Our life as caregivers can be filled with grim and painful things, and those circumstances can transfer us into grim people. Thirty years as a caregiver has taught me the importance of humor and laughter. Furthermore, I found it helpful to look for the genuinely funny moments—sometimes in even the direst of circumstances.
While framed and filled with surgeries, pain, disability, and challenges—our life is also filled with laughter and humor. For whatever reason, I seem to look at life through funny shaped lenses, even though I’ve certainly had my share of tears, heartache, and harsh experiences. All that not withstanding, I still circle back to seeing funny and lighthearted moments. One of those moments occurred for Gracie and me on national television.
An Outrageous Moment on The TODAY Show
Taking a cue from my cracking jokes with Gracie on the set of the TODAY show once, Kathie Lee Gifford quipped with me, “I guess you’re not a leg man!”
Without a batting an eye, I deadpanned, “Sure I am! She pops those suckers off every night and says, ‘Knock yourself out big boy—I’m going to bed!'”
Hoda and the production crew exploded in laughter and Kathie Lee looked so funny with her jaw hanging open—and then Gracie and she laughed the hardest.
Holding Gracie’s hand, she had tears in her eyes as she looked at Gracie, “You married him because he makes you laugh!
Laughter doesn’t stop at the hospital room door!
Gracie’s numerous operations since her 1983 accident continue provided ample experience to learn that hospitals can contain many funny moments. Following surgery #80 in January 2018 to repair a nerve in her arm, one of those moments happened as we left the recovery room. Wheeling her into the rather large elevator, all the other passengers stared openly at her. While Gracie is indeed beautiful and worthy of stares, these folks bypassed her beauty. Instead, they openly gaped at her uncovered prosthetic legs and her right arm in a sling from the surgery.
Since they looked at her so brazenly, I thought I’d have some fun with them. With a stern look, I loudly proclaimed, “Worst Hysterectomy …EVER!”
Everyone on the elevator flinched visibly while Gracie rolled her eyes. Three decades of my goofiness conditioned her to such outbursts from me.
Without letting up, I bored in, “She put up a fight …God love her!”
When the doors opened, we left an elevator full of shocked passengers. Later in the car, we shared a great laugh. That seems a better way to remember an 80th surgery, don’t you think?
The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed.
About Peter Rosenberger
A thirty-year caregiver for his wife, Gracie, who lives with severe disabilities, Peter Rosenberger understands the journey of a caregiver as few do. His experience led to him to author four books including Hope for the Caregiver, and 7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them.
A 2nd Dan (degree) black-belt in Hapkido, Peter is also an accomplished pianist. He recently released his new CD, Songs for the Caregiver.
Peter and Gracie live in Nashville, TN, where he also serves and the president and co-founder of Standing With Hope.