A Not so Harmless Little Tick

I’m dead on my feet at the moment, so this post will probably be brief: a few weeks back I was no doubt boring readers with my recent health problems: mega dental treatment during February and March followed by a mega chest infection shortly thereafter (if interested you can find my post about it all here). I was prescribed five different medications for the chest infection and “dangerously high blood pressure”, two of which I’ve still got to take for a number of months. I should perhaps add at this point that the last time I had any contact with doctors and meds was 13 years ago, and that was related to a bad work injury which was not connected to my general health. Anyhows, cut a long story short, it took a few weeks before the meds got me on the mend from the chest infection; but then this last week I’ve been feeling really ill again. This was due to an uninvited guest on the lower part of my left leg: a small, blood sucking tic (I’ve been doing a lot of gardening recently, as you do at this time of year). As the tic got bigger I was going to pull the damn thing off myself, but then thought about my blood pressure problems, so I went to see my lady doctor this afternoon (as an aside she’s a Portuguese national who’s fluent in French, English, Italian and Spanish). My multi-lingual lady doctor was most impressed when I rolled-up my trouser leg and showed her the uninvited guest. It didn’t hurt when she removed the uninvited guest with a pair of tweezers. It did hurt when she went in for a second go to see if anything was left inside my sore and swollen skin.

My lady doctor put the uninvited guest on a piece of gauze, and we both laughed to see the guest still wriggling around. I didn’t laugh when the doctor told me that from this particular kind of tic I had a serious risk of contracting Lyme disease. This disease is apparently quite common in France, and of course particularly in rural areas. After just finishing a course of anti-biotics for the mega chest infection, for which I’m still taking other medication, I now find myself having to take a three week course of anti-biotics to combat Lyme disease. The Lyme disease anti-biotics are ‘solar sensitive’, meaning that I can’t be in sunlight while I’m taking them. My nice lady doctor told me that if I’m out in the sun I will need to wear a wide brimmed hat and gloves on my hands, a la Dracula. The good thing about this afternoon’s visit to le Docteur is that she tested my blood pressure, and it’s no longer at insane levels.

What I like about all this, of course, is that the mega chest infection, and to a lesser extent the dental stuff, are down to lifestyle choices (I have now almost managed to give up smoking). That tic which attached itself to my lower leg was due to the perfectly normal and healthy activity of gardening, albeit in the nature wonderland of rural south west France. Talking of which, a few weeks back, while sitting down to dinner, with all the doors open during the hot weather, we suddenly noticed a snake curled up under the tv stand in the kitchen. It was a big bastard, five or six feet long. I managed to gently guide it back to its natural environment. It wasn’t a poisonous snake, although there are plenty of those in these parts, mostly vipers and adders (we’ve had one of those in the house as well). All the chemists around here sell emergency anti-venom packs for those unlucky enough to get bitten by one of the little buggers. Our recent snake was not a nasty one, and it’s usually easy to tell the difference. Non-venomous snakes have round eyes. Venomous snakes have slit eyes. Our half-stray cat Herricka has also been under the weather recently, because she’d been bitten by a venomous snake. You could see the fang marks and fur taken out on her flank (there are a lot of snakes in these parts at this time of the year). Stray cats are incredibly tough, though (which is why they survive) and Herricka is now on the mend.

I’m rambling here, which is probably due to all the medications I’m now on. I think where I’m trying to go with this post is that I’m equating my recent medical problems to what’s going on in the wider political world. Make of that what you will. I’m going to bed.

Bonne santé

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