What's funny about a brain injury or breast cancer? You'll be surprised. Annette Langer has created just the "portable support group" a person needs to get through hard times with her easy-to-read book. It chronicles her many personal challenges in life, including brain injury suffered in a head-on auto accident and breast cancer. All the while, Langer stays upbeat and positive, guiding the reader to discover the inner strength to meet his or her own challenges.
This feel-good book is sprinkled with generous doses of humorous, personal stories surrounding the author's various mishaps and maladies as well as sage advice on coping with struggles. Her true-life stories show the "funny side" of some not-so-funny challenges and demonstrate the upside to the uphill struggles with illness and injury and the downhill triumphs in overcoming them.
You'll find such chapters as "How to Bathe While Bandaged or in a Plaster Cast" and "My First Cruise...My First Gallbladder Attack" to tickle your funny bone. Other parts of the book offer more serious, practical coping techniques. You're left with the realization that better times are possible despite the obstacles, and you'll learn ways to discover your own funny stories in the process.
Healing Through Humor is the perfect get-well gift for anyone struggling to overcome a medical challenge or even as a reward for yourself when you're facing less than sunny times. Take the journey to self-empowerment and survival, even in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances, with a good laugh along the way.
Barnes & Noble.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. The Time I Should Have Died---But Didn't
2. Oh, No! Not Again!
3. My First Cruise...My First Gallbladder Attack
4. Rating Your Health Care Facility
5. Insurance: The "Titanic" of All Challenges
6. Teaching the Teacher
7. How to Bathe While Bandaged or in a Plaster Cast
8. Other Stuff You Can't Do (For a While)
9. "X" Marks the Spot
10. That Last Box of Christmas Ornaments
11. Dr. "Hottie": Everyone Deserves at Least One
12. Radiation and the Cat
13. Taking Your Medicine...And Other Advice
14. Tests I Hate
15. The "BMW's" and Other Wonderful Friends
16. My Positive Past (So Far)
17. Halloween: One of My Favorite Holidays
18. How the Ducks and Others Helped Me Pass the Time
19. It's the Year to Volunteer!
20. Losing Your Job, Not Your Life
Never lie to your parents. It always comes back to bite you in the butt, especially the big ones (lies, not butts). The short version of my biggest lie is that many years ago, I led my parents to believe I was going on a vacation to Wisconsin with a girlfriend. In truth, I was driving alone from my home in Chicago to a Marine Corps base in North Carolina to visit a boyfriend stationed there (whom they didn't like, of course). If I had known I'd end up in a head-on automobile collision on my way back home, almost losing my life, I'd never have made the trip, of course---teenage love be damned! But you don't expect this sort of ending to a love story (ha!), especially at age eighteen when you think you're invincible and know it all.
This took place in the days before safety laws requiring seat belts. Had I been wearing one at the time, you wouldn't even be reading this now, at least not written by me. My lightweight car ricocheted off the other car on impact, jumped the guardrail and slid down a snow-slicked, forty-foot embankment. It came to rest at the bottom on the railroad tracks, but not before the gas tank ruptured. (This almost reads like an action movie script, doesn't it?) I broke the front bench seat and flew like a human rocket into the back seat, smashing the right rear door open with my head. The engine ended up in the front seat where I would have been, had I been seat-belted.
I lay near death several yards away from where I had been launched, and my brand-new car was totaled---just a couple weeks after I had made the last payment on it. (Punishment for lying.) I suffered a subdural hematoma in the crash (a four-inch blood clot on the brain), severe whiplash, several lacerations and a fractured collarbone, not even discovered until years later on x-ray.
The small, North Carolina hospital in the town nearest to where the accident happened wasn't equipped to treat a severe head injury. So I was transferred by funeral hearse (their version of an ambulance) to a larger hospital in the state of Virginia better equipped to treat me. Imagine my parents' confusion after being telephoned by someone with a heavy Southern accent from the Virginia hospital to let them know I had been in an auto accident in North Carolina (no, not Wisconsin), that I would require immediate, emergency brain surgery, and if I didnt have it, I could go blind or even die.
They were urged to make their flight arrangements but not buy the tickets yet. At that point, the neurosurgeon didn't know if he could even save me. If he couldn't, then my body would be "shipped" home, they were told.
Several hours passed, and in the middle of the night, the neurosurgeon called back and advised my folks to get there quickly because he didn't know how long he could keep me alive. I was even given the Last Rites, which is what the Catholic Church called it back then. Normally, if you got the Last Rites, you were pretty much a goner. Today, it's called the Sacrament of Healing or Anointing of the Sick so the new lingo doesn't freak people out so much. It can be given to anyone who is seriously ill but not necessarily in imminent danger of death. It's an anointing of the body with holy oils, accompanied by prayers said by a priest for the person's salvation and forgiveness of sins. (So much for the catechism lesson. Now, back to the story.)
Early the next morning, my folks took their three connecting flights from Chicago to reach Roanoke, Virginia. (What a time to introduce them to air travel!) They arrived late in the afternoon, went directly to the hospital Information Desk and introduced themselves.
The young girl behind the desk said in her sweetest Southern drawl, "Oh, you're the parents of the deceased."
My parents said, "What?!!!"
Then the girl covered and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I meant the patient in a coma." (Wonder how long she worked there after making slips like that.)
My mother and dad found their way to my room but froze in their tracks a few yards from the door. It was closed and a small sign was posted on it. They were certain it meant that I had died after all and that my body was being prepared. As they ventured closer, however, they were able to read the sign. It just cautioned that oxygen was being administered inside and requested anyone wishing to enter to knock first.
They didn't even recognize me after they did enter the room. An older woman was asleep in one bed while a young, dark-skinned girl lay motionless in an oxygen tent in another. My head was cocooned in a turban-like bandage from the surgery, and my face and body had turned black from bruising.
Over the days that passed, long, rigid splints had to be strapped to my arms to restrain them. That prevented me from bending my arms and pulling out the I.V.'s (which, apparently, I kept trying to do). Even while unconscious, I'm told I clawed at and then hit one nurse on the head with my splinted arm as she attended to me, almost knocking her out.
I remained in a coma for ten days, and when I finally regained consciousness, I would discover that my fingernails had been clipped short, I was completely bald (my head having been shaved for the brain surgery), I had double vision, partial paralysis on one side of my body, no memory at all of having had an accident, and no car. Later in my stay, I was shown photos taken by the insurance company representative of the crumpled mass that once was my precious, first car. (Tires looked okay.)