Saturday, January 30, 2010

Our Nation's Capital

We left Clemmons last Friday night headed towards my dad's house in Richmond, VA.  It was nice to spend the day with my dad and his wife Margie.  Sunday morning we headed for Washington, DC which was about a 2 hour drive. 

We found a nice hotel in the West End section of Georgetown called the River Inn for $130 a night that was about 3 blocks from Dr. Jemsek's office.  We booked on Orbitz and I suspect the rate was a seasonal one because I tried a "mock" booking for May and the rate was about $80 higher.  There was no on-site parking, and overnight parking was $30.  Ouch.  Nevertheless the hotel room was very nicely appointed with a Queen size bed, a sleeper sofa and a good sized kitchenette.  It was also in the middle of a neighborhood which provided for a little quieter environment.  As much as we liked this place, we are considering Arlington for our accommodations next time.  There are some hotels across the river in close proximity to Metro stops that would be very convenient and significantly cheaper.  The closest Metro stop to Dr. Jemsek's office is at the George Washington University Hospital which is about 4 blocks from his office.

After checking into the hotel Anna, Lynette and I struck out towards the Metro station on our way to the Mall.  We visited the Smithsonian castle

As well as the old Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History.

We had fun on the mall goofing around and taking some pictures.

We were fascinated by an apparently deranged albino squirrel.
The rain held off until it started to get dark.  We made our back to the Metro station and then back to the vicinity of our hotel.  We wondered around attempting to find some place to eat.  We ended up eating at Marshall's Bar and Grill on L St.  It was your typical neighborhood Italian restaurant.  It was nothing to write home about.  Very near the restaurant and Dr. Jemsek's office was a Trader Joe's grocery store.  We had never been to one and we ended up going there twice on Sunday night.  They have a very interesting business model which focuses local and smaller suppliers.  They don't sell much in the way of brand name products and they definitely have a focus on healthier foods.

Dr. Jemsek's office is at 2440 M St. NW in the Georgetown neighborhood.  The building has a parking garage under it that is accessible from M St.  Parking was $8 per hour.  As we ended up being there for nearly 2 hours, the parking tab was $15.  Another reason to stay across the river and use the subway.

Anna and Lynette were the first patients of the day at Noon.  Due to the transition that has taken place with the move of Dr. Jemsek's office from Fort Mill, SC to Washington, DC the office environment seemed a bit chaotic.  We were surprised to see Phyllis at the receptionist's desk, but she explained to us that she was training her replacement and would not be staying in DC permanently.  Anne Walch, the PA from Dr. Biddle's office in Asheville, who saw Anna on her first appointment in Fort Mill, was also in the office.  While Dr. Jemsek was talking with us in the examination room, he left briefly go get someone to introduce to us.  He came right back with his 10 year old son James.  James had come to DC with his dad to provide some relief for Dr. Jemsek's wife back in Charlotte.  James was busy with some school tutoring while he was at his dad's office.

As usual, Dr. J changed up Anna and Lynette's protocols.  Lynette is now on Omnicef, Rifabutin, and Minocin.  The Rifabutin will be alternated on a weekly basis with Levaquin.  Lynette's new schedule is 2 weeks on and 3 weeks off.  Dr. J also prescribed Alinia for Lynette which is an anti-parasitic that is active only in the digestive system, and recommended nattokinase to be taken as a supplment.  As I recall, he suggested this substance as an agent to help break down biofilms.  Anna will also be on the same medicines, with the exception of Levaquin.  Anna will be going to 1 week on and 2 weeks.  Anna will not need to return for 6 months.  Dr J. said he wanted to see Lynette back sooner.

Dr. Jemsek seemed to be in pretty good spirits.  We all know what he is going through with the illnesses of his daughter and wife and the transition of his practice.  Whether we imagine it or not, it appears that Dr. Jemsek is a little worn down from all the struggles he is facing.  His new staff seemed to be coming along well.  The nurse that saw us that day, Karen Campbell, was wonderful and personable. She gave us hugs when we left.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy New Year

The Holidays are over.  Time to rejoice.  I always lament the coming of Holiday season because it is too busy.  I cannot come to terms with the time obligations invloved in this season.  We pack all of the shopping, cooking, eating, giving, visiting into a one month period.  It is a pleasure to see those we haven't seen for a year, and fun to give and receive gifts.  But I think it would be more enjoyable if we could spread it through out the year.  Call me Scrooge.

My father recently celebrated his 73rd birthday.  He is incredibly healthy and serves as my home remodeling consultant.  I called him for his birthday and he told me about a visit to his house from a neighbor couple.  The wife had recently experienced a significant and unexplained weight loss.  She had no explanation for it.

My father told her that my wife had suffered a significant weight loss preceded by a Lyme diagnosis.  She confessed that she had experienced a recent tick attachment which was followed by a red ring around the bite site. 

I am a news junkie.  When I was in college, living in campus housing, I had the newspaper delivered to my door daily.  I had a class that required me to subscribe to the Christian Science Monitor and I thought that was cool.  When I moved off campus I continued to subscribe to Columbia State newspaper. I currently subscribe to the weekly small town newspaper here in Clemmons where we live.  I also subscribe to the daily paper from the nearest city, Winston-Salem.  If I am sitting at a computer I have probably checked to see what the latest news is.  When I am in the car I'm listening to NPR or local talk radio.  I have an insatiable curiosity about the world.  It is somewhat fulfilled by all of these media sources.

I have known for years that Lyme disease is associated with a bullseye rash and arthritic symptoms.  I had no idea about the havoc that this disease could wreak on your immune system and the neuroligcal effects it could have.  Before Lynette became ill she had never heard of a bullseye rash. It is so apparent that there needs to be more awareness.

We have our next appointment with Dr. J which will be towards the end of January.  My dad's house is on the way, so we look forward to being able to visit with him.  We are also hoping to be able to spend a "tourist" day in DC the day before the appointment.

I have made a tradition of making a "mix tape" CD every year and giving it to friends and family for Christmas.  This years disc was called Can Ya Dig It.  It was a compilation of '70s Soul music.  This is the music I grew up listening to in the car with my mom.  Artists like The Spinners, Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, and Mavin Gaye.  My favorite song on this year's CD is Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight and the Pips.  There's a line in the song (gender inaccuracy excused) that describes my life lately.  She sings:

"I'd rather be in his world, than be without him in mine."

So I'll be in her world.  Lynette didn't have a choice. I did. It's OK.

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve one tends to look back on the previous year.  Generally it has either been a good year or a bad one.  For our family 2009 will be remembered for very dark and trying times which will scar our memories for years to come.  We look forward to continued progress back to a normal life.  This one will be better.