too many words by laura lemay

Bloodsucking monsters

No sooner did I get over the cold from hell that I got food poisoning from hell. I got over the food poisoning from hell and went outside yesterday to work in the garden.

Came inside last night and there was a BIG HORKING TICK on my arm. Not just on my arm, but wedged, buried, wiggled down halfway INTO my arm, feasting madly! AHHHH!!!!

He was a smart tick, too. He was nestled lovingly right in the crook of my arm, right where I usually give blood. Right where I could see him in FULL VIEW.


The book says to get a tick out, hold a lit cigarette against it until it backs out. This is very useful advice in a household of nonsmokers. Lit matches made the tick wiggle and try to go DEEPER.


We tried to drown the tick in salad oil. The tick wiggled. We tried to drown the tick in alcohol. The tick didn’t budge. I thought to try the lit matches again and then had the sense to realize that with oil and alcohol and fire this probably wasn’t a good idea.

The tick had now stopped moving altogether. We poked at it with a pair of tweezers. We thought we had killed it. But it didn’t want to come loose. “Just pull it off,” said Eric. “I’m trying,” I said. The book said not to pull off the tick because you might leave mouth parts behind in the wound. Mouth parts! in the wound!


I finally just grimaced and yanked it off. “Did you get it all?” Eric asked. “I dunno.” I said. We examined the tick. A tick is a horrible creature, a prehistoric monster with eight legs (eight legs == bad). It looks menacing even at an eighth of an inch. I would not know an intact tick if I saw one, because, frankly, I see ticks, I run the other way. I left Eric to dispose of the tick while I examined my arm and quivered in horror. I did not see any mouth parts in there. I squoze my arm. It bled. That’s a good sign.

But this morning, AHHH!

I’ve been abused by (human) blood-takers in the past. Its not hard to take blood from me, I have big arm veins that stick out and practically say, PUT NEEDLE HERE. But people still manage to screw it up and hurt me. But man. This one tiny tick has left my whole arm feeling like someone put it down on a table and hammered on it for a while.

And I am now convinced I am going to get Lyme disease, because, lets face it, my sickness record this month has not been too great.

I am never, ever going to go outside again.