May 1 began as a great day — I had a good trout fishing outing and then I stopped at a local wetlands to look for any interesting birds that might be found. I landed and released a good number of trout and spotted my first Baltimore oriole of the year. It was a good day.
By mid-afternoon I started feeling extremely tired and my knees and hips were aching. Since I had walked over four miles, I thought that maybe the morning’s activity was just catching up with me. I tried to rest, but I had a headache and felt like I was burning up. A thermometer revealed that I was running a temperature of 102. I alternated between feeling too hot and shaking with the chills. I was too nauseated to eat much for dinner.
I was sick. Of course, the symptoms that I experienced could mean lots of things, but since I already suffered through nine tick bites this year, I suspected Lyme disease. Pennsylvania has the unfortunate distinction of being the number one state for Lyme disease.
I am not one to run to the doctor for any little ailment, but I did this time. The key to limiting the damage done by Lyme disease is a rapid realization that Lyme could be the problem and doing something about it. I have a number of friends who were not so fortunate. Their Lyme disease went undiagnosed for far too long and they are suffering lasting effects.
My doctor used a test to rule out the flu and knowing my many hours afield and astream, she prescribed Doxycycline — the antibiotic of choice for Lyme disease.
I slept that afternoon and much of the following day. Doxycycline and rest worked like magic. I am feeling much better — I’m trout fishing, hiking, cutting firewood and birding again.
For the record — all of the nine ticks that bit me were discovered before they became engorged. I had no telltale bulls eye rash — a sure sign of Lyme disease.
On May 16, I volunteered as a guide at a local nature trail. That evening I discovered yet another tick digging under my skin as I was getting ready for bed — number 10 on the young year.
Some people have curtailed their outdoor activities because of the ticks. Not me – I love being outdoors too much to be hindered by an eight-legged critter. However, I am more cautious about where I walk — staying out of some brushy areas — and I check myself each evening.
I enjoyed great wild trout fishing this morning and I’ll be out again as soon as I can. Be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and follow through with a visit to your doctor if necessary. Don’t let ticks ruin your time afield.