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Friday, January 26, 2007


On the night of my Monday Smew adventure I was climbing out the shower when it occurred to me the sore muscle I’d been annoyed by all weekend might have turned into a lovely blue/black mark and that I might be entertained by looking at it. I’ve been a bit accident prone of late and I recently fell over backwards at the Curves gym, pulling a huge exerciser machine on top of me – you know it’s rude to laugh like that.
Anyway, when I peered over my back, into the bathroom mirrors for a look-see there was no black & blue mark, but there was a red patch, about the size of a lemon and dead center of it, there was, sucking merrily away, a tick.

I will pause here while you squeal out a suitable ‘Ewwwwww!’
Now, this attached tick was not the first I’ve ever picked up. I used to tramp around in forests/woods/over hill/over dale in my 20s and though I picked up many a tick, for years I thought their palates didn’t fully appreciate ‘Claire-on-the-hoof’ because I was never bitten. Typically I’d come home after a nice romp in the woods and I’d feel something crawling around on ‘the girls’ (if you catch my drift) and there I would find a live, unattached, crawling deer tick. I used to take great pleasure in attempting to squash the little buggers, which takes a lot more energy that you would imagine. I would always end my tick adventure by flushing them down the loo.
Texas Lone Star Tick, complete with
star on its back

I was only tick bit one time before, while enjoying the Texas Coast in beautiful Aransas – home of the Whooping Cranes. That time I was in my motel room taking a morning shower and when toweling off I felt what I thought was a thorn in my back. Later that morning a very kind woman Park Ranger and her very curious girl-aide climbed into a broom closet with me and removed that tick. They told me it was a genuine ‘Texas Lone Star Tick’. I kept that tick in a little baggie for the longest time – a unique souvenir.
At work on Tuesday morning, no rangers being at hand, I opted for a backpacking office mate to do the honors plucking my iddy bitty friend out of my back with tweezers.
Ok, get it over with… ‘EWWWWWWW!’

That brings me to this morning when my chagrined MD, Dr. Melnikow, called me toDeer Tickfind out why she had been handed a lab report, identifying a tick that had my name on it, i.e., what the heck was I up to this time?

I gave her the story (including the Texas one - that woman is patience). After a short consultation I nixed getting a shot since the odds of my getting Lyme Disease are small. However I was told to stay alert for the possible though unlikely developement of ‘erythema migrans', the characteristic Lyme Disease rash.

Here is what erythema migrans looks like.

OK – all together now…. ‘EWWWWWWW!’

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