Sunday, April 30, 2017

From Author to Victim



      Okay, that’s it. I’m ready to return to the artificial world of Florida where everything feels new and clean and landscape people spray away every possible living thing that could bite or sting.

          Yesterday started out well enough. I packed up a rolling suitcase full to bursting with my books, candy for customers, and one dollar bills to make change and headed off to set up my table at the local authors’ fair in our town.

          We authors were a diverse group – my friend Cheryl's children’s bible stories, a graphic novel about a paranormal investigator, a beloved sportswriter and his memoir, Ellie’s new book about her trip to Tibet, a collection of letters from a family in the 1700s, a novel of history and witchcraft, and an ophthalmologist.

          And we actually had an audience, unlike last year when not even family showed up. I caught up with friends, reacquainted myself with others, and went home a few books lighter. 



          Once home, I morphed from local author to yard lady. My Guy and I grabbed our rakes and blowers and started in on the leaves that had gathered over the winter in spite of our marathons of yard work in the fall. Mamie helped by sitting in the pachysandra, the periwinkle, and following me worriedly every time I disappeared from view around a corner.

          After two hours or so, itchy and sweaty, we stopped for a water break. I was scratching my thigh and looked down to find a dark spot surrounded by a red, sore, and unhappy skin.
 TICK.

       We put down our water, stuffed the dog in the house, and took off for the urgent care center.
          Where      time       slowed       d  o  w  n.

          No one there looked particularly sick, and one family seemed to be having a great time, chatting and ribbing each other when they were loudly recounting past trips for emergency care.

          Even though I knew I could feel the tick burrowing deeper, and even I was sure my leg was becoming more and more painful, I sat for an hour and a half while others went in ahead of me. The people with the clipboards were obviously uncaring that my tick was probably spreading its toxin through my system as each minute passed. I tried not to think about the joint pain and loss of cognitive functions and God knows what-all that can happen as a result of a tick bite.

          Finally, finally, I was called in – the last patient of the day – and waited another 15 minutes for the doctor. He came in, took one look at it, and ordered one round of an antibiotic and left after telling me I was his 10th tick bite that day.

          Yes, I knew our area was reported as inundated this year with ticks.

Yes, I was stupid, stupid, stupid to be working in shorts.

          But it was actually Mamie I’d been worried about, since she’d been bitten in the fall and had 6 weeks of antibiotics as a result. Friday I’d sprayed the front yard with tick deterrent (we were working in the back) and yesterday wiped her down with a topical deterrent for pets to augment the drops I already put on her once a month.

          Looks like I’ll be using the same wipes on myself, and the next time I lift a rake or a trowel my gardening ensemble will make beekeepers look like they’re headed to a wanton day on the nude beach.   
     

         

19 comments:

  1. I lived in Southern Oregon in my younger days and hunted and fished regularly. Ticks were a part of life, and I'd guess I'd have a couple a month that I'd not find until they burrowed in. We just pulled them out and maybe put some neosporin on. This was before Lyme disease was heard of, and I never had an infection.

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    1. Yeah, I'm still wearing a part of a tick on my waist - a souvenir of Girl Scout camp in Oklahoma. And I remember in Virginia my father tweezering them off of our dog Weatherby and tossing them in the fire. No big deal back then.

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  2. Oh, ugh. Ticks are gross. Glad the author's fair went well and you made some sales!

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  3. We have them here too, they seem to like my husband and not me. He grabs a pair of tweezers and pulls them out, had no idea you should have antibiotics.

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  4. So the only way to deal with ticks is antibiotics? I hope you scraped the spot off you before heading out.
    Selling one's book seems so difficult. I wish you success.

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  5. Ack.
    A friend's father got fanged by a tick while we were down the coast one year. Later that night he was in intensive care, where he remained for weeks.
    I am afraid of the vicious little beasts. Good luck in your beekeepers garb...

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    1. Either that or maybe a burka. It's not even May yet, for Pete's sake!

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  6. Yes, ticks will be more abundant this year. It is rare for you to get an infection in less than 24 hours. At least now we can somewhat treat it. NIH would be working on a better treatment if their budget had not been slashed to buy more bombs.

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  7. Ticks certainly are a nuisance and threat. I hope you're okay.

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  8. We have ticks here, too, but they aren't all that numerous. In Colorado during tick season, you'd see them hanging off three branches just waiting for you to walk under. Only one got embedded, and so far I've not even seen any here in Washington state. Glad you're okay now! :-)

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  9. "Hanging off tree branches" ? Gross!

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  10. Ouch! Hope you're okay now. I'm glad I don't live in a tick area. I don't think there are many tick areas in Australia, or maybe I'm just uninformed.

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  11. well, I hope he at least removed the tick. the cat has picked up an occasional tick here but they don't seem to be the problem here that they are up north.

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  12. Darn it, I was almost finished with my comment and it disappeared! Anyhow, the tick that bit you must have been carrying the Lyme disease, and the doctor could tell right away by how the bite looked? That is amazing. My husband and I both have had ten or twelve tick bites since February. We worry all the time about Lyme disease. I did not realize that with an infected tick you immediately know. One easy way to remove a tick that is buried and biting is to rub a little liquid hand soap on the tick and wait a few seconds, and the tick will easily come off. Haven't started your book yet. I've got to get it ordered. Thanks!

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    1. Wow - Hugely helpful hint on the dish soap. I bet I could use it on Mamie, too.
      I don't know if he could tell if it was Lyme or not. Although a black center with an inflamed red circle around it didn't exactly look healthy, either. (I decided to spare my readers the picture!)

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    2. Oh! and thanks for reading my book!!!!

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  13. we just pick them off as long as you get a good grip on them and take some skin with them usually they are usually okay. We give Chance Bravecta a three month tablet. We will spray the edges of our yard with a product called home Defense:)

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