June 11, 2006
When I blog infrequently, some of my friends ask, "are you super-busy with work?"
Sometimes the answer is "yes," but in the last few weeks, despite having plenty that needs to be done at work, the answer has been "no...."
For several weeks, I have been having trouble concentrating on anything substantial. I am incredibly tired, and my body feels like it is falling apart. Am I just getting old? Maybe I have been hit by a sudden bout of slothfulness, some kind of mid-life crisis of laziness?
Or maybe not. For weeks I have complained to my wife (a transplant surgeon) about fatigue, chills, muscle pain, cookie-sized rashes, and painful joints - symptoms which have been coming and going every few days, and all of which I had chalked up to thyroid problems and overzealous workouts.
But yesterday she suddenly hit on the realization that I probably have been living with Lyme disease. Symptoms started Memorial day; I was probably bitten by a deer tick a few weeks earlier when I spent all day outside starting a treehouse project. Don't remember any tick bite? Doesn't matter - those little bruise-like rashes are starting to show a bullseye pattern she calls "erythema migrans," and that is a dead giveaway.
Cavemen in a world of Overspecialization
So this Sunday morning, I am tagging along with Heidi at work. We are on the surgery floor at HUP that is populated by a gaggle of organ transplant residents.
It has been ages since my overspecialized wife has drawn a simple blood test. Can she still do it? After some sage words of advice from the junior members of the team who still remember how (and where to find the band-aids), she has done it, and my blood is on its way to the lab for an antibody test. Although she often tells me, "you need to see a real doctor," by which she means an internist, I think it is very nice to be married to a doctor of any kind.
The hospital pharmacy opens at 9AM. Maybe the antibiotics will bring me back to life. My swollen, arthritic fingers are crossed.
More information on Lyme is here. Looks like I have the "Early Disseminated Stage" symptoms.
Posted by David at June 11, 2006 08:01 AM
Ouch, that sounds creepy!
Hope you get better soon.
Oh David! I'm so sorry! PA definitely has Lyme Disease endemic to it. It's why I wear DEET all the time when I go camping on the East Coast.
Thanks for the kind wishes!
Several days later, my antibody titer came back, and every column was positive for Lyme - oh boy, did I have it. Fortunately, I had already started on a regime of Doxycycline, and most of the symptoms went away within a week. Modern medicine is magic.
Though annoyingly, a month later, I'm still stuck with some lingering arthritis in my fingers. I wonder how common that is - I figure that I might have it forever. The soreness is annoying for somebody who types for a living, but it's not worse than annoying. Ah well, it's all part of getting old I suppose.
I just got back from a trip to visit ill relatives in Taiwan. Visiting a person on their deathbed makes you remember that life is short; our bodies are frail; our organs inevitably fall apart, and everybody dies.
My kids sometimes cry when they are given a serving of sweets that they think is too small. "Why did Anthony get the bigger one," cries Piper. But once you convince them to sit down and enjoy their treats instead of worrying about how much they get, they have a delighful time.
It's best to enjoy the sweets we're dealt.
Be very careful with the Doxycycline. I recently had a Doxycycline pill get stuck in my throat, and cause an ulcer. Check out my blog:
Hope you feel better soon!