Catching up with Karyn

What’s So Funny About Diabetes: Learning How To Laugh

Real laughter has always been something that I seem to struggle with. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard I almost cried…or had such a deep laugh that my belly hurt. I grew up in a house where there wasn’t much laughter and feel like I didn’t learn this behavior. Any thoughts or suggestions?

I get messages like this one more often than you might expect. Many, many people have been raised without humor and laughter playing an important role during their formative years. There’s a number of reasons why this can happen. Different cultures, and different families, place a different premium on the value of laughter.

An article by Helen Dennis provides a great example:

“My parents were immigrants. Work was a way of life in order to make it in America. To waste time was almost sinful. Play was an indulgence that was not acknowledged and never rewarded. My parents did not have time for it. It is still difficult to divorce myself from these...

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What’s So Funny About Business?

You might not have an immediate answer for that question.  Business is hard work. Owning and operating a business can consume your life.  Working for somebody else – whether that’s in operations, marketing, hr, or the dreaded accounting division – isn’t necessarily a piece of cake, either.  We devote tremendous amounts of time, energy, and resources into our work, because so much depends on being successful.

Surely this is no laughing matter.

Actually, laughing is the best thing you can be doing.  We’d even argue that you have to laugh, if you want to succeed. Don’t believe us? Just ask the people at Southwest.  Their uniquely humorous approach has earned them significant goodwill and provided them with a valuable differentiator in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

You see, it turns out that the strategic use of humor is one of the single most important tools businesses have at their disposal.  The ability to use...

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What's So Funny About Diabetes?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – no, not the time we get to break into Santa’s stash of sugar-free candy canes (although that’s pretty awesome too!) It’s book release season! I’m super excited to tell you that my latest book, What’s So Funny About Diabetes? A Creative Approach to Coping With Your Disease is now available!

What’s So Funny About Diabetes?

Maybe nothing. Then again, maybe everything.

Especially if you understand the premise that so much of our humor comes from pain and discomfort—our own, or somebody else’s. And let’s face it; if you’re a diabetic, you’ve got more than your fair share of pain and discomfort.

Currently one in 10 US adults has diabetes, but those numbers could go as high as 1 in 3 by the year 2050. A long-term solution can only come from getting people to change their lifestyles: better diets, exercise and coping mechanisms to deal with this serious illness.

The good...

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What’s So Funny About Wednesday: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! I’d like to wish each and every person reading these words a wonderful Thanksgiving. May your holiday be a wonderful celebration with family and friends – and of course, some great laughs!

Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on our blessings. This year, we’ve had lots of blessings (and a few blessings-in-disguise). We’re grateful for *most* of them and for *everything* we’ve taken away from the experience. Most of all, it’s you we’re thankful for. Without such great people to work and laugh with, the world wouldn’t be such a fabulous place.

Using Humor At Thanksgiving

Are you headed for a holiday dinner where younger children will be present? Try memorizing a few silly Thanksgiving riddles. You’ll be giving the kids something to laugh about, keeping them entertained (and out of trouble!) and it may just turn out that their good mood is infectious.

(Our favorite? Why did the police arrest the...

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What’s So Funny About Poop? Using Humor in Health Education

It’s no secret: I believe in the power of play.  When we set aside our serious resolve and a little bit of dignity in order to have a good time, we free our minds to absorb information in a fresh and effective way.  Play awakens the imagination and the intellect. “Humanity has advanced,” Tom Robbins said, “when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.”

That sense of play is on full display at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Check out this NY Times Article, “Where Children Discover Their Inner Child.” Eat,Sleep,Play: Building Health Every Day is an interactive exhibit that harnesses the power of play to teach children about their bodies, and what they can do to stay healthy.  The exhibit includes the Royal Flush, which uses an over-sized toilet and Mary Poppins style voice to talk about bodily functions.  As you can...

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What’s So Funny About Wednesdays: Adding Humor To Your Daily Routine

When we talk about using humor to help more effectively manage chronic health conditions like diabetes, people often protest that they’re just not funny people. Luckily, it’s more important to be able to SEE funny than it is to actually BE funny.

Recognizing  humorous moments throughout the day gives us a chance to enjoy them —and all the positive physical and mental health benefits humor offers.  If you want to use humor to more effectively manage your diabetes, you can start by searching for humor in your environment.

We live in a funny world.  We’re surrounded by humor, both naturally occurring and man-made.  Children are experts at finding humor. They love to laugh, and will eagerly seek out experiences that they find funny.  The problem is that we get older, our lives become so very, very busy that we don’t even have the time to stop and appreciate the funny moments.  We’re so busy, in fact, that we...

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What's So Funny About Healthcare?

It might be hard to find an answer to that question.  The healthcare community is facing a plethora of perplexing problems.  There’s a continual pressure to do more with less.  All we have to do is see more patients, cure more conditions, and increase customer satisfaction with fewer staff, in less time, with fewer resources every day.

It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot to laugh about.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Healthcare needs humor.  Humor has incredible benefits for our patients, our health care providers, and for the health care organizations and systems.

The strategic use of humor can transform the health care experience for everyone. Here’s how humor can help:

  • Improve the patient experience, opening the doors to effective communication and alleviating anxiety
  • Create a positive work place environment. Combat the problem of nursing hostility and staff tension
  • Provide staff with an effective, low cost way to reduce...
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Understanding Why Patients Use Humor When They Talk To Nurses

I work in a neurologist’s office. We try to get really complete histories from every new patient but the patient I was working with, Mr. K, hadn’t checked anything on his intake paperwork. No history of heart disease, no high blood pressure, no cancer scares – not a thing. That’s so rare among our patients (Average Age 78!) that I had to ask him about it.

“Medical history?” He shrugged. “Can’t say there’s much. Of course, I’ve had amnesia as long as I can remember.”

This little grin pushed up the corners of Mr. K’s mouth, and his eyes suddenly started twinkling. I burst out laughing, and so did he. It turns out he did have a little bit of medical history, and he shared that with me after our laugh.

I was dropping off the file when one of the other nurses stopped me. “What was going on in there?”

I shared Mr. K’s joke. “I hate it when they try to be funny,” she said, rolling her...

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My Pain is Not Like Your Pain!

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...

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How Humor Helps: Pediatric Patients

"You either love working peds or you don’t work peds." I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this nursing 'wisdom.' There’s more than a grain of truth to it: generally nurses who specialize in pediatrics tend to love their work passionately.

However, enjoying what you do doesn’t mean that you don’t have challenges on the job – and if you’ve never attempted to make a bed with one hand, while holding a baby in the other and figuring out dosages by weight in your mind, you don’t know challenging! (And if you can master that, try finding scrubs that don’t show formula stains!)

Luckily, humor can help ease some of the challenges of pediatric nursing. Here are three ways humor helps make life with pediatric patients easier:

Humor Help Make The Medical Environment Less Frightening For Our Patients

"Can you make my nose stop running?" Tyler looked up, wide eyed. "Because I’m tired of boogers." The poor kid was sixty-nine...

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