Ticks are perhaps thee most annoying creatures to have ever walked the planet. The pesky parasite is widespread across much of the northern hemisphere. Typically the only thing that follows a tick around is its shadow. But on occasion, there is one friend of the tick. It goes by the name of Lyme disease. What follows is my first-hand experience with it.
In the late spring of ’99, I was a boy of 14 years old. Nothing called my name more than the great outdoors. This one particular day was a bit hotter than most during late May. Shorts and a tee shirt remedied that. A small creek ran through the field that bordered my parent’s yard. After gathering a small tent and supplies, and a 5 to 7 minute walk; My journey brought me to a large opening of tall grasses and trees that are easily climbed. It is also the best camping spot that my 4 brothers and I could find.
The day wore on. Between the hours of 10 am, and 6 pm, I played the role of an armature lumberjack, and chopped down a tree with a very dull hatchet. I ate what food had I had left, pitched my tent and laid down on my sleeping bag. I must have been more tired than I thought, because the next thing I knew, I woke up to the rising sun. Being very hungry and still tired, I walked home, ate, then went back to sleep.
A little more than a week later, just a few days before my birthday, the classic bull’s eye appeared. At first it was about the size of an Eisenhower dollar, then grew to a bit smaller than a baseball. It didn’t hurt, and was warm to the touch. Because it didn’t hurt, I didn’t take too much notice to it. I ignored it. It wasn’t until I was hit with what seemed like a summer cold, when things started to escalate. My mother treated it like any mother would. Quarantine, bed rest, and lots of fluids.
After a few days of no response to cold medicine, mom found the bulls eye. She immediately recognized it, as well as the severity of the issue. A quick trip to the doctor, one prescription of antibiotics, and 7 days later, I found the rash subsiding. Though the problem was not remedied that easily. Nearly two weeks passed before the rash and cold symptoms left completely left.
Now, when I go on any camping trip, I wear jeans, tick repellent, and I check for the buggers often. Sorry ticks, but I am decidedly off the menu.