89: A Nurse with the Best Medicine

89: A Nurse with the Best Medicine

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses

A Nurse with the Best Medicine

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

~Kahlil Gibran

It started nearly twenty years ago.

I would start coughing as soon as I lay down. Inconvenient and annoying, but not a huge deal. The professionals suggested it might be some mild type of asthma I’d just have to learn to live with. I did.

Then one fall, I went on a weekend retreat with several girlfriends at a cozy family cabin. One of these friends, Marci, was a long-time nurse and nursing instructor. Since three of us were sharing a bedroom, I crawled into my sleeping bag and warned the other two about my persistent cough.

Marci took on a most somber tone. “Oh,” she said. “You have Chronic Nocturnal Positional Paroxysmal Bechesthesis.”

My inner drama queen immediately took the spotlight. This sounded serious! How much time did I have left? Months? Days? Should I quit my job, put my affairs in order? No matter what, I would be brave.

“Really?” I managed to gasp. “What’s that?”

“It means you cough when you lie down,” Marci said.

The other friend, Lisa, let out a snort heard in Toronto and the two of them started chortling so hard they could hardly breathe. They rolled off their beds, which in turn got me laughing so hard I started a coughing fit that lasted long into the night. Which, in turn, made them howl even harder.

Although Marci made up the diagnosis, she provided the best medicine of all. I still get a boost of immunity-building endorphins whenever I recall that night we laughed so hard we all lost our breath.

~Terrie Todd

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