Real Help for Real Living: The day I almost died from a tick bite

by Rev. Tony Marciano

Mother’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year for me. It’s as if there is so much expectation on me to honor my wife and show her how much I appreciate her. I feel that I have to come up with something extra special.

Cooking on the grill doesn’t send her the message that she is “over the top” in my book. So this year, my kids and I decided to take her to Rocky River Vineyards.

The vineyard is very beautiful (score 2 points for me out of a scale of 10 I had to hit). We brought our own lunch and using their pavilion, made it a special meal for her (2 more points – only 6 to go). I cleaned up the mess (2 more points) and then she asked me if I wanted to go for a walk.

I knew that a walk would be worth 4 points putting me at my goal. But, while I enjoy working out on the elliptical trainer, I don’t enjoy going for walks through the woods. I’d rather be on a 4-wheeler flying through the fields. She was still waiting for an answer when I said “Of course, dear.”

After 20 steps into the woods, I was ready to turn around and go back. My wife wanted to follow a path she discovered in the woods. “Of course, dear,” I replied and we continued on. When we returned to the pavilion, my son discovered a tick on him, which he quickly removed. Since I had been wearing shorts, I checked my legs for ticks. There it was, a black mark. The tick had already begun to burrow its way into my leg. My days were numbered.

I tried to remove it but was unsuccessful. He was bound and determined to snuff out my life. As hard as I tried, I was no victor to this little “varmint” (remember Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies) who would destroy my body.

The next day, I asked my wife to help me get this tick out of my leg. I lay on the couch while she sprayed my leg with Pam – yes, the stuff you spray into a frying pan to keep food from sticking (scary – I sound like a TV commercial). Now I had a “splotch” of grease on my leg. The goal was to suffocate the little fella and end his life and thus save mine. After waiting a few minutes, she grabbed the plastic tweezers from the first aid kit. Expecting to pull out the dead tick, she quickly learned he was not going to give up. She pulled again but only removed half his body. I screamed “his head is still in my leg – I’m going to die!”

She went back in again with the vengeance of a scorned woman in order to save the life of the man she loved. She was successful.

As she pulled it out, she looked at me and said, “It looks a little thin. It’s too narrow and long to be a tick. I think it’s wood.” Then I remembered and told her how a few weeks before, I was mowing the lawn and ran into a small tree. It smacked me in the leg. I guessed a small part of that tree lodged itself in my leg.

She looked at me with the bed side manner of “Nurse Cratchet” (I don’t know who that person is but it sounds good) and walked away. I wiped the Pam from my leg, more embarrassed than anything.

If you’re like me, it’s too easy to make a mountain out of a molehill. It’s too easy to overreact to a situation over which you have no control. It’s also too easy to be impulsive and think something is, only to discover it isn’t. I am fortunate to have a very forgiving wife who doesn’t hold a grudge. She just looked at me and didn’t verbalize what she was thinking. I don’t want to know what she was thinking of her dying husband with the “tick” in his leg.

Let me encourage you to pause and count to 10. Look at the facts before you declare something is – that isn’t.

I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well my friend.

Rev. Tony Marciano is executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission and a regular South Charlotte Weekly columnist. He is available to speak to your group. Call 704-334-4635, ext. 213, to schedule him.

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