A look inside the complicated politics of Lyme disease.
There are Lyme support groups all around the world and in every U.S. state, with at least 17 in Pennsylvania alone. People gather in church basements and school cafeterias to share the struggle to get well.
After more drama getting retested for Lyme through the neurologist's office--the test came up negative this time and I had to go again--I got a final pathology report in the mail in October.
It says the findings are compatible with early infection with B. burgdorferi or past infection treated early in its course. It also says the results aren't consistent with chronic Lyme infection.
Soon I'm going back in for tests and, I hope, more antibiotics. I want to be symptom-free.
It's said that in science, the important thing is not to obtain new facts but to discover new ways of thinking about the ones you already know. Throughout history, many neurological diseases weren't fully recognized until technology let us see them in charts and graphs. Chemical differences in the brains of Parkinson's patients weren't discovered until the '60s. Multiple sclerosis used to be called the "faker's disease."
It's weird to be invisibly, immeasurably ill with symptoms that come and go. When I had full-on Bell's palsy I was constantly aware that I was sick and that no one could tell me what was really wrong.
It's difficult to quantify fuzzy symptoms like exhaustion, short-term memory loss and headaches within the context of an ordinary life. Like most people, I work too much. I forget to call the insurance company. I space on my car keys. I get stress headaches.
But my ordinary life now is different from the ordinary life I led before last summer. I took the standard month's worth of antibiotics. It's a year later, and I'm not completely well.
I'm pissed that what I had to say--and showing physical symptoms clearly visible without a microscope--didn't matter because the right stats didn't register on some shoddy tests.
I'm pissed that my face was unnecessarily disfigured for the better part of a year because I was crunched like a number by some glib emergency-room physician.
You may not see the baby's fist in my cheekbone or the wet sand in my muscles or the vise on my forehead I try to beat back with a daily Advil habit. But they are there. I am here. And I'm sure as hell able to testify on my own behalf.
Tara Murtha (email@example.com) is PW's arts and entertainment editor.I Can Go for That
Why Daryl Hall wants to kill all the effin' deer.
In July 2005 Daryl Hall says he woke up feeling like he'd been "beaten with a baseball bat." He figured it was the flu and stalled traveling a few days before flying out for a show in Phoenix.
It was right in the middle of covering "She Used to Be My Girl" by the O'Jays, he says, that his body shut down.
"I managed to get offstage and collapse ... I was just down on the ground. It surprised everybody, especially the guys in the band, and John. I just said, 'Go, John, go! Just do something.' I literally walked offstage and fell down."
Hall's got a balls-to-the-wall work ethic and professional pride that comes from working hard to get what you've got. He wasn't happy about having to cancel the rest of the tour to recover from what he still thought was a wicked flu. He called his doctor when he got home.
"He checked me and didn't really see anything wrong. Now you know that story," he says.
Indeed I do, I say to Daryl Hall, as we bitch about Lyme disease on the phone from upstate New York.