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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Deer Tick Trouble: Help Please!

I was a bit freaked out this morning. I found a disgusting tick on the crease of 3 year old's right arm this morning, hanging out, sucking away at her blood. Of course I panicked. All I'm thinking is, Oh no! Lyme Disease. Rocky Spotted Mountain Fever. Check out the other tick-borne diseases. Need. Doctor. Now.

Thankfully, hubby was around barking orders. Get the tweezers! A glass full of water! Find a lollipop! Take the tweezers and pull it out!

What? You mean you're not gonna do it? No, in my family, I'm the one that has to do all the yicky yucky stuff regarding blood, gore and anything remotely disgusting. He hugs 3 year old, and starts instructing me on how to do it. Go to the base of the tick with the tweezers. Pull him straight out. Oh. You got him!! Put him in the water. Hurry! The head's still in her. Get a needle. You gotta pick it out. No. Go deeper. Be aggressive! Don't wimp out! The head's digging in! Gotta get it out!! No you're not doing it right! I finally thrust the darn needle and tweezer at him so he can do it. But he can't bear the thought of hurting her.

I'm sweating and ready to throttle him. 3 year old is in hysterics. She starts hyperventilating, collapses and vomits all over herself. Clearly, it's time to clean her up and take her to the pediatrician. Let's not forget to bring the tick so they can identify the bloody thing.

To make short of this long, emotionally draining experience, it was a deer tick. The type that can cause Lyme Disease. A couple of nurses tried to get the head out. No success. Our pediatrician, who is the most amazing pediatrician ever, tried to calm me down. He then proceeds to tell me that new studies are out that indicate it doesn't matter whether you can't get the tick head out. The disease carrying spirochetes are in the tick body, so as long as it's out, there's no need to further traumatize the child.

Well I was grossed out about a tick head lodged inside my child's arm. Plus, if it turns out my child ends up with Lyme Disease, I'm gonna think, it was that tick head. So traumatize her more, we did. Sob. In case anyone is interested, here are the correct removal procedures for ticks.

So now we have 2 - 3 weeks of waiting, to see if a rash develops. And if so, she will get aggressive antibiotic treatment.

We're out in a populated suburb, but clearly safe enough for deer and wild turkey to want to hang out. For any of you out there, any suggestions on how to make sure the deer don't come around our yard? Is there something safe we can use outside the perimeter of the house to prevent these little weasels from sneaking in?


PJ Hoover said...

Ok, maybe you didn't mean for it to be funny, but thank you for the laugh! And I only laugh because I can see this exact same situation in our house with my 2-1/2 year old (who also vomits everytime she gets very upset).
Kids force me to be a tougher mamma! I can't run and hide from snakes and spiders anymore. But I've always been the tweezers one.

And how to keep deer away? I gave up. But I stopped growing anything, and I don't throw my rotting veggies and fruit into the yard for them anymore.

HipWriterMama said...

Thanks Tricia. Sometimes you have to infuse a bit of humor to panicked moments. I can't tell you the multitude of funny stories about the kids I have tucked away...now that the trauma has passed.

When 8 year old came home, she wanted all the play by play details of this deer tick. She soon tired of my answers.

Wouldn't you know it, she grilled 3 year old and was soon satisfied with 3 year old's description of everything. 3 year old added quite a bit to her story--pain, agony, tears, gore. 8 year old was captivated.

I have much to learn from 3 year old. Amazing, huh?

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Way to go, HipWriterMama! You get the medal for not passing out.

This is one of the reasons why, when people espouse the joys of camping, I say, "Nature is not all crickets and sunsets. It's also bloody ticks, mosquitos, and poison ivy."

Re: passing out, I can do okay with blood, guts, etc. (I don't love it, but I can do okay.) Other people vomiting, however, makes me light-headed and queasy. So, way to go with not passing out.

cloudscome said...

I have had Lyme Disease twice. The important part is that you saw the tick and you know what to look for in symptoms and the Dr. knows how to treat it right away. It's gross to deal with the tick... but the really scary part is if they get bit and you don't see it or know. Then they are mysteriously droopy and the Dr. can't figure out why. So you did good! Yay mom!

HipWriterMama said...

Alkelda the Gleeful,
Can't do the camping thing at all. Too many camping trips for family vacations when I was a kid. One time we couldn't find a camp and ended up sleeping in the car. Of course we had to keep the windows open a bit to get some air in. The mosquitoes were totally loving their unprotected feast.

And I'm totally okay with blood and gore--I'm one of those people who like watching surgery shows. I panicked cause this parasite was latched on so tight to my child, feeding off my little baby. It put up quite the fight. Yick!

Lyme Disease twice!? That must have been so hard. I hope you had a full recovery. Thanks for the reassurance. It is so, so appreciated.

Becky Levine said...

Don't panic. We've each had a tick or so at our house, and they are the "wrong" kind, but we're clear. I agree, you know the tick was there, you can watch for symptoms, it'll be fine.

This may be the wrong time to tell you, but I think you can send the tick (if you still have it!) into public health somewhere & they can test it. We did that the first time, then didn't worry about it after.

Hang in there. She'll be fine!

HipWriterMama said...

Thanks for stopping by and for the good thoughts. I actually brought this tick to the pediatrician's office and they identified it as a deer tick. Then they said the testing office discouraged them from sending the ticks because there are just too many. And of course I left it there, so there's no getting it back now. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

No worries. I don't know any anyway to prevent them coming around. There is spray(like OFF! but for ticks) you can get so if your daughter is outside, it will keep them away. Last summer I woke up with one hanging out on my lower eyelid, it was fabulous. Since you found it and know the symptoms, even if she does get sick the meds will take care of it. A friend of mine got it this summer and it was taken care of in a week or two.

HipWriterMama said...

Thanks for the recommendation about the spray. I will search it out today.

A tick on your lower eyelid. I must say, despite the absolute grossness of it so close to your eye, academically speaking, it does sound quite fascinating.

This is the first time I've ever had to deal with a tick. Now that I'm telling anyone who'll listen, I'm finding out if they're not caught, these ticks can actually totally burrow themselves under the skin!

Holly Doe said...

My now three year old had lyme disease when he was 18 months. We never saw the tick that bit him. It must have been very small. He did not have the typical bullseye rash. Looking back, though, we do remember a rash on his entire body more like white lines with red splotches between. Very atypical but it may have been a sympton. Fortunately, you know she was bitten and you will look carefully for any symptoms. My son had it for over 3-4 months and when we finally discovered it he was hospitalized for one week with a septic knee. It took the week in the hospital to conclude that the septic arthritis was caused by lyme. He is great now and was treated with normal antibiotics. I tell everyone you can't be too careful and it does not cost very much for a simple lyme test of the child's blood if you are ever unsure. I have had both my kids tested since this happened and they came back negative. We do not use too many sprays but we do nightly tick checks in all the crevices and on the scalp.
Hope this is helpful. My mom also had long term lyme and was treated very successfully.

Liz in Ink said...

The tick sprays have DEET and that's just another scary thing to mess with. You sound like you were on top of it so any reaction is going to be noticed and dealth with quickly. That's the key.

The worst ticks we ever got were on our dog -- swollen up to the size of olives. Ugh...

HipWriterMama said...

Thanks for the warning about the DEET. Definitely something to use with extreme caution. Jeez, these little buggers can get that big feasting on blood? See, I can take just about anything but parasites...well that's another story.


Thanks for the description of a potential atypical rash. Glad your little one and your mom recovered. It must have been so scary with your little one.

We started the nightly check yesterday. Just one more thing to do...

MotherReader said...

You poor thing. Consider it one of your mom badges of honor, like the first time your child threw up in public.

I've done tick removal too, and it isn't fun.

Jen Robinson said...

I don't have any useful suggestions, but I am sorry to hear about your deer tick trauma. Fingers crossed for NO rash.

HipWriterMama said...

Mother Reader,
This tick removal is rather nasty stuff isn't it? I like that, a mom badge of honor. Thanks, I needed that.

Thanks. Of course now any whimper or bad attitude from little one is examined quite carefully. Hopefully this next week or two will quickly pass. Glad you're back!

nowheymama said...

I'm so sorry! I hope it all turns out all right.

Susan said...

HWM, we had a tick scare this week, too. Nasty things they are.