|This is just a short account of my encounter with a most insidious disease.|
To be honest with
you, I don't even know what a Lyme is. I know I like it in my
Myers & Coke's, but that's obviously just bad humor. 7:^)
It was a bright
I was cutting out some overgrown bushes, and I guess I got bit by a tick. Yeah, icky. Shit happens though, or so they tell me. Anyways, a few weeks later, I got a nasty itchy rash with only a few of those "bullseye" ones.
My Doctor at the time...
...basically just shook his head and referred me to a dermatologist. This Doctor took a look at me, shook HIS head and told me it looked like lyme, but it was atypical. Blood was taken, lots of it. Came back with a positive on the lyme. Lucky me. Three weeks on that doxy stuff antibiotic, and they proclaimed me "CURED! GOD BE PRAISED!" And so my life continued on, having learned my lesson.
Ack, I'm going blind...and things were going so well, too. It's February, '95. I get my ass over to a wonderful woman, Dr. Barbara Reiss. She's an optometrist from Lenscrafters in Huntington, New York, who managed to correct an astigmatism no other Doctor could fix. Well, she tested me and tested me and found nothin wrong. She mentioned something about Optic Neuritis, but she wanted me to go to
a regular eye doctor....
So I did, and I got to experience the sounds of the MRI. Did I mention that the MRI was done to check to see if I had multiple sculerousis? How distasteful this entire episode has become. MRI came up with squat. Next? Wait 6 weeks, see if it just "goes away on it's own." Heh, I won't comment on that one. I'd hate to slander anyone.
May 1995 - I noticed that my toes were losing feeling, and the soles of my feet. Wow, now that was strange. My insurance carrier changed, so I got a new primary care physician, he banged my knee a few times with that reflex hammer thing they use. I also got the vibrating tuning fork treatment too. All quite normal. I got my first EKG and chest X-Ray. I didn't understand why, but then the Dr. informed me it was customary to get a "baseline" at my age (28). Whatever. After all that I was referred to another Doctor, this time...
I rather liked this Doctor. He was very pleasant to talk with. He seemed to care alot about the situation, and it showed in how he treated me. The tests at this office were all very distressing, except for the ritualistic banging of the knee. Most of it involved electrical shocks (very unpleasant, but tolerable I suppose). These were used to test nerve response, and conductiveness. There was one test where I had to look at a old black and white TV and concentrate on the center of the screen while a white checkerboard over a black background inverted every second. There was a red dot scrawled at the center of the screen. These tests related to the theory that MS was a possibility, but nothing turned up on either one.
The spinal tap...
This was a horrible thing. Don't ever get one if you REALLY don't need one (possible lyme qualifies). A spinal tap is when they stick a needle between your vertebrae in your lower back, and suck out some of the fluid in your spinal column. Not exactly a painful procedure, but it can make your knees knock for a while afterwards. Two weeks later I got the results of this test back... I dunno what it said, but I got the idea that lyme was the main concern.
...this time with an infectious disease specialist. He spoke to me briefly about my symptoms, brought me into room and promptly banged my knees. We then went back to the office and he told me that it was "probable but not necessarily possible" that I had lyme. Now, I'm not quite sure what that meant, but I got the gist that lyme was still a probable but not necessarily possible reason for my symptoms.
Referrals and arrangements were made. Three weeks of high dosages of Rocephin, a "third generation penicillin" that was developed just for lyme victems. Of course Rocephin is only effective...
through an IV...
An IV isn't as bad as it can sound. Again, I strongly advise against it unless you REALLY need it. I've got one that is put in by a nurse every few days. A little tube poked into a vein in one of my arms. It's kinda hideous, but I guess it's better than looking like a heroin addict. I give myself the treatments, the nurse just has to install the new hoses. The entire process is very simple, and there is no mess or anything. You get used to the hose after a few hours. Everything snaps together when doing the treatments. One hose snaps into another hose after you rinse with saline and tap it off with a anti-coagulant. Takes about an hour. Gotta keep an eye out for air bubbles. Don't want too many of those. So far I've only had
with the treatments. One time the vein stopped wanting to be punctured and didn't let me put my medication in. The nurse came right away and pulled it out, and put it back into another spot. After the treatment was done, I noticed I couldn't move my fingers without causing alot of pain in my arm, so I took that one out myself. Another nurse came the next day to put in yet another one, which seems to be ok so far. One week is down, two to go...
The Rocephin exaggerates the symptoms...
of lyme disease. Sharp pains in every joint, some feel like someone is poking a needle into your joints. It fatigues the hell outta me, causing me to sleep alot more than I usually would. It's hard to move around, it's painful to stay still. Sleep is a very nice escape from it all, but I dream about the IV in my arm. The problem with the vision hasn't changed one iota since the beginning.
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