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Little Jerks

Little Jerks

“Dude, I need help!” Cory shouted through the haze. I sat up in bed with one eye still squeezed shut, making my signature morning face.

An adult deer tick was stuck in his groin. Little jerk. (The tick, not Cory.)

I hate ticks with a fiery passion. My toddler Danny had one last spring, so I knew how these indestructible little beasts don’t let go, even if you beg and plead and cry. Lesser bugs would have been pulled to shreds after what I put that one through. Ticks are made of undying evil.

Still, I have never enjoyed the crunch of squishing a bug, even if it really deserved it. When we must interact, I scream until Cory traps them under a glass and brings them outside.

Getting up close and personal with all those legs wiggling around, grabbing with tweezers and pulling — my worst nightmare.

But I did it for Cory. He’s lucky I love him so much.

So you’re supposed to use the tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can and gently pull straight out. I know because of YouTube. Squeezing the tick (or smothering it with Vaseline or burning it with a match head) releases more of the monster’s pathogens into your body.

I took hold of that wriggling little rotter as close to the head as I could, suppressed my gag reflex, and pulled. It wouldn’t let go. I tried again, retching, feeling the bug between the tweezers. Gross. It would not come out.

“Let me try,” said Cory, hunching over and pushing his glasses up on his nose. No go.

I tried again, this time with gusto, and pulled the wretched thing into pieces.

Now, listen. I’m vegan and I believe all life is sacred. But ticks, man. Ticks can burn in hell.

As disgusted as I was, I felt relief when those nasty little legs stopped wriggling. But there was still more of its vile little demon body to remove. Cory took it from there while I dry heaved for the rest of the morning.

He went to his doctor and was prescribed two weeks of doxycycline, an antibiotic.

I’ve read that it takes 24-48 hours for the tick to transmit Lyme disease. Cory had been laying in the grass out in our yard right here in Glens Falls. He showered that night but it must have been running around his leg hair, avoiding the washcloth. I think we caught it early. He’s feeling okay.

I posted on Facebook: “PSA: Cory got a tick and now I’m scared of my yard.”

Friends shared their tick stories, right here in Glens Falls backyards. Forget plagues of locusts, frogs and boils. Ticks and Lyme, dude. It’s bad. My friends shared info on making homemade tick tubes out of permethrin, dryer lint and toilet paper tubes. Several friends suggested getting chickens to eat the ticks up.

Some recommended Grillo’s Essentials (a local client of mine who makes a roll-on insect repellant) or Avon’s Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus that includes SPF 30 sunscreen. Some people said not to panic (my friend Carol Law Conklin has had eight bites this spring out in Washington County!), and others said we should have blood tests done and that the local doctors who give the proper antibiotics for Lyme are Dr. Reeves and Dr. Merrihew, and that Holly Ahern at SUNY Adirondack is a national expert. A friend who works for Nature’s Way offered a consultation on spraying our yard with essential oils.

For now, Cory feels fine and we’re trying to remember our repellant and check every night for ticks.

Little jerks.

This column ran in the June 14, 2018 edition of the Glens Falls Chronicle.

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