Amanda Palmer, the outspoken rock star and former Dresden Dolls singer, had planned to spend a relaxing week in Maine with her husband, award-winning author Neil Gaiman, but ended up in the hospital.
While she had to cancel a stretch of concert dates because of her ill health, she gave Damariscotta’s Miles Memorial Hospital a ringing celebrity endorsement, telling supporters “if you ever need to go to a hospital for any reason, I highly recommend mid-coastal Maine in the summer.”
She attributed the strange chills — despite the hot temperature — to the fact that she’s late in her first pregnancy, and the couple continued on their way Down East. But the symptoms only worsened.
“On Friday, [Gaiman] noticed the back of my arm and noticed that there was a giant bull’s eye-shaped insect-bite,” Palmer wrote. “I sweated through the sheets and moaned and groaned with a chill so bad I had to ask Neil to wrap my feet, which were like ice blocks, in a hot washcloth. Then my icy feet would turn to burning logs, and I had to ask Neil to put a cold washcloth on them to cool them down. I was delirious.”
The singer-songwriter-musician was ultimately diagnosed with acute Lyme disease and blasted whichever tick was responsible in a short tirade sprinkled with profanity, but then had a change of heart, writing: “I forgive the tick. The ticks are hungry. I am food. We are all one. Whatever.”
(I’ve been much less charitable in my response to the ticks I’ve pulled off my body, and they’ve yet to even give me any diseases. That I know of.)
Palmer spoke highly of the Miles hospital team, despite the unpleasantness that put her in their care to begin with. She even had an opportunity to eat Maine’s signature food while hospitalized, so the trip wasn’t a total loss.
“I was admitted and wound up staying for three days and nights in Miles Memorial Hospital, in Damariscotta, Maine, where a team of wicked lovely Maine doctors and nurses and OB-GYNs took over and made me feel really safe,” she wrote. “I must add this one detail now, because it was truly the highlight of my three … days in there: THEY HAD LOBSTER ROLLS ON THE HOSPITAL MENU ON MONDAY. I ate a lobster roll.”
After she posted links to her pieces on Facebook, local fans caught wind of her presence in the area and asked if they could help in any way.
Palmer, whose 2014 memoir is titled “The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help,” nonetheless politely declined. She told one supporter who claimed to have been born at Miles Memorial: “You were born in the best hospital ever.”
Other fans and followers flooded the rocker with well wishes and pregnancy advice.
Palmer more recently posted a photo, taken by Gaiman, of her pregnant silhouette against the blue Boothbay Harbor waterfront on Facebook.
Palmer’s Dresden Dolls rose to fame with the 2004 hit single “Coin-Operated Boy,” and she has since gone on to sustain a successful solo career, as well as in the duo Evelyn Evelyn.
Because of her illness, which she wrote is not affecting her unborn child, she was forced to back out of a series of concerts in which she was scheduled to open for indie rock icon Morrissey.
Palmer joked on Twitter that she should form a “punk supergroup” with Avril Lavigne and The Julie Ruin frontwoman Kathleen Hanna, two other famous rockers who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease.
While none of the three famous musicians listed there are believed to have contracted the disease in Maine, incidents of tick-borne illnesses have been on the rise in the state, with a record 1,395 cases of Lyme disease found here in 2014.