By Chris Collins
Kate Dimon, Historic Baker City program director who has come under criticism recently for actions taken in the course of her job, said she was worried about her health when she called to make a doctor's appointment.
"I have a lot of stress in my life," Dimon said in a recent interview.
She also has lupus, which is described on the lupus.org website as "a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body)."
The website further explains that the bodies of people who have lupus or other autoimmune diseases do not produce antibodies to protect against viruses, bacteria and germs. Instead, their immune systems create "autoantibodies," that attack and destroy healthy tissue.
"I thought I'd had a heart attack," Dimon said of pain she'd experienced before visiting her doctor.
She also had a severe case of diarrhea.
"I called and said I was feeling crummy," she said.
So she and her husband, David, loaded up and traveled to Portland to visit her doctor at St. Vincent Medical Center.
That was on July 26, five days before Baker City officials announced that cryptosporidium had been linked to several cases of severe diarrhea among other community members.
Her doctor found inflammation around her heart, but no sign of a heart attack.
But when her test to determine the cause of her diarrhea came back, her doctor asked, "What are you drinking?" and then informed her, "It's got crypto in it."
The Dimons also own a farm at Lebanon, about 20 miles east of Corvallis. The drinkingwater on the farm is supplied by a shallow wells that are about a mile from South Santiam River.
To protect themselves against cryptosporidium, giardia and other parasites that cause waterborne illness, the Dimonshave installed an ultraviolet light treatment system at their farm. They visited the farm after the doctor's visit, but had not been there in a while prior to Kate's bout of diarrhea.
Baker City plans to install a UV light system to protect its unfiltered mountain water supply.
The cost of the municipal system is estimated at about $2 million.
Dimon said it cost $800 to $900 to install the system at her farm and the UV lights, which must be replaced every six to seven years, cost about $100 each.
Dimon's husband did not come down with cryptosporidiosis.
"He doesn't drink Baker City water - never has, never will," Kate said.
Their two dogs - Reno, the St. Bernard, and Mole, the Border-collie mix - on the other hand, didn't fare as well. They have been relegated to the outdoors during their recovery.
Kate says she is feeling better and following recommendations to drink only boiled or bottled water.
"I'm drinking bottled water like nobody's business," she said. "And we boil water the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night."