ONE TICKED FARM BOY
It was summer, sleeveless shirts and shorts were the air conditioning of the farm yard. It was near the front of the barn and dad and mom were preparing to fire up the feed mill and grind grains into cattle feed. Dad was aligning a tractor to the mill so a flat belt could drive it.
Then it happened: mom spied a wood tick on my shin and the battle was on. Dad turned off the tractor and joined the harassment.
Oh my God, find one tick and we gotta check to make sure there aren’t more. “Take your clothes off.”
We’re outside and the County road is so close and if anyone drove past they’d see me all naked and things. And I’ve been told God sees all and I don’t want him to see me defrocked and outside.
With some parental persuasion (mostly dad and mom were bigger, stronger and meaner) I finally relented to close up examination of every square inch.
Was I traumatized? Nope. I was afraid God wouldn’t be pleased or someone driving by would get an eyefull. The heavens didn’t open nor was there an ominous booming voice from above telling me what a bad boy I’d been. Even better no one drove past and stared at the naked kid by the barn. As for dad and mom, well gosh, there was nothing new to see including more wood ticks.
Decades later, dad and mom had passed on and I was at a cardiologist appointment. All was well according to him and I was asked if I had any questions. I pulled my shirt up over my tummy and asked what he thought the bullseye pattern might be. Within minutes I had a dermatologist appointment for that afternoon. There was no diagnosis but a weeks long prescription of antibiotics consistent with lyme disease treatment resulted. The bullseye patch disappeared, other symptoms didn’t develop and all was well. In my naive unprofessional opinion I’m pretty sure it was caught in time or I would have been very ill with lyme disease.
Add a few more years to the mix and no other tick encounters have happened. But here’s the deal: if I found a tick crawling on me I would have no one (the beloved lady of my life died over a year ago) who could I ask to inspect areas I can’t see?
Sure, a Dr appointment would work but at least several weeks later and quite the expense. An urgent care clinic possibly but once again at quite the expense. I could ask a couple ladies but to the best of my knowledge there’s no chemistry so I would hesitate asking for fear of a face slap and accusation of perversion. I would ask no male friends ‘cuz I’m a devout heterosexual and the face slaps way be more painful. OK, understand the dilemma?
So I wonder if in wood tick prone regions if there’s room for professional wood tick inspectors? Who would take up that profession and how trusting would you be?