Rain on a Distant Roof is the story of one woman's battle with Lyme disease and her struggle to understand her illness in the face of insurmountable odds. But it's more than that. It's also the story of the enigmatic Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, the oddly elusive disease it sets in motion, a medical system that isn't prepared for its arrival and which continues to have no idea how to deal with it.
Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) is an organism that researchers have likened to a creature from outer space. A bacterium that shares features with a parasite, one minute it looks like an invading bacterium, the next it's indistinguishable from a heart cell, a neural cell, or a synovial cell. It's the stuff of science fiction, and yet this bacterium is alive and well and living in the bodies of many Canadians, where it causes Lyme disease, an illness that is itself enigmatic. With larger and larger areas of the country experiencing an increase in infected ticks, more and more of the population is at risk of contracting this tick-borne illness. Bb is like nothing the world has ever seen before and yet it continues to strike throughout Canada, where it is giving rise to one of the most fractious debates our healthcare system has ever faced.