Brody: Laughter is light

Published 10:52 am Tuesday, September 3, 2019

In May 2000, I wrote a column that has made me laugh every time I remember it.

At our Brookdale facility we are going through a renovation, complete with all new paint, new carpeting, new furniture, you name it.

It’s been a rough time for us here for more than a month.

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I thought it fitting to retell this really funny true story to make you laugh out loud.

It happened one night during an all night vigil at Baptist Hospital in Miami.

One of Gene’s cousins suffered a massive brain aneurysm and right brain stroke. After emergency surgery, the doctor gave him a 1 percent chance of ever waking up and no chance of being able to function if he did.

It was the first night of waiting and praying. There we sat with others just as frightened as we were. Voices were muted, eyes were dark and glassy, and the mood was serious. There was no laughter.

And then it happened.

One of the families waiting with us included the sister of a dying patient. They had been given the same odds as we had and this sister had to make the dreaded phone calls to other family members. This is her story.

Both phones in our waiting room were in constant use and I heard her say softly to her mom she was going down to the ER where there were a number of phones and she would be back shortly.

She didn’t return shortly. A good half hour went by and no sister. Then another half hour when finally she burst into the room where we were waiting.

It was like throwing buckets of ice water into the sad silence as she, in a loud, excited voice, blurted out, “You will never guess what just happened to me just now!

“I went down to the ER to use the phone. It was an absolute madhouse in there. People all over the place. Ambulances unloading, parents carrying screaming babies, everybody hollering. Man, I heard one nurse actually tell one man with blood all over him if he could get to another ER to do it because it would be a four-hour wait here.

“I finally made my way through it all to a phone. I was just about to dial when I saw this middle-age woman in a wheel chair come in the door.

“She didn’t seem to have anybody with her and I heard her say she had come by cab and she was yelling, ‘I’m about to have a baby. It’s not my first kid and believe me I know when a kid is about to come out of me.’

“Would you believe nobody paid any attention to her? It was like she was sitting in a wheel chair just talking away and all these people running on all four sides of her even bumping into the sides of her chair. I swear, one nurse even shoved it out of her way.

“And when the chair quit rolling, it was about six feet away from me.

“I finished dialing and had just gotten Aunt Mary on the phone when all of the sudden I heard this splat. I thought the lady had thrown up or something, but when I looked again, good lord have mercy, there, slithering down her legs and landing on the chair footrest was something. I heard the splat. I just stared at it and then it moved.

“I dropped the phone and oozing on to the floor was a moving baby, still attached to the woman.

“Now get this. It was such a mess there that not one single soul paid one bit of attention to it. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Like in a dream state, I closed the six-foot distance between us and scooped up the newborn.

“There I was, holding the baby while at the other end of the cord a middle-aged woman was trying to get up out of the wheel chair.

“That woman said to me, ‘Give my baby lady. I’m leaving. This place is crazy.’

“By this time a nurse or whatever she was noticed our little drama, shoved the new mother back into the wheel chair and, I swear this is true, she began jogging as she headed for the ob/gyn unit.

“‘Hey!’ I screamed, ‘What about the baby?’ She never even turned around and the nurse said, ‘Follow me lady!’

“So here we went, the nurse behind the wheel chair and I holding the minutes-old baby still attached right behind her.

“Finally, our parade arrived at double doors labeled ob/gyn.

“Once inside, someone (a doctor hopefully) took one look and quickly relieved me of the baby and he said to me, ‘Are you a family member miss?’ I took a deep breath, wiped the blood off my arms and said, ‘I don’t have the slightest idea who this woman is. I can just tell you her baby slid right out of her and out of the chair in front of me. Goodbye doctor.’”

Back in the waiting room, she finished her story and plopped herself down in an uncomfortable chair.

Suddenly, she started to laugh and laugh and laugh.

I, so close to tears for days began to laugh. Then others followed. Pretty soon in a room at midnight usually filled with tears laughter came. It filled the room. That laughter brought light to the darkness.

Laughter brings miracles.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.