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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lyme Disease and Jimmy Fallon

Just as I thought my latest rant on Lyme Disease would calm me down on this topic for a bit, a couple of recent news items have inflamed my passions on this subject once again.

Last Friday, Pamela Weintrab, a CNN contributor, posted an editorial on her fight against Lyme Disease.  Here is the link to her column:  weintraub-lyme-disease.  She recounts the story of her long fight with the medical establishment to get her son properly diagnosed.  After two years after being denied treatment, despite a positive Lyme Disease test, her son "suffered aversion to light, profound fatigue and shooting pains throughout his arms and legs".  Boy is that a familiar story! After being told that her son had a psychiatric problem, it took the next decade struggling for him to get well.

As she points out in her piece, "When doctors attuned to the CDC's rigorous definition resist diagnosing any but the most classic patients -- those with an obvious Lyme rash or highly positive test -- it means patients are left to advance to later, harder-to-treat stages of the disease".  She also states that "standard tests based on legacy technology pick up real patients between just 45% and 75% of the time".  Therefore, anywhere from 25% to 55% of of patients with real Lyme Disease get a false negative on the test and may therefore go untreated.  This is an outrage!  She summarizes with the thought that those deniers in the medical establishment are "circling the wagons around outdated studies, leaving patients desperate and sick while protecting their academic turf".

Then yesterday, the Boston Globe had a front page story on Lyme Disease.  The article was generally critical of the medical establishment's lack of focus on this burgeoning epidemic.  I found the following statistics interesting:  Massachusetts spends more than $10 million on preventing mosquito-borne diseases, and only a few tens of thousands of dollars on tick-disease education.  Last year, there were 33 cases of West Nile virus and 7 cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the state.  That's a spending level of about $250,000 per case of mosquito-borne disease!

However, there were more than 5,000 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease, although the actual cases are believed to be 5 to 10 times greater than reported, because so many patients go undiagnosed or do not fit the stringent reporting criteria. So the state spends about $1 per Lyme Disease case.  Let me ask you:  Are mosquitoes 250,000 times more dangerous than ticks?  I'm just going to let that question hang out there for you all to ponder.  WTF?

Jessica and Jason
Last week, our son, Jason, and his girl friend, Jessica, went to the taping of the Jimmy Fallon show in New York.  Jessica got chosen to do an on-stage skit for part of the show, which was cool. We recorded the show and watched it the next day.  However, after the show, Jason got chosen to come back this Wednesday for a special hair makeover segment.  As you can see from this recent picture, he has quite a head of hair to work with.  He has invited Jess, Gretchen and me to appear on the show with him.  We will be interviewed ahead of time, and then come back on stage after the do-over for the "reveal".  This should be very interesting!  The show will air tomorrow night at 12:30 am.  We are driving down to New York today.  After the taping tomorrow, we will rush back in time to turn around and head to San Francisco for the weekend to visit Holly and Ryan.  This business of being retired can certainly get kind of hectic!

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