After having sustained two traumatic brain injuries, I have learned this:
I believe in the power of laughter.
It has the power to heal mind, body, and spirit.
Hence, the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.”
When I came out of a coma after my first head injury, I was speaking nothing but pig-Latin. Very slowly, but pig-Latin, still. When my parents took me home for Christmas dinner, I asked for “ormay easeplay,” or “More please,” in pig-latin. Then my mom said, “Camron, it’s no wonder no one can understand you, you’re speaking in pig-latin. Say it again in English.” I said, “More please.” My mom called my speech therapist on the phone and told her “You can’t understand him because he’s speaking in pig-latin.” The therapist’s response was, “He can’t be. That’s too high a cognitive level.” She had no idea that my mom had taught me pig-latin several years before; and I had been in a club at Highland Junior High school that spoke pig-latin, double Dutch, and even some backwards. I’m very grateful I didn’t come out of my coma talking like that, as I’m not sure if my mom would have been able to recognize any of that considering how doped up and slowly I was speaking, moving, and living.
The next day in speech therapy my therapist, Jennifer, and I were making pizza with my mom there. The therapist gave me a slice of pepperoni to eat; and I said “Ormay easeplay.” My mom looked at her basically nonverbally saying, “ I told you so.” Then my mom said “Say it again in English,” and I said “More please.” Since then when I’ve been back to the hospital for a follow-up appointment with my doctor and we’ve seen my former speech therapist, I’ve good-naturedley greeted her with “Ellohay Ennifferjay,”, or “Hello Jennifer” in Pig-Latin
One day my mom heard me walking from my bedroom to the bathroom and called in to me from the kitchen, “Camron, are you drinking?” I answered her, “If people die drinking and driving, what do you think would happen if I tried to drink and walk?” She got laughing so hard at that one, and I ended up laughing so hard I gave myself the hiccups for quite a while.
Another time, my mom was listening to the “In the Corner of My Mind There’s a Jukebox” track on her Alabama album and my brother walked in through the back door and started to sing along at least a half step flat (like you think of with red-neck country music). I responded with, “Well that explains the unusually shaped head,” which cracked me, him, and my mom up so, so, hard. We were practically in tears of laughter.
Laughter has helped us to deal effectively with the countless stresses we’ve all come across since my accident. My mom had a stroke and there have been various incidents where I’ve put holes in walls with my head when I have fallen. Most of the time I was wearing a helmet. Thank heavens for that. There have been many other very stressful incidents dealing with wheelchairs, canes, and seizures in high school, college, church, and life in general.
Lots of experience has taught me that laughter and a good joke often relieve stresses like nothing else can.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.