My case is in many ways typical. Like many, I had little awareness of Lyme disease, for I did not live in what was considered the tick-infested hotbeds on the East Coast. I am a Californian -that’s where I file my taxes- and I live among the hills of San Francisco with its tick-free, concrete sidewalks. For a good long while it did not seem significant that I also have a home in New York, that I weekend in the country, and my main form of exercise is hiking. In addition to trekking in the woodlands of Mendocino, Sonoma, and Santa Cruz counties in California, I have also sojourned to leafy spots in Connecticut and upstate New York. I once loved to sit in the tall grass next to the river, and lean my back against a shady oak tree.
I passed off my early symptoms -a stiff neck, insomnia, a constant headache, and a bad back followed by a frozen shoulder- as the unpleasant aftermath of too much airplane travel.