Dr. Sam Christian

Dr. Sam Christian

Doctor: Did you take the patient’s temperature?

Nurse: No doctor. Is it missing?

So what you gonna do? Either you get on your high horse and say something like, “Don’t you know who I am?!” Or maybe you just crack up and say, “Good one, nurse! Good one!” – then it’s back to work with renewed zest.

Humour is the oil that makes the wheels of life turn smoothly. Without it, our journey is full of grinding and creaking and squeaking; the kind that quivers your insides, like a teacher scratching her nails on the blackboard.

Believe it or not, laughter actually decreases blood pressure, relieves stress and boosts immunity. Laughter is also said to be a natural painkiller. How? It releases endorphins into the bloodstream which lowers pain levels. Comedy is huge when it comes to helping folks cope with their troubles. Laughter is the only real antidote to grief, something that Dominicans do so well after a funeral.

I went to Children’s Ward at PMH to check on one of my patients. The 7 year-old was all bright and cheerful with a toy in one hand and an I.V. attachment in another. As the nurse efficiently gave me a progress report, I could see her hopping a ride on a little plastic car and scurrying around in the play room. During that time, I heard not a whimper. Instead, squeals and giggles filled the air. The children had no idea how sick some of them were. Leading hospitals are now introducing play and laughter therapy for adults as well. The results are quite promising. Of course there are those who frown upon the notion just as they do for laughter in church.

Giving thanks

“I’m thankful for laughter,” Woody Allen quips, “except when milk comes out of my nose!”

Amusing people are more attractive, even Woody. Some people think they can get by just on their good looks, talent or degrees. Indeed, at first blush, they are blessed with advantage. However, sooner or later others discover the real personality and react accordingly.

If I hear people laughing, curious me want to know what the joke is – and I’m not afraid to ask. Granted, sometimes I wish I hadn’t, or may be slow to get the punch line.  Nevertheless, I am drawn to people who are happy in their own skin. We often take ourselves way too seriously. The ability to laugh at one’s self and to take things lightly is a huge talent to develop at any stage in life.

On the job, big corporations increasingly sponsor laughter yoga sessions to promote esprit de corps, problem solving and shared visioning. Humour is amazing at healing hurts from rejection or rogues busy undermining you. The best revenge is massive success – and doing that with dismissive laughter is the cherry on top!

And praise

Growing up with both parents having decent government jobs, I knew we had it better than most. However I’m only now finding out how tough it was raising seven children including one who was challenged. Through it all, my parents remained strong in faith, praying fervently for God’s guidance and protection – doing that for the most part with a brave smile on their faces. I think of them when tempted to whine and complain. Their legacy reminds me that thanks and praise must continually be on my lips.

At times, it seems like we are in competition with each other to see who can be the loudest, the angriest and spew the most doom and gloom. After a while it gets rather boring hearing folks continually spreading negative energy of mistreatment and how bad their life is. Just remember that most people really don’t care and the rest are just glad it’s not them!

But what if every once in a while acquaintances look at you, shake their head and say, “Ou pa feb nuh – you not easy!” Maybe it is because out of the blue you had them rolling in the aisles. Maybe you picked up on a whimsical angle in casual conversation, some silly double meaning and hit it for six. When that happens, it dawns on you that you have the right stuff! Call it pizzazz, cheekiness or a bit of mischievous delight in the funny side of things, it comes to define who you are.

There was a prominent politician from Portsmouth who pushed Dominica along a pragmatic, progressive path internationally. Most agree that he was quite the jokester even as he laid a firm foundation for the progress that followed. The daily grind can make us sick. Stress and worries can drain us. Laughter is the booster that can infuse back a lasting burst of energy.

This month, rediscover the humour in you and they will see you sparkle!

Dr. Sam Christian is surgeon who runs the Urgent Care on 137 Bath Road. It offers general medical care, surgery and acupuncture. He is Medical Adviser to the Dominica Cancer Society, radio host of the Medical Minute and author of the faith and fitness nutrition book, ‘Mannafast Miracle.’ Dr. Christian can be reached at 440-9133 / 613-8345 or by writing to urgentcare.da@gmail.com.