Saturday, October 24, 2009


ok, so i'm getting ready to leave the house to do a little light trail work and go to the pharmacy and then to a nice dinner at a restaurant for my brother-in-law's birthday ad for some reason as i pass the mirror in the bathroom i lift my shirt up a little and

-what's this?-

i don't recall having an angry-looking purple welt there...

and i'm trying to get a good look at it, but it's on one of those pieces of real estate along your flanks that you can't really see and can't really reach and i'm trying all sorts of contortions and mirrors and i still can't get a good look, but it looks like it might have legs.

now, i've had a bunch of tick bites and picked off countless ticks before they bite, and one of the things about the legs is that they move, which is what makes them so creepy.

typically, they bite, they dig in, they feed, and then they drop off to lay eggs. this one, apparently, has died WHILE DEEPLY EMBEDDED IN MY FLESH, so that's kind of icky, and later on i will get around to wondering why it dies there; i mean, have you ever tried to kill a tick? they're like, bombproof. you have to squeeze HARD.

and i figure that the last time i might have picked up a tick would have been monday, so it's been there four days at least, and i'd have had to have picked it up in the adirondacks, where supposedly they don't have ticks.

oddly, the last embedded tick i had, i got in the adirondacks, where they supposedly don't have ticks.

somebody is lying.

so i call my doctor right away, because this thing has to come out and considering how long it's been in me, i'm going to need doxy. (do you remember when "doxy" referred to a woman of questionable virtue and not a strong antibiotic?)

and they tell me they'll have the triage nurse get right back to me, but nobody calls for an hour and a half so i call them back and it turns out they don't think it's important to return my call because they have nobody available to see me today and i should go to the walk-in care clinic.

well, that's nice. ya think it would have been useful to call me and let me know?

so i put together my things and head out to walk-in care, and i am not really prepared for what i find there. it's not quite matthew brady, but there's a lot of misery there.

the guy at the front desk barely looks at me and asks "chest pains? cough? fever?"

uh, no. embedded tick. probably infected. probably not lyme, but dirty, you know?

well, it's going to be a long wait, he tells me.

how long?

a couple of hours. he tells me to have a seat in the waiting area.

i am not comfortable in there. the place is jam-packed with people who have the flu. our area actually has a cluster of real live H1N1 cases, so they're all suited up with masks and such, but they're all coughing and feverish.


but i'm going to need the doxy.

the guy calls me up to be checked in. he notices that i do not touch the desk or any other part of the furniture if i can't help it. he offers me some of his disinfectant, which i take.

i return to the waiting area. i feel very much out of place.

see, now i've felt pretty complacent about H1N1 and every other flu or cold because i have a robust immune system and i live alone. not alone in the city; alone in the country.

flu epidemic? i don't care. i don't come into contact with people.

but here i am at the hospital, surrounded by people with flu. and you just KNOW that some of them have H1N1, not that i care about strain.

i mean, i haven't had a cold in so long that i don't even remember if it was four or five years ago.

the intake nurse comes to get me, and i express to her my tredipation at having been plunked down in the middle of all these sick people. i mean, just take the tick out and give me the doxy already. it's not very complex.

she suggests that maybe i might have a friend take the tick out. ok, fine, but even if i could get a friend to take it out properly, i'll still need the doxy.

at this point it becomes apparent that even though it is not yet three in the afternoon, i am going to miss my five-thirty dinner reservations with my family.

i am sent back to the waiting area, but i ask the guy at the desk if i might do my waiting outside, where there isn't quite so much plague floating around in a closed space.

he says sure, and goes so far as to suggest that i might wait in the main lobby (just around the corner), where typically they do not allow people with visible symptoms to hang out.

fine. i make myself comfortable there.

and i wait.

and wait.

i call my mom, to explain why i'm going to be late to dinner. she says that they'll stall if they can, and they'll order for me, which ought to give me a little extra time.

somewhere just before five i get impatient. i have read the end of one book and made a good start on a second. now i get up and start pacing.

and finally someone comes to get me.

"i'll give you a gown and come back when you're ready."
"i'm ready", i say, pulling off my shirt and dumping it on a nearby chair.


so the guy comes to take the tick out and he starts to make friendly chitchat but i cut him short, saying that i'm already going to be late for a dinner reservation, so we keep it pretty much to business. he gets most of the dead tick out, telling me not to worry about the parts left in; what's there is buried pretty deep and my body, he says, will push it out just fine.

he disappears to write the scrip, and just this last part takes twenty minutes.

seventeen minutes later i am at the restaurant, and the moment i sit down the waiter puts my plate in front of me, and what has been ordered for me is fabulous, so that goes a long way.

but what i want to know is this: why did the tick die? why not feed and drop off, like they're supposed to? is there something toxic in my blood? is one of my medications fatal to ticks?

that'd be cool.

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