After 30 tick bites I had discovered and an unknown number I could not detect I started feeling feverish and had a slight cold - which are the usual symptoms for Lyme Disease. It could have been a cold as well - not surprising if you have to camp in sub-freezing temperatures all the time - but I did not know. But there was no sure way to find out and I did not want to take any risk: I started to take Doxicyclin, antibiotics my doctor had prescribed me for such a case. Treatment with Doxicyclin takes at least 14 days and I felt rather weak already at the start of it. But with each tablet I started to feel worse. I lost almost all appetite (which is a very strange thing for a hiker) and had to force myself to eat. Every spoonful of Granola tasted like concrete.
Diarrhea is a common side effect of this treatment but it got worse and worse every day. First my stomach started to rumble and winds to develop. But on my last hiking day I cooked dinner and could not force myself to eat the pasta. I had to throw away half of the dish. The same happened with my morning granola. With an empty and very fuzzy stomach I arrived in Offenburg, my next resupply stop. I was already hiking in France, but from Saverne in France there is a direct train connection to Offenburg in Germany, where Roland, another internet outdoor friend lives. I had sent a package there with new shoes and maps and of course I wanted to get to know Roland.
|Ursula in her lovely apartment|
|Ursuala and I|
The new antibiotics and Immodium seemed to do the trick. Ursula invited me to stay as long as I had recovered and now, after two full rest days with her life looks bright again. No more diarrhea and even some appetite! Tomorrow I will go hiking again.
Still, the whole event has changed a lot. This is already the second time I have serious tick problems while hiking in Germany. Ticks have become of a real problem here and statistically, every 10th tick is infected with Lyme Disease. I wonder whether hiking in Germany (or most of the surrounding Central European countries) is worth the risk. I do not want to take antibiotic treatment every year. This has put a huge damper on my plans to hike through Eastern Europe in the near future where there is the same tick problem.