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.
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.