Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Does this Crouching Tiger have Lyme Disease?

One week ago this past Saturday, during Hannah's first field hockey game, I found a tick on my leg. Then the lady beside me found a tick on her arm. Then we heard, "ticks are bad out here". Then.... several days went by.

Tuesday morning before school (last week) Samuel told me:

"Momma. Momma. Momma, I dot dis booder in my head. Back here. In my head. Dis booger herd my head."

(as he says this, he rubs the back of his head, but not really in a way to cause alarm)

I say, "Uh-huh, baby...I know...mmm-hmmm" since I honestly believe that it could be a hurtin' booger stuck in his scalp or more likely a healing scab from one of his many head injuries. The boy's head is lumpy....all the time. I never once look at his head. Please don't pass judgement.

Tuesday afternoon while waiting to pick up Hannah from school he tells me again:

"Momma. Mah-MAA! Momma, dis booder still herdin me."

So I pull him from his seat and put him in my lap and lo & behold there is a narly little tick burrowed into his scalp.

It's time for a "Have Mercy".

This is one of those moments as a mother that you feel like you just aren't equipped. Can't do it. Sorry. There are things I feel like I just can't do.... like having a child covered in diarrhea and giving them a bath in the public sink at the local theme park...Or like plucking the pieces of their dinner out of their bedding after a bout with a stomach virus. Oh, in that fleeting moment there is certainly a voice screaming...NOT GONNA DO IT!

But it's just a moment, and it passes rather quickly, so I whip out my handy-dandy, all-purpose, mostly for my chin-hair- tweezers, and go to work. I don't tell Samuel that this nasty booger (literally) is actually a bug or that I am about to rip it from his scalp. One good yank...and I miss, so on the second yank and an incredibly large yelp, I pull the pest out. Done. And I did it. Whew, I think I am sweating a little bit just at the memory of it all.

I make my routine calls to the Lurker because we assume that either
A) one of our children has been exposed to ticks OR
B) we have read up on it at some point during an episode of paranoia.

Lucky Me. Lurker's kids have been exposed as well as L-mom herself! No bulls eye rash? That's the tell-tale sign and so as the next few days pass, I see no inkling of a rash (although this is under his mop-head of hair)

What we do see is an e-mail from a church member requesting prayer for their cousin who is near death from a very rare disease caused by..... A TICK BITE!!!! Well and wouldn't you know it, Samuel starts saying how "cold" he is when the rest of us are enjoying the balmy 70-degree weather and the knot-turned-nodule in the back of his head is beginning to itch. Paranoia....is that you calling my name???

So...yesterday morning as Samuel was playing I noticed a ball-bearing swollen gland in the side of his neck and decided it was time to end the delusions of Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or some kind of Death-by-Tick illness and get this boy to a professional.

On the way to the doctor we talked about what the doctor might want to do because Samuel has a scratchy throat, and his voice sounds funny and maybe he will want to look at the bug bite. From that, Samuel carried on this monologue:

"Mom, I tell you what dat doctore gonna to do to me. He gonna look right here (pointing to his throat). He gonna look right here. He gonna look right here. (sometimes he gets stuck) He gonna look right here....one time.....K? One time....K? And dat's it. And den we dunna leave and we dunna get dat turtle from MaDonald's. K?"

I humor him with another, "Uh-huh, baby...I know...mmm-hmmm". However, we do have a lengthy conversation about how we are going to behave at the doctor's office. What we will "say" when the doctor speaks to us. How we will have "manners" and speak like a "big boy" when the doctor speaks to us. I say:

"Samuel, when the doctor talks to you...when he asks you, 'how are you', what will you say?"

Samuel says:

"I will say, 'Hi... I Sammer'."

We repeat this exercise several times until the doctor comes in. As the door opens, Samuel goes from a seated position into a crouched-on-his-hind-legs position and all of our rehearsing flies out the window.

The doctor says:

"Hello there! How are you today?"

Samuel says (while crouched in his chair, head cocked sideways, tongue hanging out of the corner of his mouth, and hands curled up like tiger-claws)


Fantastic. The boy is never sick, so we never visit the doctor and on this rare occasion that I am actually concerned for his health, he makes a valid attempt at convincing our Pediatrician that he is mentally challenged.

The Doctor (unfazed) says:

"Alrighty then. How old are you"

Samuel (still crouched, but looking sideways through tiny squinty eyes) says nothing, but just holds up 4-fingers close to his chest, kinda like his gang signal, if you know what I mean.

I ask the doctor if he is impressed because that is Samuel's goal. To impress.

The doctor assures me that he is in awe of my child's communication skills and after a brief but thorough check-up, assures me that all is well. He says that.

It still makes me wonder what he was writing down on that clipboard.....

These pictures are from our Sunday dinner. I am simply trying to snap a photo. No special requests. Not an easy task.

Here is a rare glimpse into the World of Sammer....


Christina said...

Great pictures! BTW, we get ticks here in CA all the time, and next time if you save the tick (in a ziplock) you can have it tested for Lyme Disease. Glad to hear that's not what it was.

Jill B said...

I'm so impressed you took the bug out; I would have waited for the husband to get home from work. He's the sliver and tick checker and nail clipper in our house and I'm the "doctor diagnosis" and take a child to the pediatrican for the third this month alone person. Of course the fact that #2 now has pneumonia and #1 had it two weeks ago; I'm anticipating #3 following our visit to the doctor shortly. This has relieved my husband's need to do his "jobs" as we never leave home!
Sam cracks me up!

Anonymous said...

He's so cute!!! Glad that all is well. I hate ticks! They are soooo nasty.

Kim said...

I'm sorry about yucky tick bites...I don't *do* those either!

He is handsome fella!


Kim said...


I actually tried to dig that nasty thing out of the trash, but it was too late. Now I know :)

Jill -

I hope your kiddos are feeling better soon!

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