The Attack of the Killer Ticks

4 Apr

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My Tick Bite

The title of this piece was inspired by something that took place at Lansing Writers’ Group this week. Bill Carpenter brought in his laptop and we watched trailers for several creature features, among them “The Creature of the Black Lagoon.” These clips put me in mind of the “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” “The Blob,” which I believe is Steve McQueen’s first credit, and “The Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman,” a movie introduced to me by the same friend who introduced me to “Gaslight,” Scott Hanson.

Yesterday morning I was taking a shower, when I saw a black speck on my arm. I tried to rub it off, but that didn’t work. Then I caught it in two fingers and pulled. Out came a creature with little black legs. I was unnerved, because I was pretty sure I knew what that meant. Last year I found a tick on my thigh, but there was no bite. The tick was sent away to a lab and the answer came back that it did not have Lyme disease. But this second tick had been embedded in my arm. When I arrived at the beauty parlor with my mother, Shannon and Theresa looked it over with “oohs” and “ahs.” At lunch with the other tutors I thought about bringing my bite up, but it didn’t quite fit in with the topic of teaching styles. Then I forgot about it.

Last night I was deep into my Mike Connelly mystery, when I looked down at my arm and remembered. Quickly, I took off for Urgent Care. I’ve never been one to leave a stone unturned when it comes to my health. 😉 Once I arrived, the nurse took a look at it and said it was most likely a tick bite, especially after I described pulling it out of my arm. I took the morning-after pill for tick bites, doxycycline, and headed home.

Although Minnesota has a problem with ticks, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as out east. However, I spent my last twenty years in Minneapolis, which could be why I didn’t encounter them. The neighborhood where I live, Cayuga Heights, has been the subject of fierce infighting concerning the deer population. The disagreement is between the animal rights activists and the people who want the deer removed. Deer often have ticks on them, so the more deer we have, the more ticks are present. I find myself in between on this issue, because I love deer, but they destroy my flowers and so far I’ve run into two ticks. A compromise solution has been reached: the deer herd is being culled and the female deer are being sterilized. The whole thing has its comical aspects. One of the animal activists even took to wearing a deer costume.

Despite the fact that I have tried to make this piece humorous, exposure to ticks can be quite serious. I know of two people in Ithaca who have Lyme disease and two others who caught it in its infancy and are okay. I hope I will not find myself in either group.

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