Saturday, July 12, 2008

Of Chocolate and Doctors

My rheumatologist and I get along really well. She's got a great personality and I have to give Dr. S. an enormous amount of credit for the support and empathy she has shared with me over the last five years. 

When I was first diagnosed with Sjogren's, I went through all the stages of grief that every person does when faced with significant changes in their life. About six months after my diagnosis, I hit the anger phase. With a vengeance. 

To watch a grown woman tantrum through her appointment must have tried Dr. S.'s patience. But she seemed to realize that I was railing against the fact that my life seemed to be controlled completely by my antibodies and just listened quietly, then asked how she could help. 

Even mid rant, I could see that this person sitting across from me in her white lab jacket was exceptional. From that day on, my view of my physician changed from that of the bearer of bad news, to my partner on this journey. I knew at that point that this was a relationship that deserved nurturing. 

In a past life, I used to work in a clinic. I knew what was needed to nurture people that populate clinics and hospitals. I knew where they kept their secret weapon to buoy their spirits on difficult days. I knew from experience what was hidden in all those sterile and professional looking drawers.  I knew what special ingredient would accompany me to all future appointments. 


Yes, chocolate. People in the medical field find chocolate a life sustaining food, and I was and am no exception.

 So now after I get on the scale (aaaack!) and have my blood pressure checked, Dr. S. joins me in the exam room and we break out the candy. We have shared Belgian chocolate, Finnish chocolate, chocolate covered cherries, M&Ms, Hershey Kisses, Tootsie Rolls, Toblerone, Dove Bars, Almond Joy bars, chocolate covered popcorn, Milky Way bars, Kit Kat, Snickers bars, and most recently, all varieties of Easter egg shaped chocolates. We don't discriminate when it comes to chocolates, but have agreed to try them all. We sit knee to knee and munch while we review labs and symptoms and medications. 

It's amazing how life's problems seem to lose some measure of importance when one has a velvety smooth piece of chocolate melting in one's mouth.....there's medicine, and then there's REAL medicine, and it comes wrapped neatly in foil and paper. Mary Poppins got it right. 


Anonymous said...

Once I gave my rheumatologist dark-chocolate covered pecans. He seemed very happy


Vicky said...

Chocolate does seem to make everything better!