Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Charlotte, NC area
I don't know who's more confused, my doctors or me.
The last four months of my life, I can only describe as living in the maddening grip of dread, foreboding, and helplessness. I live in a heavily wooded area in the Piedmont region of North Carolina (where there supposedly "isn't any Lyme Disease"), and have probably been bitten by five ticks in as many years. After a bite last summer, I had a sore neck and chills, but attributed them to a flu or something. However, after a bite in early May of this year, I *immediately* felt like there was something wrong. My left hand began tremoring (to be specific, my thumb and pinky would both beat inward toward my palm), my body temperature would swing wildly, and I'd just feel downright nasty - disoriented, out of sorts, you know. I pored over research online and turned myself into nervous wreck, worried about everything from Multiple System Atrophy to Ischemic brain injury. Finally, it seemed clear to me that, given the nature and timing of my symptoms, I probably had a tick-borne infection, though I have yet to be officially diagnosed with anything.
I have a phobia of doctors and never go to them (stupid, I know), but when the tremors showed no signs of abating, I went down to the local Minute Clinic to see if they'd give me some antibiotics to knock it out. But you see, here's the kicker. I have a congenital heart defect which adversely affects my blood oxygen level (oximeters put me at 77%), and when the minute clinic lady saw that, she clammed up and wouldn't do a thing for me; wouldn't even give me antibiotics...only recommended that I go to the hospital immediately. She even told me I probably had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, even though my symptoms were NOTHING like RMSF. Obviously, I thought to myself, this lady is just a quack. I just paid 58 dollars for nothing, except for being scared half to death.
I went to another doctor last month, and again, when she saw my pulse ox, she wouldn't do anything for me except recommend an evaluation at the hospital, and having blood drawn. At this point, I was so terrified I I might be in danger of imminent death that I did something I hadn't done since I was probably 8 years old; I let someone take blood from me. The nurses at the hospital were actually incredibly sweet, receptive to my questions, and, best of all, didn't talk to me like a child (which, I find, is a rare quality among medical practitioners). The head nurse didn't seem nearly as worried about my pulse ox and said that my body had probably adapted to that level over the years. She even gave me a ten-day course of 100mg Doxy, after which I had one flare up of my symptoms again, but then nearly three glorious weeks symptom free.
Well, as you might be able to guess, my symptoms came ROARING back about five days ago and haven't really let up since. My hands are intention-tremoring like nobody's business, my whole head feels numb and buzzy, I have dry mouth, the whole works. Even my feet and ankles feel alien to me, like I can't control them the way I used to. In the back of my mind, I'm worried that maybe my symptoms really are attributable to my blood oxygen level, because I have symptoms that are not usually ascribed to Lyme Disease, like cold fingers and loose, green stool. But if my symptoms were arising from low blood oxygen, wouldn't they be constant, instead of going in fits and starts, constantly changing, and then remitting for days, sometimes weeks? I feel so helpless and so desperate because any doctor I go to is just going to refuse to treat me because of my pulse ox, and if it is the low blood oxygen doing this to me, I'm really in a heap of danger.
I'm 28 years old for goodness sake, and I'm asking myself if I should be writing up a will. Any help or advice you guys can give would be warmly appreciated! Thank you!