Man Who Suffers From Pathological Laughter Like Joker Has Had Really Tough Life
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A man with a pathological laughing condition like The Joker has been dealt yet another brutal hand - having already faced more than anyone ever should.
Scott Lotan, from Virginia Beach, USA, has 'no idea' how he survived falling into a frozen river in Scotland as a child, but somehow he miraculously emerged from the water, a quarter of a mile downstream.
This was to be the first of many near-death experiences for Scott.
In 2001, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), and the autoimmune condition brought with it the pseudobulbar affect (or PBA), which causes him to have laughing episodes that can last up to 10 minutes.
These laughing fits are often triggered in the least appropriate moments, such as in 2003, when a special day for Scott suddenly turned into a nightmare.
"We were leaving my engagement party and were hit by a drunk driver," the 50-year-old told LADbible. "My fiancée died at the scene with my mother's death three days later.
"I remember being at the scene laughing and being questioned by police.
"At the wakes for both my mother and my fiancée I would have to separate myself from everyone as I would burst into laughter at times."
Scott managed to bounce back from this horrendous loss and build a family - but it was almost all snatched away from him last week.
Dad-of-two Scott, who works as a network architect, had been battling Covid-19, and once his quarantine period was over he had to get an MS infusion, which lowers his immune system. After a horrific night's sleep, Scott thought he could smell smoke.
"I went downstairs and my wife was in the shower," Scott recalled. "And then I could see into my garage, where the fire had started.
"And so I ran in there, I was like, 'Get the f**k outta here!
"So she had to run out of the house barely covered, you know, parts showing... ran upstairs, got the kids, because there was still a clear pathway out... Made sure our pugs - we got two pugs - made sure that they got out."
From the street, the family watched on as their house of six years burnt to the ground, but in the midst of the 'horrific tragedy', they were offered a glimmer of hope.
Scott said: "Neighbours came together, brought my wife some clothes, took her into their home, got her dressed, calmed down the kids.
"That's when it popped in my son's head that he's got a turtle, and the fireman came out with his turtle tank and everything, like 'We saved him! We saved him!'
"And so that was a great thing."
Scott also had his neighbours to thank for stepping in and explaining his condition to firefighters as he was overcome with bouts of laughter.
"I was having laughing attacks out front," Scott said. "So I immediately went up to the fire chief and I told him, 'I have to preface this, if you see me walking around laughing, this is completely neurological. I have no control of it'.
"Most people, they don't believe it."
He continued: "It's absolutely not in line with what my emotional state is, and I'm out here laughing as my house is on fire. So that looks very suspect.
"Luckily, one of the fire chiefs actually lived on our street, and the neighbours were out there and they helped explain my situation."
Scott was actually supposed to be at a training day when the fire broke out, but he decided not to go after his restless night on medication. If he hadn't been at home, while his wife was in the shower and his kids were asleep, he's convinced he 'would have lost everybody'.
Mercifully, everyone got out alive, but irreplaceable family heirlooms and a 'tremendous amount of computer equipment' were lost, and it is looking like what remains of the house will have to knocked down.
For the time being, the family have been staying in a hotel while Scott tos and fros with insurers; however, the financial outlook is bleak.
"We may very well run out of money," Scott said.
"The prediction is right now that we have enough money to live for 222 days - we're going to be gone for at least 356."
Scott's brother, Iain, has set up a GoFundMe in a bid to drum up some vital funds for the family, and while trying times lie ahead for Scott, yet again, he's confident that - with help - he can get through it.
He said: "I've always had this sense that no matter what happens to me, I'm going to be OK. I can always rebuild.
"And over the last 20 years, all the tragedies I've experienced have proven that I'm coming out on the other side, I'm going to be good - knowing that I'm going to ask for help.
"I'm not going to let pride stand in my way. I've got people that depend on me. So pride is out the window, I'm going to do what needs to be done."
You can donate to the family's GoFundMe here.