I have a deathly fear of ticks. Seriously. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get Lyme disease like that girl I knew back in Jersey. She had that lingering malaise for like two years and was shocked when the doctor diagnosed her with Lyme. She rode horses 5 hours every day. I’m pretty sure she was the only one who was surprised. Although she is also the girl that picked up a demon while playing with a oui*a board one day in high school and her story was it stuck around for two years. I’m not saying that keeping yourself open to a bad spirit having at it makes you more susceptible to ticks. I’m just saying.
I do not come from people who are well-acquainted with the tick. My husband’s people? They fear nothing. Out come the tweezers and Bactine and everything’s good. When I called my husband to tell him I was pulling ticks off a certain child’s private regions, he sighed. I wanted to dial 911. Somehow I think there could be a middle road somewhere.
Like the first time I ever had a tick burrow his nasty head into my body. Rewind 5 years ago when I had the baby strapped on my back as I was trying on pants in the Nordstrom Rack dressing room. I was already feeling awesome about being 6 sizes bigger than I was pre-pregnancy. I looked up to see a black spot on my throat. I tried to swat it off and it stayed. I called my FIL and left a message with his secretary. I used the words “EMERGENCY” and “TICK” and “ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER.” My phone rang 2 minutes later in the dressing room.
FIL: I was in surgery. What’s up?
K: You left surgery? That doesn’t seem right. I mean, this is an very important emergency because I HAVE A TICK BURROWED IN MY NECK AND I MIGHT HAVE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER AND DIE IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE DIDN’T THAT GUY JUST DIE LAST WEEK OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER but now I feel a little bad for the guy who is still cut open in the trauma OR.
FIL: I was mostly done anyway. And I’m pretty sure you don’t have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever since you live in Virginia, Kristen.
K: It could have gotten on a plane in Denver. It’s not outside the realm of possibility.
FIL: That’s true. But I’m guessing it’s either a deer tick or a dog tick.
K: Will I die?
K: I’m really sorry you left surgery. I feel bad for that guy now.
FIL: It’s fine.
What is the purpose of marrying into a veritable medical dictionary if you can’t make a panicked call once in a while? But I didn’t let it go. I called my husband. When in doubt, keep going until you get the response you want.
K: I called your father. He left surgery to call me back.
D: I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually leave surgery to call you back about a tick.
D: I’ll be home in 3 hours. I’ll look at it then. Just take it out and put it in a baggie.
K: I think I have Lyme disease.
D: It takes a little longer than that to get Lyme.
K: Remember that girl from Jersey?
D: It’s really not that big a deal. Just save it in a bag until I get home.
I didn’t. I went to urgent care. Oh, don’t look at me. You never forget your first tick bite if you are a grown adult. And I had post partum depression. And I’m stupid. It was a dog tick. But it explains the path to emotional scarring that will forever haunt me. I cannot stand ticks.
This week alone? 5 ticks on a variety of family members. FIVE. I’m over it. I’m thinking about making the kids wear cat collars or hosing my husband down on the back porch. My tick removal skills are forever in QUESTION (“stop squeezing, you’re shoving tick guts into my leg,” “oh no I’m NOT”) and I have authorized bags of that toxic tick repellent be spread so thick it looks like a tick repellant sand beach out back but to no avail.
I’m not saying I’m rational. I’m just saying.