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    Somehow I missed that 2010 was the Year of the Tick

    June 16, 2010

    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?
    FIL: No.
    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.
    K: Whatever.
    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.

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    1. Manic Mommy says:

      I am HOWLING!! Gremlin got a tick on his neck after we went to a graduation party (Andy’s family) out in the boonies. I thought it was a little dirt…then it didn’t wash off.

      I called my pediatrician (he could have heard me without the phone), my husband, Googled lyme disease and deer ticks, then made my new neighbor assist me with tick removal.

      I think the flea collar idea has merit.

      June 17th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    2. kate says:

      Hilarious! You just reminded me why i don’t live in the country.

      My first tick experience was in highschool – imagine the drama of scratching a spot on your leg and SIX LEGS POP OUT OF THE BLACK SPOT! Of course i screamed for my mother who attempted not to laugh as she pulled it out.
      You just managed to creep me out and make me laugh at the same time. THAT’S Talent

      Since then i try to pretend i am all cool about it, but i am totally freaking out inside with all kinds of rationalizations going on. *shiver* i really do not like those things.

      June 17th, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    3. Mary Ellen says:

      Absolute gamut of thoughts crossing my mind…I had no idea that you were so nuts…rethinking that I idea of how you wanted to move to the country, huh?…oh, shit–I better shut up because if I ever see one! OMIGOSH!!! [screaming!!!]

      June 19th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    4. Mag says:

      Five ticks in a week? That would make me want to stay inside all summer. Eeewwww. I hate ticks.

      My first tick was in junior high. The school nurse was so freaked out that she sent me home to have my mom deal with it and me–although to be fair–I was fine until the nurse freaked.

      I love that you called your FIL and went to Urgent Care!

      June 21st, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    5. Vicky says:

      And I’m never coming to your house again….ticks make me squirmy.

      June 23rd, 2010 at 6:16 am

    6. Vicky says:

      Also, because you have now posted about ticks twice and I feel sick you need to post a Chris Noth photo or something to make me feel better.

      June 23rd, 2010 at 6:17 am

    7. Artemisia says:

      If it makes you feel any better, while working at boy scout camp, I peed in the grass one too many times and got a tick… on… well… you get the picture.
      One laughing ER staff, right at you.

      July 9th, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    8. Victoria Mixon says:

      The first time my little boy got a tick I called the police. Then I hung up because it seemed like a bad idea and called the hospital. Twenty minutes later the cops showed up.

      I guess they won’t be making THAT mistake again.

      August 12th, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    9. Becky says:

      Brrr. Ticks are terrifying. There was a girl who got Lyme disease in grade school that forever put me on edge. I’m from NYC, so not much tick exposure here.

      School took us to NJ for three days in 8th grade. The day after we got back, I was scratching my head because…it was itchy. And something was there. And eventually, I scratched out a bloody tick, screamed. A boy in my class stabbed it with a pencil as it lay on the carpet while I continued to freak out. And thus, we lacked the corpse for Lyme testing. I got tested directly, and was disease-free.

      Of course, I had to live with a phobia of finding ticks lodged my head for years and years.

      ……..SO, your lovely post triggered such happy memories.

      November 14th, 2010 at 2:21 am

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