Day: Saturday, 21 May
Time: 3:00p – 4:00p Pacific Time
Where: the entrance to the Purdy Spit Bridge, on the green in front of the “Welcome to Purdy!”‘sign.
Special addition: we will have petitions for Initiative 1741, Whole Washington‘s effort to get our State Senate to talk about making WA the first state to adopt Single Payer Universal Healthcare. If you’d like to sign this petition please stop by the rally or contact us!
By Lorraine Hart
About two decades ago now, I was in a dangerous whirlpool of my daughter being so sick with Borrelia etc, while doctors insisted it couldn’t be Lyme, despite her symptoms, despite knowledge of the bites and bullseye rashes she had. Even with the small amount of knowledge we had then, we were leaving doctors in the dust. Their response was to close their eyes and write a prescription for any particular symptom she had mentioned. Frustration at the many spins we had taken with doctors who parroted, “But we don’t have Lyme out here,” frustration at not being heard when I tried to tell them of the horrendous days and nights we were having. Some days she writhed on the bed with so much pain, my husband and I had to stand on each side of the bed, making sure she didn’t throw herself off–and then the next day she couldn’t move one muscle in her body, only blink her eyes for yes or no answers to my questions. As a parent, you spin. As an intelligent human being, you spin. Infections from ticks were real, and right in front of me, and yet we were treated as idiots by many, many medical professionals.
One Saturday in May (National Lyme disease Awareness month) I found myself needing to DO something, rather than the talking we’d been doing for years. I grabbed a sign we had made that said, “Lyme Lives Here,” and told my husband and daughter that I was going down to a very busy intersection in Purdy, to protest. There’s a safe, grassy edging on the Northwest corner, where I could hold up my sign and wave to the many cars going through the lights, or turning onto the Key Peninsula. I stood there, danced there, waved there, yelled thank you to hundreds of drivers who honked or waved back as they passed, and thoroughly wore myself out in four hours of my solo Lyme protest. Finally exhausted, I threw my sign on the passenger seat and drove up the hill towards home.
I know I’m not Chicken Little, yelling that the sky is falling. Lyme disease is on the rise all across America, all across the world. I want my community to know about it, learn about ticks and their habitat of moist woods and grasslands, learn the early flu-like symptoms of Lyme, and learn how to keep themselves safer by pulling socks over pants, wearing light-coloured clothing, putting clothing in a hot dryer when you come in, and most importantly, to check one another for ticks that can be tiny in their Spring nymph stage, tiny as a poppyseed, or speck of dust. I wanted to do something to help people learn.
If we wait for others to organize, to make sure we are in a crowd before activism, well, we may never actually act! Who says you need a crowd? All we ever need is ourselves and our own convictions to help our communities. Oh yes, and a sign that could start a conversation. You can stand or sit in front of your own house, all by yourself, and you are a protest, speaking your truth and asking for a conversation. I can tell you from experience of that day, and the nearly twenty Mays since, that it is worth the sore back from standing, worth the sore shoulders and neck from waving to my community. Each year, drivers and passengers in the cars that go by, wave and honk back to let me know they hear me. Each year someone stops and asks for more information.
We can be our own protests, our own parades, our own seeking to reach and teach our communities, asking to be heard. My protest is about the lack of knowledge and care for patients of Borrelia etc. My protest is about the pain of watching my daughter be treated as “less-than” by the medical system. It hurts. My protest is about wanting to save other families from this journey. My daughter joins me now, and my son brings his sons. Sometimes other patients and their families have joined us, and our community now recognizes our stand. All you need is conviction, and the desire for a respectful conversation. Go. Do it. Your soul will be content to stand in loving truth.