Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Dad Who Cried Wolf

My dad is something of a hypochondriac.  He tends to be sicker than anyone who actually is sick, even if he doesn't technically have that disease.  I get it.  I mean, I'm pretty good at discovering possible illnesses that I may have and then worrying myself into a frenzy about having them.  I really do get it.

The problem is when someone who constantly feigns illness is actually sick, you don't know quite what to do.  And then it turns out they ARE sick and need to go to the hospital. 

My dad is ill and will need surgery.  It's a routine procedure [gall bladder surgery] and he's in a good hospital with a good doctor, etc.  Basically, he's being well taken care of and will continue to be taken care of in a manner befitting his illness.

By the medical staff.

Because we?  His family?

Are making non-stop jokes.

This is what we do.  We come up with puns and gags and reel off one-liners.  We talk about hilarious situations that have happened in the past and how we'll deal with what is coming up.  We giggle about contingencies and who is going to tell what family member and how.

We smart off about how OF COURSE my dad's got to have surgery now, when it's 1,000 degrees and humid.  And how it should go without saying that I'm going to valet park at the hospital - I'm not going to the gym, why should I walk from the parking deck [where it's $3 to park, as opposed to $4 for valet - who's the sucker now?].  And then we laugh at our cheapskate relative who had 2 old ladies get out of his car and lift the gate so he wouldn't have to pay for parking.

We make fun of my germophobia and laugh until we're going to pee our pants.  And we talk about the delicious steak we're going to eat or the chili dogs we're planning on having for lunch to a man who is not allowed to eat until he has his surgery.

We laugh.  A lot.

So much so that when my mother broke her hip and ankle and had to have metal rods and pins in place, she kicked me and my siblings out of the hospital room for fucking around and laughing too much and having wheel chair races in the room.

So while we aren't the most sedate and calming people to have in a sickroom, I submit that we are the funnest.  And we'll take your mind off of your worries.


  1. If ever I have surgery, I want you to visit me. Unless it's abdominal surgery because HOLY SHIT laughing would hurt after having your gut cut open.
    I hope your dad's surgery goes well!

  2. I want you around for my colonoscopy. OMG. Best jokeportunities ever. I'll send you the video.

    Hope your Dad is ok. Keep us posted?

    Sarah xxx

  3. YES! Funnest and may I add warped? It the best way possible, of course.
    I had my gall bladder removed last year - go easy on the harassment for at least the first 24hrs! lol

  4. AMo - I'll keep the giggles to a minimum after abdominal surgery. We'll just gossip about people.

    Misfits - I'm totally going to be there for that.

    Thanks to both for the good wishes - I'll update with progress.

  5. Lady Estrogen - I can't make any promises, but we'll do our best to tone it down.

  6. Your family sounds like mine. We once ordered pizza delivery to the Family Room in the Palliative Care Unit. Is that wrong?

  7. My mom is getting ready to start chemo for pancreatic cancer. All we can do is ask where she keeps her medical marijuana. Laughter is the best medicine. Well, laughter and actual medicine.

  8. Oh this is NOT comforting. I think I had ZERo sense of humour when my gall bladder was yanked out through my belly button. The belly button is NOT AN EXIT, PEOPLE.

  9. My family speaks only in sarcasm as well. We laugh and make fun of others. We criticize and always think we know best.

    In fact we're such a bunch of sarcastic, snarky individuals that I can never take anything too seriously and often find myself cracking up at 'inappropriate' weddings and staff meetings.

    Still, hope your dad has speedy recovery. Nothing worse than a hypochondriac who's actually sick. ;)

  10. Kara, That is brilliant. I'm totally on it.

    Nikki - I'm thinking good thoughts for your mom. And I hope you find the stash.

    Karensomethingorother - Well, I'd say we'll stop, but I know we won't. He'll just have to deal.

    Kittie Flyn - Thanks! I'm so glad it's not just us - and funerals are the worst place for us - non-stop joking.

  11. We are just as sick.

    No kidding.

    Oh, the jokes...the jokes my sisters told me to keep me smiling after my first baby pounded his way out of my body.

    Humor: SO underrated.

  12. Yeah, I can't be friends with people who don't deal with any type of crisis with bad humour. After my good friend who used to be my professor split from her husband I emailed her that my mother in law had done this, been miserable and then ended up married to a nephrologist who looked like Liam Neeson, so she should hang in there. There was silence. I emailed and asked if I was inappropriate. She emailed back that she was just too busy out looking for Liam Neeson to reply. Whew.

  13. When my cousin was in traction in the hospital with a shattered pelvis, I got busted bringing a 12 pack of beer to him. You and I should start a service where we go to hosptals and entertain people and possibly get them drunk. Yes?

  14. Sometimes that really is the best way to handle things. Your family rocks! Hope your dad has a speedy recovery.

  15. You can laugh or you can cry. Your people sound like my kind of people.

  16. Reminds me of a fine low point in my mother/daughter relationship. My mother can be a bit of a hypochondriac herself. I started letting a lot of calls go to voice mail when her sick-o-meter registered around 9.5. One day she called me over and over but i was so busy at work I figured I'd get back to her later. Turns out she fell down the steps, broke her foot, and was calling me to come help her. She ended up calling a neighbor, who quickly learned what a shit daughter she had for ignoring her pleas for help. Why 911 wasn't the FIRST call, I'll never know. I'm the only one who thinks this is hilarious.

  17. one of the greatest things i've ever heard in my life is this:

    "if we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane."

    that's the wisdom of the most famous non-baseball player to ever come out of the town in which i grew up, one jimmy buffett. it's the god's-honest truth, too. so laugh on - it's what keeps you tethered to reality in the face of scariness.

  18. You guys have a lot of gall (bladder).

  19. I used to work in an cardiac OR and we'd play Shock the Monkey by Peter Gabriel when we were testing a new pacemaker. Is that wrong???

  20. hahaha damn, well, its better to have a bunch of clowns around when you are sick than a bunch of people crying over your ass when you are not even closed to being dead.

  21. I want u in my sick rooms for sure! I hate following rules, esp in hospitals. ;)

    Laughter IS the best medicine after all.

    Hope ur dad's surgery goes well and gives u lots of blog fodder! Xo

  22. I was visiting my aunt in Chicago with my family when my dad had a heart attack. It was a minor one . . . he knew something was wrong, but wasn't sure what, and was able to get himself to the hospital on foot.

    I spent the entire time quoting Saturday Night Live "Superfan" sketches.

  23. Last week, my son told a really really (really) stupid joke.

    (and I'm the kind of nurturing mom who, when my kids are telling a kill-me-now-boring story, will say "that's a good one. you should write it down." to their faces. because I'm not afraid of the scarring effects of sarcasm.)

    So I turned to my son and said, "Great-Granddaddy comes up with better puns than that and he's dead."

    My husband looked at me horrified. And I was like, "Have you met me?"

    Life's too short not to laugh.
    At other people.

    p.s. Hope your dad is doing well.

  24. you always take my mind off my worries.

  25. Fun is JUST what those in the hospital need. You were / are just doing your daughterly duty. What's that about laughter being the best medicine? You're practically an MD!


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