Jokes we made when my mom had a kidney infection

I was searching through my Google documents for something, and this title: “Jokes We Made During My Mother’s Kidney Infection.”

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll remember that my mom was very sick last January.

Well, my family isn’t really accustomed to serious stuff. Not to jinx us, but, we’re a pretty tough bunch, and we haven’t had anything too terrible happen to us until this. My mom hadn’t even been in a hospital since being in the maternity ward to have my little sister. So, we were pretty shaken up.

dad eating a flashlight
Dad entertaining Julia

As true Kellys, though, (my dad’s Irish side of the family), we joked our way through the crisis. Especially once  we knew what the problem was (my mom was very, very sick for about 12 hours before they figured out it was a kidney stone and infection). It’s easier to laugh when you know things will be okay.

I remember being on the train on the way back to New York, happy that my mom was better, but truly shaken up by everything that had happened. I didn’t want to actively recall anything frightening–like seeing my mom cry for the first time in years, because she was in so much pain. But I did want to write down details. I wanted to remember, so I could stay in the state of enlightenment I was in, which the realization that my family is precious, and that I wouldn’t have them forever… that the feeling of permanence and security I’ve always viewed my family with is actually… not permanent and secure.

So I wrote down the jokes we told each other. And other just, ridiculous comments.

You’d probably have to know my family for any of these jokes to be funny. You’d need to know that my dad says outrageous things just for effect. And that my mom is very reserved and school teacher, and never swears.

You’d need to know that my mom tries to be low-maintenance, but that my dad is pretty much helpless when she tries to give him a simple task, and that quietly drives her crazy. You’d need to know that my mom always, always finds something to worry about in my life for me.

Anyway, these cracked me up, I wanted to share:


Jokes We Made During My Mother’s Kidney Infection


Dad and Uncle Bob pretending to be serious
Dad and Uncle Bob pretending to be serious

Mom to Uncle Bob: “Did you find your way around the hospital okay?”

Uncle Bob: “Oh yeah, Linda and I have been here before. We ate at the cafeteria for dinner once.”

Mom: “Oh, who were you visiting?”

Uncle Bob: “Nobody. But they’ve got spaghetti and meatballs, two dollars a plate!”

Mom: “You just came here for dinner?”

Uncle Bob: “Carol, two people can eat for four dollars.”


Dad to Mom about getting her stent removed: “You don’t need an appointment for that. I’ve got a vice grip at home.’



Dad, in the cafeteria: “What if this happened while we were snowshoeing? Wouldn’t that be terrible? I’d have to carry your mother out of the woods. I’d have to tie our snow shoes together and strap her to it like a sled, and pull her out of the woods!”

Rachel: “That’s really dramatic, dad.”


Mom, in a text message: “Don’t bring me any food from dinner, everything tastes like mud.”

Dad, in a text message: “Well how about some mud then? Just a big plate of mud.”


Me to mom about the multiple yellow vases her flowers came in: “I hope you like yellow!”

"Playing croquet"
My dad “playing croquet”

Dad: “Of course she does, it reminds her of her urinary tract!”


Dad to Mom, in her gurney on the 2nd floor: “How did you get up here?”

Mom: “We took the stairs.”


Dad, about the woman talking loudly behind us in the cafeteria: “Let’s get the waiter.  Oh waiter! I’d like to purchase that woman a hot steaming mug of shut up!”


Mom to Dad, about how he drinks soda and coffee but no water, and didn’t get kidney stones, and how unfair that is: “I mean, it’s not exactly like I’d wish this on you or anything…”

Dad: “This is how we know you’re getting better, you’re a pain in my ass again.”


Mom: “This bed is like a deluxe coffin.”dad being himself

Rachel: “…Mom!”


Mom about the nurse who suggested she watch The Bachelor: “Who wants to see that show? It’s always a bitch and a bastard.”

Me: “Mom!”

Mom: “What? It is.”


Dad, to me: “I can’t sleep without your mother. I’m having the craziest dreams. Last night I dreamed that this old hippy guy with a ponytail I used to work with came to the house and I let him in and he started yelling, “You don’t know what it’s like out there for people like me!”

“And then your mother stuffed his mouth with those pull tabs from tax envelopes and put his head between the two couches like a vice and sat on him.”

Me: “What?”

Dad: “I need your mother around, she’s got that prison training*!”

(*Note: my mom is a schoolteacher in a prison)


Mom, waking up from a dead sleep when I’m quietly talking to Dad about my new job: “You mean you haven’t been flashlight in dads facepaid yet?”

Me: “Mom, we weren’t even talking about that. Are you worrying about me in the hospital right now?”

Mom: “Never mind that—you haven’t been paid for a month?!”


Everyone: “Mom… I know you’re really sick and all, but your hair looks fantastic.”


Dad, once we’re home: “I’m going to make your bed up for you with fresh sheets! Which ones would you like?”

Mom: “Oh anything.”

Dad: “Which ones? The yellow?”

Mom: “Sure, the mustard yellow knit. Anything.”

Dad, walking in with sheets: “These it?”

Mom: “That’s not the knit, it’s the percale!”

Dad: “I don’t know what percale is!


Dad to Mom’s doctor in the ER: “You should know, we had the same meal last night.”

Doctor: “…that didn’t cause this.”


Okay that’s everything, copy and pasted directly from the word document I wrote it in in January. Hope you don’t think we’re all terrible people!! (We probably are).

I meant this to be a post about my mom, but writing it down, I realized it’s actually about how I don’t know how I would ever get through anything like this again without my dad keeping everyone laughing.


NYC, 1998
NYC, 1998

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