Different Story about Lyme Disease

columbines

One day this week I got out of the tub and forgot to lotion up with the tick-repelling lemongrass cream I’ve been slathering on for several months. Sure enough, a few hours later I felt a bite under my armpit and there was a frigging tick.

My migraine meds have run low so, since every year the prescription needs to be renewed, a visit to the doctor’s office was required. Once a year I go to the doctor for this reason only; when I go twice in a year, it’s usually because of a tick bite. As I sat in the clinic room with the temporary physician, I told him about the tick bite and said that although the tell-tale bull’s-eye ring hasn’t yet developed, perhaps he could prescribe the treatment for it. That way I’d have the paperwork in hand, for convenience, if if was needed; I wouldn’t have to return to the clinic.

He is my kind of “Don’t take antibiotics unless they’re really necessary” doctor, and his take on tick bites and lyme disease is that the ticks in this province aren’t the type to carry it, so it is rare here. Testing is poor in Canada, he admits, but he believes most tests that come back from the States are false positives; virtually 100% of them come back positive for lyme disease when people don’t really have it. Their tests aren’t perfectly reliable either, and our testing here is being improved.

Ticks have to remain latched onto your body for 18 hours in order to transmit the disease, he said, and having the red ring around the bite doesn’t mean you have lyme disease. It means you are reacting to the substance the tick put into you so that it could get your blood. If you are infected with lyme disease, the ring will grow to well beyond the size of a toonie and a red rash will spread to be considerably larger. That’s when you need treatment for lyme disease, and you have time — it’s not as if you must take medicine within 24 hours or anything like that.

“So no antibiotic for me then,” I said. “I can drink my wine this weekend.”

Most stories I’m seeing about tick bites lately say that if the toonie-size red ring develops, you’ve got lyme disease. This doctor is forcefully contradicting that.

Travelling Journal Stays Home

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Some people do artwork and/or writing into a travelling journal that is meant to return to its original owner. At the time I started one myself, none ever had. The same happened to mine. It was received via mail by about five people after me, and they each contributed pages and reported back on its progress. It had developed into an impressive work of art, I was told, and I looked forward to seeing it again.

But I never did.

Along the line, the person it was sent to went AWOL. She could not be reached by telephone. Letters of enquiry mailed to her address went unanswered.

Somewhere, perhaps, the book sits on a shelf, bulging with the artful treasure it contains.

Some time ago I decided to try it again, and asked friends who wanted to participate to send me their names and mailing addresses. I made a list, which languished while I never got around to purchasing a blank book to start in. Recently a friend gave me a blank book … a kindly kick in the keister! … and I did some cutting and pasting from graphics I’ve collected because I love them so much I can’t put them into the recycling. I guess that’s my art, whatever it’s called.

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Now that it costs so much to mail a small book, however, I’m not going to send the travelling journal out this way. It will have to travel hand-to-hand, if at all, as I don’t expect anyone to shell out $10 or more in order to send the thing on, particularly as even a small book like this tends to get heavy as it makes its way from artist to artist. Last time, I made a pocket inside the back cover and put cash in it to pay the postage forward. Apparently participants had added to it and there was a wad of cash there when the travelling journal arrived in California. But it didn’t matter … somebody kept the book … could’t bear to part with a thing of great beauty, I like to think (rather than that her house burned down with her and my book inside it) … and that was that.

If you were on the receiver-list for the most recent travelling journal, this is the reason it hasn’t come your way. It’s only gotten as far as my camper … the closest thing we have to the screened-in veranda of my dreams.

At the top of this page is the front cover, which originally was solid black, and the second scan is the back. A few things have been added to the inside too, but I don’t feel quite done with it yet.

Rain and Radio

asters

Wild asters from the ditch

My niece was here, trimmed up the dog’s ears, snuggled up with Duckie (who originally was her dog), and shared a pot of tea with me. And I completely forgot to take a picture of her. Pardon me while I kick myself.

Shortly after she left, I went out for a walk. I hadn’t gone far when a powerful wind came up and an ominous cloud darkened the sky directly overhead. I called the dogs, slightly ahead on the gravel road, and reversed direction just as drops of water began to sprinkle down. Duckie dashed back to the yard, and Sadie too, but even as the downpour became heavy I lagged behind (walking, not running, because running gets you more soaked than walking — this has been studied) and she waited at the end of the driveway for me. As I rounded the corner a frightful wind hit hard and I pulled the hood of my bunnyhug across my face so as to keep breathing. Sadie had reached the lawn by then but didn’t vamoose to her shelter; instead she crouched, watching to be sure I’d made it to safety, too, before retreating to a dry location herself.

It was a relief to step into the calm of the porch. My jeans and socks were already wet. For the rest of the day I watched the sky to see when it might be safe to venture a mile or more down the road. By the time it was clear enough, it was nearly 8 o’clock and I decided pyjamas were a better option. I climbed into bed and read a chapter or two from each of the three books on my nightstand: Indigenous Writes, A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada; VIJ, A Chef’s One-Way Ticket to Canada with Indian Spices in His Suitcase; and Look Me In the Eye, My Life with Asperger’s.

Then the lamp went off and I touched the screen on my iPhone to listen to CBC Radio. Anna Maria Tremonti’s morning show, “The Current,” was offered on the CBC app. It was an interview with a clinician studying women’s sexuality. According to her research, the majority of women are not satisfied (don’t have an orgasm) when they have sex with their male partners. Whereas women having sex with female partners are satisfied pretty much every time. (Sorry fellas, and your gal pals; they didn’t discuss a solution to this condition, except to state that for women, penises-in-vaginas isn’t the be-all and end-all.)

I often listen to the radio into the wee hours, as there is some pretty interesting stuff sometimes. The night before there’d been an interview with a guy who was looking at the results of Google searches worldwide. Among the resulting eye-openers was that men withhold sex from their female spouses far more often than women withhold sex from their male partners. A surprise, as it seems to be a running gag that married men want sex far more frequently than their wives.

Half the time I’m dozing, off and on, and miss parts of what is said. But there is some fascinating stuff there, and in the morning I only wish I could remember it all.

The rain can stop any time now. My flowers are drooping.

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