Humor – Coping Mechanism, Anti-Doldrums Agent

I was planning on putting together a lengthier post on the subject of humor as a coping tool, and I still may. However, l feel like posting something now.

I was recently reminded of my transplant experience, which made me chuckle. I know that doesn’t sound like a funny memory, but with the high stakes and high emotions came some pretty chuckle-worthy moments.

My transplant took place in the fall, so I was holed up at the clinic when Halloween came around. Not to be left out, my sweetie and I dressed up in a couple of inflatable costumes that had the staff laughing (and us, obviously) but sent little children running in fright. After apologizing to the parents, we laughed all the more. We also handed out candy throughout the clinic which was a lot of fun. Overall, it was a wonderful day in the midst of one heck of a difficult period.

There was the time I put seltzer instead of still water in my bottle to take to the clinic. We’d been having some serious discussions that morning, and our mood was extremely tense. Halfway to the clinic – our transplant apartment was just across the street from the hospital over a pedestrian bridge – the pressure in the bottle managed to loudly pop the top right off. POP!! It was such an unexpected surprise and startled us so, we couldn’t help but burst out laughing. As we did, complete strangers walked past us to and from the hospital, giving us quizzical looks. It’s not every day you see two grown men at a hospital laughing themselves red in the face. We laughed the rest of the way to the clinic, the tension completely gone.

Then there was my mask situation. While folks in the U.S. have now become accustomed to seeing people in masks, that wasn’t true several years ago. In fact, my mask did to adults what our Halloween costumes had done to little children. They ran in fear. OK, maybe they didn’t run. They hurried away from me, though, when they caught site of my mask. I found it both entertaining and annoying. After all, I wasn’t the one with the dangerous germs – they were. LOL Dangerous to me in my immunocompromised state.

After thinking about it, I decided to design my own t-shirt via one of those special order places. My t-shirt said, “What? Superheroes wear masks, too.” There was a faux superhero logo in the middle. Once I received it, I started wearing the shirt whenever we went on runs to the grocery store. That was really the only place I went aside from the transplant clinic.

Whether or not it calmed anyone’s nerves regarding my mask, it made me feel better to wear it. I enjoyed the joke. I did catch one of the cashiers at the grocery store staring and giggling as I stood facing her direction at the next checkout. I gave her a smile, but she couldn’t see it for the mask.

So, now to the inspiration for this post. Not surprisingly, it’s a t-shirt.

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