Friday, December 3, 2010

Nurse and Patient, Sharing Laughter

The New York Times had an article called Nurse and Patient, Sharing Laughter about how cancer patients use humor to cope with their circumstances. A registered nurse states how it is rare but there are the few patients that cope with the stress of cancer by cracking jokes. This article describes three particular patients who look on the bright side of life during their chemotherapy sessions which leave the doctors and nurses laughing hysterically. The carers for these patients are amazed to see how these patients remember laughter and can keep a positive, upbeat attitude during such a horrific time.
What concerns me with the thought of cancer patients constantly cracking jokes is that they may use humor as a defense mechanism in order to cover up the pain they feel inside from the fear of having the disease. When a person is not real with themselves and does not express the emotions that come along with life's circumstances, they can tend to miss important steps in the healing process which can negatively affect them down the road.


  1. This article made me think about Dr. Hart's book. Hart definitely believes that humor is a suitable and beneficial response in times of anxiety, yet you do voice an appropriate concern about using humor as a defense. Sometimes, patients such as these are caught at their most vulnerable and are embarrassed about not being strong. This is a fair concern that should be taken into account by physicians.

  2. Good article Angela. I see your concern and understand where you are coming from. For a lot of cancer patients, their families are broken by the onset of the disease and there is almost no joy or happiness. Some of them carry upon themselves to lighten up the mood. Make people around them happy and probably through this ordeal, they can find peace themselves. For others, it is true joy they have, they know that there is nothing that can be done unless a miracle comes from God. It's a tough situation. This is a disease I would not wish on my enemies because of how it kills you slowly and fast at the same time.


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