk soon.  Natalie jumped at the chance and we all went walking – much farther than anticipated.  I was dumbfounded.  Her color was back and she was not at all the frail child I had been tiptoeing around all morning.  Night and day difference – Hooray!

We shall never know all the good that
a simple smile can do.  Mother Teresa

Eventually the pain meds wore off and she quieted down, but not like before.  I think she got a glimpse of recovery and has hope that things may return to normal again.  We are finally out of PICU and up on the neuro-surgical floor.  It is very quiet, we have a solid wood door, she can see out the window, her bed is more comfortable, vitals are only taken every 4 hours and… we have our own shower.  Our unit is 10 North – our old oncology unit was 10 South and this is just a mirror image. When the family came to visit everyone felt right at home. It took no time at all before the other children were in the family lounge making hot chocolate – an old favorite pasttime.  We shouldn’t be so comfortable/familiar here… When we arrived at Doernbecher on Monday morning, Mark used some of the hospital hand sanitizer.  Natalie said that she liked the smell… it seems so “homey”.  Hmmmm – well, way back when Mark and I realized what a long haul it would be as we fought Greg’s cancer – we had determined that we would make it an adventure for the family… as positive as it could be.  I guess we were successful.  This is, however, an adventure I am not anxious to repeat too soon.
Tonight – she ate a little dinner, a piece of cheesecake and some pizza brought from home. She dozed for awhile, then did three laps around the unit, back to bed and (even with company here) feel immediately asleep.  Poor girl is completely exhausted.  She hasn’t budged for over an hour – I think she will sleep very well tonight… and surely she will be in her own bed tomorrow.

One thought on “Laughter, the Best Medicine

  1. Glad she's up and walking. I am not there physically, our thoughts and prayers are there. Body needs rest to heal so pace yourself. I know I am asking too much from an energize girl…just do your best. Love and hugs.


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