Last week, a few family members came to visit from out-of-state. The trip to Yosemite we'd been planning for months was finally upon us. As a nature lover, I've been wanting to get myself out to Yosemite for many years, so I was excited to finally have an opportunity to do so.
I don't quite know how to explain what happened, as the sequence of events are all a blur. I think I started to regret my decision somewhere along the five-hour road trip, as the winding roads and conversations layered over drab music were compounding my neurological symptoms. But I didn't fall truly ill until we arrived at our lodge at 5,000 feet altitude.
Even though I knew before we arrived that this trip was a mistake, it was too late to turn back; besides, I wasn't going to ask to turn the car around. But as soon as we arrived (and the altitude sickness kicked in) I did start looking for a way to get home. While we were only slated to be there for two-and-a-half days, I was sure I couldn't stay that long without paying a heavy price.
So I rallied the troops on Facebook. In just a few hours, I had lined up a ride for the next day with a friend of a friend who lives in central California. My Lymie friends are the best.
That night--the only night I spent in Yosemite--I slept on and off with pressure in my head, and awoke at 7 a.m. with an unusual discomfort in my stomach. Then, very suddenly, I was overcome with violent nausea, to which I swallowed a charcoal pill in hopes of it absorbing what I had presumed to be bacterial. But just moments after it went down, it came back up along with the water I'd drunk. Definitely the strangest vomit I've ever seen: it was black. Ha!
Soon thereafter, a medic on staff brought me an oxygen tank and took my vitals, pronouncing that he presumed me to be suffering from altitude sickness (no sh*t, Sherlock). A few hours later, my ride showed up and I was gladly on my way home.
This experience produced inter-familial accusations that I'm too obsessed with my Lyme & related diseases. Yes, I guess you could say that in a sense I'm "obsessed" but I think I've got two great reasons to be:
1. I went 29 years feeling consistently ill before I knew what was wrong with me, and
2. I'm trying to get the word out on this vastly-unknown epidemic. People should start learning about it.
In that sense, I'm focused on Lyme. But in another sense, I'm far from it--sometimes I forget I'm sick and put myself in situations reserved for the healthy, like, err, traveling to Yosemite, when I ought to do my body the favor of avoiding these situations.
But I like to live a full life, so I still participate in activities that wear me out but satiate my hunger for excitement. Fellow Lymies regularly tell me they're surprised at how much I do, like produce and record music, landscape my garden, and travel.
Obviously I'm biased, but I think I've got a good balance going between not dwelling on my illnesses but actively researching them and engaging in dialogue surrounding them. Call me crazy, but that's my opinion.
What particularly frustrates me is precisely what took place in Yosemite--I went, it was an epic fail, and I came home, but I tried. And my family, while meaning well, thinks I would have fared better if I'd not been so focused on being unwell.
I guess some people will never understand what it's like to be in the shoes of a young woman whose mind and heart lusts after so much while her body can't keep up.