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Dear Yankee

by in Sep 2007
Dear Yankee
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Lyme Watch

I think Edie Clark’s piece on the Lyme disease epidemic is one of the finest things she has ever written (“Trouble in Paradise,” July/August). Last year, I, too, had Lyme disease, for the first time at age 74, after working in an abandoned bee balm bed in Maine. Fortunately, I had what might be called a nearly ideal process of diagnosis, treatment, and apparent recovery, if there is such a thing. My Internet experience, however, paralleled Ms. Clark’s almost exactly: wading through dozens of tantalizing entries that miss the point entirely.

I’ve also investigated some of the work done internationally, and how treatment recommendations, standards, and politics vary widely around the globe. It’s possible to get Lyme disease as far away as Thailand and be misdiagnosed or wrongly treated almost anywhere in the world, not just in the U.S. So many of Yankee‘s readers are also travelers; they need to know this.

Norma Swenson, MPH, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, MA

Our family and many community members have been devastated both emotionally and financially by Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Lyme will be the next generation’s chronic illness. It is too complex, too protean, and too multisystemic for today’s practitioners. It doesn’t fit the mold of managed care because it affects so many specialties: rheumatology, neurology, psychiatry, cardiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, immunology … no one wants to own it. Maybe you’ve helped just one parent learn more so that he or she can advocate for a child in a system that doesn’t want to go down that path.

Ginny Stephenson, Wenham, MA

On Golden Pond

Your article “Is Squam Lake Still Golden?” (May/June) was disturbing but at the same time gave clues as to the lake’s survival and future. As a longtime visitor and avid fisherman, the phrase “factors far beyond its shores” is telling. Pollution is a problem not confined to Squam, but extending to all areas where human populations meet the water, whether lake, river, or sea. The mentality of Squam’s “caretakers” — the community surrounding it and those of us who have been touched by this jewel — must look to the lake’s health as a simple exercise in quality control. An understanding of where Squam was, where it is now, and where it’s going can provide the means to formulate a plan to “bring back the shine” to Golden Pond.

Edmund Marcin, Commack, NY

One Lucky Dog

I still have goose bumps and tears from reading “Hank, a Well-Traveled Dog” (May/June). He has the most beautiful face and spirit. The article was an emotional roller-coaster ride. My heart soared when Hank’s angels found him in the abandoned foundation in the ravine. I hate to imagine what he must have gone through until his rescue and what would have happened had they never ventured into those woods.

Donna Skjeveland, Holbrook, NY

Law & Order

Your comment about traffic ticket revenue in Brighton, Vermont (“By the Numbers,” May/June), was a cheap shot. The town’s speed limits are appropriate, and signs are posted clearly. If the state police had the available manpower to ticket just one per day of the many drivers who speed through our tiny village, the total could easily top Brighton’s. Your comment was: “Can you say ‘speed trap’?” My response is: “Can you say ‘law enforcement’?”

Peggy Gray, East Charleston, VT

Sharing the Honors

Our thanks to Yankee reader Jessica G. Waugh of Provincetown, Massachusetts, for pointing out that although Plymouth’s National Monument to the Forefathers (“By the Numbers,” May/June) is the tallest freestanding solid-granite monument in the U.S. (81 feet), the nation’s tallest all-granite structure is her hometown’s 252-foot Pilgrim Monument (though its interior isn’t solid — visitors may climb the interior stairs). It commemorates the Pilgrims’ first landing and celebrated its 100th birthday this past summer.

Updated Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

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