Yesterday morning, the thing I’ve been paranoid and on edge and basically freaked out about since the weather got warm happened.
I found a tick on my scalp.
You all know by now I’m not a fan of bugs, so to have a tick chillin’ on my head all night? NOT OKAY.
It was shortly after my son and I woke up. We were playing in the bathroom/doing our business, and as I absentmindedly ran my fingers through my hair, I felt it. A slightly raised bump on the back of my head that can best be described as feeling like a small scab.
My mind immediately went to TICK. I knew I could be thinking the worst, but having had a tick embedded in my head once as a child and recalling the way my mom described it, I had a pretty good suspicion I was right.
I grabbed a hand mirror as I spread my hair apart and looked as closely as I could.
Yes, the small dark spot I discovered was most likely a tick.
I dialed my mom to come over right away to confirm what I was seeing in the mirror.
I got on the phone with my husband to give him the heads up.
I called the nearest urgent care to find out the best next steps.
I reassured my son that everything was fine.
I wasn’t fine though. I was losing it inside, trying desperately to stay level-headed and not downward spiral into the worst-case scenario mindset. My anxiety was on overdrive.
These days, ticks are more common than ever and bites are taken pretty seriously. Lyme disease, among other concerns, is real and prevalent. It can most certainly happen to anyone.
My mom arrived a quick fifteen minutes later, though by then it felt like much longer. With a quick look, there was no question – definitely a tick.
I rushed to the urgent care to have it removed right away. The sooner you catch it, the better your chances.
In the waiting room, my panic heightened. The nurse finally called me back. Yes, my pulse is probably a little higher than usual.
The doctor came in cool, calm and collected. He grabbed his fancy tweezers and popped that sucker right out. I’m sure I won’t soon forget the image of the still very much alive tick’s tiny legs squirming as he showed me it was indeed a successful release.
I was lucky.
I had been at the beach all week, not near many areas that would have ticks. Getting home the night prior, we played in the backyard. We weren’t in the completely wooded section, but clearly that didn’t matter.
So yes, I was lucky it hadn’t been working its way into my scalp for longer than a night.
I was lucky I happened upon the tick right away the next morning.
I was lucky it wasn’t yet embedded.
I was lucky the doctor was able to pull it out without a problem.
I was lucky I only had to take one dose of these two pills in my hand – doxycycline. A preventative measure for anyone who has had a tick bite.
I was lucky it wasn’t my son and the worry was for myself, not him. Can you imagine my stress level then?
So what now?
Now I’ll remember. Remember how important it is to wear bug spray with tick repellent. We’ll wear hats when near wooded areas. We’ll take warm showers after being outdoors. I’ll inspect both mine and my son’s bodies and heads regularly.
I’ll urge you all, if you live or play in an area where ticks could be, to do the same.
And perhaps most importantly, I’ll try not to allow fear to lead. I’ll try not to allow my worry and concerns to overshadow the joy we get from being outdoor adventurers.
I’ll take all the precautions I can, but I’ll remind myself every day the anxiety starts to creep in (and it is and will) that as with most things in life, we can only control so much. And the rest? Well, as difficult as it is, I’ve just got to let it go and let the Big Guy upstairs handle it.