How many times, for example, have you had a patient report Level 14 Pain – when you can get them to take a break from the animated conversation they’re having on one phone and text-fest they’re having on another? That patient is almost inevitably followed by a seriously injured person who protests that they’re "Just fine – can I go home now?" Talking them into having at least a few stitches to keep their innards in the usual places is a job in and of itself.
Humor To Help Keep Perspective
Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.
Mel Brooks made a critical point with this quote. It’s far easier to find humor in the things that happen to other people than it is to laugh at our own circumstances. Humor experts caution us to keep that in mind, both when we want to laugh at someone else’s situation and when people laugh at ours. Anyone of us could slip in a Pool of Unspecified Origin while en route to the call light – hats off to the nurse who can get up laughing!
Sometimes the humor in a situation is immediately apparent to everyone around us, but we, ourselves, are having a hard time finding the funny. Other emotions – embarrassment, irritation, chargrin – are taking up all of our mental energy. Given time, however, when those emotions fade away and you have a fresh perspective, things can be funny in retrospect.
It can take a while to get to that perspective. There was one spectacular mishap in the mid 80′s that I’m still trying to find the funny on…but that’s a story for another time.