Waiting to Die

Relax, it’s story time.

So, getting Lyme Disease rocked my world in a way I could’ve never foreseen. I don’t know how many of you out there have a terminal illness, have been faced with one directly, or have friends and family members that have, but it fucks with your head…at first.

A few years back I felt this weird sensation in my leg. The sensation was moving from around my hernia surgery spot, down my leg, and I had no idea what I was feeling.

I went to the “doctor.” This man is headstrong and I hope he falls into a pit of spikes, but first let me introduce you to Dr. Clem Rodriguez. He’s a general doctor, meaning anything you go into him for, can probably be figured out by looking online, asking friends and family, or anyone else but him. I still had a home at that juncture, and he took one look at me and decided I was 100% healthy.

I told him about the weird sensation moving down my leg, within my leg. He looked at me like I was crazy (first red flag). I associated it with my hernia surgery since it seemed to have started in that area. I thought the mesh, which had been stapled to my ball-hole, had ripped off and was now traveling down my leg. It sounds crazy cause it would have been crazy, had I been correct.

“But you’re so young,” he said, dismissing anything I’d just offered. He volunteered to check the hernia surgery area, pushed pretty hard on the mesh  guaranteeing it was still there.

“So what do I do? This feeling is super weird, I’ve never had it before, and it feels wrong.”

“You’re young, you’re fine. Go home, get some rest.”

I looked at him like the fucking idiot he was and still probably is (HATE YOU “DOC”). Just now, while writing, I had to readjust my entire body, cause my left pinky was feeling TOO MUCH WEIGHT from holding my cell phone. I’m holding it with both hands too. LYME DISEASE!

I went home, feeling weird about his “SO YOUNG” diagnosis, and the sensation spread to the leg which it was invading. See, the thing about Lyme Disease, is that it goes everywhere, unchecked.

Rewind maybe 6 months back. I saw a weird-looking bite or injury, not sure what it was, but it was near my crotch, with an accompanying rash. “What the hell?” I thought. Then I thought “I’m…gonna see if this goes away,” and IT DID, but it didn’t.

The weird-ass bite, with the accompanying rash, was a tick bite. (I do NOT remember where I was when I was bitten. They’re stealthy little fuckers. But I do remember that bite, that night, this fight, not right). If Lyme advances enough…well…I’ll get there.

The sensation near my crotch and to my leg increased. My leg was hurting for, seemingly, no reason. “I’m SO YOUNG” remember?? (I was 32 when the mass confusion began). I went back to the doctor.

“My leg hurts now. Remember how I said whatever was moving in my leg? Now my leg hurts. What’s wrong?”

Can you guess what he told me? Go ahead, try. Give it a shot. He didn’t. Give me a shot that is. “You’re so young! It’s nothing. Go home and rest, you’ll be fine.”

Outrage comes in many forms. I think, at this point, I was maybe a little scared that I wasn’t being taken care of, by the medical “professional” whose charge it was to “Do no harm,” only THIS fuckface was doing YES harm. I’ll add that this doctor possibly grew up in a culture where failure was not only looked down upon, but punished when found.

HE COULDN’T BE WRONG CAUSE HE WAS THE DOCTOR AND I WAS JUST SOME DUMBASS PATIENT.

I started calling the administration at the office without wanting to go in to see Dr. Clem Rodriguez. I didn’t want to see him cause I was slowly losing faith in his ability to treat me as a patient, as a sick human. Clearly he is a sick human, in the head, not able to accept failure of any kind.

Failure teaches us. The only true failure is not trying to improve ourselves as humans. If we fall, we don’t ONLY get back up, but we can examine WHY we fell, reexamine our actions, and try again. This doctor was omniscient, apparently, because he COULDN’T be wrong about his misdiagnosis…but he was. He was dead, fucking, wrong.

The pain which had permeated my leg and my crotch, had moved again. “Hey left leg, how are you feeling? You’re about to feel SO YOUNG” (see what I did there? I used Dr. Clem’s backwards logic to poke fun at his stupid ass).

I would walk to Meltdown Comics for comedy shows, as the duplex (from Duplex Comedy Suplex) was only a few miles away. I could hoof it, especially since I HAD functioning legs…why not use ’em? Occasionally my legs would feel a little wobbly. I liken it to one of those push-puppets. I’d been smoking medicinal marijuana, and, thought it could maybe be chalked up to that.

“Hey guys, ya know how sometimes when you’re really high and walking, your legs will feel all wobbly?”

I was dismissed as crazy there too, cause NO ONE KNEW WHAT THE HELL I WAS TALKING ABOUT.

Doc time again. “You’re so young!” Anger. Appointment with neurologist. By this point I’d started using my grandma Beryl’s cane.

Grandma died a little into the weak legs of it all and, when we all visited for the funeral service, we also went to her old house. Time to take something to remember Grandma by. “I know” I thought, “My legs have been feeling a little weird. I’ll take one of her canes.” I did, and didn’t have to use it till a few months later, but somewhere in the back of my mind I knew. I was sick. This wasn’t going away magically from my youth. “Hopefully I won’t be needing this in a few months,” I said, jokingly. I fucking knew. I knew “Hey, maybe I’m dying too. I don’t know what’s wrong, but maybe this’ll mitigate some of the pain and weirdness I’d been feeling.” The cane was a comfort, but it didn’t start any healing process.

After  ringing home a score from a mis-ordered Postmates, I began to eat some of that delicious pizza from Garage Pizza. My bites were too big, and the heat of the jalapeños helped to ensure my throat was blocked. I was choking, not getting much air. I asked my roommate to drive me to the hospital, which he held over my head for the longest time. Probably still does. “I DROVE YOU TO THE HOSPITAL” he’d say in later rage fits. I hope, any of you out there, never hold taking a friend to the hospital over their heads. It fucks with you. (Fucking asshole move).

The doc at this hospital doubted anything was wrong. My legs were wobbly, I waited in the ER waiting room, got my vitals taken, waited in a bed. Sometimes my heart monitor was reading “?” instead if a bpm. “That can’t be good” I thought. “Are you in any medications?” the doctress asked (I know doctress isn’t a word, I’m using it to belittle her entire way of thinking because of what came next). “I don’t take any medicine, even using medical marijuana for muscle pains.” Her countenance changed. She’d gone from wanting to help, to patronizing asshole in an instant. Accused of “freaking out” I was flustered. “You’re having a reaction” (fucking asshole motherfucker stupid ignorant piece of shit) “The reason I’m so flustered is because I’m trying to tell you what’s wrong and you’re dismissing it instantly because I brought up medical marijuana.” I was released shortly after. “What if, while walking home I collapse on the ground?” She didn’t seem to give a fuck, chalking it up to “Crazy one weed! He must be SO HIGH” (fucking dismissive ignorant FUCK). I called my roommate  he picked me up, and would then hold this night over my head for an inordinate amount of time.

The sensation, which had turned into sharp and dull pains had now moved into my left arm. “YOU’RE SO YOUNG JUST GET SOME REST.”

“Doug, why didn’t you just go to another doctor?” Only to get dicked around by THEM TOO? (also there was a proximity issue, especially now). I’m on, and was on, Medi-Cal. To change doctors it could take months, have to wait for the new card to come in the mail, also I wasn’t thinking straight cause I WAS SO YOUNG!

Right arm. “YOU’RE SO YOUNG!” Home, frustrated, tired, sick of being sick.

My then roommate jumped into action. He posted on his Facebook wall about my general condition. His co-worker told me I should get tested for Lyme. “Tell him to ask for the test otherwise they’ll never organically test for it.”

Insurance, is set up like a corporation. If they don’t make money, they’re not happy. If patients die from something, and they’re receiving medicine and doctor’s visits for free, “HEY WE’VE SAVED SOME MONEY HERE!”

I didn’t know what was wrong, but I did know that something was severely wrong. Maybe I had cancer. Maybe a tumor was growing in my brain, blocking my ability to get proper oxygen flow to my limbs. Maybe cracking my arms and legs (like one cracks their knuckles) had worn my ligaments down and they were ready to pop. Maybe it was myriad things I couldn’t fathom. I knew Dr. Clem Rodriguez was full of shit. My other arm started having the same issue as the left, and I went to Dr. Fuckface one last time.

Side note: One day, while walking to Meltdown, I thought “Well, if I die tomorrow  or in a couple years…I’ve lived a good life. A fun life. If this is it, and I die, that sucks. But what can I do?” Coming to terms with your own death is an interesting point to reach. I don’t recommend it to everyone, but I’m there.

Cane in hand, basically stumbling into the office, the motherfucker gave me the same bullshit diagnosis again. At this point I was basically waiting to die. “I wanna get tested for Lyme Disease. *head tilts* from the doctor and his assistant. “We’re you hiking, or out in nature?” “Where have you been?” “Okayyy, we’ll test for it…”

YOU FUCKING BETTER  ALL I’M TRYING TO DO AS YOUR PATIENT IS GET TREATMENT AND GET HEALTHY, SO I NEVER HAVE TO COME TO THIS GOD-FORSAKEN HELL HOLE AGAIN!!

(I didn’t say any of that, but it’s precisely how I felt)

4 days passed and I got a phone call.

“We’re gonna need you to come in to discuss the results of your test.”

“Is it something you can just tell me over the phone?”

“No…”

I knew I’d been right. Something was wrong. Something had been wrong all this time, and laziness mixed with fear of being wrong (fucking stupid-ass Dr. Clem Rodriguez I hope he trips and breaks his face and then fire ants come to lick it all up while stinging his eyes).

I went in, they confirmed that I was right. It was Lyme Disease! They’d never treated anyone with it so they didn’t have a fucking clue what to look for, and they still asked me where I was when I got bit. Motherfucker I told you I don’t remember exactly where I was when I got bit, but I did remember the bite and the “bullseye rash”.

Specialist time. Time to rid myself of this Dr. Fuckface for good. They sent me to an infectious diseases doctor. She dismissed my blood results, tried to convince me otherwise. “I’m gonna send you to another specialist, I’m not convinced it’s Lyme.” I’m being fucked with. Am I being Punk’d? What the fuck is going on here?

Insurance (remember insurance from earlier?) encourages doctors to “TRY AND CONVINCE THEM OTHERWISE” if someone comes in claiming chronic Lyme Disease. Oh, you didn’t know that the medicine is SO expensive that rather than heal people, insurance would rather see people slowly die? Well, that’s what they do.

I called the administration at Dr. Fuckface, she tried to convince me to come in to THEN get a different referral, but I was steadfast. I got a referral and an appointment by sticking up for myself.

Enter Dr. Jordan. A blood test was administered (AGAIN) to make sure it corroborated with my current results.

“Not only do you have Lyme Disease  but you also have parvovirus.” Parvo comes from dogs. You can get it by a dog licking your face. This is another reason among a few that I don’t care too much about dogs. Some are chill. Some have fucking Parvo. “Luckily it’s the same medicine as Lyme.”

I’ve had 2 full sets of the medication. It’s expensive af (INSURANCE IS A SCAM) so they had to give it to me in sets. 5 treatments, months of waiting, 5 more treatments, months more of waiting.

Im currently undergoing my 3rd set of treatments.

“But Doug, you’re homeless aka Roofless. How and where are they treating you?”

I’m being treated at an infusion room next to the pharmacy which had been providing the medicine. I’m 3 treatments deep, still feeling little difference. I need consistent treatment, till I’m healed. (hey THERE’S AN IDEA!) But the medicine is expensive, insurance, you get it by now.

There are more details to fill in, but this is long, and I’m writing a book about my life called “LDFS: Growing up Mormon, Discovering Weed at 30, and then Getting Lyme Disease”.

Book publishers, HIT, ME, UP.

http://www.yamatat.com/podcast.html

Dougathan.deviantart.com

Reallygladyoucame.bandcamp.com

Venmo: Doug-Culp

 

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