Dreaming of Dead Doctors and Listening to My "Gut"

A few weeks ago I dreamed that I saw my former rheumatologist, the one who passed away suddenly during the fall. In my dream, he told me to take a vitamin E supplement. I woke up surprised by the clarity of the dream, as well as the normalcy of our interaction. It was as though I had simply returned for a follow-up appointment. I immediately googled “vitamin e lupus” and discovered this study from 2007, which suggests that vitamin E supplementation helps to suppress autoantibody production in lupus patients. (And animal models suggest that vitamin E reduces joint destruction in RA-like diseases.) To say I was surprised by both the dream and the research it inspired is an extraordinary understatement. The whole thing still takes my breath away. Needless to say, I’ve added vitamin E to my daily regimen!

In my waking life, I have been haunted by the parting exchange between my doctor and me during my last appointment. As I was checking out at the front desk and preparing the leave the office, he called out my name and when I turned around, he was studying me with a look of both sadness and compassion. He said “We’ll figure this out.” I must have replied with something in the affirmative and continued toward the door. I turned back one more time as I walked through the door to the waiting area, and he was still watching me, the same look on his face. I remember feeling simultaneously troubled and reassured at the time—like he knew something and wasn’t telling me, but that he truly cared about me. The fact that it was the last time I saw him only adds to the mystery of the exchange. I requested a copy of my notes from his office, to give to my new rheumy, but apart from the blood order and diagnosis codes, there are no notes from my final visit with him.

In the last few weeks, I have been in the process of interviewing for a temporary administrative position at my university— one with more flexibility and more benefits, but also more hours than my current position. On the one hand, it would be an excellent move, career-wise, and it would also be an improved work environment. On the other hand, while I was excited about the position, I was also concerned about my ability to work a full 40 hour week, even if some of that time was spent working from home.

Well, it seems that the universe was keyed into my ambivalence, because I found out on Tuesday that the position won’t be full time after all, and that the length of the commitment would be significantly shorter than expected, at least for now. Though this is disappointing for financial reasons, it has allayed my fears about potentially over-extending myself. I will also have time to work with gifted kids again this summer, teaching creative writing, which I realized in retrospect I had been sad about giving up. So all is right with the world again. Now let’s hope I can keep my disease activity stable enough to enjoy it!


  • Displaced

    Hey Megan – I think it is really cool that your deceased Rheumy visited and gave you a tip! I don’t care what anyone calls this even if it was something dredged up from your subconscious and put into his appearance in your dream. As the quote goes “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”… We don’t know it all and we probably never will. I hope the Vit E helps and I’m glad the position is more doable for you!

  • bottledtime

    I too am glad that you had this experience and that you listened! There is certainly more to this universe than we understand. Look at how much we don’t know about our diseases!

    Finding a doctor who cares and truly listens is a huge battle in and of itself. It sounds as if your doctor was one of these gems and you must also feel the loss of that relationship. I hope that you have been able to find a treatment team that is as invested as he was. Or is. 😉

    Balancing our time and commitments is very difficult as spoonies. I’m glad the universe also stepped in to direct your job search. Plus the creative writing teaching sounds amazing and something I am sure that you excel at.

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