Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dug in like a Tick

Like the main character in the movie "Avatar", I see Sigourney Weaver's face and hear that line.

once again I am battling an imbedded tick.

I don't know why I am a tick haven.  I love all animals-except mean ones.  And ticks fall into that category.  Perhaps they sense my compassion for living things and think they can get a free meal.  The Willow said this morning, "Maybe it is because you smell like the woods and not all perfumey."

Funny, she's getting old enough to try and phrase things like that as a compliment.

Whatever the reason, I have had two ticks in less than a week.  Saturday I found one on my neck.  Not "dug in" thank heavens.  Burned that sucker.

Then during the night on Monday my belly was itchy.  Yesterday morning I pulled up my shirt and looked in the mirror and swore violently.  Another tick!  I grabbed it and pulled and felt/heard that distinctly snap.  I burned the tick and looked again.  Yep, dark spot, left something behind.

I went to the sewing kit and grabbed a needle and started prodding.  Yes, the needle is supposed to be sterilized with a lit match or alcohol, but I didn't do that this time. I pride myself with my splinter removal techniques, but something about tick parts stuck in me makes me panic.

The Firebird said this morning that ticks inject something to make the skin tough so that they are not easily removed.  I already knew from experience that they also have an anesthetic effect because you can jab and yank and not feel any pain during the process.  I had suspected they inject some sort of liquefier like a spider to make things nice and juicy, but skin toughener must be part of the process as well.

I finally managed to get the needle behind the tick part and started pulling and the needle broke. AAgh.

Last year or the year before I had a tick leave a part in a bite in the crease of my thigh and spent at least a month trying to get it out before I finally went to the clinic.  The PA took one look and said to leave it alone and stop picking it, that it would work it's way out.  That it wasn't healing because I was picking it. Haha.

A couple years ago I had a tick imbed in the middle of my back, one place I couldn't pick.  I did have the Willow have several goes at it.  The Firebird doesn't stomach things like that.  I suffered for MONTHS.  Finally I had a friend come over and stretched out on my stomach on the hood of the car and gave him an arsenal of things to get the nasty thing out.  He did get some pieces out, but I kept insisting that more was there because I could feel the needle catching on something, so he kept digging.  He kept insisting he got it all, so I gave up and went to the ER.  HA that doc had a fit. Apparently my friend had excavated a pretty good hole in my back!  And Doc couldn't see anything else either but muttered I was going to have a scar... And wanted to know why I had the bite for months and then just showed up in the ER...

Well, that did heal, and I credit my friend for digging all the pieces and compromised tissue out of it.  Who cares if it scarred-I can't see back there!

And as far as the other one went, the one the clinic wouldn't deal with and told me to leave alone, yeah right! That kept itching and I finally managed to get the tick parts all out.  I would get some out and put antibiotic ointment and a bandaid but after a few days I could tell that it wasn't healing and there was still more in there, so I would have to go after it again.  Such a relief to finally get the last bit out!

So yesterday after I broke the needle I did the bandaid for the wait and see, hoping it would just work out.  Last night it started itching again, so I put some Yarrow tincture, more neosporin, new bandaid. 

This morning it was itching again.  Ok, this is WAR!  I got another needle, ransacked the house for the tweezers, and soaked both in Yarrow tincture (100 proof alcohol).
I broke the needle pulling on it.  I can't believe it!  I got under the head of it and pulled and my skin was stretched up and that thing would NOT come out! So I got a pin.

I got the pin under there and bent the pin pulling.  So I got another pin.  I pushed this pin right through so it was under the tick head.  I tried to get a grip on the tick head with the tweezers as I was pulling up I could see the dark head protruding, but I could not get a grip with the tweezers.  So I walked around with the pin sticking through it for a few minutes trying to come up with a plan.  I felt like a 50-something Goth chic.

Hmm I have some surgical scissors.  How about if I pull up on it and then cut beneath it?  So I gave that idea a try.  The only trouble is the scissors have been used for many things and are not as sharp as they used to be.  It HURT! I just could not bring myself to do it!  I needed another plan... something sharper!

A razorblade! Well, my tools are totally disorganized and disgusting so that ruled out a utility blade.  But, I had several brand new packs of disposable razors....

So I disassembled a disposable razor.  that is not as easy as it sounds.  I cut myself doing it, but I managed to get part of one of the blades free.  They are very small!  I could barely grip it, but I managed.  I soaked it in tincture first.  Then, I pulled up on the pin, stretching the skin and sliced right beneath it.  One side free! Easy, no pain!  I repositioned the blade and , slice!  there was that nasty tick head!!!  No bleeding! Burn that sucker!

That was 6 hours ago, no itching!  A little sore, but I attribute that to the pulling and the alcohol on the wound.  I have neosporin and a bandaid on it, and will change that twice daily until it is healed.

I apologize to my squeamish reader if you are sitting there with your hand over your mouth agape.  But, I hope this post might help others who find themselves in a situation with a stuck tick head. If you have a better method, please let me know!

Tick season is just starting here.

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