At the time of this post, it has been 39 hours since I last indulged. Considering I partake twice daily (on average), 39 hours is a lifetime.
After three trips to my own physician, and finally a fourth to a new Doc who seems to know what a tongue depressor is for, I think I’ve finally gotten to the root of my suffering.
You see, for the first month of this year, I have been a dry, red-eyed, swollen-lidded, shell of my fabulous self
Not only have my beautiful ice-blue eyes been suffering, but so has my honey-sweet mouth. Quit laughing. My body has staged a protest, and I’m tired before the day even begins.
My lips have swollen and cracked. The inside of my luscious mouth feels as if someone poured a boiling pot of water inside of it.
Needless to say, I’ve been feeling less than fresh.
The mystery illness tagged on to the end of a bad bout of the flu. It popped up one evening after I baked a double batch of my decadent chocolate walnut brownies.
Walnuts. Of course! I was having a bit of a reaction to the walnuts. No big deal. After all, my mouth has always gotten a bit tingly after eating walnuts and pecans. I figured I was just a little more sensitive having been racked with the flu.
After a week of suffering, I dropped my head in defeat and went to see my doctor, a professional, who is not so much a professional. He shuffles as many patients in and out of his office in a fifteen minute period as possible, and rakes in his maximum billing from our deeply flawed medical system.
“I think I’m having an allergic reaction,” I say to him. I’ve lived in this body for almost 40 years, I know it pretty well.
He doesn’t even look in my mouth, and tells me that it’s just a virus, not contagious, and to go home. Wait, let’s do some routine blood work. Oh yah, and turn your heat down you’re just dry, it is winter after all.
Four days later, barely able to see through swollen red eyelids I get a call from his office to come back. Now I’m not only sick, I’m cold too. “Turn down the heat,” I think to myself, “what a moron“.
Dr. Feelgood looks at me startled by my red eyes ( as if this is the first he’s heard of it), and says, “That could be contagious.” He doesn’t look at my mouth or get any closer to looking at my eyes. He gets out his pharmaceutical company pen and writes a script for antibiotic eye drops.
He also tells me that I need a full abdominal and pelvic ultra sound. I’ve already read my blood test results, and I know that the report is simply reflective of the virus I’ve had. Doctor Dimwit would also know this if he listened.
I think to myself that he needs someone to pull his giant, useless brain out of his ass.
I go home finally looking as bad as I’ve felt all month. The heat gets switched back up to ‘tropical’, and I decide that my doctor must go. I put a call in to another physician and am told I have to wait two weeks for my initial appointment.
After a week of the drops, and now swollen, oozing, red eyes I’ve decided that I’ve had enough. I throw out the requisition to have my internal organs prodded and decide that perhaps I should just get a real doctor to actually look at my mouth, and maybe shine one of those bright light thingys in my eyes first.
I wait 15 minutes at a local speciality clinic, and am seen by a lovely doctor who actually looks in my mouth. “Your entire mouth and throat are inflamed.” He says. I fall in love with him immediately.
Next, he examines my eyes. He even uses one of those little wands with the light in it.
“It looks like you’re having an allergic reaction.”
He prescribes some wonderful elixir of hope for my eyes and my mouth. Not only that, he tells me that if after two days I don’t feel better that it’s not an allergy and to come back.
The prescription is filled within minutes. In my car, bundled in my black overcoat with the heater on, I drop the drops in my eyes and dab the mouth-goop on the inside of my cheeks.
I feel almost instant relief. It feels so good, I slide my tongue over the goopy pectin film that has coated my cheeks and teeth, and then over my puffy, cracked lips. Sweet relief! I decide that things are looking up.
To celebrate, I make double chocolate cookies with chocolate dough and white chocolate chips. No walnuts this time just in case.
I wake up the next morning tingly and sore again. You know what makes you feel better when that happens? Chocolate cookies for breakfast. Just to be safe, I ate two.
My lips puffed up. My eyes turned red and swelled up again.
“Oh. Shit,” I think to myself, “It’s the cocoa”. It’s that decadent red cocoa high in fat and yummyliciousness. It’s my go-to-socially-acceptable-legal-narcotic-of-choice.
I casually mention this at work to my colleague. “My sister is allergic to cocoa,” she says sipping her coffee, “She can’t use sunscreen because it makes her break out in hives.”
“NOOOOOO,” I want to scream, but instead I say, “Oh my gawd. That happened to me the last time I went down south. I was a huge hive.”
So there you have it folks. I’m now waiting to have the tests to officially confirm that I am allergic to one of the essential elixirs of life as I know it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are other things that get my libertarian-on; deep, delicious, chewy red wine, men who know how to use their hands and their hips, Charles Bukowski, a good single malt, cold gin on a hot day, Hunter S. Thompson, and dark, rich coffee. But none of these can replace chocolate.
Chocolate is an indulgence you can have any time, any where.
You can pull a little nibble out of your clutch at a wedding, at your desk, hell, even in a court room. Think about trying to do that with a man or a glass of wine. Not possible.
So to my boyfriends out there who are sure to be shopping for my Valentine’s day chocolate to go with the diamonds and bedroom acrobatics, please just skip the chocolate, and go heavy on the orchids this year.