We were referred to Germbusters, a catchy name for the practice, and the doctor was known to be a Lyme's Disease Specialist, born, raised and educated on the east coast where the disease was first discovered.
He was a pleasant fellow, happy to meet another transplant, and we bonded as we shared commonalities reaching as far back as our grandparents coming from nearby towns in Italy. He took my history including where I was born, lived, and traveled over my 40 plus years. While the tests were not 100% conclusive, he was fairly certain that my east coast upbringing, and ongoing trips back to the homeland, qualified me for the likelihood that one of those nasty little ticks had at some point gotten to me.
Fortunately, Lyme's Disease was treatable if caught early, but there was no telling how long ago the alleged interlude might have occurred, and left untreated the bacteria had the potential to cause all kinds of neurological problems.
He was confident in his ability to kill the little spirochetes, and described his aggressive treatment plan that included inserting a central line through a vein in your arm straight into your heart, to pump the antibiotic into your bloodstream daily for six weeks. There was no time to waste, and while he did not promise that I would return to normal after the treatment, he could prevent further damage by annihilating them.
So, okay...I have Lyme's Disease, that's not too bad, and back to the hospital we go to have a central line installed. Interesting procedure, not for the squeamish, but it was over quickly, and it wasn't too painful. Next, were off to the clinic to learn how to administer the drug myself once a day. The nurse in the infusion clinic patiently showed me the six steps to be followed precisely to ensure I would not develop an infection. I would return to see her weekly and she would give me the week's allotment of medication, check the port and take blood for testing.
This wasn't too bad, I had to repeat the process the same time each day, so I did it at lunch time. This did occasionally throw people who walked into my office during the 30 minute event, if they weren't aware of my new ritual. But they got used to it as quickly as they did when for a span of time, I sat on a large lime green balance ball instead of my office chair. Just for fun I'd bounce up and down while working at my desk, and catch the confused look on the face of a passerby that did a double take to see what in the world I was up to...sometimes you have to make your own fun at work!
When we had completed four weeks of treatment, I saw the doctor to evaluate the progress. "How are you feeling?" he asked. "Good, maybe a little tired but nothing dramatic while taking the drug so far." I replied. He looked down, with a sort of melancholy look on his face that puzzled me. The insurance company only pays for four of his aggressive six week plan, so given the considerable out of pocket expense I asked if he thought I would benefit from the additional two weeks of treatment.
Apparently, not feeling worse indicated that nothing was happening, and if the drug was actually killing those little spirochetes, I would have been feeling awful as they fought back. He concluded that he did not think I would benefit from the additional medication, and there was nothing more he could do for me. He actually looked defeated as he referred me back to the neurologist.
So, back to the hospital to remove the central line...
I guess it wasn't Lyme's Disease after all...