Tick But Not Tock

I called my adult daughter, who lives with me, to come have a look. I thought I had a scab on the inside of my right thigh, inches from my crotch. Being naturally curious, especially about anything popping up on my body, I tried to use a mirror to see what it was. I couldn’t. My eyes weren’t good enough, and my mirror didn’t magnify high enough.

With her jeweler’s loupe, she investigated the site. I sat on my walker facing her, with my right leg hoisted on the handle. My daughter was sitting on the bed, facing me, and my left leg was dangling off her right thigh. I was grateful I had donned my underwear minutes before. But I was even more thankful we weren’t being recorded or within view of one of the security cameras in the house.

It turned out to be a tick. A tiny, head-of-a-pin size tick. Now, I don’t know if this particular guy was carrying Lyme disease, but I wasn’t about to let him (or maybe her) stay on my body any longer to see if I developed any symptoms, which I’m told are dreadful.

Since the outbreak of Lyme disease back in the dark ages of the 1960s, no one had ever heard much about ticks or Lyme disease. It wasn’t until 1981 that a researcher, Willy Burgdorfer, who was studying Rocky Mountain Fever and Deer ticks, began to study Lyme Disease. As a consequence, he noted that the two diseases had similar symptoms. After further research, he discovered that a bacteria-carrying tick, spirochete, was causing Lyme Disease. The scientific community honored Willy by naming the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, and Lyme disease became a household name.  

A decade or more ago, I thought I had a skin tag under my left armpit. I picked at that skin tag for two weeks, but it never dropped off. Finally, I asked my spouse (now playing the game of Bridge with Jesus) to take a look. Why didn’t I look? Have you ever tried to take a close-up look under your armpit? Even with a mirror, it is difficult. At any rate, if you are guessing by now that it was a tick, you’re right. Compared to my mini tick on my thigh, this one was about the size of my pinky fingernail. And it seems these little suckers like warm moist places.

I have only acquired three ticks in my 85 years. The other one was on the top of my head. I still don’t know why I get them at all since I don’t go romping through the forest or over the meadows and grasses. What I do know is that when a tick is discovered lunching on my body, it will be removed immediately. No Lyme disease for me.

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