I visited the allergist today, and they did an allergy test on my back, poking me with 72 different allergens to see what I reacted to (this is my favorite style of medical treatment - when medical professionals are actively trying to cause me discomfort). I'd had the test before - they'd done the same thing on my forearm, which I think was a little worse. Not that it hurt more than this one did, the discomfort is minor in both cases, but in that situation I had to see it happen as it went along: watching my arm start to turn red, seeing sections of my arm swell up into little mountains of angry allergen reaction and then start to spread across, seeing those sections start to take over other sections until my arm look like a bubbling see of angry allergens intent on conquering my whole body. This time I just lay there, quietly trying not to scratch and wondering how things looked on my back.
The nurse came in at about five minutes in and glanced at my back, started to walk out, then looked again.
"Wow," she said, an exclamation I am uncomfortable hearing from anyone in the medical profession unless it is immediately followed by the sentence "you are one healthy individual, Mr. Wyman." In this case, it was not. It was simply, "wow."
"What's going on?"
"Well, your dust allergen has already started to really show."
"How bad is it?"
"We rate allergies on a scale of one to four." She paused, looking at my swollen back for a minute. "This is a six."
"Well, what else am I allergic to?"
"Let's see, you've got allergies to Scotch Pine... Mesquite..."
"Like... barbecue sauce mesquite?"
"Yes, but just the pollen. Don't worry. Let's see... oak... cats... dust... and dust mites... chocolate..."
"I'm sorry, what was that last one?"
"Chocolate. You're allergic to chocolate."
"Like, eating chocolate?"
"So I can't each chocolate?"
"No. Also, nothing that has cocoa in it, so no hot cocoa, or Coca-Cola."
"I'm sorry? What was that?"
"No Coke. It has cocoa in it too." She paused, looking over my back one more time, and left the room for another ten minutes for me to choke in my despair. And also for the allergen test to complete.
Now, I know there are a lot of worse things I could be allergic to. Wheat, for instance. Or corn. But I just can't get over the list of things I can't eat anymore.
Cocoa Krispies. Chocolate chip cookies. Double chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate cream pie. Brownies. Milanos. Riesens. Chocolate sauce. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Chocolate Cake. Chocolate-dipped strawberries. Tootsie Roll Pops. Mocha. Raisinets. Chocolate fondue.
Peanut Butter M&Ms.
Chocolate chip ice cream.
I'm very, very, very depressed about this. I'm going home, I'm going to make myself some vanilla ice cream and butterscotch and I'm going to weep copiously for my loss. Then maybe I'll pull myself together, make myself some hot apple cider, and throw everything that has chocolate in my apartment off the balcony. And then maybe I'll cry again. I don't think I need to feel ashamed of this. Today, I lost something very important. It's well within my rights to mourn its passing.
R.I.P. Chocolate. Someday, in another life, I hope we meet again. And then our joy will only be strengthened by our long separation.
Though before then Halloween is coming, and I am gonna be pissed at you.