Some 20 years or so ago, Shay and I went camping for a week. When we returned, we went back to work. I can’t remember how long it was after that… days? a week? two weeks? Anyway, at some point, while I was working, my right foot swelled. At break time, I removed my shoe, uncovering a tell-tale bullseye on my foot. I was barely able to put my shoe back on, but Shay and I went immediately to a local doctor who took walk-ins.
Sure enough, I had Lyme disease.
I was put on 30 days of doxycycline, which made me sensitive to sunlight. Riding to work, I had to cover my arms, or contort them out of the sun. Anytime sunshine hit my skin, it felt immediately like that part of my skin had been stuck into a hot skillet.
At the end of 30 days, I had to go back for a follow-up visit. I got 14 more days of antibiotics. Oh, joy. The sun sensitivity lasts for a week or so after you are off of it.
During this time, I made a $100 error making change for a customer — I gave her a hundred too much. I found out after that that Lyme disease can cause confusion and problems in concentration if it is not treated quickly enough. It isn’t a terribly common symptom… and, at the time, central nervous system symptoms of Lyme disease were not widely recognized.
But I found myself having trouble counting money. I would lose my place and start over, again and again. It would take me 3 – 4 tries to count someone’s change. I asked to be taken off of the service desk, since I had no confidence in my ability to count money anymore. They didn’t take me off, saying they were confident in me, so I lived in fear that I would make another big mistake for the next several months, while the symptoms resolved.
So now here we are with this raw land that has up to now enjoyed a quiet existence as a tick and chigger heaven.
It has been a very busy couple of weeks! We had the area for the house cleared, we laid out the location for the house, we went back and moved the location 10 feet forward, the pad was laid, and the house is set. It isn’t finished yet, but it is certainly getting there! I will be posting lots more pictures, maybe tomorrow, so you can see!
All this time, we’ve been pretty faithful with our measures to keep chiggers and ticks from biting. The sulphur we’ve mostly replaced with Coleman Botanical insect repellant, made with lemon eucalyptus oil. It seems tests have shown it to be as effective as lower concentrations of DEET. Tests or no, the stuff works! I have had no bites of any kind while wearing it, and I don’t think anybody else has, either.
Wednesday, August 1st, the day that Shay and I went to move the stakes for the location of the house 10 feet forward, we didn’t take any precautions. No sulphur, no pantyhose, no repellent, no shirt tucked in. I figured, this won’t take long, and the bugs have probably all moved to the trees anyway.
That night, I went to scratch my back, and found a rough bump right in the center. I went immediately to Shay, who removed a tick about 4mm in diameter. It hadn’t been attached more than the few hours that had elapsed, so I figured I was safe. 20 years ago, they were saying a tick had to be attached at least 24 hours to transmit Lyme disease. I didn’t think that made a whole lot of sense, but I also didn’t know that the study of Lyme disease was in its infancy then.
Yesterday (Friday), we went to watch the house setup be completed. As the day wore on, I experienced more and more pain. This is not unusual for me, as I have benign hypermobility syndrome. This is often referred to as “loose joints”, and just means that the joints have more movement in them than they should. I have a regular level of achiness because of this, and I became my own chiropractor in my teens. I have to adjust various joints several times a day to stay somewhat aligned and at as low a level of pain as possible.
My uncle is envious of me, because when something is out on him, he has to pay a chiropractor to fix it. I just have to work at popping the joint. It may take a few hours for it to get to the point that it will pop, or I may have to take ibuprofen to lessen the irritation for it to do it, but I can do it myself. I told him that yes, I may be able to pop them back into place myself, but the thing that gives me the ability to do so also is what makes it so that I don’t stay aligned in the first place. He doesn’t have to go get realigned several times a day, just a few times a year.
It is funny, though, as we’ll be doing something like standing and talking, or sitting and watching a movie, and he’ll suddenly say, “I heard that!” — feigning jealousy at my being able to pop my own joints. Most of the time, I don’t even realize that I popped something until he says that… it’s just that natural for me to work to alleviate the discomfort of something being misaligned.
I do have days, though, in which the pain will increase and increase, until I can barely walk. This is normally on errand days, when I do a lot of walking on hard floors. I try to remember to take ibuprofen before I leave on days like that, but I’m not always successful.
So as the pain increased Friday, I didn’t think a lot of it, just figuring it was my usual pain. I was nearly crippled by the end of the day, and took some ibuprofen when we reached the car. When we got home, I curled up on the sofa. I hurt so bad, I couldn’t bring myself to get up and take a shower.
After a while, I took my temperature. It was 101.2*, in spite of the fact that I had taken ibuprofen two hours earlier. Shay took me to an after-hours clinic.
After considering my vitals, my symptoms, and my previous history, the doctor decided it was probably Lyme disease again. So now I’m back on doxycycline (thank goodness the stuff is cheap!), and taking Tylenol and ibuprofen to keep the pain and fever down.
I am in less pain now than I was in last night, but I still don’t feel very good. Everybody is making sure that I pretty much don’t have to do anything, because it drains your energy as well. I am so sapped.
Learned my lesson, though! I don’t care if the neighbor’s kids think we’re paranoid, I am not interested in doing this again! And I’m even less interested in one of my kids, my beloved husband, or my mom doing it either.
Little beastie had terrible timing… I’m too busy for this! The Lord is carrying me through, though.