A Hopeless Hypochondriac A distinguished Air Force career ends in shame because doctors didn't understand Lyme disease

By Ruben Lee Sims

I have had Lyme disease for 34 years although I only recently began treatment. I was active duty Air Force when I contracted Lyme disease in Southern California in 1982. I know exactly when, where, and how I was infected. 1982 was the same year Willy Burgdorfer identified the spirochete that causes Lyme.

The experts were claiming that Lyme only existed in endemic areas of the northeastern United States.

Although it was published as fact, there was (and is) no real scientific basis for this statement. It seems purely arbitrary and subjective. However false these statements may be they have caused California Lymies and Lymies outside the so-called “endemic areas” enormous grief and suffering, because so many doctors still believe you cannot get Lyme disease in California and other nonendemic areas.

Military justice

Because doctors identified no disease that caused my many symptoms, I was punished as a military man under the Uniform Code of Military Justice — receiving two Article 15s and nearly court martialed twice. I was committed to secure psychiatric wards three times as a hopeless hypochondriac. I was told I would stay on the psychiatric ward until I got better…… Join or login below to continue reading.

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