Been There, Done That: Dadgum ticks

Story by Jon Stalnaker AKA The Studebaker Dude

I’m sitting at my computer, early in the morning on my birthday, because I cannot sleep. Not because I’m excited about being loved on by my wife and family and friends today, but because my leg itches so bad. About 4 days ago, I plucked another dadgum tick off my leg. I hate those little punks! I lived almost 70 years in California and had only read about those nasty critters; not because California doesn’t have ticks, they are plentiful there, I just was lucky I guess. I picked up a couple of hitchhiking buggers a couple of years ago, so I learned a little bit about them back then. I looked up types of ticks and discovered that the one I pulled out of my leg was a Lone Star tick. They are identified by a white dot on their back and the one that got me again this week was another one. I had to endure a 21-day regimen of tick pills as a precaution, and I just started that regimen again the day before yesterday.

I guess I don’t handle these bites well as my leg was swelled up by the day after removing it. We have a handy tick removal tool that works well and removing him was easy. I wanted to clean the bite area with some alcohol but couldn’t even see the bite area. I thought I got off easy, but noooo. The next day it looked nasty, so we googled it again. Google said “ watch for a hard lump—it could be a nodule, which is a larger solid lump that can develop from acute skin lesions. (nothing cute about them in my book) These lesions can also form papules, and over time can develop into a tick bite granuloma which is a 0.5 to 2 cm nodule made up of inflammatory cells. Tick bites can also cause other skin reactions such as raised areas and growths, due to secretions from the tick’s feeding parts.” EW, Gross… I’m not sure exactly what all that means, but it sure looks like what is going on with my leg. So, I went to the Dr as a precautionary measure. And my leg itches like crazy.


There are 4 levels of itchiness that are rambling around in my head right now. Level one is mild – you can satisfy it with a simple scratch. Level two is irritating—you have difficulty not scratching it and it gets red and swollen. Level three is agonizing—hurts a lot and you want to scratch it really badly, but you know that’s just going to make it worse, but you scratch it anyway. That’s pretty much where I’m at right now but this description seems to be lacking a little bit. So I came up with level four and named it “SUMB.” I made up this word and purposely capitalized it for emphasis and because it is an anagram. It stands for Seriously Uncomfortable Maximously Bothersome. Okay, I made up another word too. I feel this level more accurately describes what I’m feeling right now. Nothing is more annoying than that SUMB itch…

I’ll get over it, after all, I’ve been there and done that before. But it’s putting a damper on my special day. My wife is a jewel, and she will take my mind off the SUMB itch. However, as wonderful and marvelous as she is, she can’t take it away today. The Dr. said it will probably be gone after ten days of the prescription regimen, but I will take the pills for the full 21 days just to be sure. And the dadgum tick? Well, he messed with the wrong guy. They are hard to squish, but I heard a distinct pop when I killed him. Unfortunately, he has millions of relatives hiding out just to repeat this annoying incident. I’m sure God had a reason for creating the tick, I just can’t figure it out. Maybe I’ll ask him when I get that glorious face-to-face…

Lone Star Tick. Joshua Allen on Flickr.

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