That is the new forthcoming Ross Douthat book, focusing on his struggles with Lyme disease. It is very much a memoir, starting with talk of Connecticut, deer, and his family’s dream house, all leading to an unfortunate bite from a tick. Visits to many doctors ensue, motivated by chronic pain and weakness.
Overall this is a book about the medical establishment, the psychological path of coming to terms with one’s own illness (a kind of Krankheitsbildungsroman), how bureaucracy shapes science, and a plea that a lot of people really are chronically sick rather than psychosomatic or malingerers. It is Ross’s best-written book, and it has echoes of Susan Sontag and also Robert Burton.
If I understand Ross correctly, he is pro-antibiotic use under these circumstances, at least for his individual case. I do not myself have any opinion about the various medical views expressed in this work. Even prior to reading this book, my intuition was to believe that chronic Lyme disease is very much real, but that is not based upon aggregating a great deal of information. In any case, Covid and the response of the public health establishment have made the relevance of this book much clearer. The discussion here doesn’t give you much reason to trust them more.
I believe we are entering a new era where public intellectuals have an increasing degree of “medical sway.”
This is also a tale, under the surface, of how “the privileged” interact with the medical establishment in a fundamentally different way (I don’t mean that as snark or whining).
How should you react if electromagnetic stimulation appears to improve your symptoms?
NB: I don’t like walking in the woods.