It only hurts when I laugh

it only hurts when i laugh

It was a shock when, a few weeks ago, my radiologist told me that I needed to have a feeding tube installed. “You may or may not need it during your treatment,” he said, “but we prefer that you have it put in now, because you’ll be very weak later.”



So, terrific, hooray for the protocol. Feeding tube installed, 4 October 2013, approximately 9am.



Jesus, it’s big. I was expecting something small, like the nozzle on a can of WD-40. Instead, I now have something like a garden hose implanted two inches above my belly button.



Getting a hole punched in your belly hurts for a few days. I suppose that’s a silly thing to say, but (for whatever reason) I wasn’t really expecting it. I spent the weekend aching and cradling my belly, walking with a hunch, wondering how long this was going to go on, and assuming (of course) that it would be the rest of my life.



Over the last few days, the incision has mostly healed. I am now able to walk upright and almost normally. But some movements that involve the abdominal muscles – especially getting up from a seated or lying-down position – still give me a twinge.



Also: I can now burp without pain! Also, I can cough!



Sneezing is still a little painful, however.



Also laughing.



Oh this is the last straw. I can’t laugh? Whom do I need to talk to about this?



As James Thurber said when his blindness prevented him from seeing a beautiful girl embracing him: “Dear God, this goes just a little bit beyond a joke.”


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

9 Responses to It only hurts when I laugh

  1. Just for today…..

  2. I can hear you saying, “Fuck you.”

  3. Janet says:

    Not being able to laugh is simply not fair…especially if one is so determined to face this bizarre circumstance with humor…try saying ha,ha,ha,ha without moving your belly…very hard…but do-able! Thinking of you. Janet

  4. You must cultivate a genteel and gentle chortle. No guffawing. How tiresome. Which reminds me, the Mapp and Lucia books might be a pleasant read while invaliding but only if you can laugh

  5. I have been thinking of you, Loren, and am adding you to my prayer list. I know of only two people (besides you) who have gone through this and both are success stories. I trust yours will be the same but not without a challenging road ahead. Hang in there. When I think of you, I’ll be hearing your very careful laugh.

    • Doing okay so far. I start treatments – radiation and chemo – in about a week. I should be relatively active for a few more weeks at least, but I will be spending a very quiet Thanksgiving. THanks for your good thoughts.

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