Lyme Disease, Doctors and Scares – Oh My!

Last spring I was out hiking and at the end of my hike I detected a tick embedded in my leg.  I managed to fully extract the little beast and watched the site closely for a few days.  I didn’t develop the telltale “bulls-eye” rash so I thought I was safe from any sort of infection.

Approximately one month later I developed a sinus infection that didn’t go away.  After a month of symptoms I went to see my doctor and she said I had only allergies and prescribed over the counter allergy medication.  After a few weeks my symptoms did not abate and I also began to develop muscle aches and fatigue.

I went back to my doctor and again asserted the fact that I was bitten by a tick and she said that since I didn’t have other symptoms, it couldn’t be Lyme Disease and that she would not prescribe antibiotics without further evidence of infection.  She said that the irresponsible prescribing of antibiotics can create “super-bugs.”  She suggested I try a different decongestant.

A few weeks later I developed a pain everywhere I have ever fractured a bone: a pinky knuckle, a finger tip, my coccyx, a toe and a knee.  I went back to my doctor and she agreed to run (sans antibiotics) a Lyme test.  If it came back positive, we would (sans antibiotics) run a second test to confirm the positive result because there are things called “false positives.”  She wouldn’t want to irresponsibly prescribe antibiotics, thusly creating super-bugs.  I asked what would happen if the result came back negative, would there be a second test in case of a “false negative” and she said there would be no need for antibiotics or a second test if the first one came back negative.

A friend of mine who is quite knowledgeable and experienced with Lyme disease told me that it sounded like I had Lyme disease.  She had an extra bottle of Doxycycline and gave it to me.  Within one week all my symptoms including the sinus infection (I mean allergy) went away.

I finished the 30 day supply of doxies and none of the symptoms reasserted themselves.  Can you imagine the money my insurance company could have saved if my doctor initially gave me antibiotics when I first told her that I was bitten by a tick?

When I was a kid, I used to hang out at a friends house who father was my doctor.  I mentioned that my dog was bitten by a tick and my doctor immediately prescribed an antibiotic for me just to play it safe.  Irresponsible?  I don’t know.  Of course, there wouldn’t be this 500 pound super-bug following me around wherever I go.  I named him “Charlie.”  He doesn’t eat much.

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