Laughter I believe is distinct. Like voice, accent, gait.
You know those scenes of Antarctica where a disembodied David Attenborough is somewhere off to the side and a wobbly Emperor Penguin chick is looking for its mum – they always seem to be able to locate one another.
So too with laughter.
I write this for Michelle as she just said some lovely things about me on FB.
I thought I’d reciprocate with a little blog about her and an episode I clearly recall with a patient and their family.
It must have been 2016, perhaps.
On Mallard Ward.
My old place of laughter, healing and wellbeing.
I was in a side-room talking with the relatives of a patient who was in their final hours of life. Explaining perhaps the process, the events.
In the room of a person who is dying there is often a muffled calm, where the air, warm from too many people sits, waiting.
Outside I could hear Michelle.
I don’t know what she was doing but, there was laughter.
Her’s (which like the penguin, is distinctive), that of other staff and the patients.
Giggling away, perhaps singing or dancing. And these (the patients) mostly older people with dementia or delirium who were sick enough to be in an acute hospital.
I apologised to the relatives for the noise (?laughter).
They however told me that the laughter helped them. It showed the warmth, the caring, the love, passion, feeling of the place
Laughter is more than a medicine, it is preventative, curative and supportive.
I offered to close the door, but they preferred it open in order to allow the cheeriness to pass down the corridor.
This was I suspect a good death.
One accompanied by laughter and memories of a life well lived.