Just before Mother’s Day 2003 I found a tick in my 3 year olds hair. It was sitting just on top of her hair. I pulled it out and tried to kill it. I thought nothing of it.
We had gone camping since then in Sicamous, BC, and visited family in Mission. On the July long weekend we went camping at the Kettle River campground and Bridey kept complaining that she was cold. By the time we got home after that camping trip, she had little red bumps all over her. I thought they were probably mosquito bites.
The next day she was still complaining of being cold and the bumps were redder and bigger. Her tummy ached and she was tired. I brought her to the walk-in clinic and they said they were probably spider bites, but did nothing. The next day they were redder and kind of had a blister look, her chills were still there. I went on the computer and was kind of suspecting lyme because by July 5 she was really irritable. The spots were not the classic bull’s-eye rash that I kept pulling up on the internet. The rash was all over her arms, legs, face and feet.
I took her to emergency because the lyme site said she needed antibiotics right away. They were really busy in emergency and kind of blew us off and said he didn’t know what it was but go home and see if it goes away. He said it was not contagious. He did not call the infectious disease doctor in. The next day was Sunday so I asked some people at church to look at it and they were saying things like “hey I saw a program on TV about this, that looks like lyme disease”, “isn’t that the bull’s eye rash?”. By Monday she didn’t feel like eating and the spots were fading a little bit. I brought her to the Health unit. They didn’t know what it was and the Health unit doctor didn’t even take a look at her.
Her GP odered blood work. On July 8 she had at least 8 small bull’s eye on her one arm, even more on her legs. One on her left leg was very red and larger (1.5″); I was especially concerned about the ones around her eye. She was still irritable. Her GP (over the phone) started her on 600MG of amoxycillan a day. He wasn’t going to, but I told him if it turns out to be lyme and he doesn’t he is going to have one mad mother to contend with. He said he had never seen the rash before and didn’t think that seeing it would help him diagnose, so he started treatment.
She did start to eat a bit on this day. July 9 the rash was darker again and some had a double circle around them. She was getting some on her feet and more on her legs. She had none on her trunk. Most of her rash was fading by dinner. July 10 she was extremely irritable. The rash was less, but still there and visible. I called her pediatrician.
He had never seen the rash before either and without seeing her increased her antibiotics to 250mg 3 times a day for 10 days. Well I knew that this was not enough for disseminated lyme disease. Bridey slept late that day, she was still irritable at first and complained of feeling sick at one point. There was only one bull’s eye visible now. July 12 the bull’s eye on her right leg was still visible but she was not so irritable. On July 13 we could still see red spots where the bull’s eye rash was.
On July 16 the tests came back negative (not unusual)…pediatrician writes it off. I can still see the papules. I contacted an assistant professor in Vancouver who studies tick-borne illnesses because I knew she needed more antibiotics. He wanted to see her right away. We drove 3 hours to see him (he met us half way) I had many pictures. He said she had lyme disease and the reason she has so many bull’s eye is because it has disseminated throughout her system. He didn’t know if she has gotten effective treatment soon enough. He put her on 3 months of antibiotics and just before that was finished he added another one to break up the capsules that the spirokeetes may had protected themselves in. She is doing better now. Although she still seems frequently irritable, complains of stomach aches, etc. We will never know if she is cured or if the lyme is dormant. She is now 4, and taking homeschool kindergarten with her brother.