Daisy Bateman

Key Lyme Thigh

So, I probably don’t have Lyme disease, which is nice. True, there are a lot of diseases I don’t have, almost all of them, in fact, but for most of this weekend I thought Lyme disease was one I did, and I’m just as happy to be wrong about that.

It started out with what I thought was a mosquito bite on the back of my right leg, just above the knee, on Friday morning. Damn mosquitoes, I thought, as I scratched it while I got dressed. Then, later that afternoon, after I had finished my run and was changing back into my street clothes, I noticed that it didn’t look like a mosquito bite anymore, being as it was the size of a silver dollar and kind of painful. Spider bite? I thought. Better go home and wash my sheets. Which I did, finding no spiders in the process. And the next morning (Saturday) I woke up to find that it had expanded again, having added a ring of lighter pink around the outside. Huh, I thought, That’s gross.

As it happened, I was going home that day, so while I was there I asked Mom, who knows more than I do about what it looks like when people get bitten by things, what she thought of it. She didn’t know, so we looked it up on the internet and came up with pictures of Lyme disease-indicating tick bites that bore a remarkable resemblance to the thing on my leg. Damn, I thought, That’s annoying. Then I read the article and spent the rest of the day developing symptoms.

You have about a month to get treatment for the early stage of Lyme disease (according to the internet) and since it’s a major pain to try and see a doctor on the weekend I put it off until Monday. Which is why, when I woke up on Sunday and found that the interior region of the bite was now dark purple, fading to a ring of lighter purple which gave way to one of an almost fluorescent pink, there wasn’t much I could do but think, Hope my leg doesn’t fall off, and get on with my day.

Of course, this morning I actually did get around to going to the doctor, and if you’ve read this far I bet you can guess what had happened by then. That’s right: my leg fell off.

Okay, no, not really. Actually, my formerly impressive disease indicator had faded to a shadow of its former self, to the point that it looked like nothing more than a faint pinkish bruise and I was left to explain to the doctor (and the student trainee who was trailing along and poking my leg with him) why I had thought it was important for me to seek medical attention for this apparent non-event. (I said I had “heard” that if you have a bite that looks like a bulls-eye you should get it checked out for Lyme disease. I didn’t mention that I read it on the internet, because doctors hate it when you look things up on the internet.) He didn’t bother doing any blood tests, because it was too early for antibodies to have developed, but he did write a prescription for a single dose of antibiotics, as a kind of general preventive measure. So it was all kind of anticlimactic, but the way I see it, if a part of your body has randomly turned purple, you should seek medical attention, regardless of the potential for embarrassment.

Though I do think weighing me was completely uncalled for. After I had eaten breakfast! With my shoes on! I mean, honestly.

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