Tuesday, May 22, 2018

What's the news?

Though I did not officially buy the law practice of the late Raymond A. Jamieson, QC (I technically just paid for the purchase of his office lease and equipment - not his "files"), I have always considered that by virtue of assuming his ancient office at 74 Mill Street (and the management of the legal affairs of many of his former clients) I am the successor to his practice.  I valued my brief acquaintance with Mr. Jamieson; and I vividly recall much of what he said to me.  Among those memorable utterances was his regular introduction upon meeting, "What's the news?"  Over the years I have contemplated the reason for the success of that greeting.  It is for example markedly different from the usual question, "How are you today?"  Mr. Jamieson's enquiry instantly promoted more interest and cut to the chase so to speak.

R. A. Jamieson, QC

By the way, the reason I've posted the photograph of the 13th Prime Minister of Canada John G. Diefenbaker, PC, HC, QC (June 21, 1957 - April 22, 1963) is that Mr. Jamieson was a confirmed member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.  He would I think be proud to have his memory associated with Mr. Diefenbaker (as no doubt would many residents of Lanark County).

This afternoon I went for a restorative espresso coffee at Equator Café where I ran into a couple whom I haven't seen since last summer.  I began the encounter by asking, "What's the news?"  To my chagrin - and partly to my embarrassment (because I realized afterwards I had been told the information over a year ago) - the wife of the duo has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  The disease is I understand a chronic neurodegenerative disease (a nervous system disorder primarily affecting the neurons in the brain).  The couple have obviously adjusted so well to the condition that they were quick to separate themselves from any prolonged chatter about it.  They dignified themselves socially by asking after my own health.  Though I was reluctant - especially on the heels of their own good example - to dwell at any length upon my own recent medical challenges, I felt that disclosing this morning's advice from my family physician might qualify for palatable conversation.

About three weeks ago I met with a neurologist to enquire about my on-going and incremental lower limb pains. While I was sitting in the specialist's waiting room I happened to read an article about Kris Kristofferson who had been diagnosed with Lyme disease (which pointedly can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system).  What intrigued me in particular about the article was that many of the symptoms were similar to my own.  As a result when moments later I rallied with the neurologist in his cubicle office I told him I had had a tick lodged in my lower abdomen while vacationing on Hilton Head Island about three years ago (we frequently bicycled in wooden areas on the barrier island).  Because there had been no offensive indicia about the tick (no red circles or other irritation) and because I was able to remove the tiny insect (the size of a freckle) from my skin, I hadn't any further concern about the matter at the time.  I'm guessing the tick had been there for at least three weeks before I realized it was more than a freckle.

The neurologist issued a requisition for a Lyme disease blood test which I had performed downstairs at the laboratory within minutes thereafter.  About two weeks later the initial report of the test was positive but the specialist reported that a subsequent (apparently standard) analysis was negative.  My family physician was less inclined to dismiss the possibility of contamination.  In fact he plainly said that considering all my symptoms he is reluctant to trust the purely statistical results upon which the second conclusion was formed.  He issued a prescription for antibiotics.  I started today.

Neuropathy is a disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves typically causing numbness or weakness, from which I clearly suffer. My recent heart blockage is also consistent with Lyme disease (which by the way is not contagious).  Potentially I had other symptoms which may or may not be immediately related to a tick infection (everything from fever, heart murmurs, breathing trouble to hearing loss and eye-sight problems).  But in view of the fact that the neurologist - after an examination of my limb problems - hadn't any idea of the reason (he's ordered an MRI of my upper body, specifically my brain); that a spine specialist last summer discovered nothing alarming; and that another local neurologist found nothing noteworthy two years ago, I'm beginning to attach some weight to my family physician's conjecture.  If nothing else I have at last a putative cause; and I can't see any harm in trying the remedy.

We had an excellent dinner this evening, including a dessert of berries, meringue and maple syrup - need I say more!


Kristofferson, while healthy for a man his age and still touring, has encountered a few serious medical issues in the past few decades. He had successful bypass surgery in 1999, but from 2004 to 2015 suffered from what was finally diagnosed as Lyme Disease, although it was initially and incorrectly thought to be early onset Alzheimer's disease. It is unclear how Kristofferson contracted Lyme Disease, but it is suspected that he caught it while filming a movie in the remote woods of Vermont in 2002. Kris’s wife credits Kristofferson's successful diagnosis and recovery to getting second opinions when dealing with auto-immune and Alzheimer-type diagnoses. Kristofferson is currently being treated by a specialist in California "who added antibiotic intramuscular injections to Kris’s protocol and is continuing to treat Kris," his wife reported.

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