Tick: a horrible tiny poisonous insect, common in the bushland of Northern Australia

These ticks are BAD news (they can kill dogs and sometimes babies). None down here in Victoria, though! Too cold. I was scared when I got the first one: an ugly bullet hard swelling in the belly. Yuk! So much for the joys of the HOT areas of OZ!

19 June 1997 The Narooma Chronicles
(Narooma is in the State of New South Wales, 350 km South of Sydney and 700 km northeast of Melbourne.)

Two important things have happened to me in the past 24 hours.
1. I was connected to the Internet last night.
2. I've just had a tick removed from a sore bump on my head.

I have no evidence to prove that the two are related, but you do hear some funny things about the Internet invading your privacy, don't you?

I found the little intruder gorging on my head as I combed my hair this morning. I hope the comb hurt him/her. (Ticks now strike me as being a good argument for marriage: after all, you can't look closely at the top back of your head on your own.) With my recent experiences of life in NSW, I knew what it was. So I fled (three hours later; breakfast comes first, then the Internet) to the local surgery. Sally, the doctor's nurse, is a very jolly lady but she wasn't terribly sympathetic with my predicament. Apparently, her husband came back from a game of golf with 32 ticks on him after ferreting about under a bush looking for a lost ball. He was jolly lucky. He could have lost much more than a ball with that lot. (I trust this news will not deter tourists from coming to play golf at our spectacular golf course.)

Also, as she executed and extracted the tick, Sally remarked just a tad dismissively: ``It's only a little green tick.'' Yeah, but, considering the angry toxin-filled lump the ``little tick'' had built inside my head over the past four days (I did the gardening last Saturday!) she still insisted on giving me a full tetanus shot and prescribing a course of anti-biotics AND made me wait for the doctor to check out the nasty look of the red patch of scalp. Apprehensively but sensibly I asked what to expect (apart from the worst). The doctor forecast a sore flaking scalp and swollen lymph glands in my neck. But I'm glad I asked. Otherwise I would have got worried by the lymph gland bit when it happened.

O.K. SO, when I have time I'm going to go round the garden removing all overhanging branches and shrubbery. And I'll always wear a hat. And I'll smear on tea-tree oil every time I do some gardening, which isn't very often.

But what I really want to know is: What is the point of ticks, anyway? If there is one, will the Animal Rights Activists persecute me now for luring at least three of the little critters to their deaths on my body in the last 18 months? (Before then ticks seemed to be a hazard of bush-walking, not mowing the lawn. It's that global warming again, that's what it is.

*** (each of those asterisks represents a tick notch on my belt)

Brian Steel

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