With a Twist of Lyme

Living with Lyme Disease


Well, hell!

Well, HELL!!


I’m glad I took the dates off of here so new people coming to browse won’t know how long its been since I’ve posted. This IS a record for moi!

Today is some day in January of 2007. I could probably find the actual date, but I personally consider that unimportant – especially if it takes me several days to write a bunch of crap worthy of being posted to my most excellent blog. I laugh at that statement on the inside. Too tired to laugh aloud just yet. Just waking up. Need a coffee IV.

The last time I updated this damn thing was in June of 2006. JUNE!

Yes, this is Dr. Wiseass’ Bi-Annual Blog! Hot Damn! If I’m only going to blog twice a year, the pressure is really on for me to write some good shit. But hell if I have that kind of time these days.

Once again, I’m going to give the excuse that I have not written because I’ve simply been too sick & too busy. I can use this excuse over & over as this is my blog and it’s the only really good excuse I have.

The truth of the matter is this: I’ve delved a little more deeply into the public eye of the Lyme world using my REAL damn name, along with embarrassing photos of me & my lazy eye and triple chins. Therefore, on the days when I give a damn – I wonder if my little blog of sarcasm & raw personal truth will somehow come back to bite me on my fat ass? Then there are the days that I welcome that thought: FINE! Let the whole world know that Dr. Wiseass is really….”WONDERWOMAN…..la la la lalaa la!” (Sing with me now!)

OK, before you start fantasizing about me being someone gorgeous and famous…allow me to gently remind you: NO WAY DUMB ASS!

I’ve just become a little more “out there”, possibly in every sense of the phrase, most especially the “mental” part; and I’ve invested a lot of my time and energy trying to gain some kind of credibility. Can you imagine how hard that is for ME? I’m a raving lunatic on my best days. Do you know the kind of self-control it takes not to crack an inappropriate joke or sing the “WONDERWONAN.,..la la la lalalaa la!” when I get a wild hair up my ass?

Having said all of that – I just ask that if you do know, or discover my secret Wonderwoman identity (I used to use the Batman as my analogy, but Wonderwoman has bigger boobs. I aspire to having those one day) – just please keep your big trap shut if you know my real name. It would spoil the fun.

I think another, more important reason I’ve been avoiding the blog world is that I used to be able to ramble on and on about how I fill my days with mindless noodling. (noodling is perhaps a made-up word meaning daydreaming, contemplation, and sometimes even wasting away again in Margaritaville…)

Anyhoo – what was I talking about? Oh yes – I can’t talk about how I fill my days because that would help blow my cover…as if anyone in the world gave a flying rat’s ass about that, other than yours truly!

Speaking of giving a flying rat’s ass….some of you are rude, self-centered, and just downright hurtful! I freely give out my DR. Wiseass email address….somewhere on this blog. But do you write and say, “Dear DR. Wiseass – You dear sweet thang, how are you doing? Are you still alive?”

HELL NO! Oh sure, there’s a couple of you that are sweet & thoughtful, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my mother for checking in on me from time to time. Thanks Mom.

But the rest of you should be ashamed! Do I not come on here and spill my ever-loving guts to you for your commiseration and your bed-ridden entertainment? Is it not too much to ask that once in a while you take the time to email my ass and say, “Dear DR. Wiseass – how IS your ass?”

Well, my ass is still 60+ lbs overweight, thank you very much… as if you give a damn ---- but on the lighter side I’m starting to feel better!

Pain in the ASS
This summer, I went to a Lyme practitioner practicing in some undisclosed location in the Midwest. Actually, the location is not undisclosed for his patients; just that I’m not disclosing it for you bunch of narcissistic asses that can’t seem to send a little “How are you doing?” email. You should be ashamed.

And let me preface by saying that the reason I went out searching for a new Lyme doc is that my previous doc – not naming names – seems to have a crapload of issues that I don’t want to have to deal with; and that’s all I should probably put here in writing because I’m sure my attorney friend would not even approve of that little statement. But as he told me – TRUTH is the ultimate defense against slander &/ or libel, or as I like to say, “lander” or “slibel” because my brain and tongue do not get along very much anymore.

Back to the Midwest --- this new Lyme doc came widely recommended so we loaded up the van and drove for hours on end until we finally reached this little Hee Haw kind of town where we shacked up in a two-bit pink motel and pretended we were on a rare, “We’re not even in Arkansas” family vacation. We actually went to places of entertainment and we were actually mildly entertained. In all honesty, I was probably the one that was in more of a “vacation-mode” than dear hubby or daughter because at the time I felt like I had been chained to my bed for months - so we could have gone to a flea market and I would have felt like we were at damned Disneyland; besides I was the only one with (FDA-approved) narcotics. Sometimes that helps.

When the blessed day arrived that we could pile our asses back in our vehicle to travel another hour or so to the doc’s undisclosed location, I found myself in our van in a far-too-lucid state of panic (didn’t take my pain pills as I wanted him to see the REAL me) and I was feverishly trying to type up the rest of my long-ass medical history and update the 3-page Excel spreadsheet that contained the list of my current meds & supplements. Yes, I’m a procrastinator. Big surprise there. I’m just thankful that I had purchased one of those do-hickies that allow you to plug up electrical devices via your cigarette lighter, otherwise my printer would not have worked very well. Yes, I took my laptop & inket printer on our Hew Haw adventure…and damn glad that I did.

I was pleasantly surprised that this particular doc actually paid attention to the documentation I provided. I mean – don’t you hate it when most docs practically ignore what you have laboriously prepared and carefully encased in sheet protectors, and instead spend time asking you the same damn questions you’ve already taken the time to thoroughly answer in writing….with key features high-lighted for their convenience? In fact, this doc was so intent on reading all of my bullshit that the exam room was uncomfortably quiet. Without being medicated, this of course, made me nervous.

I began to banter and point out key features of my narrative & medication history as if he were too stupid to read. He would politely say, “Uh huh” as if to acknowledge that he, too, could read in spite of his Hee Haw heritage. “Hee Haw Heritage” -- that would make a damn good book title for someone like Dolly Parton, wouldn’t it? As if Dolly hasn’t already written her memoirs…but she could write them again, put on a new title and sell it like hotcakes at Dollywood.

But no – we were NOT in Dollywood. Didn’t mean to confuse you precious Lymebrains. We were still in that undisclosed location in the Midwest.

Finally, the doc spoke and damn if I can remember anything he said. It was standard stuff, and I felt he was going to make a good doc for me, especially considering that I didn’t have to visit him all that often because of the traveling distance.

And allow me to interject something here for just a moment.

I know that you guys/dolls know at this point that I’m probably very involved with at least a support group in or around my place of residence. That much I will give you credit for having discerned. I mean – you just have Lyme – that doesn’t make you utter morons.

With that in mind, I would like to secretly disclose to you, my private group of adoring, yet uncommunicative fans, that one of my pet peeves is when folks that have been in the group in a half-ass kind of way occasionally wake up and write me an email after a few months and ask if there aren’t some new Lyme docs practicing within their zip code. Whhhhhhaaaaaaaaat?!!

Hell – we don’t even officially “git” Lyme in Texas…why the hell would anyone think that in the course of 3 months all the Lyme literate docs in the US would pick up and MOVE to the great Republic of Yee Haw (not to be confused with Hee Haw) where we… “don’t git no Lyme?”

My inner smartass bitch wants to ask, “Well, honey what is your actual address – let me input it into my magical Wonderwoman computer here…..ah, you lucky gal – we have a Lyme doc practicing out of his home just two doors down from you! You could literally crawl there if you wanted! Or would you like me to drive my Wonderwoman-mobile across several counties and drive your ass there?”

Shit! Some people can’t seem to wrap there head around the fact that IF they are to receive adequate medical care for the bacterial infection wreaking havoc in their body (along with all the other bullshit coursing through their bloodstream) – they may have to pile their miserable ass in a plane, train, or automobile and t-r-a-v-e-l to see someone!

Yes, it’s an unfortunate reality; and I don’t mean to sound harsh, but months and months of the same kind of magical thinking from people who think there should be a Lyme practitioner pitching a pup-tent in their backyard because damnit they’re sick….well, that’s getting kind of old.

Here’s a very freeing attitude: THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. YOU CAN TRAVEL. You most likely MUST travel if you want to see someone that is going to do little more than prescribe antidepressants, refer you to a shrink, and collect your damn co-pay. That’s the awful reality.

I know most people think: “But I can’t drive that far!” And they are probably right. I generally can’t drive longer than 45 minutes at a time without being hypnotized by the road and wanting to fall fast asleep…which might be an answer to my bouts of insomnia at 4 am, albeit a potentially dangerous solution.

Now hear this: GET A FAMILY MEMBER OR A FRIEND (remember those? friends? hahahaha) and BEG them to drive you to Hee Haw land, or put your ass on a plane and head East to the great land of ticks and Borrelia where when asked about your ailments, folks don’t ask ridiculous questions such as:

“Lyme disease? Well, what the hell is that? Ain’t that something you get from dogs or ticks or sumthin’?? ”

OR if you’d rather go to a land where Lyme practitioners are less likely to be persecuted by dim-witted humans, also surprisingly in the medical field – head on out to the West coast. California is beautiful this time of year, because California is beautiful just about any time of year….the lucky bastards.

Call it a vacation if that helps you with your mindset, but if you live in Texas or somewhere similar – I say: “Get thee out of the Republic of Yee Haw because….our state medical boards need SOMETHING to do, and apparently their chosen activity is to persecute any doctor that dares admit to the ultimate truth that we DO F’ing get Lyme here, there, or anywhere for that matter!

Thank you for allowing that little divergence on my part….now where was I? Oh yes..in the Midwest.

As my official appointment time was drawing to a satisfying close, I decided that I would spontaneously ask the good doc if he wouldn’t mind performing some quick prolotherapy on my ass. Not exactly how I asked this question, but that’s the short of it.

You see – of all my muscles, I think my ass muscles are the ones that have, historically, been in competition with my shoulder & neck muscles for the “Most Painful Muscles in History” award. And while it’s quite a simple request to ask your husband, daughter, or complete stranger to rub your shoulders or neck – it’s quite another to ask someone to rub your ass. Yes, we live in confusing times. Kids are freaked out – as they probably should be – by such a request; and anyone with a penis thinks of that as an invitation of sorts; and your women friends, if you’re lucky enough to still have any, start to wonder if you are a closet Les-bo. My apologies to all of my lesbian readers if “Les-Bo” is not an acceptable term.

HOWEVER, the other day I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio) and a lesbian woman author actually used the word…..DYKE! (Question: Is ‘dyke’ an acceptable term for ALL people to use? I thought ‘dyke’ was equivalent to the word ‘fag’, is it not? Or are the words just OK for homosexual people to use, just like the dreaded ‘n’ word has been considered socially acceptable for the boys in the ‘hood to utilize between themselves & in rap songs - but if “white-y” uses it – he’s gonna get his ass kicked ?!!)

Proper word usage can be so confusing, especially for those of us with spirochetes dancing through the ol’ frontal lobe. I would really like an answer to these burning questions because I don’t want to find myself giving a speech one day, and for whatever reason, in case I need to address the homosexual segment of the audience say something like: “For my friends whom are dykes and fags….” and then all of a sudden get shot….or worse, get “boo-ed” off the stage ?!!! And by the way - did you know most people fear public speaking more than death? That is funny, don’t you think? OK – so I would really like an answer to the acceptable homosexual terminology thing…and please be nice to me…I’ve had my head under a rock for about 3 years or more…I don’t watch the news and I’m not very well socialized or cultured….and can ‘cultured’ be a verb like that even when you’re not talking about dairy products or bacteria?

Back in the Midwest….
I asked Dr. Whats-his-name to perform prolotherapy on my glutteal muscles because they hurt so damned bad all the damn time. He said he did, indeed, have time to do such; then asked if I had taken any pain medication that morning – to which I replied with an honest “NO”.

He asked: “How is your pain tolerance?”

I found this to be a curious question because honestly, how does one ever really know their own pain tolerance, right? I mean – I gave birth to an 8 ½ pound baby without benefit of drugs or an effective epidural because the damn anesthesiologist couldn’t tell that the needle wasn’t properly IN my back and the shit ran DOWN my back instead of IN my freaking spine where it would have been most useful! Naturally I screamed like a crazy-ass banshee – but I don’t think that’s indicative of a low pain tolerance, especially after 2 ½ hours of pushing and the impatient ob/gyn, probably eager to get to his tee-off time at the golf course, decided it was time to go in with the damned forceps…which are like huge metal tongs, except not for spaghetti but baby heads.

So in all honesty – I don’t think I’m such a big titty-baby when it comes to pain…but then again, maybe I am – how can I possibly know? I’ve never experienced the pain in another woman’s vagina when giving birth – never want to either - so honestly how does one make that comparison?

So I gave Dr. Whats-his-name an honest: “How does one ever know?’ Sure I could have said, “OH, I’m like the biggest titty-baby you’ve ever seen, will you really dope me up? OR an“Are you kidding? I’m one tough bitch. Most people call me Wonderwoman!” But Nooooooooo – I did not claim either status.

I assume that answer was not sufficient for Dr. Whats-his-name, as he turned to my hubby sitting in the exam room with me and asked him: “What do you think? Do you think she has a high or low pain tolerance?”

Without missing a beat, my husband said, “Oh I think she probably has a low pain tolerance.”

I whipped my head around like I was Linda Blair and I was just about to projectile vomit some pea soup for my opening act. I gave my husband one of those wifely ‘go to hell’ looks that would have made him crap his pants if he could only read my mind at that moment.

The good doc knew my husband was in imminent danger and suggested to my husband that he thought women actually had a higher pain tolerance than men because, after all, God chose women to give birth.

Husband was momentarily saved by Dr. Whats-his-name…but Wonderwoman AND DR. Wiseass was NOT finished with dear hubby & that remark…not by a long-shot!!!!

Dr. Whats-his-name suggested that I take some of my regular pain medication as prolotherapy can be rather “uncomfortable”. And yes, I had indeed heard from my good friend BB (STILL not a stripper, although she could probably use the money…) who also had prolo done from this doc that it was a bit painful. However, what I did not know in those moments, but was about to discover is …. my listening skills SUCK!

Before my xanax and percocet could reach my digestive tract, Dr. Whats-his-name had ushered me to the room of pain, and invited me to drop my drawers, lie on the exam table with my ass shining under the bright, hot lights. I was already not liking the experience. I wasn’t even in a gown. I felt like it was almost a drive-through medical procedure; and I was completely and totally lucid…enduring my everyday kind of pain with nary a word of complaint and I knew he was about to inflict some additional pain – pain that I had, IRONICALLY, asked for by name…and all in the name of better health!

For those of you unfamiliar with prolotherapy (much like I was when I had my ass in the air) – the object is to make a series of injections into the painful muscle sites with a solution of saline & some type of sugar that would set up an inflammatory reaction that would ultimately cause the body’s natural healing to occur. Yes, its far more complicated scientifically speaking, but that’s all you’re getting from me here. Google it.

Here’s where I should have listened to my friend, BB, a bit more. ..
In my mind, it was going to be just a couple of quick shots that I would hold my breath and be done with.

But NOoooo!!!!

First of all, a key aspect of prolotherapy is the fact that this magic syrup injected into the body must go ALL the way down to where muscles & ligaments…meet the freaking BONE! YES! DAMNIT! The longass needle must STOP on BONE!

I think I’m going to have to stop and take some medication just to re-tell this damn part of the story…..pardon me for a moment….

AND again, part of my misunderstanding about this is the fact that it was NOT a couple or even a few damn shots….but more like 30 or more shots given over the course of about 45-minutes!

I thought I was going to die. And honestly, it wasn’t just the needle causing the pain. Actually, the needles weren’t my biggest complaint. NO.

In order to FIND my ass bones buried underneath all my layers of ass fat and my rope-y knotted up ass muscles, Dr. Whats-his-name had to use his knuckles to KNEAD THROUGH AND DIG until he reached BONE! Then he’d inject that damned solution and sometimes the pain would radiate all the way down to my toes, and sometimes I swear it would radiate up to my forehead where I had broken out into a cold sweat. There were moments I thought I’d faint; and moments I thought I would vomit; and yes, moments I even had to clench my ass muscles, making it far worse on me, because I was determined I was not going to fart on this new doctor despite me having a momentary urge to choke him half to death.

I was determined NOT to scream, cry, or curse like a drunken sailor because my dear hubby and child were sitting out in the lobby waiting on my ass. I didn’t want to scare my child; and I didn’t want to give hubby the sweet satisfaction in thinking that I do, indeed, have some kind of low pain tolerance.

Dr. Whats-his-face had kindly given me one of those squishy balls that feel like a balloon filled with sand to hold and squeeze so that I guess I could have some “appropriate” way to react to the horrifying pain he was inflicting upon me. And I think my fingernails could have quite easily ripped through that little sissy-ball of sand but again, I was trying to be a big big girl. So as I manipulated the little sand ball, and gritted my teeth, and concentrated on not passing out or throwing up….I also fantasized about piercing my husband’s scrotum with a ball-point pen in the middle of the night while asking: “Who’s got the low tolerance now, sissy-boy?”

I have a rich fantasy life…yes?

One of the things that went flying through my mind during that near-hour-long-horrifying-beyond-comprehension-kind-of-experience is: “Why the F does Western medicine have to be so damned barbaric?” At that moment, I would have GLADLY traded in the longass needles and the manly knuckles burrowing down to my ass bone for some good old fashioned leeches or maggot therapy if I thought that would have given me any type of pain relief.

And before I forget….I’d like to say that if you ever find yourself sober & lucid, getting a prolotherapy shot in the deepest crack of your ass and you don’t yell out the F word and bitch-slap the practitioner performing such a grevious act…YOU HAVE AN F’ING HIGH TOLERANCE TO PAIN! HIGH HIGH HIGH damnit!

Western Medicine – Barbarism at its Finest!
Fast forward a bit, and I returned home to endure the staggering heat wave to which we Texans are supposedly accustomed. But honestly, thanks to my sickness, I’m no longer accustomed to any temp other than the 75 degree range – give or take a generous 2 degrees. I’m flexible that way.

One of the meds Dr. What’s-his-name wanted me to incorporate into my antibiotic regimen was the dreaded Flagyl – a class of medication known to break up the cyst form of the Borrelia. I had been so reluctant to take this medication because I had heard far too many horror stories about how much misery it added to patients’ already miserable lives.

Again, I had to ask myself – “WHY does Western medicine have to be so barbaric & cruel?”

That reminds me of an unrelated story which I’ll tell now, lest I forget it.

Several years ago I got some kind of acute gastrointestinal bug which caused me to start vomiting non-stop for HOURS in the middle of the night. I don’t know about you – but when your vomiting up the contents of your body – it can be a rather agonizing experience, not to mention completely melodramatic.

After a couple hours of non-stop vomit, when all I could vomit was bile & foam – I decided hubby needed to call my doctor. She very graciously prescribed some phenergan suppositories to help me stop all the retching. While hubby went to fetch the magical butt meds, I was so weak & delirious from it all, I knew I had to do something to “switch off” that constant heaving mechanism; I needed my brain to focus its attention on something else …so I crawled into the shower hoping cold water or hot water would serve to break my gagging cycle in some way. Don’t ask me why, I just felt like I was working on instinct at that point, and I was desperate. So there I was naked in the shower, waiting for my husband to return from the pharmacy, and hoping like hell the vomiting would stop. But it didn’t. I found myself on all fours vomiting in the shower, feeling like such a naked, vulnerable animal that was about to die. I could envision the headlines:
Naked Woman Found Dead in Shower – Cause of Death: Continuous Barfing!”

I wonder if anyone has ever died from barfing too much? That would be an interesting thing to Google – not that I have the time or desire.

Anyhoo – when husband returned a few minutes later & I was shoving the suppository up my ass, I remember telling myself that despite my desire to live on several acres in the country - I also never wanted move more than 1 mile away from a 24-hour pharmacy.

Needless to say, the suppository didn’t work. I shoved another one in. Didn’t work either. My doc was called again and she insisted that hubby take me to the emergency room. Shit! That was not my preference, although I may have done just about anything to stop the vomiting. I thought – “Well, they’ll just give me some kind of miraculous IV, and I’ll stop the puking and be able to go home.” I’m so stupid sometimes,

Instead, they made me wait in the waiting room with all the other whiners & migraine people while I continued to vomit in some flimsy plastic bag they generously supplied. Finally when I started making loud noises while puking and started puking on the floor….my name was called. It was like a fairytale.

I can’t remember if they gave me a “stop vomiting” shot or not – they probably did. BUT THEN, because they are no doubt sado-massochistic assholes, they made me drink a whole bunch of barium so they could do some kind of x-ray that would help them see WHY I had been vomiting so violently.

I explained that I was sick to my stomach and that I didn’t think drinking that nasty white, chalky bullshit was going to improve my upset stomach status. Yet, they did not care.

Between the drowsiness caused by the 2 suppositories at home; the drowsiness of whatever shots they gave me; the lateness of the hour; and the total exhaustion experienced from all that heaving – I was ready to just curl up in a ball and go to sleep. But my husband was delegated the job of keeping me awake long enough to drink all that nasty shit. I was pissed. What barbarian came up with drinking that bullshit for patients that are clearly, and quite obviously human puke factories?

Then came the diarrhea. I honestly don’t know if it was Part II of whatever vicious pathogen was trying to hijack my body, or if it was just a side-effect from the bullshit milkshake….a drink that seemed to contain neither milk nor shake! So there I was – hooked up to IV poles & monitors, wearing ONLY a gown for which I didn’t give a shit whether it was tied or not, and I had to walk down a longass hallway to get to the john. I made several trips – each time falling asleep while on the toilet, only to be awakened by dear hubby who was afraid I was going to fall & hurt myself. And while I’m thinking about it….bathrooms are the #1 dangerous room in the house – more accidental deaths occur there than any other place in the house. Why? I think it’s because of all the metal & hard porcelain crap – so my question is why can’t the plumber type people come up with a way to add foam & plastic over all the hard shit that people crack their heads on? Just a thought. I’m a visionary, you know.

Anyhoo – so by the time the hospital bastards thought I finished my barium milkshake (Shh! I poured much of it down the drain…you know, by accident)., someone came to get me so I could be introduced to more radiation.

I don’t recall anything about the upper GI series…except that I’m sure I was still extremely miserable in a general sense.,.,…then moments later, I realized they had even MORE methods of barbaric medical torture as the lab gal said she had to insert a small device…up my rectum.

Yes, it was like she was shoving a damn dildo up my ass!

Needless to say – I broke out into a cold sweat and didn’t know if I wanted to puke more or shit more. Besides, I was completely horrified at the procedure. I wanted to tell that bitch, who was very rude by the way, that if I had wanted a dildo up my ass, I would become a lesbian, or like a female gay man. (Dear homosexuals – was that terminology OK? SEE? It would have been nice to know proper terminology. I’m so insecure about being politically incorrect.)

Turns out – I had puked so hard that I tore something somewhere…can’t remember. I just remember it was called a Mallory-Weis tear. Isn’t that stupid that I can’t remember WHAT tore inside my body, but I can remember the medical name – even though I’m quite sure I’ve misspelled it.

I can’t remember the point of that whole story…..oh yes, the barbaric nature of Western medicine. Honestly – when you’re puking, do you really want to make yourself drink the most nasty tasting crap? And when you’ve got the runs – should you really be required to allow someone to show a large object up your ass? Barbaric, I say! Pure barbaricism! Barbaricy? Barbaricisity? Barbarism? Yes, Barbarism ! That’s the word!

Sliver of Hope

Hmmm….so what else was I going to drone on about? Ah yes, the cyst-busting medication: Flagyl. (Please note – we are no longer flashing back to my puke story – we’ve fast-forwarded back to summer 2006, even though I write this now in Winter 2007 making even the Flagyl story even in the past tense, but it’s more up to date than the puke story. Hope that didn’t confuse you too much!)

Knowing full well about the horror stories of Flagyl, I decided it would be most prudent if I started off with the smallest of doses. So I started off with one SLIVER (about 1/8) of this very small tablet. If memory serves me correctly, the tablet is even smaller than a regular Tylenol tablet….just to give some of you newbies an idea of what size I’m talking about.,

I took that first Flagyl sliver on a Sunday night. On Monday I didn’t feel so well, but since I had been expecting it – I was surprised that I actually didn’t feel worse. On Tuesday, I recall thinking that “Flagyl ain’t that bad. Maybe I can tolerate it.” Honestly, I thought I might have actually been feeling….better. HOWEVER, by Wednesday, I was totally miserable. Unfortunately I can’t remember my symptoms, but I do remember that I was pretty much bed-ridden for a couple of days. Then as the weekend approached, I started to feel a bit better. So when Sunday rolled around, I thought that I should tough it out and taken another sliver of Flagyl (I was ‘pulsing’ just once a week).

When I experience moments where I think I need to be brave, I always think of the GI Jane movie starring the incomparable Demi Moore. There’s a scene in there where she looks like total shit and you think she’s just about to drop dead, when a female doc (who was, ironically, a lesbian in the movie..) said something to her like: “Way to gut it out, soldier!”

Ah, what inspiration! So there I was swallowing my sliver of Flagyl feeling just like GI Jane.
As expected, Monday was quite uncomfortable for me; Tuesday was OK; and then Wednesday knocked me on my ass. I developed such a migraine that I was threatening to pluck out my eyes with an ice cream scoop or a melon-baller. I was so miserable with it that I started…puking, which always brings up bad memories for me (as detailed above.) I think I may have Post-Traumatic-Stress when it comes to vomit now.

On that Thursday, I finally decided that I would have to go to the ER because I had not slept; I couldn’t eat; and I had taken the maximum doses of all my pain-relieving narcotics. I was afraid that because of the ghastly pain, my human judgment would become impaired and that I would just open up my pain pill botttless and pour them all down my throat in a last-ditch attempt to MAKE IT STOP! MAKE THE F’ING PAIN STOP!

Fortunately, my spirit was stronger than my flesh as it overruled that idea and made me call my neighbor to tote me to the ER, where no doubt they would take excellent care of me – taking mercy upon me and my sick body – knowing exactly what to do.

I was delusional.

I insisted that my neighbor just drop me off because she had been in the middle of mowing & weed-eating and she looked absolutely dreadful. I didn’t want to publicly associate with her at that moment, although in truth I probably had some puke in my hair and I did look odd as I had tied one of my migraine “tourniquets” around my eyes to try to ease the pressure.

I went it – had to jump through the registration hoops, which just irritates the hell outta me that they can’t seem to find someone that speaks the English language worth a flip. And I know that the people working the admission desk at the ER have seen lots of crazy ass people come & go – but can’t they use a bit of discernment to know when they’ve got a regular, needy, sick person in front of them versus a “crazy” person?? The registration asshole didn’t even make eye contact with me – as if I weren’t important enough. He just went through his little verbal schpill about “Living Wills” and HIPPA bullshit, and who I would allow to know about my medical status while there. Total pain in the ass. I’d been there about 20 F’ing times – couldn’t they look in the F’ing computer?

To irritate me further, I was taken into the triage room where I just knew the triage nurse would discover I had a fever & really high blood pressure because I felt like my head was about to explode off of my neck. BUT Nooooooo. Temp & blood pressure were fine. (But I think they need to consider that the blood pressure in my arm does not reflect the damned blood pressure in my head at all! Perhaps the blood pressure in my arm was within normal limits because all the extra freaking pressure was…in my F’ING HEAD!)

I explained my symptoms to the triage nurse, giving her detailed descriptions of the pain I was enduring with the headache and saying the pain was even causing me to vomit. She gave me a thin fancy plastic bag…just in case; and then she wanted to know why I had put down on my triage form the word “herx’ (BECAUSE I WAS THINKING I WAS SO MISERABLE I SHOULD PROBABLY BE IMMEDIATELY USHERED TO I.C.U.). To my utter shock, the triage nurse had never heard of the word “herx” before. So I did my best to explain it to her. She just shook her head as if she thought I was making up the term; as if I was just another crazy drug-seeking fool willing to spend my entire day sitting in a waiting room with sick & crazy people-- all so I could get a shot of Demorol because I’m so pathetic. What a bitch.

I left the triage room and ambled back to my waiting room chair, just KNOWING that if she didn’t know what a herx was – then she wouldn’t know how potentially serious it was and therefore would not triage me correctly.

Meanwhile, I was sitting in front of this loud-mouthed son of a bitch that kept belly-aching about people being taken back to the ER before him because…he was there first! I literally had to force myself on NOT turning around and telling him to shut up while enlightening him to the obvious fact that he wasn’t in a damned deli where it’s first-come first-service….stupidass moron!

Then, while I held my ice pack at the back of my head and leaned forward with my head practically in my own stainless steel mixing / puke bowl I had brought from home (screw the flimsy hospital bag – that’s for amateurs…) I was trying so hard to concentrate on NOT puking, and NOT scratching my own eyes out.

I could not find a position I was comfortable in. I even put two chairs together to try to make myself a bed. At one point, I even once got down on the floor and put my head on a chair. As a professional sick person, I knew to bring my own pillow too. (I lovingly call it my biohazard pillow). Please note: At no time did my head touch the bacteria/virus laden ER waiting room floor! Remember, I’m a wiseass…so there’s a bit of WISE in there somewhere!

During my SIX HOUR WAITING PERIOD, while patiently sitting in front of Mr. I-think-this-is-a-deli , I think I showed amazing restraint in the fact that I did not jump over my chair and choke the living shit out of him. In between his bitching like a cantankerous old woman, he would sing to the carpet-cleaning commercials on the waiting room TV. Then, he’d get up about twice an hour to go outside and take a smoke break. He’d come back in wreaking of cigarette smoke.

Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against smokers. I used to be one, and I whole-heartedly believe that smokers have rights too. What bothered me about this man is that he bitched & moaned like he should have some sort of priority in getting back to see the docs, despite the fact that he felt well enough to get up and take about 12 smoke breaks and he felt good enough to sing along with the F’ing TV commercials. Give me a damned break! He was there just because he needed to see a doc, not because he was experiencing any kind of emergency or health crisis.

And each time he came in smelling of intense ciggy smoke, I thought I would puke some more. As a former smoker, I think the smell actually repulses me a bit (which is good in a sense, so that I don’t go back to it) – unless I’ve had a couple of mixed drinks and then I wouldn’t mind smoking a cig. But I was not in a party mood with my head in one of my best mixing bowls. NOPE. Not wanting to throw back any bourbon at that moment and because he was therefore, just pissing the shit outta me because of his incessant need to hear his own damned voice, I was just about ready to turn around and offer to write him a blank damned check if he’s just sit there and shut the F up !

However, I did not say that, as the triage personnel were already pissed off at me because I was completely ignoring the sign that said, “If you plan on seeing a doctor, please do not eat or drink.” Despite the personal warning from one of the triage underlings informing me that THE triage nurse advised me not to eat or drink, I informed the underling that I had been sitting there for hours at that point and I was going to do whatever it took to get rid of my headache and to keep from puking – even if that meant nibbling on crackers and sipping on 7-up! What bullshit!

I don’t know if my defiance is what got me kicked to the back of the triage line, or if it was the fact the triage nurse didn’t understand the seriousness of a badass herx reaction, because it was over 6 hours before I got back to see any doc…AND Mr. “I-think-this-is-a-deli got to see a doc BEFORE ME! So it’s not how much pain you’re in, it’s about how much of a pain in the ass you are!! Hmmm…. Note to self: Next time I’m gonna tell them I feel like it’s hard to breathe…or maybe that my chest hurts. Hell, my chest always hurts, with all those spirochetes weaving in & out of my chest muscle – so that ain’t no lie!

When I finally was allowed back to the sacred ground where all the god-like physicians blessed mankind by walking around like mere mortals, I was astonished to find that my assigned nurse AND the wet-behind-the-ears doctor didn’t know what a herxheimer reaction was! It was at that moment I started thinking: “They’re going to kill me!”

Naturally they shoved an IV thingy into my arm, did all the regular bullshit, asked lots of questions, and I just shoved my black notebook of highly organized medical history in their faces offering to explain whatever it was they didn’t understand – and perhaps that was the wrong choice of words.

Despite me telling them about the >24 hour migraine that I thought might kill me, they gave me a shot of….compazine (stomach medicine) and….Benadryl. Huh? I had better meds at home! Were they kidding me with that bullshit? I wanted my headache to go away, and I had taken my fair share of Benadryl in the past but it had never improved one of my headaches – at least not to my knowledge.

I questioned the nurse about this, and she said it’s a new combination that works together synergistically. What bullshit. Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!

All that F’ing combination did was make me jittery and anxious. Had my husband not shown up about that time, I think I might have pulled out my IV and put my clothes on telling them all to go F themselves. Clearly, they gave me that sissy-ass combo because they thought I was a damned drug-seeker. I was livid and terrified simultaneously. Here I thought I was in bad enough shape to merit a bed in the Intensive Care Unit, and they were dicking me around with over-the-counter meds!

Finally, the doc in all his mercy gave me a bit of ativan to calm my nerves – for what little good that did. I got a short nap out of it, but still woke up with a damned excruciating migraine….so I told my hubby I wanted to go home. I felt that if I stayed there in THAT hospital, they were going to accidentally kill my ass because of their overwhelming ignorance about my body & the wide assortment of diseases coursing through it.

Back at home, I continued on with my own personal migraine protocol, which included a prayer to God to either rid me of the pain or to have enough mercy to let me die. Over the next few hours, my headache finally lessened and my will to live returned.

While I lied there in my bed waiting for my headache to mysteriously disappear, or for God to call me home…I thought again about how barbaric Western medicine is. We in the US claim we are on the leading edge of medicine. And God help us, we probably are. But somewhere along the way, we have managed to devalue the patient – especially the intelligence & feelings of the patients.

Doctors today seem to be so concerned about keeping a professional distance, that they don’t realize that the patient is crying because they are afraid their child is about to become an orphan, but instead are led to believe the patient is suffering from a severe case of depression which can be fixed with some expensive antidepressants….or perhaps they need a large dildo shoved up their ass – that will solve their problem.

While thinking about all of that, I suddenly remembered the scenes from the DaVinci code where the Albino killer would take off all of his clothes and flog himself so hard that he had deep, bleeding wounds on his back. That’s called self-flagellation – a morbid form of self-punishment, usually performed by an extremely fundamental religious person who believes that God is pleased by such.

But the God I know. or choose to believe in, certainly wouldn’t find joy in the pain & misery of others, which is why I was so confused (and still so) as to why those of us whom are sick with a variety of ailments – not just Lyme or tick-borne disease – but ALL who are suffering – WHY MUST WE SUFFER MORE IN AN EFFORT TO GET BETTER?

Just like the religious zealots who perform self-flagellation in order to “better” themselves in their own eyes, and seemingly in the eyes of their Maker, it seems that the ill are also required to inflict pain upon themselves, or at least allow it – all in the name of becoming “better”.

To me, that’s so ludicrous. It’s beyond my comprehension.

During my Flagyl days, I can’t really reiterate how strongly I felt that I was going to die - immediately before, during, and after my hospital experience. I know people overuse that terminology now to the point where the meaning is watered down “I thought I would die!” even when someone is just talking about something trivial like wearing the same dress worn by another at some grand, superficial social event; or walking around with toilet paper hanging out of their pantyhose. While embarrassing moments may make you think you want to die…momentarily – deep down you really don’t want to die or even think you’re about to die.

When you truly feel like you’re going to die – there’s a true flight-or-flight response that happens. It’s both a psychological & physical response. It’s like your personality switches from the delightful being you are, to a desperate needy soul looking for help & mercy wherever you can find it; and if you can’t find help – you can become emotionally or physically vicious – just as I was ready to tell all the ER folks to go F themselves….not a normal, rational method for building a good working relationship with the medical people, but I didn’t think they were working with or for me, rather they seemed to be working against me because of their stupidity – and I couldn’t handle it.

The next day at home I cried until I was almost dehydrated. It’s quite a lonely feeling to feel so completely miserable and to think that real help is a long road trip or plane ride away. And yet that is the case for so many Lyme patients. We suffer so much – most in relative silence – because we know there’s no one locally that really knows how to help us. It’s quite scary to realize that if in a life/death situation with this disease, you might die at the hands of an incompetent moron. I’m not saying that to scare the beejezus out of anyone. That’s just the reality we “lymies” encounter on a daily basis. So we have to find our courage & our faith in order to get out of bed and face each day with a positive “I’m not going to drop dead today” attitude.

So that’s one of the things I’ve struggled with over the last several months….while looking for a way to improve & ‘better” my health without taking any more Flagyl; without feeling like I’m engaged in a form of medical self-flagellation. Every day I have to operate with the belief that I will get better – that I AM healing…even if all I can muster on some days is a sliver of hope….cuz a sliver of hope ALWAYS BEATS the hell out of a sliver of Flagyl!

Until next time…be good to you!

Hugs & Kisses,

DR. Wiseass
-not a real doc, just a real wise ASS!

Web www.twistoflyme.blogspot.com

With a Twist of Lyme