Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lyme wars: what can I do?

I've been reading about LymeMD's legal troubles, and it concerns me. Here's yet another case of a good doctor being brought up on frivolous charges by the state medical board (Maryland in this case). There's a very good chance that this doctor will at some point no longer be able to practice, or at least to see Lyme patients.

I've had some really excellent days sprinkled into a month of generally feeling pretty good. This is unprecedented. I still have some issues, but I feel like I'm actually getting well again. Before we break out the champagne and confetti, I do realize that my lyme doc may put me on a different drug (currently on diflucan) in a few weeks, and it could stir the lyme beasties again. I don't know how much I should expect this to last, but for now I'll take it.

So, putting those two thoughts together: where would I be today if not for my LLMD? What hope would I have for a full recovery if I called to schedule my next appointment and was told he could no longer see me? I couldn't imagine a worse scenario. Lyme is nasty. Being caught up in the middle of the lyme wars, and getting no treatment, and being told I'm crazy and just have to live with it, is a whole lot worse.

I've never been interested in political debate, and don't feel there's a lot I can do within a cumbersome governmental and legal system to effect change. But I did get a lesson on how effective one person can be years ago when I took my Boy Scout son to a town meeting as part of his work on a merit badge.

It just so happened that the meeting the month before was a big one, dealing with plans to spend a lot of money to make changes to the town green. A year earlier the side of the green with lots of shops had been repaved with cobblestones, nice lighting added, parking reworked. It was nicely done. This proposal was to do the same for the "other" side of the green, which has a different flavor - not many shops, mostly churches, law offices, etc.

There were many people that were in favor of this proposal, and a lot of planning work had been done, and presented. It was a shoo-in. This night's meeting was just the follow up, hearing one or two more details, and then the expected all-in-favor vote.

Living under the rock that I call home, I knew nothing about any of this. I was just trying to be a good dad, taking my son to a town meeting, explaining procedure to him and such. When I saw how much money they were planning to spend, I muttered "wow, that's crazy". My son nudged me and said "speak up!". So, after considering a moment, I stood up and offered my opinion, as public comments were welcome. I sat down, and some other guy stood up and said, "yeah, what he said". And that was it. Everyone came last month and spoke in favor. They didn't come to this meeting.

A few minutes later, the proposal was voted down. I was absolutely stunned. I still think it was too much money to spend for that work, but I also think it was a failure of government that my few relatively uninformed words could have such effect, especially when there were so many in favor.

I am reminded of this every time I think my voice carries no weight. And every time I drive through the village green :)

This post is already quite long, so look for another one shortly showing where all this rambling led me.