Everything you and Leo and my wife and her husband should know about ticks

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I open my bedroom curtain and there it is every time, Mount Finlayson, looming defiantly, as if to say “Dave, come lay your fins on my mount, son.” We have a symbiotic/parasitic relationship, Fin and I, whereby he hovers over the spectacular Bear Mountain Golf course, keeping an intense Sauron eye on my golfballs, (which I’ve stored in several bushes, fescue and deer rectums). I, in turn, scratch his spine with my feet.

Should I so much as whisper “mountain” to Leo, my nimble, fluffy, wee white Havanese pup, he breaks immediately into four cartwheels followed by two summersaults and ends by hurtling himself into his Tongan fire/whirling dervish/pee pee dance of joy. So we climb/drag ourselves to the summit, where we celebrate our healthy decision to have made this climb by opening a duffle bag of the most delightfully decadent snacks and treats you can imagine.

My initial health concerns with making this daily jaunt involved shattered tendons, ligaments and skulls. But it turns out there’s a worse medical menace lurking up there (Gary Bettman excluded). 

One evening while petting Leo, my wife pulled at a lump as wives are wont to do with normally lumpless Havanese and lo and behold, she held in her hand, much to her chagrin... a tick. The tick also appeared relatively chagrined, in a ticked off tick kind of way. “TICK!!!!” she shrieked so shriekedly that even ticks peacefully grazing in the pastures of Finlayson, glanced up.

The tick who had been enjoying a course of canine corpuscles was promptly sent hurtling thru the kitchen where it landed unceremoniously on the garburator and was instantly pureed to tick heaven. While observing this tick hurtling towards the sink, accompanied by shrieks and profanity by both the tosser and the tossee, I decided to check my own carcass out for beasts mid-feasts. Sure enough I found one, and then another.

Now, as a doctor, when I peel odious disease-bearing, blood-sucking organisms from my epidermis, the screaming schoolgirl section of my brain (known as the Rob Sealey lobe) screams out to the Oompa Loompas in my frontal lobe...Panic Freakin’ Stations!! So I stagger to my medical books, thumbing madly past tetanus, tendons and tea stained teeth to try and find what illness I will die of tonight. No doubt a different illness than the one was most assuredly going to claim my life last week when I found a bump on my uvula.

So here is everything you and Leo and my wife and her husband should know about ticks.

Turns out ticks are nasty and getting nastier. The little bug buggers host a host of diseases for human and Havanese, and they are all on the rise.

In addition to the infamous Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, are some bad ones that end in “osis.” Babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, granulocytic anaplasmosis. I don’t recall learning these specific diseases in medical school, perhaps because I was playing Space Invaders while hungover in the back row. But I would also suggest that any MD (Master of Deception) who says that they remember these diseases, are, most respectfully, pathological liars and possibly tax evaders. But I do recall that most words with “osis” on the tail mean that it will be on a test.

Rocky Mt.SF is not just limited to Denver or Banffffffff.  A woman in the Carolinas recently died of RMSF. Lyme disease is not limited to Lyme, Connecticut. Babesiosis is not limited to Pam Anderson. In fact babesioisis is also having a real heyday in, of all places, Connecticut! (Strike Yale from the list of future schools to whom I will decline deanship when offered). So disease bearing ticks can be found surviving and thriving from coast to coast, Cleveland included.

DEET really doesn’t work, despite what the DEET folks say. If you do get a tick bite, I would suggest you don’t start self diagnosing.

“Well Ralph, it looks to me like the three legged black spotted deer tick and it appears to be carrying Eastern Erlichlochosis.”

“Frank, you just pulled off two legs and a tail already and you spelled ehrlichiosis incorrectly. We’re going in.” Bring the tick in to a tick lab and have it vivisected.

So now the only way my wife will allow Leo and I back up Finlayson, is if I wear chainmail and Leo wears a sucky knitted dog coat so thick he looks like a caribou. Leo doesn’t care whether he gets one or not but I’m a little twitchy about anything that brushes up against me, sort of like a... nervous tick. 

Dr. Dave's book The Doctor is In(sane) is now available for those with a sense of humor and half a sense of health. Learn more and meet Dr. Dave or contact him at www.wisequacks.org.