Gratitude and Laughter


Laughter is such an important part of life. Being able to find humor in the world can be a very uplifting emotional experience. I listen to a radio show where they share with listeners information and data regarding health and other social aspects of life.  One episode described the effects of laughter on the body including dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins that get released to the brain. These are good things. In simple terms, laughter makes you feel better. 

The reality of the existence for someone living with SCI is there are often going to be challenging, difficult times that are very serious. Laughter can be a great countermeasure to help you through those times.

I spent the last two-plus months in bed recovering from three different flap surgeries to treat pressure wounds.  A flap surgery removes  infected tissue and rearranges the muscle to close the wound. This reduces the healing time significantly.  As a result of these surgeries, a few things I have had in abundance are time to kill and a reason for laughter.  

I’m a little bit late for Thanksgiving but every day is a good time to give thanks! At this time of giving thanks, it got me to thinking: What are some of the things that I am most thankful for living as a person with a spinal cord injury?  I tried to make a compilation of items that people who roll through this world might identify with. 

So here goes; I am thankful for…

  1. Clear, odorless urine.
  2. Flat pavement.
  3. The beautiful shelf that God has built into many a quadriplegic that also doubles as a stomach (quad belly).
  4. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.
  5. Being in a crowded room when an unexpected release of gas emanates from my person. The bigger the crowd the more people I can look at and transfer the blame.
  6. I am also thankful the smell is only gas!
  7. When traveling, the baggage handlers that look terrified to lift me but are actually stronger than they appear. 
  8. After arriving at my destination, watching my wheelchair come up to the gate from baggage claim all in one piece.
  9. My laugh. It is a crackling noise and it looks like I’m attempting to try and catch my breath when I’m in all-out laughter.
  10. My family and friends who have sacrificed so much of their lives to give me an opportunity to live mine!

I wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season!  Thank you to BACKBONES and its mission to help those living through life with a spinal cord injury!

Written by Michael Maruzzi (Florida)