It was 7pm when we finally arrived our motel in Tulare. My thigh was still strangely tender and sore, but our hunger pangs from our day long excursion turned our thoughts to food. We settled for some mediocre Mexican food near the motel, where we talked about our day and gave Julie a call, who was back at home unable to make the trip.
Then, we checked into our room and started cleaning ourselves from the sweat, dirt, and deet accumulated during the day.
When it came my turn, I was merrily showering when the persistent soreness in my left thigh was on my thoughts again. My heart almost jumped out of my body when I looked down at my thigh…
…it was a black round ball about the size of half the nail of a pinky with legs sticking up in the air and half way lodged through my skin!
I knew immediately it was a tick. And in my frantic state (as I had never been bitten by one before), I reached for it with my fingernails to pluck it out of my thigh. It took three tries before I managed to get its hard body out. The thought of what must be going on down there was sickening, to say the least.
When I was done showering, my thoughts immediately turned to the possibility of infection. In hindsight, I knew I did what I wasn’t supposed to do – hastily yanking the tick off by the belly. If its head was still attached to my wound, I knew it could infect the area with potentially deadly bacteria that ticks have been known to carry (e.g. Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc.).
Mom and I went to the local convenience store to buy some tweezers and hydrogen peroxide. When we returned to our motel room, we dug into the wound looking for a head. We couldn’t find the head but the thigh still felt sore and there was deep red irritations in the skin the size of a fingernail around the entry wound.
Unsure of whether I’ve been infected with Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or whatever else these little blokes carried, I uneasily slept. We still had some more touring to do tomorrow in the Sequoia National Forest…