Afflicted (2018) s01e03 Episode Script


[man] I am not just a person.
I am a sick person.
And it defines everything that I do now.
[woman] I don't want to settle into that identity.
But I'm coming to terms with the fact that I think it has been me.
[woman 2] The life I had before is gone.
[man 2] They don't want to be sick.
In an attempt to solve their problem, they've taken on the sick role and crowded everything out in their life.
Managing that chronic illness can actually become their occupation and identity.
I have had a few patients who became so identified with their illness that they really weren't willing to be cured.
[camera shutter clicks] [camera shutter clicks] [camera shutter clicks] [camera shutter clicks] [camera shutter clicks] [camera shutter clicks] [man] This is my identity.
 I am not just a person.
I am a sick person.
[electronic crackling] [producer] We're gonna do tone.
- Just sit quiet.
- Yeah, sure.
[rapid high-pitched beeping] Right, we're good.
- [woman] Are you feeling it? - Yeah.
Sitting in silence is really bad 'cause my ears are like [imitates beeping] [woman] All right.
What's going on with you right now? Every Everything just becomes more more difficult.
My brain is the s same.
It's [stutters] [strangled speech] The r-r-rest of my body doesn't respond as q-q-quickly.
[weakly] Sorry.
I'm sorry.
[producer] Jake, if you want to sit on your bed for a little bit or relax, do whatever you need to do, we're going to move some things around here.
[Jake] To me, illness is when you can tell something is not right with either your mind or your body.
It doesn't necessarily mean they're going to find bacteria in your body or tumors or anything.
It just means that you are not physically and mentally, the person that you feel you should be.
[beep] [beeping] I was diagnosed with an inner ear infection, an ear virus depression, depersonalization.
There was almost ten different doctors.
All of them told me, with the same confidence, that they knew what was wrong, and they're all telling me different things.
I was told that it was all in my head that all the physical things that I was feeling were in my head.
To be told that you're well by a medical professional when you're clearly sick, that completely changed my outlook on modern medicine.
Eventually, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease by a homeopathic doctor.
I had been sick almost a year at that point.
[man] Technically, Lyme is infection spread by a tick.
The bacteria is called Borrelia burgdorferi.
[man 2] There is a difference between acute Lyme disease and chronic Lyme disease.
Patients with acute Lyme disease, they've been bitten by a tick and you see a characteristic bull's-eye rash, and you can tell this is a Borrelia infection.
If you see the rash early, those people will get better.
They can be cured.
Batiade] Then we see other patients that develop a list of symptoms.
So this could be, you know, a whole chronic infection.
Horowitz] Fatigue, headaches, brain fog, memory problems, sleep disorders, mood swings, nerve pain.
Many of the symptoms are non-specific.
[man] Testing for Lyme is very difficult.
You can't really isolate the bacteria so well.
A huge percentage of false positives, huge percentage of false negatives.
Horowitz] Lyme imitates many psychiatric symptoms.
They may have a psychosomatic origin.
Bernhoft] The diagnosis is elusive.
The most skeptical person, as far as my diagnosis is concerned, is me.
But I've got all the typical Lyme symptoms - joint pain, muscle pain, neck stiffness, mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion - everything that you would associate with Lyme, and if it's not Lyme disease, then I'm back at square one, so we're treating for Lyme.
I do an infrared sauna.
Basically, the object is just to sweat as much as possible to detoxify.
And I also do rebounding.
My doctor said five to ten minutes to work my lymphatic system, so it needs to be pumped physically, so we can get my immune system back.
I got prescribed a lot.
This is magnesium, Cytozyme, vitamin D3.
I need this because I don't get any sunlight.
I take zinc because my doctor told me to, and I'm sure that there was a reason.
I have no idea what the reason is.
This is for detox.
It's got hibiscus and a bunch of other stuff in it that I don't understand.
I'm essentially taking treatments that make me feel terrible, just in the hope that they're right.
Maybe we'll have to go to the Dollar Store and buy a big tub.
We could just fill it up with ice, put everything in there.
That would work.
September is She's kind of turning into the boss around here.
Like in the morning.
Every morning, she she gets up with me and I have to let her out.
And she has to sit under the table by my feet.
Like, right now, she won't even let me push my chair in.
[softly] Okay.
Lyme has affected my brain.
One of my main symptoms is called depersonalization and derealization.
No one who I'm looking at feels like a human being.
They all sort of look like robots or actors.
[tearfully] I'm blessed to be surrounded by deeply empathetic people who really genuinely care about me.
They feel really helpless.
And they don't deserve it.
Horowitz] Depersonalization, we do see this with Lyme disease.
People almost feel like they're not themselves.
They have thoughts, but they're not associated almost with the sense of an ego or an I, that it's not my thoughts.
They literally feel dissociated.
The Lyme just needs to get under control 'cause right now, it's chaos.
I need to focus on getting well.
The Hansa Center You know, I'd read a lot of stories about miracle, like people walking out of there, like, you know, just happy.
The only thing keeping me from visiting the Hansa Center is it's a very, very long trip.
Part of my struggle is sound and light sensitivity.
A car ride is the pinnacle of that struggle, but it's worth it.
I think they can help me get better.
It's Star.
Just checking in.
Hardest day ever.
I am exhausted.
I had one of the hardest days I think I remember having, in terms of symptoms.
The exhaustion and the fatigue and the tension in my body and the dystonia muscle contractions continued to kind of ramp up until I just I felt like all I wanted to do was lay down.
And Dr.
Z came in and, I mean, I basically had a little bit of a mini-meltdown and cried my little eyes out.
Because some of the symptoms I was experiencing were new for me.
I'm ready just to kind of get past a lot of this.
Today is my third day in Green Bank.
It's like the weight is off my shoulders.
I don't have the pain anymore.
It's like an instant relief of feeling better.
I woke up this morning with my face cool, with less weight on my head, on my shoulders, like Like I woke up younger.
[chuckles] And I think if I had stayed longer, I could get a lot better.
That's a cabin for 91.
Two bedrooms one bath.
Four bedrooms, two baths, 121.
It's okay to dream now, the possibility.
I don't want to just sit on the idea.
One day, I'll move to Green Bank.
You know, I have to see, is it possible? Can I do it? How much is it gonna be? Look.
A phone, pay phone, like the old time.
This place is unique.
Unique in the world.
There is nothing like Green Bank.
The Green Bank Observatory, it's a radio astronomy observatory.
So we use radio waves to do astronomical observations.
Because of the extremely sensitive nature of the equipment, this area was protected by quiet zones.
You will never have a cell phone here.
It would just completely overwhelm the signal that the astronomer is trying to detect.
Because of the quiet zone, it has become an attraction point for a community of sufferers of electro-hypersensitivity.
It's been a fairly large number of people that have come here in search of answers for their issues, but they have a place here that they seem to feel much better.
- Come in.
- Sue! This is a nice place you've got.
And you can see the telescope right there.
[gasping] The view is gorgeous.
So you saw a couple of signs down here, or you just know that they're for sale? No, I know they're for sale, a couple of houses down here.
- I'd love to see.
- There's a house on the right.
- So this white one is for sale.
- Yeah, this one's for sale.
- This is it.
If you slow down right here.
- Oh, this one? - Yeah.
- Wow, that's a big house.
It's seven bedrooms, and it comes with that cute little cottage.
There is no power lines, up until this area.
Should we ask them if we could look? [Carmen] How many bedrooms? Five.
So five bedrooms.
We've rewired the house.
 We've redone the plumbing.
We put a new roof on it last spring.
So the main power of the house goes through here or through there? - That's just telephone.
- Okay.
Goes through there? - Right there, and it goes into the space.
- It's very well located.
Yeah, yeah.
Moving to Green Bank, I could get stronger.
I could get better.
Maybe I can teach at the local school.
Do they have Spanish in middle school, - here in West Virginia, or no? - Yes, we do.
We only have one teacher, sadly, right now.
That's what I used to do.
I used to teach Spanish.
It's in a good location.
You know, the power lines are farther away.
It's a beautiful home.
I can have a life here.
Carmen, I can't wait until you can finally be here because I got my energy back here.
When I was first here for three weeks, I said, "Oh, my God.
I feel so much better in three weeks.
" There were people that said to me, "Just wait until you're here three months.
" And I said, "Oh, my gosh.
Would I feel better than I do now?" And it's night and day.
But if I would be here a long time you know, I would miss my home.
If I was not sick I would be sitting at that keyboard at that computer, and I would be writing music.
And I dream about that.
I've wanted to score films, television, anything like that, since maybe I was 14 or 15.
I've just always loved orchestral music.
You know, like, when I was younger, it was Bach and Beethoven and Mozart, but as I grew older, I realized that there was film scoring and realized this is the music that interests me.
This is what I want to do.
[woman] When he bought his first keyboard, he was working at a pizza place.
He saved every penny to get that keyboard.
I remember he would play for hours and hours.
[woman] I had challenged him to find someone that you admire and see if you can get a mentorship.
Yo, Olan.
I literally cannot get this bag open.
Olan started up this sci-fi Web series called Pop Rocket.
So I just reached out, and, uh I asked him, like, "Do you need any help? Like, I would love to be a part of this.
" And he just said, "Why don't you help me make it?" I don't know if he expected me to uproot my entire life and move to Nashville, but I did.
To go off on his own like that, I thought, was very brave.
He found his element, and he was living it.
Wait Is it like Oh.
It's a tear.
There's something about the guy that we instantly make each other laugh.
[laughter] Pre-illness, was probably the funnest guy to hang out with.
I mean, the energy and the laughter that we would have.
He chugs the whole flipping thing! I don't laugh like that with anybody.
He's one of those people.
- [belches] - [laughs] Olan, he believed in what I was doing and that I wanted to start writing music.
And so together, we ended up working on a project called Final Space.
[robotic voice] My calculations project the incursion will happen at any moment.
[sighs] Well it looks like we got our butt cheeks into another hot vice, Avocado.
In March of 2016, Olan and I had just found out that Final Space was getting picked up as a television show.
Some agents wanted Olan and I to come out to LA to sort of start meeting some TV executives.
My dreams were all coming to a head.
Everything that I had worked for, all of those years of busting my butt was for something.
I remember not being able to sleep at all.
I was there, laying on my side, and every time I would start to drift off to sleep, it was like I would get an adrenaline rush and I'd wake up almost, like, gasping.
I mean, we were both very stressed.
When I'm in the airport, about ready to leave to Nashville, I had, like, a breakdown.
I was getting, like, these hot pains in my head, and my body felt weaker.
I didn't know what was going on, and I realized something serious was happening to me.
[groans] I just think I was already sick and the stress was the catalyst to push me over the edge, and that's when I got chronically ill.
That's basically when the Lyme really triggered in his brain.
[tearfully] I'm so afraid.
So much.
I never recovered after that.
He was at the verge of the payoff when all of this came down that derailed him.
Is this stress from the success that he's having? Is it something psychological? [interviewer] How often does Jake play music now? [emotionally] Um It's very rare.
[ringing tone] [Olan] Hey! [laughs] - What's up, yo? - Hey, man.
How's it going? Doing good, man.
Doing good.
- Are you still in LA right now? - Good Lord, yes.
All I want is hot chicken, that's all.
[they laugh] Me, too.
There's, like, one Nashville hot chicken place here in LA, but there's a line.
So what is the What's Oh, yeah.
I was gonna start sending you some episodes to Final Space, if you're up for just watching them.
You don't really have to, like, be thinking about scoring or anything.
But just to watch them.
[sighs softly] Shelby is sending me some stuff.
So she seems to really get that stuff and seems to be good at it, so I mean, you guys are really the only ones that get the the tone and the music of it.
I wish I would have been able to do something for it.
All good.
Don't even worry about it.
All right, man.
I don't want to keep you too long 'cause, obviously, your energy levels, I want to keep them high.
It was great hearing from you, man.
- I'll keep checking in from time to time.
- Barely got to talk.
All right.
All right.
Keep trucking, dude.
You've got this.
- You too.
Talk to you later, bud.
- Olan out.
[Olan chuckles] You know, I did all of this work just to get sick and not be able to live my dreams.
Being able to score the TV show that I was supposed to score.
That's what I want.
I still have those dreams in the back of my head.
You know, I want to score Final Space.
[ringing tone] [Star] Good morning.
Good morning, love.
How are you doing? My whole left side is just like It feels like there's a claw in it.
I'm not getting good breath at all on that side today.
[Star sighs] I honestly Like, right now, I'm not doing well.
I don't know how I'm gonna do today.
Wow, full day, you know? Just try to relax a little bit in-between the spaces, like you know how to do.
With the dystonia, it just sort of started to wind back up again.
Um It comes on and off, on and off, on and off.
[man] Do you have Where's your juicer? - It's over there in the corner.
- There it is.
Okay, good.
Then you're taking the supplements every day.
- Yeah.
- Good.
I've been consulting with Star.
She has some viral issues, and she's had some bacterial issues, so I'm here today just to follow up on some of the protocols that we've been discussing.
Are you eating the diet that we discussed, though? The majority.
I'm mostly plant-based, and once in a while, I'll do a little salmon.
I mean, the fish still have quite a few contaminants, you know? Yeah, but I only do wild.
- Okay.
- Yeah.
I do not touch farmed fish ever.
Unfortunately, the oceans are polluted.
Maybe more toxic than the farm-raised ones.
You don't know.
- It could be.
- I know.
We live in this ocean of chemicals.
Household chemicals and things from cabinets that are made with formaldehyde.
- Makeup and - Makeup.
Viruses live on chemicals, and if chemicals are in the air and the land and the water and the food, then they're making a happy home inside of everyone.
With the modern-day toxins that are in our system, more and more people are actually getting sicker.
I just see Star as a crucible, almost like a test bed of what's really happening in humanity right now.
My spleen.
I spend a lot of time with healers right now.
And I've tried different treatments Oh.
but I continue to get worse.
You need to sit back and I'll take care of you here.
It is very frustrating to experience this without understanding why.
- What number setting are you putting on? - Three.
Stay close.
I'm right here, sweetie.
- Can you feel that? - I do.
I love it.
[exhales, gulps] [gulping continues] I miss the old Star, the old me.
I miss just not being in pain.
[exhales] I say to my husband and some of my friends, "I miss myself.
I'm grieving.
" [tearfully] I'll look at pictures, and I'll be like, "Wow.
I miss that person.
" [gulping, exhaling] We've found amazing people to help us understand what is going on with her, but we still have not gotten to the root cause.
There's a part of me that does have fear that lurks in the background that I won't get better.
I feel like I'm definitely at a turning point.
I finally had the feeling that I should look elsewhere to gain more answers.
That's when I found Dr.
[Jake] Dad? - Yeah? - Can you do me a favor? Huh? I think she needs to be treated.
Oh, your dog? Yeah.
So the way this one works is you do, like drops all the way down to her tail.
[exhales] And you've got to make sure you get down to the skin.
She's got really thick fur, so it'll just, like, drain off her if you don't get down to the skin.
[labored breathing] - Okay.
- [grunts] - I'll let her eat.
- Yeah.
There's no rush.
Just sometime today, whenever.
Thanks, Dad.
Having my 30-year-old son move back in with me was not really in the cards.
I didn't see that coming.
He has to stay closed up inside of a dark room all day long, all day, all night, day in and day out, week after week, month after month.
This has been going on for months.
You would think that if you were ill, you would want to come I would want to go outside and be in the sunlight and just try to look at something alive.
All right.
This is what your daddy wanted me to do.
I don't want to do things for him that might make him weaker.
Jake, do I give her all of this? - Yeah.
- Okay.
I do want to push him and challenge him because I want him to continue to fight.
I'm like, "What can I do to help Jake?" A strange thought came to my mind is to go in his room, pick him up, and take him out and throw him in the ice-cold pool outside, just to shock him.
If you need anything else Will you pick me up Um [clears throat] - some bean chips, just the black bean? - Yeah.
All right.
They have them.
- Two or three bags.
- Okay.
Thank you.
So if there's anything else, just text me, okay? All right.
Thank you.
[on laptop] Goblins and demons protect the Alpha.
- [beeping, static crackle] - I'm here.
All right.
See that? - [static hiss] - [man] That's just an AM radio? Yeah.
It's just an AM radio, and it's all the way to the left.
- [engine starts] - [electronic whine] See the noise? This is shielding material.
[electronic whine ceases] [electronic whine returns] [man] What is it picking up? It's what they call high-frequency transits, and it's dirty electricity.
There's probably a switch mode power supply in there somehow, is what it is.
It's the thing that goes from AC, DC, AC, DC, you know? This meter is what measures This is a different frequency now.
[device beeps] I'm picking up Look at it picking up over here.
Look at the signals.
It's not the car.
This is off.
It's 1,280.
What? This is something.
Something just spiked again.
So who has something on? First of all, this should be zero.
That's with nothing, okay? And this is It's just shot up to 1,200 again.
- It's set to airplane mode.
- That's really weird.
It just went over to two, and I just felt it in my feet.
- Okay.
- I get prickles on my feet.
Turn yours off completely, or just walk away.
- The telephone? Okay.
- I'm just curious to see.
Is it yours? It's yours.
Oh, man! What are you doing? Have you got wireless going on in that? It's his.
I'm picking up his.
It's so strong.
[woman] Sue, it's Carmen's microphone because Carmen is wearing a wire.
Your mic was not Your mic isn't wired, but hers is, so maybe it is the wireless microphone.
Could you turn it off? Firstly, you're in the quiet zone.
It shouldn't be on.
You're working with electro-sensitive people.
Why'd you have it on? - Carmen was open to it.
- When did she have wireless on? She's had a wireless microphone on, and she knew that.
And we asked her that this morning.
We talked about it and she said She was like, "If it bothers me, we'll pull it off.
" And I said okay.
[Sue] We're all being affected by this.
It's not just electro-hypersensitive people.
We're just the brave ones who are just trying to reach out and help everyone.
We're the canaries in the coal mine, and people don't want to hear it.
I'm sorry.
- Did you want to provoke something? - No, no.
No, no, no.
The science is in.
10,000 studies.
I mean, the science is there.
It's definitive, okay? It's just being suppressed.
I didn't realize that that was like That a wireless microphone was off-limits in the town.
I know phones, certainly - The town - Certainly.
I mean, I'm very Fuck the town.
I'm talking about us right here with electro-sensitivity.
[beeping] Look.
Look at it now, now they turned it off.
- Now it's down to four.
- No kidding.
That was really high.
For your own health, you shouldn't be having that on.
I mean, quit your job right now.
You are closed into this world of, you know, nobody understanding.
You want people to understand.
You want people to believe.
- Carmen.
- Hey.
- So I want to show you something.
- Yes.
Tell me.
I just wanted you to be aware that this is a wireless mic.
- Yes.
- Yeah.
And I was trying - I showed them the meter here.
- Oh, cool.
That was on, but we didn't know it was on.
No, I know that's always on, - those wireless microphones.
- But it doesn't have to be.
You do not let them film you with that.
No wonder.
Look how calm she is with it off now.
And you had that on your body.
- Yeah.
And that's why then I'm like - So what I'm saying is, going forward, you just You know, you protect yourself first, okay? - Okay.
Oh, thank you, Sue.
- Mm-hm.
- Yeah.
- Okay.
I didn't know anybody back at home that was electro-sensitive.
When I came here, I don't feel alone anymore.
The community is wonderful.
Can I take something? Here, let me take this.
This is, I think, to make the iced tea.
Back at home, I couldn't leave my room, and I couldn't even cook.
There is the garlic.
I couldn't interact.
- Oh, Carmen, it's so good.
- Isn't it? [woman] Somebody who knows how to cook better than me.
I miss that, you know.
It's a big part of your life.
Where did you find this? I'm guessing Dianne has it.
- [Carmen] No, I brought it.
- You brought it special?! Oh, my! [Sue] She'll give a cooking lesson next time.
Yeah, I'd like to see that.
I have friends now for a lifetime.
- Say "patata.
" - Patata.
At home, I'm not healthy, and I want more.
So you want to tell me a little bit.
Let's jump right into it.
Well, I've suffered from some chronic illness for quite some time now.
I started having weird muscle contractions back in, like, 2007.
My mouth, on occasion, would just kind of fly open, or my head would whip to the right.
I started to have more and more of the movement issues and fatigue, - pain in the body.
- Let's put you briefly on the table here.
I just want to check out a few things from you.
I'm just gonna check a few reflexes, just to get some basic information.
So you have a mild ankle clonus.
It's got about six or seven beats to it.
That's a sign of pathology in the spinal cord or brain.
And you have a little bit of hyperactive reflexes.
That's called hyperreflexia.
So I'd like to feel your your chest.
So your liver is very firm, firmer than it should be, so that means it's dealing with a chronic chronic stress.
Follow my hand with your eyes.
And close your eyes.
All right.
I'll just write my notes up, Star.
So you have some signs that I recognize very clearly.
You may very well have Lyme disease.
Oh, interesting.
And there's some neurological things.
I've been watching your facial nerve impairment, sort of your A little asymmetry.
You've got all the telltale signs of chronic, persistent Lyme.
The problem with diagnosing Lyme disease is this.
What is done to diagnose Lyme disease? They take your blood, right, and then they examine the blood.
But the blood is the only tissue where the Lyme doesn't live.
That's why it's so hard to diagnose.
- Lyme lives in tissues and nerves.
- I've heard it's very hard to diagnose.
And so we use ultrasound to drive the bugs out of their hiding places into the blood.
And then we use ultrasound on the kidneys and the bladder so that you can successfully excrete them in your urine, and then we collect the urine for six hours.
And I can promise you that we will find them there.
I might have deep-vein thrombosis, 'cause people with Lyme disease have a much higher proclivity to having pulmonary embolisms and deep-vein thrombosis because we do a lot of sitting around.
[woman] What does it feel like? It's like maybe the size of a grape.
I don't want to wait until I have a pulmonary embolism to go to the emergency room.
But I don't know if this is even a blood clot.
I don't know.
Jake's getting some strange pains in his leg.
- Strange what? - Pain in his leg.
He wants you to take him to urgent care.
- To emergency care? - Urgent.
You know the walk-in clinic? - Really? - Yeah.
So I think he maybe overdid it rebounding and probably pulled a muscle or something.
- Rebounding on the trampoline? - Yeah.
- It's also called a rebounder.
- Oh, okay.
I didn't know that.
But he said it moved from his calf to his thigh? All right.
I'm gonna go talk.
I have been frustrated with thinking there's nothing that I can do to help my son, just watch him suffer.
Does it hurt? It hurts.
What does it feel like? It's not like my whole leg hurts.
Don't touch.
Um If it's a blood clot, it could be bad, is what your thinking is.
So what made you go to think about blood clot? Did you I didn't.
I just Googled my symptoms, pain in my leg, and um, I found a lump in my leg, and, you know, in my situation, someone who's at a really high risk, one of the highest risks is people who are sedentary.
That's my whole life.
[Doug exhales] [Betty] This disease is very mysterious.
I don't understand what's going on.
It's different every day.
There is, like, no pattern.
Because he's always had an incredible imagination, is he imagining this to the point that it becomes real? I mean, that question haunts me.
It haunts me.
[doctor] Where's the bulge that you were feeling? [Jake] It's right Right here.
Yeah, right there.
- Okay.
- You feel it, or am I crazy?