Journal archives for January 2013

January 30, 2013

Among the lonely spirochetes of Hood Mountain

I've been spending days exploring our wonderful Hood Mountain Regional Park: a substantial piece of the small fraction of Sonoma County that is accessible to the public. Well worth a special trip. Aside from ferny canyons, ponds and fir-ed ridges, there's an amazing serpentine part with a fairy forest of stunted Sargent Cypress. From the top(2700' or so) you can see St. Helena, Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo and a bit of Pt. Reyes. In season(now), you see the snow covered ridge of Snow Mt.(7000') on the northern skyline. And as usual, I had all of this mostly to myself.

Leaving yesterday, I'd picked up a Western Black-Legged tick . She was not hard to find, because the bite was surprisingly painful on the bony surface of my sternum. A small price to pay for my visit.

Or so I think...don't get me started about ticks when the trauma of dealing with our local infestation of Lyme paranoia is still so fresh. As a general physician, I saw hundreds of Lyme Victims; only very slightly outnumbered by those afflicted by Gluten Enteropathy, or those worried about microwave contamination... In truth, it's very hard to document actual Lyme cases here. Whether it's a difference in our vector, low prevalence of the lyme agent in our ticks or whatever, we are pretty safe; and probably 100% safe with a few precautions. It's like staying out of our wonderful ocean because there are Great White Sharks: not a real issue given the very poor choice of staying home with your medical marijuana and video games when the south swell is in.

Of course, if you've practiced medicine in the USA of the last 1/2 century, you are no stranger to our epidemics of health paranoia. Ebstein-Barr, Candida, Food Allergy, etc. etc. This is sad, when there are so, so many examples of low-hanging fruit on the hazard-abatement tree. The same local community that roils with the microwave controversy blithely drinks arsenical well water without protest; this perhaps mitigated by diluting it in their precious body fluids by the expedient of sucking on giant slurpies: which is fine as long as they remember to take their chlorpropamide...

In this particular case, it's yet another lame-o excuse to stay out of the woods. Even though we've so little access to the zillions of pristine Sonoma acres, it paradoxically seem more than enough for the slender demand. We actually have had a sales tax to help finance open space, but in the apathetic climate 90% of this goes to buy conservation easements form local landowners. A number of extent public holdings are inaccessible because of strangely efficacious private resistance to granting access across slivers of their property. In this setting, i hate to hear any nonsense about the danger lurking in the woods and fields.

Posted on January 30, 2013 15:32 by icosahedron icosahedron | 13 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment