Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dances With Ticks

Two weeks ago I returned to Dancing Rabbit from the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair ebullient, ecstatic, enraptured and just plain happy with the reception that both Dancing Rabbit and the Milkweed Mercantile had received.

People walked up to our table and a smile just spread across their faces. “Wow,” they sighed, “you have such lovely stuff.”

I had to agree. I have spent three years researching, thinking, writing, and obsessing about the perfect combination of merchandise. Products that are more than mere “stuff.” I wanted to make sure that everything would be durable, last a long time, be more than worth the money spent, be made by people who were paid a fair wage (or at least owned the business). I had spent months on Etsy looking for artisans with ethics, and had been gratified to find an abundance of talent and heart out there looking for a place to shine. I found many women-owned and SAHM businesses which I am thrilled to support, and people doing incredible things with reclaimed resources. When the only organic cotton flannel hanky producer decided she was not interested in selling wholesale any longer I hunted down the fabric and bought a serger to make the hankies myself. And I haunted auctions to build my stash of vintage hankies for my personal campaign to make the laundering of hankies (instead of the disposal of tissues) a way of life again.

But within a week I was in bed. I woke up achier than I had ever been, had an on-and-off fever, an inability to stay neither awake nor vertical, and absolutely no appetite. In six days I lost ten pounds. The doc, given the info he had, could only diagnose a vague virus, and proscribe Tylenol and sleep. Then late Saturday night, lying in bed sweating with fever while under the wind-tunnel of a ceiling fan on ‘high,’ I noticed that while all of my skin felt cool and clammy, an area behind my left knee felt warm, and a bit tender. Unable to sleep, for that moment anyway, I crawled out of bed, went downstairs, hauled out a full-length mirror and took a gander.

When they say “bulls eye” when talking Lyme’s disease diagnosis they are not kidding. There on the back of my leg, in brilliant Technicolor, was a 6-inch-wide blazing bull’s eye. I felt relieved and pissed off at the same time – relieved that I finally knew what was wrong with me, and pissed off that it was most likely Lyme’s disease.

The next morning Kurt took me to the ER, where test were taken, educated guesses made, and antibiotics proscribed. After just one pill I was able to sit upright for over an hour for the first time in almost a week. The exhaustion lifted, and I could not stop eating. (So much for my unexpected weight-loss program!). So while I do have some sort of disease (we won’t know which one until the tests come back) I at least know what is wrong, and that it can be fixed. Everything I’ve read online verifies that early treatment almost always takes care of it.

And once again I’ve come to appreciate my health, and my life. While lying in bed day after day feeling absolutely awful, unable to do anything but doze and think I couldn’t help but remember my friends and loved ones who have gone before. Marcia at 25, Carter at 40, Jess at 47, Cindy at 50, on and on and on. Lots of pain, lots of suffering. Soon my little bout of tick-ness will be neatly cleared up. I’m almost back on my feet, and am struggling to feel worthy. It’s an odd sort of survivor’s guilt I suppose – why do I get to be here? What worthwhile things can I accomplish on behalf of those I’ve loved who did not get as much time? I’m still working on it. In the meantime I'm taking lots of naps. More soon!


  1. Ugh you poor thing. Ticks scare the pants off me for this very reason. I hope you caught it early enough and that you are back to feeling 100% soon!

  2. Wow - alline - how frightening! Sending the continue to clear up vibe

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