Enroute to a family reunion one Sunday in the Summer of 2008, I went to the ER in York, Maine, because of these compounding symptoms: Several days of increasingly severe headache and stiff neck, with a sudden aversion to bright light and loud sounds, plus chills and then sweats, with difficulty swallowing.
I passed out in the waiting room. When I came to, everyone was so nice. The doctor said I had all the classic symptoms of Lyme Disease. He put me on intravenous antibiotics and pain killers with the promise I’d be out in time for the reunion. The drug store in the hospital (!!) filled my prescriptions for more painkillers and oral antibiotics. We got out of there before noon – washed out and exhausted – but still looking forward to seeing everyone, especially the kids and the old folks again. My IV was still in, but “hidden” under big bandages.
The reunion was a hoot! I was too stiff to turn or bend, but the painkillers got me through it with a tight smile. It was great to see everyone again, but I was glad when it was over and I could get back to bed.
The next day I returned to the ER for another dose of intravenous antibiotics. This time I was on Vicoden, so my extreme pain was eased – somewhat. The nurse told me I was lucky. Yesterday I was inches from being put into Intensive Care!
You can read the whole story here:
Fast forward to last week. About 7 hrs into an 8 hr shift at work my head started to feel compressed, my upper body tingled and my face turned red. I thought I was coming down with the flu, or – God forbid – food poisoning! 2 hours later I was in bed in severe pain. Everything: joints, muscles, head, back, knees, toes, even my hair – HURT! I woke up from a feverish dream realizing I had Lyme disease again. Nothing else had ever been that painful. I didn’t have the meningitis symptoms like the last bout, but all the other pain was as severe. I took 2 antibiotics and went back to bed.
After a pretty bad night, they helped me to feel able to go to the nearby doctor in the morning, but not well enough to go all the way to the hospital emergency room. So, no intravenous medicine for me, just slow pills. I got a diagnosis and a legal prescription for the antibiotics. After spending 2 days in bed I was able to get back to work.
Thinking back over the weeks before the onset of full-blown symptoms, I realized that I had a few clues, which, naturally, I ignored. For instance, one day my right arm felt as if it was badly bruised and sore, so much so that, had it been my left arm, I would have to conclude it was the beginning of a heart attack. I kept looking at it thinking I’d see black & blue welts, but it looked fine. Shrug – literally, I shrugged it off – to this day it feels as if I have bursitis in that shoulder.
Another day I realized that my hands hurt when I washed them. (I wash my hands many, many times a day!) I concluded it was the onset of arthritis due to old age and all the physical abuse they received during my years as a construction worker.
The week before I’d misspelled two words in my last Examiner article– THAT pissed me off rather than sent me into introspection. Too bad – everything added up to trouble brewing, I just didn’t take the time to reason it all out. Until WHAM! And there I was – in a fetal position in bed – almost unable to get up. I spent many days in that bed.
After that I got this letter from Examiner.com
We’ve noticed that you haven’t published an article recently, and we
wanted to check in to see how we can help.
Staying up-to-date with your articles is not only important in building
your readership, but it’s a requirement to remain an active Examiner.
*Remember: You must publish at least 1 article within a 30-day period to
maintain your active Examiner status and eligibility for rewards.
*You’re at about the halfway mark toward inactivity.
In actuality, I felt as if I were at the halfway mark to death. But, I’m feeling better day-by-day. The cognitive issues that accompany Lyme disease have eased. There are still misspellings and other errors in my writing, but I’m more able to find and correct most of them. If this is anything like the last time, I’ll be finding them for months! If you see any, please point them out nicely – I just wasn’t able to see them myself.
Here’s my latest Examiner.com article – on Lyme Disease – what else? I’m hoping for a more compassionate email from them soon.