The appointment went well, and I was pleased at least that the doctor was nice, knowledgeable, and understanding. The doctor I saw in New Jersey nearly four years ago just assumed I'd be fine after a short round of antibiotics, and the doctor I saw in Rockville about three years ago was a quack who told me the positive results on my Lyme test meant I would be fine. This doctor actually listened to me, examined me, and offered a combination of empirical and alternative medicine options for both testing and treatment so that I'd have a range of options as well as a range of monetary investment.
After assessing all my symptoms and medical history, based both on my verbal account and the records I was able to get from New Jersey, the doctor is clinically certain that I have babesiosis, one of numerous tick-borne illnesses that's a common Lyme coinfection. An actual test is required to be certain and to have information to use for a treatment program, and unfortunately I can't yet afford to have those tests done. The full battery of tests would be close to $1000, unless I go with the cheaper alternative-medicine option, and there's a substantial chance these things wouldn't be covered by insurance even if I had it. There are some tests that insurance should cover if I can get it, but not the full battery, and those tests aren't quite as reliable, having a higher probability of false negatives and the like. The good news is that it would only be an additional $25 to go back and have my blood drawn, so long as I can get the money to cover the tests.
I think one of the tests the doctor did was for fibromyalgia, prodding various areas of my body to see if it hurts. While I have general pain and malaise everywhere at all times, I don't have the kind of sharp muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia when my muscles are so prodded. I have minimal reaction to having my knees tapped, but that's actually an improvement over the complete nonreaction I had a few years ago. The more interesting part of the exam was attempting to do an imaginary tightrope walk across the room, placing heal to toe and trying to balance. I wobbled across in one direction, balancing against the wall briefly at one point. When I turned around the doctor instructed me to close my eyes and do the same thing in the other direction, and I couldn't do it. I was so dizzy and disoriented with my eyes closed that I couldn't take the first step without falling over. According to the doctor this demonstrates how strongly my central nervous system has been affected, and I now know at least one of the reasons why I feel consistently overtaxed: apparently I've been using senses like sight and touch to orient myself in exchange for my near complete lack of natural equilibrium.
If I can manage to get the tests done to help create a treatment regimen, I still won't be able to afford treatment without some form of healthcare coverage. The doctor estimated that treatment would probably cost around $1200 per month, which would have been well out of range for me even if I still had the salary I was making for a couple months before being laid off. I can't express strongly enough how much I wish we had some form of proper universal healthcare so that there wouldn't be such a great distance between myself and good health. There are some options I could pursue, but largely they involve work, which is not something I can properly handle without good health. I'm going to give it a shot, I just don't have a lot of hope for my ability to manage.