“So why you are here today?” This is what my Dr. has said to me every single time she’s walked into the room where I’m patiently sitting at the edge of the paper covered bed, trying not to wrinkle the paper too badly. Every time for the last 14 years. Or so. Oh and I should probably tell you that it’s in a heavy German accent. Maybe Russian, but I think German. I can’t be sure. I remember sitting at the pizza bar where I worked back when I was 18, looking through a book, trying to pick a Primary Care Physician so that I could enroll in insurance. I think that this was either before the internet was popular or before it was reliable, so back then there were books. Printed on paper. And you looked stuff up in them. So there I was trying to find the perfect doctor in a sea of random names that meant nothing to me. I had only one requirement in my search; it had to be a woman. I’m just not one to want a man Dr. all up in my lady business. No thanks! I was scrolling through names and thought her first name sounded pretty and her last name, Rosenberg, was the first name of one of the Brazilian dishwashers in the kitchen who spoke no English, but seemed nice. That was enough for me. I put her down as my PCP and I’ve been trying to decipher her diagnoses ever since. I’m not always completely sure whether she’s telling me I’m healthy, sick, or possibly dead, but she’s a lovely woman and I just keep going back.
So it’s four weeks ago and I’m sitting there trying not to crinkle the paper, she comes in, glances at me, opens up her iPad because it’s modern times now and my paper file has been eradicated and says, “So why you are here today?” I find this rather odd because about two hours before I was sitting on said paper covered bed, I was on the phone with the receptionist who was telling me that the Dr. wanted to see me right away. “Well, I called because I got a tick bite and it has a bulls eye around it and the receptionist said that you wanted to see me right away.” She did a little thinking, scrolled on her iPad a little more and then looked back at me. “Hmph. A tick bite, you say? And it have bulls eye?” She looked at the bite mark in question briefly, thought a little more and said to call back if I didn’t feel like myself over the next few weeks. Or she said that I had a rare case of the measles, I’m not really sure. But I think she said that if I developed any symptoms to call her office. I asked what those symptoms might be, but she said she couldn’t tell me because if she did, I would think that I had them. She gave me a prescription for two doses of Doxycycline which she said might reduce my chances of getting Lyme Disease by 50%. Or maybe she said I had Strep throat. I never really know.
“So why you are here today?” It was two weeks later and I was back. I’d woken up the day before with a headache that hadn’t gone away, I felt like I had the flu and my temperature was a little over 100. As I was driving to work earlier that morning I remembered the tick bite, the bulls eye and the two doses of Doxycycline. Had I landed myself on the wrong side of the 50%? I called the Dr. back and again I was told to come right in, so her apparent surprise to see me struck me as odd, but was certainly par for the course. I guess I should really expect it after all these years. Anyhow, I explained my symptoms to her and reminded her of the tick bite. She contemplated this for a bit and then true to form she scrolled on her iPad. After a few seconds she looked up at me and said, “But you no have skin rash.” She said that 85% of people who have Lyme Disease get a skin rash at the site of the bite. She seemed pretty convinced that I was just fine, but I have that mom superpower where I never get sick, and there was no denying at this point that I was sick. I followed up with a few questions. I somehow managed to convince her to prescribe me some more Doxycycline and to write me up for some labs so I could actually be tested for Lyme. The notion seemed slightly ridiculous to her, but she gave in. I think. At least she gave me a paper that instructed me to go to the lab.
I went back to work after my blood test and by the time I got home I was pretty much on the brink of death. Or “can’t feelin’ well” as LB would say. My whole body ached, my head was screaming and I kept going from hot one second to cold the next. My fever was over 101 when we finished dinner, but I rallied, powered through and gave the girls a bath. Afterwards I was super cold, so I went to lie down in bed so I could get under all of the blankets. Weird, I know! OB tried his very best to get the kids to bed without me, but they would not accept his cover of The Rainbow Connection, so I crawled out of bed and sang it to each of them like we do every night. It’s a mom thing. Sick, healthy, tired, sleeping, you name it. I can rock littles and sing lullabies with a raging fever, feeling half delirious… why not? I dragged myself back into bed and the next time that OB came in to check on me, my temperature was 102.4. I decided to take the blankets off and tried to look in a mirror. My head felt like it was going to explode. Did it look like it was going to explode? I went back to sleep, hoping I’d actually wake up.
Two days later I got a call from the nurse saying that my Lyme test had come back positive. There was still a dagger going through my head, so I was at least glad to know why. I then did what anyone else would do; I requested that my sister call my uncle who is a Dr. and then posted on Facebook to find out what my FB peeps had to say about it. My uncle and FB both seemed to think I’d be fine because it was caught so early. Those first few days were rough though. The headache was out of control, I couldn’t remember what I had just done five minutes ago and I could barely keep my train of thought organized. The symptoms have slowly subsided and today I took my last pill, which I assume means that I am cured. Let’s hope that it’ll be a while before I am next asked, “So why you are here today?” Or maybe she was actually saying, “So let’s cure your Lyme disease.” I can’t be sure.