Dear NG tube shoved down my throat,
You saved me, yet I still strongly dislike you. When I think about you I get goosebumps and the hair on my arms stand straight up. I was never supposed to meet you. If only western medicine believed in Lyme disease and worked on improving the treatment options, you and I would still be strangers.
When the first snowfall hits I know you are right around the corner. First, the fatigue and headaches hit me, which I can handle. You don’t come around until I am hospitalized until I am no longer able to stop water, let alone food, from coming right up. The glass bowl I fill with ice cream in the summer is now filled to the brim in today’s throw-up because I am too weak to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.
For the most part, we have a long-distance relationship. Until I am down ten pounds, my skin as white as the freshly fallen snow outside, and we meet again. Same time every year, at least your visits are consistent. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for your healing, but your healing is temporary. You’re like a bucket for a water leak, your help is not a cure. Every winter I spend with you down my throat, I await the doctor to tell me why, but no doctor ever has. Instead, they just force you up my nose, down my throat, into my stomach, and leave me to suffer. You work, you change the coloring of my skin and the number on the scale, but I still have lots of unanswered questions.
Tell me, why can’t your owners fix me? They’ve acquired such an impressive reputation, years and years spent studying Western Medicine in medical schools at the best universities, yet I feel unfixable in their eyes. As a little girl, I looked up to them. Superheroes in blue scrubs underneath their powerful white cloaks. I would go there with a cough, they’d give me medicine, a sparkly princess sticker and I would be back on the playground by recess wearing my new sticker proudly on my shirt. I never needed anything like you, just some cherry-flavored syrup. I thought they knew the answers, but when I first came to your friends for help, they had none. I had to do my own research, I had to put myself in the mind of your people with blue scrubs. I found the answer that they didn’t; Lyme disease. I was right, but even that wasn’t enough to give your owners the validation to fix me. Some didn’t believe me even with the results in front of their eyes. You were with me when they told me my results didn’t mean enough, those ten days we spent together in the hospital bed, and your doctor friends didn’t mention the word “Lyme” once.
To be fair, you did what you were told. You fulfilled your duty and because of your help, I was able to be released from their care. Our time spent together was helpful under the worst circumstances, yet I do not wish to see you again. We need to stop crossing paths each winter. You need to educate your owners on the real truth about Lyme disease. You know it best, you’ve been with me through it all. I wish you the best, I really do. I know you’ve done me every favor, but if I could ask one more; don’t let your owners treat your other patients how they treat me. Let our experience push you to speak up and prevent you from having to build relationships with others. You can not let them abuse you to be a temporary fix. You deserve better, I deserve better.