Whenever our loved ones talk about death we don’t like to hear that or we skilfully change the topic. This topic is a kind of taboo for us. Not everyone can make a joke about death. But some terminally ill patients teach us how to laugh at death.
The Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPV) launched a new public awareness campaign on palliative care that helps terminally ill patients and their families laugh at death. The video campaign has gone viral on social media.
The video shows some patients who are full of life but suffering from lung cancer, some from kidney failure, and some are spending few last days of their lives joking at death.
A woman, lung cancer patient asked the audience why they were feeling sad. “You don’t even have a cough. I have lung cancer and I’m laughing.”
Another patient said, “I ran out of kidney so I got a chota recharge. The doctors say I have Two years to live. And I am happy about it.”
The founder and MD of Medulla (which started this campaign), Praful Akali said they got the idea last year when Medulla had a campaign called ‘Last Words’. He said, “Several nurses usually hear a terminally ill patient’s last words and not their families. The idea was to promote palliative care, where terminally ill individuals spend their last days with their loved ones. From there, we met some patients, who joked about death, with some of them even wishing that they could be on stage and make jokes about it. That’s how #LaughAtDeath was launched.”
He also said that IAPC collaborated with some top comedians including Vinay Sharma, Kunal Kamra, Punit Pania, Kashyap, Anand Reghu and Shriram R to sit with the patients and their families. “The biggest learning we got out of it is the will power of these individuals. It sounds cliched, but when we look at them we take a step back and appreciate what really matters in life.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Medulla, Amit Akali asserted this was the toughest project for them. “The patients made life easy for us. They opened their lives to the stand-up comics and rehearsed hard for days.”
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra who trained the patients said he had a wonderful experience but he wouldn’t work with the terminally-ill patients again as it was an emotional roller-coaster “which is draining because you may never see these people again.”
President of IAPC, Dr. Mary Ann Muckaden averred with this campaign she expects there is an increased access to palliative care in India. “Currently, only 3% of cancer patients get even simple pain relief. Hopefully, this campaign will change that.”