Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The tick


So, I goes for a walk in the fields near where I live, about mid-afternoon, and a lot later in the day, about midnight, I'm feeling very tired, and getting ready for bed, when I feel an itch on the back of me leg. I scratch at it, and notice something black. I take a closer look. Flicking it back and forth, I can see it has little legs, which writhe as I pluck at it. It also probably has a head, although that's currently buried into my flesh, drinking my blood, and probably has been for the past nine hours.

Now, I've heard what to do in circumstances like this, that you shouldn't attempt to pull the tick out because you'll leave part of it imbedded in your skin. "You're supposed to get a match and burn them," I think. "But I haven't got any matches! What am I supposed to do? I'm so tired, I just wanna go to bed, but there's a living thing imbedded in my leg!"

I spend a couple of minutes trying vainly to get my brain into gear, trying to think what I should do. After careful thought, I respond by just yanking out what I can. "Fucking thing!"

Which leaves its head buried in my skin.

"So what now? Have I got something sharp I can use to dig the head out? Ummmmmm...I know: the breadknife!" So I goes into the kitchen and gets the breadknife, sits on the edge of me bath, and I starts digging away with the breadknife. Trouble is, even a breadknife ain't sharp enough when you look at it real careful, and I'm just digging a sort of slightly bloody pit around the black head of the tick.

"What next then? Bed? Yeah, bed." So I wander back into the kitchen, replace the breadknife, and then find that I do have some cooking matches after all! "Maybe I can, er, burn the head or something." So I sits on the edge of me bath, lights a match, and starts dabbing at it with the naked flame.

Dab, "Ow!" Dab, "Ow!" Dab, "Ow!" Dab, "Ow!" Dab, "Ow!" Dab, "Ow!"

That didn't work either.

So I finally goes to bed, and the next morning I goes to work and phones the medical centre. "Can you get foreign bodies out of the skin?" I asks. "What type of foreign bodies?" she replies. Anyway, long story short, I digs it out with a sterile needle, as the watching nurse tells me you can catch lyme disease from ticks. Apparently, the initial symptoms are like the 'flu', so if I gets a fever in the next few weeks, it could be flu, it could be swine flu, or it could be lyme disease. Fucking thing. If one of 'em tries it on again, I'm gonna burn the fucker.

17 comments:

sean said...

did you keep the tick? keep it if you can, for future refererence.

Gordon McCabe said...

Nah, I put a cross in that particular box.

Jonaldinho said...

Alors! Did ze teek hav a Franche accaunt??
Maybe you hav keeled ze new presidaunt of ze FIA?? Zer are several similarities, non?
C'est terrible!

Sean said...

I live in my shorts from April to October and I get allsorts biting, and ive had a few ticks and nothing ever came of it.

I am told you twist the bugger out gently with tweezers.

Gordon McCabe said...

C'est possible!

elberry said...

You should have got a scorpion and applied it to your leg - it would have killed the tick, but then of course you would need something to get rid of the scorpion.

The Dandy Highwayman said...

Elberry, you fool! You use a mouse to eat the tick, and a scorpion to kill the mouse. The scorpion can then be removed by the careful application of a cat.

Then you can use the breadknife.

Gordon McCabe said...

I've just discovered that you can get Babesiosis from ticks. Sadly, the symptoms aren't as pleasant as the name suggests.

Susan's Husband said...

The match thing is a bad idea. Sean has it right. Don't use your fingers, get some tweezers and then apply gentle but continuing pressure. Get the tweezers on the head if possible (this is why tweezers beat fingers). It can take a minute or two but the tick will let go and then you have it off without leaving the head in your skin.

Gordon McCabe said...

Tweezers it is then. I can always punish the tick in question after its tweezered removal.

Clare Dudman said...

Suppose you've seen this
Gordon? Look out for a rash - I know of people that have had this and it is nasty if you don't catch it early.

P.S. Elberry and the Dandy Highwayman are right about the scorpion and the cat but I'm afraid a topical application only works in mild cases. For a persistent infection such as this one it is necessary to take the cat orally. Mdame DameAgée (aged 96)

Doug Hudson said...

Using a flame such as a lighted match to burn the tick off is a discredited idea. It actually causes the tick to vomit instead - not a great idea if its head is buried beneath your skin...

Gordon McCabe said...

Indeed, I'm afraid the younger female ticks do tend to over-indulge with the J20, and the results are most predictable.

Dave Lull said...

"Is the tick problem getting worse, or does it just seem that way at this time every year?" See More Ticks, More Misery.

Gordon McCabe said...

Remarkable. There are indeed plenty of deer in the woods and fields beyond my front door, hence I suspect my own tick would have been pleasantly surprised to be feasting on something different from its normal venison diet. Fortunately, however, I presume that it also had impeccable standards of cleanliness, for, as yet, I labour not under the symptoms of lyme disease.

Anonymous said...

You made one mistake. Using a match or any other caustic materiel to try to smother it or to get the tick to 'back out' might cause the tick to spit up more saliva into the skin.
[/boy scouts]

Viverito said...

I guess if you want to increase the amount of responses to your columns, you should throw in a tick or two.
Anonymous