Today, November tried its hardest to give me a Melville Day. (See yesterday's post for a full explanation.) The sun had apparently worn itself out after its extended engagement earlier in the week, and we also had rain, that cold, ugly rain that greys up the sky, the day, and the soul. Had I not had a quick morning checkup with My Hero, the neurologist, I probably would have spent the whole day trying to justify remaining in my jammies and fleece robe, doing just enough Domestic Goddessing to stave off Guilt while intermittently chatting and playing Words With Friends via the Interwebs (on my phone, as I said I would never, ever do, for those of you scoring at home).
Instead, I got dressed and coaxed my short short hair (still growing out) into yet another new iteration and grabbed a bottle of dry riesling and headed out to see my doctor.
Yes, I took wine to my doctor's appointment. Dr. B. is another reason I like November.
My original neurologist, whose name I don't remember, was a Filipino gentleman and was kindly and sweet. He was tiny and smiled all the time, and he was quite thorough and methodical. When he decided to retire, his practice was referred to Dr. B., a Cleveland Clinic neurologist whose examining rooms were outfitted with laptops. My first appointment was memorable in that he complimented me on not misspelling "mycin" when I wrote that I was allergic to mycin drugs. "Most people spell it with an a, as in myacin," he said brusquely. "I find that very irritating." I looked up at him and smiled. "I teach English," I said. "I'm very careful about spelling."
From that moment on, we had a great deal to talk about, and sometimes now it is difficult to squeeze in my migraine condition. We have discussed literature, education, language, oh, all sorts of things. And because it is a migraine trigger for me as well as our shared passion, we often discuss wine. As it happens, Dr. B. is a former resident of Toronto, so he is quite familiar with my favourite wine regions. "I'm bringing you a bottle of a truly extraordinary dry riesling," I said to him last May. "It's from the Bench region, and you will love it. It's an award winner; it's balanced and not too sweet, but there's not a lot of minerality." He looked at me out of the corners of his eyes as he poked savagely at the keyboard, summarizing my office visit. "I like the German style. I need a little sweetness. I can barely go off-dry. Did we try magnesium, once a day, 250 milligrams?"
Today, I set the bottle of Vineland 2009 Dry Riesling, (Gold Medal Winner) right in front of that poor keyboard and waited for him to sweep into the room. (Truth be told, I feel equally sorry for the hinges on the doors.) "So," he said, with emphasis. "How have you been? How many headaches?" He looked up from the folder to me, then noticed the bottle on the computer table. "Is this for me?" He smiled, then looked at the label. "Vineland? Is that...New Jersey?" I shook my head and laughed. "No, Dr. B.! Canada, remember?" He rolled his eyes. "Of course," he said. "Niagara. But, you do know about Vineland in New Jersey, don't you? It's the largest city in New Jersey by area. It's huge, but there's nothing there. It has only about sixty thousand people." And that's all it took. From there, we talked about New Jersey being the Garden State, his attendance at a German dinner at a local restaurant, raising his kids to speak Ukrainian in the home, ESL instruction, wine, weather, and about a dozen other things, including my migraines. When it was time for me to leave, I had thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and so had he. He thanked me again for the wine, walked me to the front desk, chatted some more, then put on and zipped up his jacket. "I'll be back at two," he said and sauntered out the back door.
"Was I his last appointment of the morning?" I asked. The receptionist smiled. "Yep! He was actually supposed to have been gone about twenty minutes ago."
On my way home I noticed how, because of the rain, the tree trunks were black, providing a dramatic contrast for the remaining autumn leaves. The crimson, gold, and cinnamon foliage looked even more brilliant against this darkness and the steely sky. My windshield wipers swept across to clear away the raindrops every now and then.
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