A few years ago, I started to paint an old barn at my mother’s house. The paint job was never completed, because a few days into the job, my lower leg started to itch and burn and I noticed a small red rash around two small, almost invisible black specks on my leg. I watched the red rash progress into the classic bulls-eye rash noted in the many pamphlets on Lyme disease that I had previously seen. Although I had no other symptoms, I made an appointment to see the my family doctor as soon as I could, which was about a week from the date I had first noticed the small red rash.
The doctor took one look and saw a classic case of Lyme disease. He indicated that I was lucky, that only approximately 40% of people who contract Lyme get the tell-tale bulls eye rash. He did not need to take a blood test. He prescribed a strong antibiotic which I was to take for 10 days.
My experience with the disease was neither harrowing nor long lived, since I got prompt treatment. I suffered no ill after effects. I would caution anyone undertaking work in the early spring about the hazard of the spring tick nymphs. They like to live in damp areas in the grass near the edge of the woods, which is exactly where my mother’s barn sits. They are so small that they look like a speck of dirt on your skin. I actually had two black specks, one right next to each other on my leg. I was doing the paint job early in the spring to avoid the hazard of poison ivy which likes to grow in the vicinity of my mother’s barn.
My mother’s barn sits half painted for several years now. I cannot find a time of year when I can safely venture all around it to finish the job. I have been dissuaded from my good deed by an insect I can barely see and a plant that has caused me summertime grief several times in the past.
Sorry, Mom. It’s just not meant to be.