Wednesday, 4 August 2010

In Which I Totally Loose My Cool

This morning I woke up, ate some yoghurt, then headed to the bathroom to have a shower.

Just before stepping under the hot water, I caught a glance of myself in the bathroom mirror and noticed a very red mark on my torso.  Considering I was not wearing my glasses, please understand that the mark had to be very prominent for me to see it.

I shut the water off and stepped into the hallway where the light was better.  At first glance in the mirror it appeared as though a spider had felt a bit snackish in the night and ripped into me.

I was really disturbed by the fact that a creepy crawly had creeped and crawled on me, without me feeling a thing.

But when I got in the hall, oh it was worse than a spider bite...much worse.

Looking at my top abdominal region (I say region, because I seriously have no visible abdominal muscles) I saw the little angry red body of a tick burrowed into my flesh!

I instantly lost my shit.


I am no stranger to the idea of a tick, but I have never had one on me. In Kamloops, my hometown, ticks are a very real presence...for a couple of weeks in the spring.  Then our hot desert sun rips off its shirt and roasts those little bastards to death so we can enjoy a tick-free summer.

(True story, Kamloops is also too hot for fleas.)

So I have never had to deal with a tick before, and I think it's fair to say I actually didn't deal with this one very well.

You know that terrible Samuel L. Jackson movie Snakes on a Plane, when every other word out of his mouth is, "There's some mother (bleep)in' snakes on this mother (bleep)in' plane."

Well, that was how I reacted to the tick. Except I wasn't nearly as cool about it.


It was apparent this tick wasn't going to be lightly brushed off, so after I turned in a couple of circles out of sheer panic that my body had become host to an alien presence that can carry serious diseases, I did the only logical thing I could think of: I called my mom.  Who's in Canada. 

Dearest Mom.  I am so sorry for waking you up at 1:00 in the morning and crying hysterically into the phone that THERE'S A MOTHER (BLEEP)IN' TICK ON MY MOTHER (BLEEP)IN' STOMACH.  I'm sure you thought I was on the brink of death.

I assure you I was.

Mental death.  Otherwise known as insanity.

So poor Mom tries to be helpful, in spite of the fact her brain is still foggy from sleep.

"Do you have a needle?"


"Do you have matches?"



And then I briefly calmed down.

"The old wives tail is that if you heat up a needle and apply it to the body of the tick, the heat is so uncomfortable the tick backs out, in tact."

I had a brief memory of my Bup standing over my Nan, who was sitting at the kitchen table, and he was pulling out a tick from her head in this fashion.  But I don't have a needle and I don't have matches. In fact, I have NOTHING because the Canada shipment still isn't here!

"Caitie, it's important that when removing the tick you don't rip the head off okay? Do you understand?"

"Holy mother of cheese!  Holy mother of cheese! I'm going to get lyme disease, or whatever other disgusting ailment these little bastards carry around with them!  Holy mother of cheese!"

Then I fully realized that my mom wasn't going to be able to help me, so I sort of hysterically ended the phone call and called my poor husband who was at work.

Dan answered his phone cheerfully, and then I burst into tears and sobbed, "I'm never going for a walk in the stupid woods again. NEVER!"

"Okkaayyy," Dan said in utter confusion.


Can someone please hand Dan the Husband of the Year trophy, because he earned it today.

After talking me out of my tree, he hung up and called the doctor's office where a very nice nurse gave him all the anti-tick information he needed.

He did have a client appointment that obviously couldn't be cancelled (Oh sorry sir, we are going to have to wait to discuss your business, I must hurry home because I have an irrational wife with a bit of a tick issue), so I basically had to wait for an hour before he could get home.

In that hour I tried running a knife under hot water and then holding the knife to the tick, but all that damn tick did was kick about like it was enjoying the feeling of a hot knife on its ass.  It didn't budge an inch.

So I collapsed onto the couch in despair where I spent over thirty minutes picturing my descent into lyme disease, before I decided that it was time for me to woman-up and kill it. I grabbed a pair of tweezers and spent almost twenty minutes gently, so gently, prying it loose from my skin.

I finally succeed getting it out in tact just before Dan got home.  The nurse at the doctor's office had wanted him to call her back when he knew what the tick looked like, and if we'd managed to get it out.  Then he brought me some disinfectant he'd picked up on the way home, and the nurse instructed me that I'm to clean the wound area three times a day (liberally dousing it with disinfectant) for the next few weeks!

That stupid little tick has left me with a small puncture wound that is swollen about 3cm in diameter all around the puncture mark. And if a red ring develops around the area of the swelling, I am to go to the doc ASAP for antibiotics.

Who knew that Switzerland was host to ticks all spring and summer??  Well I guess now I do.

I am also really wishing I had a BBQ, or some matches, because I feel like torching everything I was wearing yesterday when I was out for my walk in the woods, but I have to settle instead for just doing laundry.

Sometimes I really just want to kick nature in the keester.


Disclaimer:  I am very sorry that I am such a stereotypical girl.  My hysterical reaction to the tick was mine and mine alone.  I am sure that in this world there are SO MANY girls who would have surveyed that little red tick and calmly, rationally, and logically, removed it.  Unfortunately, I hate bugs. All bugs. We are talking the mouse and the elephant syndrome here. So I did not behave rationally, and I don't blame you if you just lost an ounce of respect for me.  I know I have.  But hear this World, the tick has just moved to the number one spot on my hate list, effectively replacing Gerard Butler and his talking-out-of-the-side-of-his-mouth ways.


mom said...

Yes Caitie, thank you for the 1:00 am wake-up call! Glad you were able to get the tick out though :-)

T said...

aaaahhhh! I hate ticks too and would have probably reacted the same way (and I'm usually pretty rational about most bugs except anything that might crawl near my hair).

I still remember my terrifying experience in 1st grade when I had to have whoever acted as school nurse inspect my head and explain to me that she was going to use a HOT NEEDLE to get it out and that I must be very careful not to move...

Any idea when your Canada shipment is getting there yet?!

Habebi said...

Okay I hope you forgive me here, but, I really had a good laugh with this one! Not to make light of ticks, I've had them on me, I've had to get them off dogs, they are NO fun. (Oklahoma's bloody hot, but, we have lots of nice humidity that keep ticks and fleas alive and well) But, the imagery you were using in this entry was just too good NOT to giggle. Hope no more trauma happens with the tick wound and it clears up quickly.

Kristi said...

So Switzerland has LOTS of ticks. The good news is, they don't have as many incidents of tick born illness as we do in North America...or at least that is what my vet told me to calm my ass down. aren't the only one who freaks out over ticks. My dog had one in his armpit which led to: A. Hysterics B. A psychoanalysis of me by my Vet C. Disinfection of our apartment D. Way too much information searching on the web

For future reference though, and this is important, do not use a hot needle (or anything hot) again on a tick. I won't tell you why, but it isn't good. Use mineral oil and gently remove with tweezers after applied.

Caitie said...

Ah Kristi, I am so glad to hear I'm not the only one who freaks out. And please god do not tell me why I shouldn't have tried to heat a knife up to remove the little bugger. It will send me into a mental spiral of dark despair, and I've just started to see the light again.

But mineral oil, good tip. I have been holding off buying so many things because 'eh, it's in the Canaada shipment,' but I'm starting to think the ocean ate my stuff so maybe I should just get over myself and buy some goods and damn the consquences if I have duplicates (if that day ever comes).

Habebi - don't worry if you had a wee laugh at my expense. Lots of people do, I'm used to it ;-)

T - I seriously have no idea when our stuff is getting here. I have discovered that the main criteria to being a shipping agent is to be 'vague'. We have been told our goods will arrive 'sometime after Aug. 16th.' Oh, thanks a lot! I do believe that infinity counts as a number of days after the 16th!

Mom - sorry :-( I'd like to say it won't happen again...but you know me.

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