Wednesday, June 06, 2007

damn ticks....

**EXCELLENT RESOURCE site for tick information**

please bookmark for summer...

Upon getting into the tub to soak tonight, I noted I had a tick on my left hip. It was an American dog tick... And it scared me to death. Not because it is a bug, hell that was not the problem.

About (DH forgive me if I get these dates wrong) I think it was the summer of 1993? Because I was in nursing school, and working at the Country Club. While in the field with his National Guard, DH had a tick attach itself to his right posterior trunk.

A week or say later we were visiting my folks, and DH was complaining of freezing....his teeth were chattering, and even with 5 blankets he was freezing. I took his temperature, and it was 102.7 degrees. I put him in a tepid bath, and gave him tylenol and we noted his right inguinal area was swollen. Swollen enough I thought he might have a hernia. I think we may have left my folks that might, so we could get him in to the Dr. in the morning.

DH was NO better in the morning. He complained of body aches, and he still had a fever that varied from 102-103.7, even with tylenol.

So we took him to the Dr. the very next day. And the Dr. took a History and Physical, and labs. DH's white count was over 25,000, and even though DH was in the National Guard, and had had HIV testing the Dr. immediately tested for the virus. DH was working at the city/county jail at the time, and I was in nursing school and had been working in health care since I was 15, so we may have had contracted the disease. The Dr.s second guess was Lymphoma. Both of these things frightened me very much. After working in Healthcare, I had seen the faces of these illnesses. And i was terrified.

DH continued to have fever, even with antibiotic treatment for 7 days. He grew more lethargic as the days passed, he could not eat, but was keeping himself hydrated. He was very sick. He could not work his 40 hour a week job, he could not attend his classes at University. He just slept, and slept...and was diapheretic, and freezing.

I recall sitting in Nursing School, waiting for the rest of the blood tests to come in. 2 weeks after the original visit, The Dr. had went on vacation without calling his results in. Listening to all of the talk about disease and illness, was of no comfort for me. After those very LONG weeks we finally called to get the results. Both of us prepared to ANYTHING. It turns out both the testing for Lymphoma was negative, as was the HIV test.

It was concluded that he had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from I believe a deer tick.
DH was VERY sick, and unable to work for 3 months, he lost weight, and could barely move from room to room. It was a very serious illness. He was on antibiotics for the entire 3 months. DH's recovery took longer than the 3 months. Probably 6 months to a year before he felt himself.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most severe and most frequently reported rickettsial illness in the United States. It also occurs in Mexico and in Central and South America. The disease is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, a species of bacteria that is spread to humans by ixodid (hard) ticks. Initial signs and symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. The disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and without prompt and appropriate treatment it can be fatal.

It was a very horrible and frightening illness. To see a very healthy young man, brought down by a small itty bitty tick.

So go take a look at the resource site, and educate yourself.

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