Tick bite eliminates BBQ ribs

ONE MORE TIME — Comment & Observation — By Joe Lee III

     Thank goodness Blue Cross of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi Medical Center recently came to an agreement on billing.

Anyone who has tried to decipher a medical bill and the accompanying insurance payment knows how confusing it is. The whole system could be a lot simpler and, in my opinion, a lot fairer.

For instance, an Epipen kit price varies from over $500 to about $125.

The life-saving pen comes to mind because of a friend of mine.

He recently told me of awakening around midnight with giant inching welps all over his body. His wife took him to the hospital where he was given a shot that relieved the swelling, and he was administered some Benadryl. He had been working in the yard, so he decided something had bitten him. He had also grilled a steak that night.

It happened again.

He consulted the family doctor, who sent him to an allergy specialist in Oxford.

Last time we talked, he told me all of the testing was not yet complete, but the preliminary conclusion is that because of a tick bite, he can no longer eat beef or pork.

The doctor told him to carry the Epipen with him at all times, because if he were to eat at a restaurant at which beef and chicken were prepared on the same grill, there could be a severe reaction.

My friend was already whining to me about the thought of no bar-b-que ribs.

I had heard about the disease at a Rotary program. I think it is called Alpha-gal allergy. It can be caused by a bite from the Lone Star tick. We have this nasty little bug in Mississippi. Watch out for it unless you want to be eating only fish and chicken for the rest of your life.

“One good thing did come out of the allergy testing,” my buddy told me.

He said the doctor ran a test on penicillin, a drug to which he had been allergic since a pneumonia episode when he was five or six.

He is no longer allergic to it.

I guess every cloud has a silver lining.

His wife, who has been telling him to eat less red meat for years because of his heart and high cholesterol, says this new allergy may make him live longer.

“Yeah, she said that right after she ordered nice bacon-wrapped fillet,” he told me.