Yikes! Ticks!

May 22, 2008 at 12:53 am 3 comments

I am, generally speaking, a pretty brave person.  I used to be a HAZMAT responder.  You know, one of those people who grabs a bunch of high-tech equipment, puts on a moon suit and helps clean up potentially lethal toxic waste spills.  I love snakes and I spent an entire summer living in a tent in grizzly bear country. I’m a tree-climber, I’ve been white water rafting, skiied in steep back country terrain and I regularly work with large dogs who bite people.

But I’m absolutely terrified of anything with eight legs.  I’d rather step on a rattlesnake (and yes, I’ve done it before so I KNOW) than find a tick embedded anwhere on my body.

Did I mention that SE Minnesota is tick heaven in the spring and early summer?  Did I also mention that one of the joys of my life is hiking through the woods… and brush with my dogs?  Why oh why does one of the most joyous pastimes in the world have to be so inextricably (pun intended) associated with something so completely and utterly evil?

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (and my vet) 2008 is shaping up to be a record season for ticks and tick-borne diseases.  Cool (she says with a dramatic eye roll).  I’ve been finding ticks every day.  On my dogs.  On myself.  On my sweet, darling husband.  AND IN MY HOUSE.

Gawd.  If I really thought that setting off a small thermonuclear device here would KILL THEM ALL I might be tempted to do it.  But the evil little bastards would probably not only survive the blast, they’d most likely also mutate to even some sort of even more horrific form.  Enormous, glowing zombie ticks sucking horses and heifers dry in one horrific sip and swallowing small dogs whole.

I suppose I could just stay out of the woods and avoid the worst of it, but the joy the dogs and I find in those long rambles is worth the risk.  I could also probably do something sane like use DEET to repel them and wear white clothes so I could find them more easily — but DEET is about the only thing that scares me more than ticks and my butt looks huge in white pants.

So, I suffer.  I live in a perpetual state of the heebie jeebies.  I FEEL THINGS crawling on me even where there aren’t.  I obsess about checking the dogs over.  And over.  And over.  And I’m sure I change clothes and take more showers than I need to. 

Thank god the dogs don’t share my phobia.  Last night I watched Audie examine a tick on his belly in the most nonchalant way imaginable.  To him it was just interesting.  It creeped me out.  After I removed it, he wanted to check it out.  I couldn’t wait to kill it — and take another shower.


Entry filed under: cynicism, dog, dogs, minnesota, ticks.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Caveat  |  May 22, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Yeah, ticks are creepy but at least they’re easy to see, unlike fleas.

    Revolution takes care of ’em, I think. Get them out of your house, pronto. They can live in a semi-hibernating state for months and months. The Greyhound adoption lady who lived a few doors away from me in my old place found that out the hard way.

    They drop from the trees in about February around here. If there happens to be an unseasonable mild spell, most of them survive so it will be a bad season for them.

    If you can destroy them (a jar of gasoline or kerosene works well, just drop ’em in) before they get down to business, that’s best.

    Nothing creepier than scratching your head though and getting that ‘what th’?’ feeling. Ewww….

    Haven’t seen one (or a flea) in many years now and I sure hope that continues.

    Good luck, buddy!

  • 2. Dorene  |  May 22, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    One November, I ended up getting a deer tick on me that I couldn’t get off for anything. I called my doctor (it was after hours) and since Lyme is endemic around her (Southeastern PA), she didn’t want me to wait until she opened, so she had me go to the emergency room.

    The doctor laughed at me when I told him I couldn’t get the tick off. Then he tried. The sucker (literally) wouldn’t budge. He called another doctor, who supposedly could pull out anything. He couldn’t budge it either. By this time, the entire emergency room stopped laughing and they were all scratching their heads, trying to figure out what to do.

    They ended up freezing the tick off with liquid nitrogen — and by this time, everyone was pretty nervous that this wouldn’t work, either, but it did! They tested the itck and it was negative for Lyme disease. I did get Lyme disease a couple of years later when everyone in my town got it (including a librarian who never went outdoors) which was nasty, nasty, nasty, so I don’t feel bad about my doctor’s concern about getting it off me — especially when no one at the emergency room could budge it either!

  • 3. EmilyS  |  May 25, 2008 at 1:11 am

    ewww. ticks…..
    I know we’re supposed to love all God’s creatures, but I really do wonder what’s the purpose of ticks. Surely egrets etc. could make a living eating something else…

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