IMG_1141As we go through the process of finding help for a loved one’s illness or injury, it can seem as if we spend most of our time waiting. We wait for the doctor’s appointment. We wait for tests. We wait for a referral, we wait for the appointment with a specialist or a surgeon, and then we wait for treatment. In the meantime, we try to stay productive and positive as we watch our loved one’s condition deteriorate.

My strategy for avoiding “what if” thinking and surviving the interminable waits has been to stay busy. Writing, reading and exercising have all been helpful. Yesterday I got so desperate for a diversion, I cleaned and reorganized cupboards and drawers.

Last night I made the mistake of watching too much news and I went to bed with a heavy heart. When we got up this morning, Alex’s pain level was almost more than he could bear and he had a terrible time maintaining his balance long enough to get from the bed to his chair.

By noon it was clear that my standard coping mechanisms weren’t going to get either one of us through the day. We both needed a serious dose of endorphins, so I dug out a copy of “Correct Me If I’m Wrong”, a book we bought at the Newseum in Washington D.C. a few years ago. It is a compilation of press bloopers. After lunch we sat down and read them together. We laughed until tears rolled down our cheeks.

If you are also having a tough day, I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to indulge in a little laughter as you read the following headlines:

“Poll says that 53% believe media offen make mistakes”
The San Diego Union-Tribune 07/12/98

“Trial ends in mercy killing”
The Burlington Free Press 12/01/88

“Crowds Rushing To See Pope Trample 6 to Death”
Journal Star, Peoria 07/09/80

“Candlelight ceremony unties couple”
The Morris Daily Hearald 09/16/81

“Marijuana issue sent to a joint committee”
The Toronto Star 06/14/96

“Japanese scientists grow frog eyes and ears”
Daily Camera, Boulder CO 01/04/00

“Principal transfers upset parents”
The Des Moines Register 05/12/01

“Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge”
Milford Citizen 07/12/82

“NRC: Fuel rods mistakenly stored in safe place”
The Greenwich Time 1/16/02

“Nuns forgive break-in, assault suspect”
The columbus Dispatch 07/15/98

I wonder how this description impacted the sales of bridal gowns: “Whether it’s traditional roses and tulips or a cluster of more exotic blooms, the bouquet adds a fresh finishing touch to the bride’s ensemble. Her gown, above, is from the After Sex Bridal Collection.”
Berkshire Eagle 01/28/90

You do have to respect newspapers that catch their errors and print corrections. This is one of my favorites: “A photo caption in Wednesday’s editions about a newborn gorilla at the Pittsburgh Zoo incorrectly identified a male gorilla in the picture. It was the brother of the infant, not the father.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 08/09/96

And finally, here’s a piece of happy news: “More of us will live to be centurions”
The Times Reporter, Dover-New Philadelphia 02/11/87

There is nothing fun about being sick or suffering with pain, and it’s not easy to care for a loved one who has a serious medical condition; but a little laughter can relieve stress and help get you through a tough day while you’re waiting for something to happen that will make it all better.