Bitten: A Patient With Tickborne Disease Struggles To Find The Right Provider
Mairead Eastin Moloney1
Beginning of full text article: Use the link to read the entire article.For a patient with Lyme disease–like symptoms, the biggest challenge is finding a specialist who understands her condition.
In the autumn of 2010 I was a newly minted PhD living in North Carolina and trying to find employment on the elusive tenure track. I juggled my search for a medical sociology position with postdoctoral research, adjunct teaching, and a lively social life. My days were full but fulfilling. The first two weeks of November, however, brought leaden fatigue, and I blamed my busy schedule. Seeking respite, I booked an inexpensive silent retreat at a nearby spiritual center.
I lucked into an unusually warm weekend and spent my time strolling well-worn woodland paths and sitting in quiet meditation in a nearby grassy field. I even managed to leave my Blackberry in the sparsely furnished room, its red light blinking accusations of unread e-mail.
Back home after three days, I peeled off my clothes for a long-overdue shower. Reflected in the bathroom mirror was a rash the shape of a bull’s-eye, blooming bright red on my left hip. A crimson omen on soft, pale flesh. After dinner I developed a fever that alternately froze and scalded me. My joints turned to piercing shards of glass, and pain stabbed my left temple. My vision blurred, and my eyes became so sensitive that I flinched when my husband, Kevin, turned on an overhead light.
The words Lyme disease flashed through my aching brain. A decade earlier I’d heard the term mentioned ominously on a hiking trip in the White Mountains. Yet despite my years of trail running, hiking, and camping, I’d never done so much as a single check for ticks. And were sick ticks even a problem in the South? As I recalled, only ticks in New England had Lyme disease, and not all of them were carriers of it...........