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Richie's Story

My name is Richie. I live in Connecticut. Lucky me. I thought that Lyme Disease was nothing for me to be worried about. I did try to protect myself and not take unnecessary risks. I never thought I would get this disease. I worried about my children though. I inspected them for ticks regularly. I discovered a Half-Dollar sized rash on my leg in June of 1998.

I thought it was dermatitis and put some cream on it. A few days later I woke up in the middle of the night and the rash was itchy, but hurt when I touched it. I turned on the light and discovered it had increased in size; it was about 10 inches in diameter. I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I only showed positive from a spinal tap. I was put on Doxy.

After the Doxy treatment was over things were getting worse. I didn't respond. I was put on Rocephin. At eight weeks into the treatment I was starting to get better. I received a letter from my insurance company stating that I was cured and they were not going to pay for the treatment. I never saw any of their doctors at that point. Well, to make a very long story shorter.

I went through all levels of appeals and through the State insurance Commissioner's Office and got nowhere. I paid for the IV for as long as I could. Several months later everything started to get worse. I am in constant pain; my knees, hips, ankles, and hands are the worst. I Have trouble concentrating, and my memory is shot. Fever, chills, sweating, etc., etc. It got to the point that I could no longer work.

I started receiving Social Security disability last September and I will get Medicare or something like that this September. I have lost everything. My company, my home, and my life, my wife divorced me, and I had to go bankrupt. They have me on 240mg of Oxycontin everyday now for the pain. I take Arthrotec for the swelling. Fortunately I have personal disability insurance. That will not last for too much longer.

Ninty percent of my disability income goes to my medical expenses. I have no idea what I will do then. There is always suicide. I try to keep myself busy. I force myself to get out of bed almost everyday. If I didn't I'd be in bed 24/7.


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