Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monday, July 4th

Written July 6th.
My body absorbed the first 35 of my 67 kilometers without much difficulty.  However, after a long sleep that didn't improve my well-being, the last 32 kilometers to Trenton were without a doubt the most painful I have had to endure.  As stressful as cycling in constant pain was, I was glad that I could continue.  I worked fulltime for years with this type of pain - yet when I described it to my doctor, he told me we all get aches and pains and that I should just get over it. I figure that he said this to me at least 6 or 7 years before I found out what I was going through was Lyme disease.  What I wonder today is how many thousands have been in the same place as I, leaving with a bacterial infection that the Canadian healthcare system ignores because it is capable of treating.
The Prince Edward County ferry ride that joins highway 33, the Loyalist Parkway, is as scenic as it gets.  After getting off the ferry, I ended up speaking to a couple working in their garden.  They were well aware of the Lyme problem in the area and had many times had to remove ticks from their dog.  They said that deer were a problem for them because the previous owner used to put salt blocks out, encouraging the deer into their back yard. 
I then cycled about 8 kilometers with a man to Picton.  He was a wealth of information about Lyme.  Although from Toronto, not only did he spent a lot of time in the Picton area, he said that every summer he sailed the 1000 Islands area, where he was well aware that ticks were considered an epidemic.  He told me that, locally, the health department has people in the area that actually go around the 1000 Island area providing information about the consequences of ticks as well as how to remove a tick and what to do if bitten.  What I don't understand is that since the 1000 Islands area is not more than 2 or 3 hours away from the largest city in Canada, why has the same healthcare system not ensured that the traveling public and all doctors have this information as well. 
After stopping and sleeping in Wellington, Ontario, I woke up with massive pain throughout my body.  I didn't think I had, but I now realize that my body had forgotten the worst that Lyme disease has to offer.  Not only the pain, but the confusion, the trouble standing without hanging on to something, and the inability to speak fluently.  It was over an hour before I was coherent again.  These are some of the severe issues that I had for well over a decade that I have not had in almost 2 years. 
In the afternoon while explaining what I was doing to a woman, she told me about a good friend that her husband had hunted with for decades.  He had contracted Lyme only 3 years earlier and that along with all the physical issues, his memory was almost gone.  She said that in order to help him remember who she was, she would have to help him remember how he had always hunted with her husband.  From my perspective - given that this was only three years ago, this is yet another life needlessly destroyed.  If this man had been properly diagnosed in a timely manner, instead of being pushed through the system as Borrelia invaded his body, he would likely have made a full recovery.  How is it that I only spoke to a couple of people about Lyme, yet I could find a story as terrible as this.  How is it that only a few weeks ago I interviewed a woman who told me that when she went to an infectious disease doctor in the Ottawa area recently, the doctor told her that there was no Lyme disease in Canada, and that it was an American problem.
I struggled through and was able to cycle another 32 kilometers to Trenton.

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