The News Tribune logo

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Change of Seasons Reminder

The sky lightens to a silvery-grey over the spikes of evergreens across Joe's Bay. The recent storms have blown a lot of leaves off the saplings before they had chance to turn and more of the bay becomes visible from our Aerie. In the orchard, the leaves on the apple, cherries and pear tree stay green and attached. The maple that is usually on fire by this time has only a few deep red leaves, but the giant maples have dropped so many of theirs to be embedded in the road, thinning with the rain, while the roadsides are red with shedding cedars, firs and pines.

It's the time of year for cleaning-up in the garden, preparing for what some are saying will be the worst winter in sixty years. There's leaves to rake and wood to be split and piled for the stove, anticipating power losses. The recent accident of a logging truck hitting a transmission station on Rte. 101 brought home the need to restock all emergency items for the household and have them handy.

Ah yes it's a busy time alright, every season needing preparation and clean-up. I just want to remind all my cherished neighbours that tick protection is a part of every season too. In our Pacific-Northwest climate, ticks are active all year round, and looking for hosts. Even in the mid-west, snowy winters, ticks are found on dogs, horses, deer and birds, where once it was believed that 28 degrees took care of the problem. Now is as important as the spring, to check yourself and each other after working in the garden.

What kid isn't drawn to leaf piles? Please check them at bath-time and teach them to tuck their socks inside pants before going out to play. Show them what a tick looks like and tell your kids to come to you if they have one attached. Learn how to properly remove a NOT squeeze or try to burn it! Google tick tools and make sure your First Aid Kit has one. I keep one on my key chain, a very simple and effective tool to use. If you are bitten, be proactive with your doctor and ask them to read-up on the latest information, rather than sit back to wait and see...the deadliest of approaches.

I was just able to attend, via webcasts, a conference on Lyme disease at the Institute Of Medicine in Washington DC, where the rise in cases of Lyme, Babesia, and Bartonella nationally, was talked about with great concern by the participants...well all except for Dr. Gary Wormser, head of the IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America) panel that infamously made the allegedly criminal Lyme Guidelines. To have the doctor who is in charge of caring for the Lyme community call chronic patients "Lymenuts" is a bigoted disgrace. A disgrace is what Dr. Bergdorfer, who first discovered the Lyme spirochete bearing his name (Borrelia-Bergdefori) called the political situation. I watched and listened as scientist after scientist called for more research, talked of the chronic forms (which Wormser denies exists) of tick-borne infections, and called for more gathering of national surveys and statistics...more information. Dr. Wormser smugly said they had all the information...he "just didn't bring it that day...chuckle."

In the same week I watched the first day of the ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) conference and was given great hope as I listened to new research and heard hope for my daughter and the thousands upon thousands of chronically-ill patients, dealing with tick-borne infections. If you are interested in reading some exciting news for our family, check out this link below.

This has been a rough year for my daughter...making twelve rough years now. She was bitten just before she turned 18 and is turning 30 this December. Due to the doctors in Washington being woefully uneducated in tick-borne diseases, it took eight years to get her on proper treatment. Now she is in the fifteen percentile of chronic patients. Today, despite how she feels, we will sit and talk to some nursing students about Anna's case so they can learn. Still I try to work for simply getting a proclamation making May officially Lyme-Awareness Month in Washington, as it is in so many other states. I have worked on it for almost a year now, with no reply from the department that deals with proclamations in the Governor's Office. We have talked to so many politicians, Derek Kilmer being a staunch advocate and ally, and yet move forward so slowly in educating Washingtonians. Funnily enough, one certainly remembered my number when a family member was bitten.

Yes we've returned to the wet and cool, rainy season down here in Joe's Bay, the snowy season up in those beautiful mountains. I'm just going to keep reminding you to be prepared in every way, in every season, and urge you to ask questions. We're right here as advocates. Living with the wildness, as we are so gifted, I believe my neighbours want to be educated. I want to keep you and your family safe, giving thanks, in our season of Thanksgiving, for this opportunity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lorraine, thank you once again for the tic safety reminder. A lot of us born in the NW don't realize that we do have ticks here that can cause Lyme Disease. One health provider I know was the first in the NW to diagnose a patient with Lyme quite a few years ago. That patient was lucky to have found a provider who knew the symptoms and the right questions to ask and was able to start treatment.

People, Lyme Disease is here!!! Do as Lorraine says and be vigilant. Pay attention, tuck those pant legs into your sox and do a body check after going through brush outdoors. Chronic Lyme is a horrible disease and not to be taken lightly.