Last month www.Ageingcare.com posted an article by Marlo Sollitto called LOL: Why You Should Laugh Even When You Don’t Feel Like It. It said that laughter is good for you both physically and mentally. The author acknowledged that caregivers often find nothing funny in their lives, but even fake laughter can have positive effects. I sometimes wonder if my caregiving experience would have been easier for all of us if I had laughed more.
Two elderly ladies met at the grocery store after not seeing one another for some time.
“Oh, Helen, it’s so good to see you. How are you doing?”
“You know how it is, Joan. I’m not bad for a woman of my age. How about you?”
“I know what you mean. Other than a high this and a low that I’m fine. How’s Ted?”
“Oh! Ted died last week. He went out to get a cabbage for dinner, had a heart attack and dropped dead right in the middle of the garden!”
“Oh dear! I’m very sorry. What did you do?”
“I opened a can of peas instead.”
Since I do most of the gardening around here, I’m also the one who does the harvesting. If I drop dead in the garden some day, I hope David finds me before the critters do.
While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I took my four-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs.
One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she turned and whispered, “The tooth fairy will never believe this!”
Mom and Dad died with their own teeth, at least most of them. Dad had three molars pulled while living with me, but it didn’t seem to slow him down when it was time to eat. Mom’s teeth were pretty healthy until her last year. She had some bone loss around the roots of her lower front teeth, and like the child that she had become, she couldn’t resist fiddling with them. On one of my visits, I noticed her “worrying” something in her mouth. I thought she had a piece of food caught in her teeth, but when I checked, I saw that one of her loose teeth was protruding outward at a 90 degree angle. I went immediately went to the nurse and explained the situation.
“Do you have a dentist who makes calls here, or can you recommend one?”
“No, but if you have no objections, we can take care of it. I’ll give her some pain medication, and once it takes effect, I’ll remove the tooth. It’s so loose it will probably fall out in my hand.”
Considering the age of their residents, I’m sure this wasn’t the first loose tooth she’d dealt with. The next day, Mom grinned and stuck her tongue out through the gap in her smile. I forgot to ask if the tooth fairy had visited her.
An old lady tottered into a lawyer’s office and asked for help in arranging a divorce.
“A divorce?” said the lawyer. “Tell me, how old are you?”
“I’m eighty-four,” she said.
“Eighty-four! And how old is your husband?”
“And how long have you been married?”
“Next September will be sixty-two years.”
“After 62 years, why do you want a divorce now?”
“Because, enough is enough.”
I shared this story in Edition 4, but it’s one of my favorites, so I’ll repeat it. Mom and Dad began dating seriously when they were 17 years old, and he died about 6 months after their 70th wedding anniversary. Theirs was not a perfect marriage, but conflicts were generally resolved behind closed doors, and I don’t believe divorce ever entered the mind of either of them. Even in his younger days, I don’t think Dad would have considered remarrying if Mom died first. But I discovered that Mom had a bit of a wild streak one afternoon when we were talking about her widowed sister.
“I think Fay should find a boyfriend,” she said. “She’s been alone long enough.”
“I’m sure she will if the right man comes along, but she seems pretty happy like she is,” I said. And then my sweet little Southern Baptist mother blew my mind.
“Maybe so. If Elmer dies before I do, I don’t think I’d ever marry again. I might shack up now and then, though.”
I’m sure it was the Alzheimer’s talking!
An elderly man was driving erratically in the wee hours of the morning and was stopped by the police.
“Where are you going at 2 am?”
“I’m on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late.”
“Really? Who’s giving that lecture at this time of night?”
“That would be my wife.”
I have no Mom and Dad story to go along with this one. Dad didn’t drink except an occasional glass of wine with dinner, and he never went anywhere without Mom. But it was a cute way to end the post. Remember to laugh – it’s good for you. The Bible says so.
A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22