2011-07-28 / General Stories


(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I Never Had Many Brain Cells

Nelda’s lungs and heart were in trouble. She was continually short of breath and on oxygen all the time. She spent most of her time in a recliner, trying not to move. Still, she somehow managed to have a twinkle in her eye and a wonderful sense of humor.

Nelda was also a bit stubborn. Because she didn’t like taking medicine, she wouldn’t take her breathing treatments as often as she needed them. One day her son found her drooped in her recliner, unconscious and struggling to breathe. Her nurse and I rushed over to their house. After a breathing treatment, Nelda finally blinked and opened her eyes.

Knowing Nelda’s sense of humor, our nurse said, “Nelda, you’ve simply got to take these breathing treatments every two hours. You kill more brain cells every time this happens.”

Under the mask, Nelda smiled and the twinkle returned to her eye. “It shouldn’t matter,” she said. “I never had many brain cells to start with.”

Way to go, Nelda.

I take some things way too seriously. Most days I take myself too seriously. I need to lighten up and laugh more. Life is full of good, fun, laughable stuff. It’s everywhere. A good sense of humor can go a long way in smoothing out the potholes, dips, and speed bumps of life. So I’ll probably go on telling bad jokes and making up ridiculous lyrics to tunes I know well.

Anybody want to join me?

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice and is interim Minister at First Baptist Church in Lexington

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