Sunday, July 3 2005
My right top wisdom tooth has been driving me crazy for the past few days - hurting when I bite down on it and sometimes supplying a constant pain signal even when I leave it alone. Last night as I lay dreaming I wouldn't leave it alone, and the gnashing led to a counterattack of intense, nagging pain, waking me up in misery. Thankfully, it was nothing that couldn't be dispelled with a single hit of Advil.
But that hasn't been my only medical problem since Gretchen set off for Los Angeles. That rash I mentioned yesterday, the one out in front of my left armpit, appeared out of nowhere the other day and has been persistently itchy and slowly expanding. At first I thought maybe it was a reaction to poison ivy, but how could the exposure have happened there? Then I theorized it could have been the result of a spider bite. As I ran out of options, I began to joke that it was evidence of Lyme Disease.
By this morning, though, the Lyme disease theory was the only one that made sense. By then the rash had developed the characteristic bullseye shape of stage one Lyme. It's such an unmistakable symptom that, according to one of the websites I consulted, when a doctor sees it he will immediately prescribe antibiotics before running any tests.
Now I hadn't specifically remembered there being a tick bite at the center of the ring, but it's hard to see just over the edge of the armpit and, feeling the location with my fingers, I could have easily thought a tiny embedded deer tick was a mole, since there are several in that area (and even a supernumerary nipple). Early-stage Lyme could also account for the soreness of my jaw and the pain around my molars. At this stage it's not life threatening, so long as I get on a course of antibiotics. But if I let months pass and don't treat it (something I won't be doing), I can get a chance to experience late-stage Lyme, which isn't all that different from late-stage syphilis. (Both are caused by spirochete bacteria.)
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