Sunday, June 27, 2010

There's a Lyme in Your Coconut

Okay....I think I'm ready to do this post. This is one of those moments that I would have really not liked to have experienced. It's not my best mother moment, although maybe it is my best worst mother of the year moment. Ughhhh....I don't know. No matter what you consider it, don't judge me too harshly. Please.

So....WARNING WARNING WARNING.....NASTY pictures ahead. These just might even make the strongest stomach a little squeamish, they certainly do mine.

Remember how I poo-pooed Jarom's "you're gonna get a tick, Kate" comments from our Yellowstone adventure? Well, even though I've never had a tick from Yellowstone, when we got home from camping I still had everyone do the tick check. I washed Kate's hair, braided it and didn't pay much attention to it for the next couple of days.

Kate is just starting to get old enough to wash her own hair, so for the next shower, she washed it herself. I helped her brush it out, fixed it and, again, left it alone for a couple more days. When I would brush her hair later in the week, she kept telling me she had an "ouchy bump" and asked me not to push hard on it. So, like the good mother I am (okay laugh now), I avoided the spot all together thinking she had a goose egg. I was extra careful to not touch the spot.

Father's Day rolled around, a full week from the time we'd been camping, we were visiting my in laws and I just happened to touch Kate's head on her "ouchy spot". Well, the ouchy spot was NOT a goose egg, but rather, something BIG and soft and squishy. I immediately pulled her hair back and this is what we found:

Oh my lawsy lawsy!!! Talk about NASTINESS!! A BIG ol' tick had found itself a happy little home in Kate's scalp. I'm telling you, I will NEVER not look at an "ouchy spot" on a child's head ever again. Tell me, (okay really don't because I have enough guilt of my own) HOW does a mother miss a tick that big in her baby's head??! And finding it in front of my inlaws....sheesh....where was a hole to hide in?

Luckily, they are all just as fascinated by disgusting things as I am, and soon, Kate's head was the event of the night. She was so funny. She laid still as could be, didn't make a whimper or a peep, while we surgically removed the tick. She kept saying, "The tick is sucking my juices out." LOL!
I LOVE Halle's disgusted expression and Kate's bored out of her mind expression in this shot.

Now....remember when we all were kids and we were told,

"NEVER pull a tick out. You might pull it's body off and the head will stay inside, alive, and make you REALLY sick? Just try to burn it out with a hot match."

Remember? Tell me I'm not the only one. Anywho...first we tried to freeze it out with some cold numbing spray stuff my brother-in-law had on hand. That seemed like it was going to work, but then, I think we froze the tick and it quit coming out. Next up, the match trick. Nothing. THEN, another brother-in-law read to us from the good ol' internet, "Never try to remove the tick by anything that will cause stress on the tick i.e. burning with a match, as this can cause the tick to regurgitate leading to illness." Whoops....

Apparently, the proper tick removal method is to pinch the tick as close to the head as possible with tweezers, and GENTLY pull. The tick will slowly loosen and the entire thing will come out. So now you all know....don't ever forget.

In Idaho, Lyme disease is basically a non-existant worry. For example, one site I found reported 9 Lyme cases in the entire state of Idaho in 2009. Nine.
This is what the Lyme rash looks like if you get Lyme, and IF you're lucky enough to actually get the rash before other symptoms develop. See how it looks like a target? This can develop anywhere from 3-30 days after the tick bites. Sometimes the rash never develops, and sometimes it can develop months after the bite. Lyme is a tricky thing to diagnose.

Well, 4 days after we removed the tick (so about 10 days from the time we are assuming the tick bit), Kate's bite did this:

First it started swelling with no redness. (I was brushing her hair and she told me she had an "ouchy bump". You'd better believe I looked this time!) About 24 hours after the swelling, the redness showed up and started looking very suspiciously like a red target. She also ran a fever of 101.5. So, we ran her to the doctor and they began treatment for Lyme Disease. About a month on amoxicillin, 3 times a day, and that should do the trick.

If treated early, there is a VERY high success rate for curing Lyme. Within 24 hours on antibiotics, Kate's fever was gone and the rash is slowly going away. It is now about the size of a dime. We feel very confident that we caught it early enough that no serious symptoms or complications will develop. What a blessing.

The moral of the story? Well, just be a better mother than me, and THOROUGHLY check your babies' heads after camping. Oh, and Lyme really does exist in Idaho.

14 comments:

Camille said...

Oh, poor girl! That is awful. But you are NOT a bad mom! You are a good mom to let your baby become independent.

So, I found a tick on my little Katelynn's hair a couple weeks ago in the EXACT same spot! I was brushing her hair and thought she had a scab. Luckily it had just started burrowing in. I freaked out, called my mom and a neighbor and proceeded to put vaseline jelly on to suffocate it. Then I was going to try the hot needle trick, but decided to wikipedia the subject first. Why didn't I think of that first? I must have come upon the same site you guys did. It told me not to do all the things I was going to try. But, I did what it said, and it worked! Good lesson learned the hard way.

I hope the infection really is going away for Kate. My friends got lyme disease a couple years ago. Not a good one.

Willy Happy Mama said...

O! Elena! I am so glad you took her to the Doctor! I would have sent you that very day you found it if I knew. My cousins and Aunt have had Lyme in Connticut. It is awful and needs treatment immediately as you now know! Thank you for posting this. Get well soon Kate Kate. (And you are NOT a bad Mother, but I suppose you won't blow off Jarom's advice anymore,so lesson learned? ;)

Jenn said...

Sydnie had a tick a couple months ago. Luckily it was in a spot easy to see and we found it just a few hours after it started to burrow in. They are so nasty! I was also surprised the doctors didn't seem too concerned. They didn't even try to get the parts out that we missed. I guess lyme disease is pretty non existant in Utah too. But after reading your story I will be more careful about it. Glad you caught it early.

hoLLy said...

oh no! so sorry that happened. and you are absolutely a great mom-it could've happened to anyone! kids have lots of ouchie spots, doesn't mean we are going to examine them immediately every time. and yikes, sorry she got lyme disease, but it sounds like you caught it quick and everything will be ok. keep us updated!

stevie kay said...

Poor little Kate! And poor Elena. I learned the hard way that you also don't want to irritate the tick because you might kill it and then you have to dig the pieces out. Not fun. I still have a scar on my back from that.

I hope the lyme disease is totally cured and that you never have to deal with any of the weird side effects.

Kat said...

Poor Kate - looks like she was a real trooper for the "excavation."

And don't beat yourself up! You just never know where those creatures will come from. You did all the right things in getting rid of it...and even being aware of Lyme disease so that ya'll could take care of it! And especially with it being on her scalp - you'd really have to go looking for those tell tale signs!

Cherie said...

Awww Poor little thing and the Lyme disease is really scary - Glad you caught that!

I lived in the mountains on the coast of California when I was about 10 and one of my favorite things to do was climb redwoods. My friends and I would climb them all day, climb them high, make forts in the branches, etc...I got a few ticks in my head. Kind of gross.
My dad took them both out. Never got Lyme disease.
Bugs are yucky!!
I hear the ticks are really thick in Idaho and surrounding areas this year so we have to watch our dogs closely too!

Lee Ann said...

Oh my word!!!! No judging here! For sure! But wosers!!!!

I had my own scare once, a tick in my leg. My dad tried to burn it out but killed it. With the dr on the phone he pulled it with tweasers. And the next day I was vomiting and had a fever! You can bet they jumped on that one too. But thank goodness it was nothing.

I'm so glad you caught it early and knew to look for the red bulls-eye. I will always remember that!

Jennifer P. said...

:( Poor baby! So glad you know how to google stuff! Way to stay on top of it! Give Kate love and hoping for a full recovery!

Camille said...

I also remember being taught the hot match trick. Great. I am so freaked out of ticks. Seriously. We are supposed to go to a family reunion with Louis' fam next month in Yellowstone.... I am super freaking out. AAAGh

Jewelle said...

Oh my goodness! What a scary story. I truly hope Kate recovers well. AS for your parenting skills, don't doubt yourself. I've told Lily she's okay before from ouchies{because she whines about things as simple as bumping her finger against the table}. I started looking at every ouchy when one turned out that she had a fire ant trapped in her sock and was continuously biting her to get out. It took my 30 mins of it biting her to finally look at what was wrong. Her foot swelled up for a few days. So see! You aren't the only mom who leaves ouchies alone. :D

Trish said...

Is it bad that I am laughing? Not at Kate or the situation, but rather the telling of the story! The whole time I was reading that I felt like I was sitting right there on pins and needles waiting to see if she was okay. And I'm glad she is.

And by no means does this make you a bad mother! Just a funny mother.

LouandAngela said...

So. . .how's the lyme disease now? I haven't looked at blogs for over a month now, so I'm playing catch-up.

I agree with Camille, you're a good mom for letting Kate gain a little independence. I can totally see doing the same exact thing.

Damian got a tick on the back of his head several years ago. I was too freaked out to try to get it out. We just went to the doctor and had them GENTLY pull it out with tweezers. No big deal. BUT, I was so afraid of leaving the head in, etc.

And yes, I totally remember the heat idea. Thank heavens for the internet these days!

Miki said...

Oh my goodness. You were right.

I'm going to be like Forrest Gump now and say, "and that's all I'm going to say about that".