“So, Mrs. Robijn, tell me, what fun things have you been up to? What?!! Only two? In those four months since our last appointment? Hm, not so good, wait, I’ll give Disneyland Paris a quick call … yes, hello, is that Disneyland Paris? … yes, it’s an emergency… yes, I’ll provide her and her family a referral … including unlimited candy floss and hot dogs, yes, of course it’s a medical necessity, yes … great, thanks for arranging so quickly … au revoir!”
The neurologist is firm, I like that in a doc.
“So, tell me, how’s it going with your Parkinson’s? Not that swimmingly? Yes, well we’re not exactly sticking to our therapy plan, are we now Mrs. Robijn? What with all that work and everything. It certainly leaves no time for Disneyland Paris, a cup of tea with a friend or relaxing with a good book at home. You know, doing fun things counts as therapy too, Mrs. Parkinson’s Patient. There’s no getting away with it this time and, no, I won’t up your levodopa. Not before you’ve enjoyed that family visit to Disneyland and scoffed a double portion of hot dogs. Only then will we take another look at your medication.”
Come come doctor, that’s a trifle harsh, don’t you think?
No. The neurologist is not being harsh. Neither is that woman, the Parkinson’s expert, who asked me the question about fun things. Far from it. She was already looking forward to the answer, before even asking the question. She kicked off on a positive, with her innate cheerfulness and zest for life. She assumed that I do lots of fun things, that I search for happiness beyond my Parkinson’s, beyond my despair. She believes that I deserve some fun in my life. She spoke to me as a person.
Thank you, Martha. Your question: ‘So, what fun things have you been up to lately’ is the finest question a health care professional can ask. It also happens to be the finest question I can ask myself.