Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I'm Ticked Off

Hey, now this isn't fair.  This entire summer, the tick-averse Mrs. ProfessorRoush has been forcing me to disrobe in the laundry room immediately upon entering the back door and to submit to a humiliating tick check which involves minute inspection of every inch of my tender pink skin.  While that might sound like the start of a fun afternoon to some of you, you can trust me when I say that the only intimate contact it initiates is her scratching at every suspicious skin blemish to assure that some creepy little legs don't appear at the edges.  On most occasions, satisfied that I'm not harboring a pregnant momma tick which could birth-start a tick Armageddon in the house, she banishes me immediately to the shower, merely bleeding from a few overzealous scratch marks, while she lifts my clothes with a stick and washes them in scalding water.

On two previous occasions Mrs. ProfessorRoush did find and remove ticks, justifying her careful diligence.  There were also two other instances when I found and removed small ticks on my own due to her understandable but unconscionable unwillingness to diligently examine certain skin expanses.  The past few weeks, however, I had returned tickless and we had dropped our guard, sure that tick season was over.  Heck, I had even scabbed over the previous tick-created welts that I received from each bite.  I seem to have developed a type II sensitivity to tick bites this year and I form a nice hive at each bite, even when the tick hasn't been attached long.

Today, when I was driven in from a good day of gardening by the July heat, I noticed that my shoulder was itching and, in the mirror on the way to the shower, saw a small speck in the center of a red circle that appeared different from my normal freckles.  Primarily, it looked different because it was RAISED.

There were a few lost moments of reaction while Mrs. ProfessorRoush located her reading glasses.  I've found that older wives are constantly wearing the wrong glasses for the activity at hand and I would estimate that they spend approximately 25% of their lives looking for the alternate pair.   Once she could see the speck closer, she still wasn't sure that it was a tick.  She and I were both willing, however, to play it safe and have her grab this possible part of me with the tweezers and rip it off.  I braced myself for the fear that my farsighted wife would pluck a piece of ProfessorRoush rather than an invasive arachnid, but the "speck" was removed without any trauma other than a raised heart rate and some minor palpitations.  Under a magnifying glass that I've had since I was a child (a side benefit of living a long life interested in the sciences) we discovered that it was, in fact, a tick, the same minuscule invader pictured above one a paper towel next to a 22 gauge hypodermic needle.

There are, it seems, Darwinistic advantages to having a little tick hypersensitivity, even though this episode will likely initiate another series of strip tease inspections by the missus.  If I hadn't started itching, this little guy could have feasted for a few days on my fair skin.  Instead, thankfully, he was encased in this paper towel and flushed down where the sun doesn't shine.  Tough luck, buddy.

1 comment:

  1. I have also been thankful for the allergic reaction to a tick bite, just like you. Itches like a son-of-a-gun for days afterward, but reliably warns of the presence of an overlooked tick. I'm not the squeamish type, but ticks give me the willies ... happy to pop off their heads and flush their remains whenever I encounter them. There are days when I have wondered what the human-sized dose of Frontline would be.


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