“# 37: MORPHINE”
by Rick Jones, Husband of the Minister's Wife
I've shared several stories about my medical woes. It's been therapeutic, in a way, to know that some people can get a laugh out of my hospitalization, even though I wasn't laughing when the events happened. While I've had a few laughs at the expense of the medical profession, I'm grateful that hospitals and their staffs were there when I've needed them.
One nurse “prescribed” an exercise in gratitude when she could tell I was depressed over my medical condition. “List on paper 100 things you're thankful for”. One hundred! That's tough for a guy who will remind you that every silver lining has a dark cloud.
Another patient said he heard of a guy who had the same assignment, and got so desperate for ideas that his list included “the last knuckle on the little finger on my right hand; the middle knuckle on the little finger on my right hand; the knuckle at the base of the little finger . . .”. That routine accounted for over a quarter of his items. The nurse read the list, and told him to do it again, seriously, or she'd prescribe the 200-item list.
I had a variety of items, ranging from the expected, like God and Lois and my Bible, to chocolate and Italian sausage, to Boris Karloff and a DVD player to watch his movies on. Yeah, I got pretty desperate around the low 80s [disco music went out of style; the corn poker things that you hold corn-on-the-cob with so your fingers don't get covered with butter; nitrogen], but I finished the task. My 100th item was “I'm thankful that I get to stop at 100”.
At first I thought the project was a dumb idea, but making the list actually did help. I recommend that you try it sometime when you're feeling down. It caused a bit of trouble for me later, though, when Lois wanted to know why her name wasn't in the top five. Fortunately, I actually had a reasonable explanation: unfair working conditions! The same person who “prescribed” the exercise was also giving me heavy medication! [Now the title of this article makes sense to you, right?]
That averted crisis led to item #101: I was thankful that, despite my drug-induced delirium, I had written down my wife's name before listing Boris Karloff.