I’m watching “Under Our Skin” a documentary on Netflix, about Lyme’s disease. I’ve watched documentaries and read medical journals. I’m slowly familiarizing my self with this disease. My mother has Chronic Lyme’s disease.
Lyme’s disease can be mistaken for many different types of illness. In my mother’s case, she was told she had MS, so I became familiar with that. She was told she had Multiple Sclerosis for over 3 years. During that time she contracted Tetnus and was diagnosed with Major Depression. This combination made Lyme’s disease even more ferocious.
I watched my mother fall to pieces. Her right hand became almost unusable. She had to think for a few moments in order to move it. She shook uncontrollably and her speech slurred. She sounded intoxicated most of the time. She had bad days, bad weeks, bad months. Have you ever watched the most important person in your life get so sick you’re afraid she might pass away all too soon?
There was a scare with MS, that it could be transmitted to me. MS is occasionally passed down. I was afraid of it, seeing as my mother and I share many traits. I suppose my Major Depression wasn’t helping me. Something I’ve recently learned, is you can still get MS as a side affect from Chronic Lyme’s.
The thing is, the MS wasn’t ever a solid diagnoses. Doctors didn’t actually know what was wrong with her. They kept giving her drugs that would ease some pain, but nothing that would fix her. It was infuriating. For 3 years she treated the pain, and other forms of illness that weren’t there. Doctors sent her to psychiatrists and into therapy.
If they can’t diagnose you, they think you’re crazy. I remember being in therapy for my own depression and my therapist telling me that my mom probably wasn’t as sick as we though. That she was just depressed and putting on a show. I left in the middle of the session and never went back into therapy.
When my mom was finally diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease, she was shaking uncontrollably. She could barely string words together. Telling her anything had to be done multiple times. It was like talking to my 80 year old grandmother who has Alzheimer. She would forget conversations, or she would tell me things, the same things, several times a day. She was in constant pain. Her depression worsened and my home fell apart.
I have three younger sisters and a grandmother who live at home. My mother is single, but my father still lives in the area. He spends too much time at the house and is an alcoholic anger management jackass. So home is not a very welcoming environment for my mother. I managed to get out of public school a semester early. I worked during the day occasionally and then came home to help out. My younger sisters are 11-16, but they don’t do anything other than worry about themselves. It’s irritating, and infuriating.
My mother is on long term antibiotics. She was intravenous antibiotics for a few months, till insurance refused to pay for it. We looked into how much it would cost us to keep going on with the intravenous drugs, and it was going to cost over 5,000 dollars out of pocket. My mother has 2 boys; 1 in college, 4 girls; 3 in school, and a diabetic mother. 5,000 dollars a month wasn’t an option.
She got better, but it isn’t enough. She still can’t work and is occasionally unable to get out of her bed for a few days at a time. We live off of my grandmothers S.S. checks and my fathers money. He doesn’t give us a set amount, so things changed month to month. I used the money I got from my job to support myself and buy things I needed.
Chronic Lyme’s disease is in my mother’s brain and her blood, she will never be rid of it. She just has to learn how to cope. Oh, and she might get Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis with time.
My mother doesn’t deserve this. Her life has been a constantly battle. I wish more than anything I could take her place.