The Laugh

“Penny! Wake up!”

I was laid out flat in my hospital bed, just days after coming out of a three-month coma, when I heard a familiar, wonderfully crass voice urging me to rejoin the living.

“Penny! Did you notice I lost 15 pounds on SlimFast?” Jackie Derchact shouted from across my room in the ICU.

Can’t say that I have.

Jackie Eisenberg had been parked at my bedside for a while I guess, gently caressing my arm and humming softly to me. We were both jolted by Jackie Dercacht’s invasion of our space, but that was just Jackie being Jackie, a loving, caring friend I have loved for a long time.

I tried to enjoy her new appearance but since I was still suffering from diminished eyesight and was seeing double, I couldn’t really appreciate Jackie’s new body. She either looked twice as big as I remembered or her new slim version just kept shifting in front of me. I tried to keep my eyes open and enter some level of jovial consciousness, but as Jackie Eisenberg continued holding my hand, I fell quickly back to sleep.

The next day––I think––I was awakened by a loud, clomping noise coming from the corridor, seemingly edging closer to my room with each labored breath I took.

That must be Christina.

Imagine, after being in a deep slumber for three months I could still recognize Christina’s footwork in a hospital filled with hundreds of visitors and sounds. As Christina entered the room, my eyes detected a shiny glimmer of gold. In all that time, my eyes had barely seen a ray of light.

“What is that?” I groaned.

“Oh, these are my new Tory Burch shoes! “ Christina said, as if we were meeting in a shopping mall. “Aren’t they cute?”IMG_0125

She held up a six-inch heel for my review.

“What day is it?”

“Sunday, silly,” she said.

“Is that what you wear to a hospital on a Sunday afternoon?” I croaked, still quite hoarse from not having spoken since what felt like forever.

Christina started to shake, which she always does when a laugh is beginning in her belly. She is another of my absolute best friends, a character and a riot to be around.

Then Jackie Eisenberg walked in.

“Did Jackie Dercacht really wake me from the dead to ask if I noticed her 15 pound weight loss?”

Jackie nodded, and the three of us erupted in laughter. Well, I didn’t exactly erupt. I must have whimpered and tried to maintain a smile.

I thanked God for that moment––and still do––even though Jackie and Christina shared how they were afraid that I would never laugh again. I had not yet shown any emotion since my re-entry to earth, nothing happy or sad or in between, because I was still in such shock and disbelief that I even existed.

But this laughter, this beautiful, recognizable laughter in my hospital room broke the spell and I began to feel hope.

So thank you my dear friends for your eccentric, ridiculous, and colorful personalities––then and now. I appreciate you with all my heart!


Writen by Penny Fisher

Penny Fisher has not only survived an unbelievable trauma, but also she has thrived. She is working on her memoir, and is available as a motivational speaker and mentor. To contact her, email: [email protected].

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