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We Missed the Bullseye: our Lyme story

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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We Missed the Bullseye: our Lyme story

Something was wrong with my husband (no need for sarcastic comment).

Almost a month ago he started coming home from work complaining of a splitting headache. He'd squint through dinner, barely making conversation, and I offered to clean up the dinner plates most nights so that he could go rest in our darkened bedroom.

One night he scared me. I went in to the room to say goodnight before heading downstairs to my usual nightcap of bad reality TV, and I saw him sitting on our bed quietly. I kissed him on the top of his head, and this man who is usually so affectionate barely acknowledged my gesture.

"Have you considered this might be Lyme Disease?" I asked after a regular family dinner when I had thought, "he looks ten years older".

But, with no bullseye, we were both skeptical. The only reason I had mentioned Lyme was because I had recently read Sarah from In The Trenches of Mommyhood's post. Her son's Lyme diagnosis came after her mother's intuition told her that his low-grade fever and out-of-character quietness weren't "just a cold".

Finally, a few days later, I was woken by my husband who told me that he needed to get tested right away. His headache was fading, but there were now red welts across his torso and legs. It didn't take the lab thirty minutes to confirm that he did have Lyme.

He was lucky. A round of antibiotics beat back the disease, and he is normal again (well. . .).

And I now know that there is more to watching for Lyme than just finding a tiny telltale tick or that red bullseye.

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Blogger Deb said...

Dude. That is passes by ticks, though right? Do you think he got bitten by a tick unbeknownst to both of you? Scary. Thanks for the story. Hope he feels better.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

You probably missed when I posted it, but as I told Sarah the same thing happened to Einey. Einey kept spiking fevers (and acting delirious) and was highly fatigued for two weeks in June. Once the antibiotics kicked in, she was back to normal. And nope - no bullseye on her either. When Meenie had it last year, she didn't have the bullseye, but we had pulled a tick off of her before. Glad to hear he's feeling better!

2:49 PM  
Blogger Mama Goose said...

Thank you for sharing this very important information. It's becoming all too prevalent these days. Scary stuff. My stepmother spent the better part of a year in bed (14 years ago) after her doctors told her the fatigue and headaches were all in her head. Finally, she found the right doctor and was correctly diagnosed and treated.

I'm glad he agreed to get tested and that the antibiotics did the trick so quickly!

3:30 PM  
Blogger Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

Very timely post. Especially when it comes to kids. I'm glad he's feeling better!

3:43 PM  
Blogger Issa said...

Oh that is so scary. I'm glad he's okay, but sheesh that is freaky.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

I was the first person in our area to be bitten by an infected tick. So now I am freaked out by all mentions of Lyme Disease. Yikes!

5:46 PM  
Blogger Mamalang said...

My daughter had this last year, and we never even found a tick, let alone a bulls eye. She had the headache, moments of delirium, and low grade fever. Dr ran every blood test known to man and several xrays trying to figure out what was wrong. Lyme Disease was the last thing any of us thought about. Scary stuff...glad you got him tested and on antibiotics.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Heather @CritterChronicles said...

*That* is just about the only thing I don't miss about New England. I was bitten by a Lyme-diseased tick when I was 12 and went through four months' of treatment, with no lasting effects.

My mom is now hyper-vigilant about ticks, and pretty much has every. single. one. sent for testing. But she missed one on herself and felt much like your husband, and only after half a year was feeling better. As it turned out, though, she was also infected with another tick-bourne disease that required aggressive treatment. Now she doesn't go outside unless she's wearing long sleeves and pants with the legs tucked into her socks. In 90 degree weather. (Makes me kind of glad I can't be seen with her.) ;-)

Connecticut is so bad, when we left our dog with my parents when we moved overseas, the very first day he was at their house he came inside with over 20 ticks on him. And later testing showed that he'd been infected with Lyme disease, too.

I'm glad your husband finally got checked out and treatment. Hope he's feeling better SOON!

6:06 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

We obsessively check the kids but I'm still completely freaked out about Lyme Disease. FREAKED. OUT.

Glad he's okay!

7:14 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Lyme disease is scary. We were lucky with Paige to see the bullseye rash. Deer ticks are so small that it would be almost impossible to find. I'm paranoid about letting things go now thinking it could be Lyme. Glad he got medicine and is feeling better.

8:39 PM  
Blogger said...

I didn't realize that you could "beat" Lyme disease! So, he doesn't have it after all???

8:58 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Ugh, my daughter had it a year or so ago. We were lucky; I found the tick on her (nightly tick-checks were part of our spring routine) and watched the spot for a bullseye, which showed up all of a sudden about 2 weeks later.

The horror story part was that the pharmacy screwed up the concentration of her antibiotics so for about two weeks until we figured it out she was taking too low a dose – perfect for helping the little buggers become resistant. Boy was I mad.

It has a happy ending though. She got on the right dose (ANOTHER four weeks of abx!) and came through just fine.

Glad your husband is ok now.

9:56 PM  
Blogger MadMad said...

I am always so terrified of missing a tick and someone getting Lyme - it's good to know what to be on the lookout for! Great post!

4:56 AM  
Blogger Sarahviz said...

Such is the awesome power of the blogosphere, huh??

I knew it had to be SOMETHING other than coxsackie (Middle's initial diagnosis) when he was constantly complaining of headaches. What 5-year old gets, much less knows, what a headache is??

So glad to hear your husband is back to "normal". Heh.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Patois42 said...

I'm so glad that you've caught in. And that he's (what passes for) normal again.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eek! So glad you figured it out!!

7:58 AM  
Blogger Gray Matter Matters said...

I am so relieved to hear he's doing so well. I always thought Lyme Disease was a life-long condition, it's good to know that antibiotics can be so effective. Still, it freaks me out. Hats off your your mother's/wife's intuition.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Audrey at Barking Mad! said...

This is so scary to me. During one of my HR consulting stints I had to process STD (short term disability) paperwork for someone with Lyme Disease. He was in the hospital for nearly a MONTH. When he came back to work 4 months after being diagnosed, he looked 20 years older, 40lbs thinner and so pale and gaunt.

Just thinking about ticks, especially this time of year makes me very reticent to even let Gaby play outside unless she's slathered in bug spray (something I hate doing!) and in long sleeved shirts and pants...something SHE hates because it's so hot.

So glad you guys kicked this before it got any worse. And I am SOOOO grateful you shared this because I'm the kind of person that would always look for the bullseye and probably "poo poo"any mention of Lyme away if I didn't see it

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We never found a tick on my husband either. He saw three doctors, two of them specialists. They said cellulitus? (he did have a red welt on his leg, amoung his other symptoms) I argued / the dr on the phone, it was like someone whispered in my ear, have him tested for lyme. We did, and his readingings were off the chart. He did get treated with antibiotics and he did get better. They told him that the lyme would always be in his system now. What I can tell you from my observation is that he is not the same man physically that he used to be. He gets sick more often, takes longer to get over it, has more aches and pains, etc. I believe it all stems from the lyme. I believe it is an epidemic that people AND doctors are not aware of.

2:56 PM  
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8:03 AM  

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