The lovely Miss Wendy and I just returned from an emergency visit to the local fire station. I needed a little attention from one of the medics.
The episode began simply enough with my wife noticing a little blemish on the back of my neck. I’ve been spending way too much time outdoors in recent weeks, doing yard work and exercising, and Miss Wendy thought perhaps I might want to make an appointment with a dermatologist.
Then she noticed that the blemish had, ugh, legs and our little problem took on a bit of added urgency. She made an effort to remove the thingy that was clinging to my neck, just below the hairline – okay, there’s not much hair atop my head – but the critter wasn’t budging.
Just a day earlier, both of us had read an article in the local newspaper detailing the growing problem of ticks in the Land of Cotton. The little buggers have been multiplying like, well, ticks. Apparently the female of the species, in the last days of her life, can lay up to 3,000 eggs. And it seems my yard has become tick central this summer.
I can’t say that I recall actually ever seeing a tick before. But in the last week I spotted one climbing up my leg, another attached to my arm and now this most recent episode. Since the newspaper story made it very clear that removing a tick is a delicate procedure, we decided to seek professional help.
Five minutes later a medic was checking out my neck and figuring out the best way to remove the pest. If you yank at a tick, there’s a good chance its head, oh gross, will remain attached to your skin. Worse, if you pinch it too hard, there’s a very real possibility the ugly critter will regurgitate all manner of bacteria into your bloodstream.
In fact, it’s believed such puking is how people contract Lyme disease, a particularly nasty malady characterized by arthritic and neurological problems. All this was buzzing through my noggin – plus images of Sigourney Weaver battling that foul-smelling, disgusting Alien creature that came busting through the guts of its victims – as the medic slowly doused the tick with alcohol then gingerly pried it away from my skin.
Just to be safe, we now have the tick buried in two zip lock bags and stored in our freezer. Hey, that’s what the newspaper article suggested you do if bitten. Then, if you do become sick, the culprit can be examined and might help in a final diagnosis.
I’m hoping a month from now we can toss the tick, along with any residual worries. But to be on the safe side, I just had Miss Wendy strip search me. Okay, I know that’s an image you probably could have managed to live without. Too late now. Sorry.
OH, GROSS: Wet weather in the Land of Cotton this spring and early summer has provided perfect conditions for ticks (photo above) to produce and prosper in lawns, shrubbery and trees.