This morning, while scrub-a-dubbing in the shower, I noticed a wee black dot in my elbow-crease, so I scrubbed a bit more, and it didn’t budge. It looked kind of like a new black mole, but it kinda swiveled as I scrubbed–and then I realized it was an insect, firmly anchored in my flesh and happily feasting on my blood. I decided I had to just leave it there until I was finished with my shower.
When I was nine, I slept over at a friend’s house, and came home with a tick implanted in my scalp. I discovered it by touch, and it felt like a big new mole or something. I played with it all day, flipping it back and forth, but too scared to pull it off, in case it might hurt/bleed. Finally in the evening, while standing in front of the mirror, I mustered up the courage to pull it off, and was surprised and freaked out to see decent-sized bug in my hand! In a slightly-panicked flash, I threw it aside and went to the kitchen to tell my sister I thought I’d just pulled a tick out of my head. (She didn’t believe me that it was a tick, but when my dad came home, he did. He asked me if it still had its head and I said I didn’t know). He actually found the critter on the bathroom mirror, and blessed be, it still had its head. Now it’s in tick heaven.
Back to today. The only reason I wasn’t sure if this one on my arm was a tick was because it was so puny compared to the one I got in Utah. I’ve joked to folks here that here in England they have darling bunnies while back home we have wirey jack rabbits.
They have spotted Bambi deer while we have rugged mule deer.
And–surprise, they have wussy wee ticks and we have giant blood-suckers.
(For the wee size of this guy, though, I do have to hand it to him for how ridiculously tightly he hung on through the scrubbing in the shower and the actual process of removal)
Speaking of removal, back to the story:
I had heard that if you slather baby oil around the tick, it suffocates it and so it comes out on its own. I’d also heard that it’s not a good idea to pull it out, since you risk pulling out the body and leaving the head behind. Once out of the shower and dry, I doused the critter (which was still a part of me) with a bit of baby oil on a Q-tip. No budging, though he did start swimming his little legs in the oil bath. I Googled “how to remove a tick.” Turns out both things I’d heard about tick-removal are false. Well–kinda. You’re not supposed to “oil” it, because it might then spit regurgitate infected juices (oops). You are supposed to pull it out, but straight up, and not twist. Twisting increases the danger of decapitating it or leaving mouth parts in your skin.
So, I grabbed him with my tweezers, and pulled, but kinda chickened out–this guy was not wanting to budge! I grabbed him again with the tweezers and pulled very diligently, and finally the pesky nuisance came free. He’s now joined the tick of my childhood trauma in tick heaven. I’ve still got a red spot. I think he had a regular old feast.
Yes mom and dad, I did scrub up and disinfect with Neosporin.
So the question is, how’d this guy get in my room? Yikes. Two ticks, both while I was sleeping.
(If only writing research papers was as easy as writing blog entries).