Monday, June 6, 2011

Laughter Therapy

When I was at Spaulding, a music therapist visited me, partly to see if it would help me with my aphasia. She wheeled me down the hall to the lounge, and set up her guitar and music stand.

"Do you like the Beatles?" she asked.

Not really. But I knew some of songs, so I nodded. We started to sing--mostly humming, for me--but I thought my voice sounded awful. I made a face of disgust. The therapist looked worried, and flipped through her music.

"Do you know 'You Are My Sunshine'?" she asked.

I wanted to tell her, Sometimes I used to sing that song when I was putting the kids to bed. I also wanted to tell her that the lyrics are actually pretty sad. Especially the Johnny Cash version. I think he had recorded it after his wife, June Carter Cash, had died, and his voice was ravaged from old age and heartbreak.

I started to cry.

The music therapist scurried out to find some tissues. I could see her through the glass door, and a few minutes later I saw her coming back down the hall. She tried to open the door. It was locked.

Don't worry, I wanted to tell her. It wasn't like I needed to be somewhere. I started to laugh.

She pantomimed that she would be right back. She returned with another staffer, who looked puzzled. Still no key. There was more commotion in the hallway.

Now I was really laughing, so much that I was tearing up from laughter.

Finally, someone from the maintenance crew arrived. He found the right key, opened the door, and left. The music therapist wheeled me back to my room, apologizing the whole way back down the hallway.

She was apologizing so much, in fact, that she didn't realize that that was one of the best therapy sessions I ever had at Spaulding.


  1. Bill says Stroke Club this month is Laughter Yoga--maybe I should come too!

  2. I should have known to get a Kleenex before I started reading! At least Now I know the iPad is water resistant. And I can type while giggling.

  3. Such a s touching and funny story. My violin playing eldest daughter uses "you are my sunshine" as a signature piece, often for her last number at places like nursing homes. I will have to share your post with her!

    About the therapist getting locked out? There have been many times when that would have seemed like a brilliant solution to a bad day!

  4. We need to laugh more and seek stress reducing humor in our everyday lives....i like your post thanks for posting