I, like Joan Rivers (have you seen the documentary? It's surprisingly good), believe there is humor to be found in absolutely everything. Your husband committed suicide (as Joan's did)? There's a zinger in there somewhere. Lost your job? That one's just easy. Teenager's a drug addict? A veritable gold mine of jokes. It's been said a million times, but seriously, if we can't laugh, where are we?
Except now I can't laugh. I am sitting in a dark hospital room watching the mesmerizing blinking of my daughter's heart machine while she tries to sleep tangled in the various cords and wires coming off her body. Before you get too worried: she's fine. They are figuring it out. We should be going home with our rapidly growing collection of My Little Pony stickers very soon and that pale, feverish girl with the dark circles under her eyes that they've swapped for my daughter, will go back from whence she came and my vibrant girl shall make her triumphant return. Possibly even tomorrow.
So it's not worry that makes this unfunny. I am surprisingly calm and unflapped about all the poking and pricking and monitoring she's been through in the last 24 hours. It is a feeling of intense gratitude that makes this all so seriously unfunny. I am thankful for everything right now. I'm positively gooey with it.
For medical insurance for one. For pediatric nurses who stand in a line as you enter the ward for the first time and greet your child by name as if they have been waiting all day just for a glimpse of her. For Japanese restaurants that deliver to the seventh floor of the hospital. For handsome Korean orderlies who push you and your daughter around the hospital in a wheelchair. For toy rooms with baby dolls and volunteers who read books. For doctors who introduce themselves using their first names and then take such detailed medical histories you feels as if they really, really care about figuring this out. I'm thankful for ibuprofen and antibiotics and in-room DVD players.
But mostly, of course, I am so thankful to have kids who are not chronically or critically ill. I am awed and bowled over by the good fortune that is good health. Every time I think about riffing on this hospital experience (and it's ripe with cute ice cream jokes and "buh-gina" references, let me tell you), I think about parents who have to spend a lot of time in the hospital with their children and I am snapped right back onto the straight and narrow. Because that, my friends, is suffering. And if you are not suffering in that particular way, you have much to be thankful for. And that's what I'm left with: one giant thank you, thank you, thank you Buh-Jeezus!