sierraDon, I just want to clarify that the Dr. J I'm referring to is the one in Rockville, Maryland. I'm not aware that J. Specialty Clinic does in-house smears. The Bart "guru," Dr. M, does in-house smears too, but they are $500 per slide!!!
Yeah Aerose91, it's pretty crazy isn't it? Most doctors are not allowed to do Giemsa smears because they don't have a certified in-house lab, so there are very few docs doing it. It's relegated to hospitals and commercial labs, and they almost never find these infections because the loads are really low unless it's at the onset of infection and you are running a fever. Even then, the amount of time they spend per sample makes it very unlikely they'll catch them.
I'm not a big fan of Dr. S in Florida, but he has published some helpful reference books regarding microscopic detection of these infections, mainly for Babesia.
It's very easy to do this yourself, once you get familiar with it.
In answer to your question Aerose91, a simple used brightfield lab-grade scope can easily be had on Ebay for about a $100. For $200-$500 you can get a really nice set-up for brightfield, darkfield, and phase contrast. But, I emphasize, you only need the cheaper brightfield scope to view a simple Giemsa smear. Darkfield and phase contrast are used for looking at wet or "live" samples.
You can still view spirochetes with plain brightfield (as long as you have 1000x), but it's more difficult. But 400x brightfield is not enough to do much of anything when it comes to blood, so it's important to get a scope with a 100x oil immersion objective lens. All lab-grade scopes should come with the 100x objective lens unless it's been removed for some reason.
I paid about $110 ($150 total with shipping) for my first (lab-grade) scope (used), and it was equipped for brightfield up to 1000x and dark phase contrast up to 450x. (A darkfield- or phase-contrast-equipped scope can easily view spirochetes at 400x).
But, I emphasize, a lab-grade BRIGHTFIELD microscope with 1000x is all you really need to get started. And, they are pretty cheap. The Giemsa stain I use I got as free samples from Astral Diagnostics. I got the Quick-1 "blue," and the Quick-1 "red." Getting some is as simple as calling and requesting a sample. Those are ready-to-use solutions. No fixative step needed. Very simple to make a stained smear once you learn the "sliding technique."
So Aerose91, to answer your question, the total price can easily be less than $200! No more than $100 if you get a good deal on a lab-grade scope and I've seen them go for as low as $100 with shipping on occasion!