How Can You Not Laugh at a Time Like This?: Reclaim Your Health with Humor, Creativity, and Grit


Having a sense of humor is essential to health, says singer-songwriter Carla Ulbrich, who has found laughter to be a lifesaver during tough times. Under the stress of multiple illnesses and constant health "care," Ulbrich one day snapped—and became the Singing Patient. She channeled her hard—won victories, set about reclaiming her health, and penned How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?, a collection of short, inspiring, funny essays that ...

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How Can You Not Laugh at a Time Like This?: Reclaim Your Health with Humor, Creativity, and Grit

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Having a sense of humor is essential to health, says singer-songwriter Carla Ulbrich, who has found laughter to be a lifesaver during tough times. Under the stress of multiple illnesses and constant health "care," Ulbrich one day snapped—and became the Singing Patient. She channeled her hard—won victories, set about reclaiming her health, and penned How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?, a collection of short, inspiring, funny essays that help people thrive and celebrate life despite illness.

As Ulbrich spins her tale (and shares some songs), she lampoons common fears and prejudices about illness and lovingly lambastes the foibles of the medical industry. She offers heartfelt and humorous advice for navigating mainstream and alternative therapies, and she guides partners, families, and friends who wish to help their loved ones. Her candid insights, wisecracking commentary, handy lists, hilarious song lyrics, and gentle camaraderie will put a smile on the face of anyone who wants to face illness with courage and humor.

READ—AND LAUGH—ABOUT: The Top Ten Annoying Things to Say to Someone Who's Just Been Diagnosed • "On the Commode Again" (lyrics included!) • This Is (Not) Your Life • Disease Envy • Lessons from the Nudist Festival: How Much to Reveal • Survivor: Kidney Island • Doctors Are People, Too • Fibromyalgia: The Other F Word • A Good Vein Is Hard to Find • My Other Body Is a Porsche

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Stock
“While writing a great book on how to recover
from illness, Carla wrote an even better book on how to live a healthy and fulfilling life. No doubt, you have a good doctor if you see “How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?” in their waiting room.”
—Michael Stock, Producer – WLRN Radio, Miami, FL
Sarah Flint
“Carla's clarity is infectious. She gives us hope,
shows us how to take control of our illness, and to always see the humor, because life is better while we're laughing.”
—Sarah Flint, Bloomington IN - singer-songwriter, breast cancer survivor
Lucky Yogini
“Carla talks to you honestly, on every level,
in her book. She also does it with a fantastic sense of humor. Carla recants her journey through illness, from discovery, traversing the health care maze and dealing with friends and family. Throughout the book she also injects all of her crazy thoughts, ideas and opinions with great wit.”
—Lucky Yogini Blog
Danny Donuts
“This book should be required reading for anyone
with a serious illness... patients, doctors, nurses, families and those well-meaning friends who always happen to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. This is a guide book, a companion, a friend you can lean on, a butt-kicker, a coach, and a fountain of knowledge. It can pretty much do anything but jump start your car.”
—Danny Donuts, CPA (Comic Performance Artist), member, Association for Applied and Therapeutic H
Robert Aubry Davis
“How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This? is outstanding. . . .
Carla is your guide to navigate the often emotionally and technically
confusing world of illness with heart, humor, and bite-size
chapters. Everyone needs a patient advocate—and now you have
one, with this book!”
—Robert Aubry Davis and Mary Sue Twohy,
“The Village,” Sirius XM Radio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780981645346
  • Publisher: Tell Me Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 906,025
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Comic singer-songwriter Carla Ulbrich has taken her music and love of wordplay all over the United States and England. She has appeared on USA TV, the BBC, Dr. Demento, The Bob and Sherrie Show, and Sirius XM Radio. She has recorded five CDs. Ulbrich grew up in Clemson, South Carolina, and now lives in New Jersey.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Inspirational and humorous

    I had never heard of the author Carla Ulbrich until I read her book, so I was a bit skeptical that a book about being sick could be funny. Well upon reading it there were often many instances that I had to literally stop reading for a bit because I was laughing so hard. She has a way of looking at things that are flat out funny, but more than that she gives the reader some very practical advice on how to maneuver thru the health care system that is invaluable. There are ten chapters in this book, and each chapter is broken down into several mini-stories that deal with the topic the chapter covers, make this book easy to read. I actually read it from cover to cover, but then marked some of my favorite mini-stories to reread, such as the chapter about prednisone, or the one titled Disease Envy, where she shares a little ditty titled "On The Commode Again." If the old adage is that laughter is the best medicine holds true then everyone should have a copy of this book. The cute cover really catches your eye but the stories inside not only inspire but because Ms. Ulbirch shares her stories anyone facing an illness will realize the things they face and the questions they have are normal. Whether your facing a personal illness or know someone who is, this book will certainly uplift and encourage.

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    Lemonade makers truly control their own lives!!

    If that headline doesn't peak your interest, hopefully this review of the book will. Here is a matter-of-fact, common sense opus that truly proves (in the author's words) that an illness is what you "have" and is not what you "are"!! Carla Ulbrich is a wonderfully talented songstress (sorry about the word stress - read the book to find many suggested remedies for that) and folk comedienne who has overcome several setbacks that life has tossed in her path and through her experience has captured the true essence and meaning of the word perseverance. She has proven that anything in life, including illness, can be overcome by education (do your own and don't rely wholly on so-called "experts"), steadfastness of will (to give in is not productive as it doesn't change your present situation), positive thoughts (your own and from others), accepting help (no, we don't have to be everything to everyone and we have to know when to quit) and the willingness of the person to truly listen to the lessons that their life is teaching them (don't always focus on the negative and slide into a "poor me" lifestyle).

    As "The Singing Patient", Carla has flown into the face of adversity by channeling her personal health issues into a humorous and thought-provoking look at how we can either become our own worst enemy or best friend. She describes the importance of food choices as a dual-edged component of life that can either contribute to our illness or to our wellness - are you a "Crapatarian"? Do you consume too many "excitotoxins"? Are you taking enough "Vitamin F"? The bottom line is that Carla has finally put on paper what perhaps too many people are afraid to think about or to do something about and that is that despite unfortunate and sometimes life-altering events - life may not be fair, but it's ours and WE are in control of our lives!! To focus on making ourselves whole and to understand that "whole" means mind, body and soul, we have to find the silver lining and learn to make the proverbial lemonade. If you want a great supplement to this book, Carla's CD "Sick Humor" contains many of the songs referenced in the book and even with the frankness of some of the issues within those songs, they are truly funny and will make you laugh (unless, of course, you have no sense of humor whatsoever in which case you need to go back and read the book again)!! Thank you Carla for a wonderfully enjoyable and thought-provoking read!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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